IxNConnect is a content platform that helps transit agencies improve communications with their customers, enhance the rider experience, and maximize revenue with adjacent advertising. The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) is the first transit system to manage their digital signage through IxNConnect. IxNConnect provides a central hub for transit agencies to manage and monitor delivery of real-time arrival and schedule information, service updates, marketing campaigns, and emergency messaging to digital screens system wide.
In January 2018, the CTA and Intersection expanded their partnership to create one of the country’s largest digital display networks in transit, totaling more than 400 street-facing and platform screens, as well as interactive kiosks, deployed system wide. This network, now powered by IxNConnect, provides real-time transit information to customers and gives the CTA new tools to communicate with riders. IxNConnect comes at no cost to the CTA or riders. In fact, it generates revenue for the CTA through advertising.
One of the main challenges we faced was ensuring that IxNConnect met all of our stakeholders’ needs, including the advertising, customer, and CTA’s experiences. For our advertising partners, we had to strike a balance between screen time that the ad received and screen time for the CTA’s customer messaging. For CTA customers, it was critical that we provide real-time transit information and customer communication to increase rider efficiency and satisfaction. For the CTA, we needed to ensure that staff had accurate visibility into what content was playing across the display network. Traditionally, this was a manual process involving agency staff looking at the displays in person, which costs time, money, and delays in meeting customer needs.
We balanced screen time between advertising and CTA content through a thoughtful interface design that balances “always on” transit information with advertising content, as well as Dynamic Screentime, a feature we developed that intelligently manages the frequency of content shown. IxNConnect takes all of these factors into account to curate the right programming mix on each display. For CTA riders, we optimized the relevance of information to displays with robust location targeting. Each piece of content can be targeted by transit-specific criteria, such as mode, line, station, and individual display. IxNConnect now gives CTA staff the ability to monitor what is playing on the displays. Agency staff can get a real-time view of every display with IxNConnect’s Live View feature while the dashboard and charts let them measure and analyze their communication patterns over time.
The CTA now has a widespread broadcast channel to communicate with riders in real time. The “always on” arrivals information displays 38 million arrival updates to Chicago transit riders each month. Through October, IxNConnect displayed 3,887 CTA alerts, giving riders useful information about service changes, delays, and accessibility at critical points in their journey. The power of IxNConnect was demonstrated during a severe service disruption in May. Blue Line trains experienced significant delays, with service temporarily suspended during commuting hours. IxNConnect automatically took over 78 displays at street and platform level with a templated alert for two hours. As a result, riders were able to adjust travel plans accordingly, thereby reducing frustration and crowding. Following the launch of IxNConnect-driven displays, CTA customers took to social media to provide positive feedback; “Thank you @cta for the design updates on the tracker screens throughout the city. Looks really nice!”
Chicago Transit Authority