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NYC subways to get interactive information touchscreens

Posting in Cities

In New York, there are lots of jokes about the myriad ways to spot a tourist. But one of the giveaways -- the fact that they have to ask other subway riders how to get to their destinations -- may soon become a thing of the past.

A new project by the New York City MTA and innovation firm Control Group plans to bring interactive high-definition displays to the subway stations; these screens will show real-time information, such as a countdown to the next train, delays, service updates and outages.

And the feature that will obviate the need for tourists to ask locals for directions is a subway navigation map that will show users how to get to any stations that they tap -- transfers and all.

Of course, the screens will also display ads, which currently bring $100 million in revenue to the MTA every year, according to Fast Company.

Oh -- and for you germophobes out there, Control Group released a statement in response to comments about the sanitation of touchscreens in the subway:

One of the principles of our design was to minimize touch and gestures with one click navigation. Also, the DST display works with any object--finger, nail, pen, etc. And the screen is in waterproof enclosure to enable regular cleaning. And just like the thousands of Metrocard machines in the NYC subway system that feature a touchscreen, the MTA will maintain the new kiosks.

Related on SmartPlanet:

via: Fast Company, Control Group

photos: Courtesy of Control Group

— By on March 20, 2013, 11:36 AM PST

Laura Shin

Features Editor

Laura Shin has been published in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and The Los Angeles Times, and is currently a contributor at Forbes. Previously, she worked at Newsweek, the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and LearnVest. She holds degrees from Stanford University and Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure