Perhaps you’ve seen the iPhone ads during the NCAA playoffs. The guy browses to a page on his iPhone listing train arrival times for the Red, Green, Blue and other train lines.
Except we know he’s not checking for CTA trains.The CTA pilot project to display next-train-arrival times on digital ad screens didn’t work out so well. The CTA shut down the pilot last June.
A CTA Tattler reader succinctly explained the problem a few months ago:
I talked with some people at the CTA during the Vision Study meetings.
They reiterated what was stated before. The problem is that they need
to allow the system to account for the lag (attenuation) between where
the signal sources from and where the signal is being read from. There
are a lot of variables to account for and I believe they need software
to do this. Most likely they are modifying the software to
specifically account for circumstances that may be unique to the CTA,
and thus reflect accurate times. The problem before wasn’t that it
didn’t work, it was that it wasn’t accurate.
A CTA spokesperson recently told me they are still working out those glitches and hope to roll out another pilot project soon.
Meanwhile, the installation of digital ad signs at Brown Line stations has been suspended by Titan Outdoor due to the bad economy. However, large LED signs with CTA service messages only — no ads — are being installed at Belmont and Fullerton.
Titan was supposed to install the digital ad signs at all train stations. Under a contract inked in December, the CTA is guaranteed $80 million in print advertising revenue from Titan over the next five years, and a minimum of $3.3 million from digital ads for five years.
Titan better hopes the economy turns around so it doesn’t lose money on this contract.