Union Pearson Express is Metrolinx’s train that connects Toronto’s Union Station and Toronto Pearson International Airport. The installation spans four UP Express stations, and travelers encounter approximately 80 screens along the route. Managed by the X2O visual communications platform, the installation provides up-to-date trip information seamlessly across the screens.
The goal is for passengers to have a stress-free trip between Pearson Airport and Union Station, and getting clear, timely information is vital to ensuring that experience. The 80 networked screens display real-time data from multiple sources to inform travelers when the next train will arrive, keep them abreast of service updates, supply up-to-date flight information and provide the latest news and weather. The screens also display advertising and Toronto event listings.
The X2O visual communications platform powers the entire display network and integrates with real-time data sources. A highly intuitive GUI and HTML5-enabled software give Metrolinx superior flexibility in its messaging and in its ability to provide consistent access to timely information. For example, UP Express personnel can target messages to specific screens or zones of a screen, and they can take over an entire screen for priority messaging as required.
The biggest challenge with the installation was ensuring smooth integration between software and hardware. Also, X2O had to follow very specific and tightly managed brand guidelines when designing the layout and flow of information on the displays.
The open nature of the X2O platform allows seamless integration with Metrolinx’s Cisco Interactive Experience Client 4600 Series media players to drive engaging content throughout the installation in real time. The high-profile Metrolinx project was tied to the Pan Am/Parapan Am Games that took place in Toronto during the summer of 2015. X2O was simultaneously working on other Pan Am/Parapan Am projects with Cisco and was able to leverage the long-standing relationship to resolve technical and integration issues.
X2O worked with Metrolinx to create a custom API to transfer and manage data from multiple sources. Meanwhile X2O design teams worked closely with Metrolinx brand architects and business units to help make sure that the displays were consistently on-brand, user-friendly and impactful. X2O’s design expertise and the close collaboration made it possible to display information in a way that both supported the UP Express brand and successfully conveyed important customer-focused content.
The installation is an important part of the UP Express brand and provides a direct connection with passengers. As such, X2O engineers, developers, integration experts and designers created data and design solutions that ensured the project was robust, reliable and on-brand.
UP Express measures the effectiveness of the X2O-powered screens as part of the overall guest experience. Specific metrics include guest satisfaction and passengers’ likelihood to ride the train again. Based on UP Express first-impression surveys, 76 percent of passengers stated that they were satisfied with the UP Express service, and 87 percent of them were likely to ride again on a subsequent trip.