Los Angeles Metro selects Syncromatics to deploy real-time bus information system


The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s (Metro) board of directors has selected the same local supplier for its new bus information system that the City of Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT) has been using since 2009.

Metro has awarded a US$4m contract to Los Angeles-based Syncromatics to design, install, and operate a network of 300 real-time bus information signs at the busiest bus shelters across Los Angeles County in California. The electronic signs, the first to be deployed widely in the Metro bus system, will provide real-time arrival times, service alerts, and other information about Metro buses, as well as those operated by other regional transit agencies that share bus shelters.

In order to encourage people to reduce their car usage and make use of the region’s transit system, improving the bus rider experience has become a top priority for Metro. The new signs will feature text-to-speech technology to make audio announcements for visually impaired riders, and roughly 100 locations will include solar panels to eliminate any impact on the electric grid.

Syncromatics has installed and operated electronic transit signs that serve more than 50 transit operations in 20 states across the USA, and this new project will expand the technology company’s local footprint even further. As the prime contractor for the project, Syncromatics is responsible for the design, permitting and construction of the signs, including providing electric service to many locations that currently lack power. The company will provide data management services to process real-time and scheduled bus arrival times for thousands of vehicles, and distribute the information to the electronic signs over the cellular data network. The company’s software will also allow for dynamic messaging on signs to inform transit users of delays, detours, and special events. Spread across more than 25 cities in Los Angeles County, the phased roll out of new electronic signs will be completed in 2018.

“Live bus arrival times and service alerts remain out of reach for the 62% of Metro users who don’t own smartphones,” said board member and Los Angeles City councilmember Mike Bonin, citing an internal Metro survey. “Bringing real-time information to the bus stop is a common sense technology solution to an age-old problem, and it will improve the transit experience for all.”

Syncromatics CEO Ian Sephton said, “Not knowing if or when your bus is coming can be very stressful, so these electronic signs will remove a barrier for new riders and deliver peace of mind to the millions of our neighbors who rely on Metro buses. This contract validates the scalability of our technology platform, and we look forward to taking on more big projects like this in the future.”

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Tom has edited Traffic Technology International (TTi) magazine and its Traffic Technology Today website since May 2014. During his time at the title, he has interviewed some of the top transportation chiefs at public agencies around the world as well as CEOs of leading multinationals and ground-breaking start-ups. Tom's earlier career saw him working on some the UK's leading consumer magazine titles. He has a law degree from the London School of Economics (LSE).