egged bus 311.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Within a year, bus riders in some locations will be able to get an answer to the
eternal question: “When is the next bus coming?” A new initiative by the Israel
National Roads Company, announced Tuesday, aims to have solar-powered digital
signs linked to GPS transmitters aboard buses, which notifying passengers of the
vehicle’s precise location.
The INRC recently issued an international
tender for the establishment of 100 intercity bus stations featuring solar
powered digital screens that will be able to inform waiting passengers of the
exact location of the expected buses and count the minutes and seconds until its
Such public transportation monitoring systems that are based on
satellite positioning operate in countries such as Spain, France,
Switzerland. Here is Israel, both Egged and Kavim bus companies have
to try out similar systems.
But the requirement that the system be
powered by solar energy, taking advantage of Israel’s most readily
energy source, would put Israel at the forefront of technological
in the field.
The tender also allows for additional optional uses for the
signs to be placed at the bus stops, including things like projecting
traffic updates as well as advertising. According to the tender
the signs are also required to have buttons to switch the notices to
languages and to read out the messages for the blind.
success depends largely on the willingness of the bus companies to
with the INRC and agree to have their buses linked to a shared central
According to the tender specifications booklet, the
Transportation and Finance ministries have made the use of smart digital
a top policy priority and have the authority to demand that the
connect their buses to the grid.
Companies will be able to connect either
directly from the bus to the sign or through a national public
information center soon to be established by the Transportation
“We are proud to be leading an initiative that is meant to
benefit mainly older people, students and soldiers,” said INRC director
“The State of Israel supports its public transportation
to the tune of NIS 2.5 billion a year, but there is still a large public
waits at bus stations in a state of uncertainty – while we live in a
can provide a real and inexpensive answer to the question ‘when will the
arrive?’” “During the last three years we have carefully studied the
and failures of such systems around the world, including the trials that
conducted in Israel. One of the challenges we face is coping with the
Israeli sun, which burns the screens in such a way that makes them
Viznitzer added that environmental conservation is a
central part of the INRC’s social responsibility philosophy, which
requirement that the signs be independently solar-powered.
“We were told
by foreign providers we work with that such solar powered systems that
project information both day and night are rare in the world,” he
INRC chairman Micha Goldman said that at the conclusion of the
pilot project, many parameters, such as reporting accuracy,
the various bus operators, customer satisfaction and durability in face
vandalism would be tested and that if the system was found to be
company would place the signs in all of its bus stops nationwide.
INRC maintains a total of 3,000 intercity bus stops across the country.