Transit Flash: Digital Displays Coming to CTA Buses

Transit Authority Expects to Bring in $101 Million Over 10 Years

The Chicago Transit Authority expects to bring in about $101 million over the next 10 years with digital advertising displays on the sides of its buses.

CTA President Ron Huberman unveiled the first piece of the CTA’s digital communications network -- a new digital display board mounted on the curb-side of an in-service bus, on Monday, according to a release.

The CTA will test the durability and power consumption of the digital display board on a bus operating along the No. 124 Navy Pier route for a six-week pilot beginning Tuesday, according to a CTA spokeswoman.

The testing is the first phase of implementation of a new digital communications network.  In April 2008, the Chicago Transit Board authorized a 10-year contract for Titan Outdoor to sell digital ads on CTA buses and across the rail system. Under the agreement, Titan will be responsible for the purchase, installation, maintenance and repair of more than 1,500 digital display boards on 100 buses and at all 144 rail stations.

"In these tough economic times, this new initiative with Titan is a valuable new source of revenue for the agency. But just as importantly, it will create an additional channel of communication," Huberman said. "In the event of an emergency, the CTA will have the ability to use the digital display boards on buses and in rail stations to provide customers with information."

The digital displays at rail stations and on buses will be fully integrated with CTA’s Control Center and the Office of Emergency Management and Communications.

During an emergency, CTA will be able to override ads and post emergency info or real-time service updates. By the end of year, the CTA will launch a pilot rail station with digital signs and train arrival info.

The CTA is currently assessing which bus routes will feature the digital display boards. Bus routes that travel along expressways, highways or Lake Shore Drive will not be considered.

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