Metro News Release

For immediate release: March 26, 2004

Metro offers enhancements for the passenger information display monitors

At today’s Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (Metro) Board Operations and Safety Committee meeting, Metro officials highlighted upcoming enhancements to the passenger information display system monitors (PIDS) located on the platform levels of Metrorail stations. These enhancements will be implemented during the next several months.

"Two months ago, our Board of Directors suggested a number of improvements to the PIDS system," said Jim Gallagher, Metro’s Deputy General Manager for Operations. "These improvements include fine tuning the approaching and arriving train messages at Metrorail stations; displaying line train information; displaying more than one arrival time for a train; and displaying the frequency of our trains. We think these enhancements will improve the flow of information to our customers who rely on these signs everyday for important and accurate information."

One feature will include a departure message for trains leaving from the end of a rail station prior to entering the train station. This message will be important to customers who wait for a Yellow or Green Line train at the Gallery Place-Chinatown Metrorail station and to customers boarding trains at end-of-line stations. Once technical testing and user acceptance testing is complete, Metro expects full deployment of this program to be in place within a month.

A second feature will include the elimination of the term "approaching."

Customer feedback indicated some confusion related to the difference between the "approaching" message and the "arriving" message. As a result, Metro will eliminate the "approaching" message and replace it with a 2 minute prediction message, followed by the actual train arriving message. Upon completion of technical and acceptance testing, Metro expects this feature to be in place by the end of April.

A third added feature calls for simplified customer information by combining information currently on multiple displays into one display. This will include multiple predictions for up to three incoming trains, and this will replace all current prediction messages. An example follows:

Line Dest Arr
Orn Vienna 2
Blu Franconia 5
Orn Vienna 8

The display will feature the line, color, the destination, and the number of minutes the train is expected to arrive. Metro will have this new three-train display in place by the beginning of January 2005, after completion and testing of the new display.

The passenger information display signs have been providing train arrival information, elevator/escalator outages, emergency information, and the time of day since they were launched in October 2000. "We are committed to making the signs reliable and responsive to the needs of our customers," said Mr. Gallagher. "These improvements strive to strike the appropriate balance with our resources and the quality of information we provide." The PIDS program cost $11 million to implement, but these upgrades are being made by Metro staff, at no additional cost to Metro.

News release issued on March 26, 2004.