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London bus stops trial e-paper technology


Bus stop

Transport for London is testing out new e-paper displays for its bus stops, providing real time travel information for Londoners.

The new displays show timetables, route maps, and real-time travel information to those waiting for a bus.

As a BBC report shows (via Engadget), they are roughly the same size as a standard bus stop sign, and they use a similar font. However, they include three buttons for illuminating the e-paper display and for switching pages.

Similar to Amazon's popular Kindle range of ebook readers, the e-paper display technology used in these experimental bus stop signs has a couple of notable advantages.

For one thing, e-paper displays are much easier to see in strong natural light than LCD displays. For another, they require a lot less power to run.

In fact, so efficient are these new e-paper displays that TfL says they can be run off solar power. Meanwhile, the live bus updates can be transmitted over a 3G signal.

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At present, you can only find the new e-paper bus stop display at a single location in London, near Waterloo Bridge. However, TfL plans to add three more at Parliament Square, Piccadilly Circus and Sloane Square next month.

With some 19,000 bus stops in the capital, there's some way to go for London's bus network, but it seems a wider rollout will ensue if these trials prove a success.

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