How the Port Authority of NY & NJ Keeps the Region Moving with Digital Signage


The Port Authority of NY and NJ (PANYNJ) manages airports, bridges, tunnels, ports, and transit facilities with more than 10,000 advertising assets to generate vital revenue while improving customer experiences. In an upcoming session at Digital Signage Expo 2020 (DSE), David Gilford Principal, Urban Technology at HR&A Advisors and Gavin Goffe Strategic Advertising Manager at the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey will share “Smart-city” approaches for deploying holographic airport displays, dynamic transit kiosks and more in complex urban environments. Digital Signage Connection caught up with these co-presenters for a quick Q & A on their daily challenges and what to expect from their DSE presentation in Las Vegas. 

Q: Can you all give an example of a “Smart City Approach” used at PANYNJ that helps maximize the effectiveness of the urban deployment?

A: Keeping a city running smoothly requires people and infrastructure to work in harmony.  A “smart city” is one where technology empowers both citizens and staff to access information and amenities.  For example, in designing passenger information systems for our transit systems, we’ve selected kiosks that blend real-time train arrival information, creative advertising, and customer messaging.

Q: How do you balance the scheduling of revenue-generating ads with the rest of the complex messaging that has actual Port Authority functionality?

A: It’s important to plan for both revenue generation and customer communication from the beginning. Clarity of goals and of process are critical to balancing commercial and customer objectives.  In our contracts, we typically specify a percentage of inventory to be dedicated to Port Authority messaging. As the transition to digital accelerates, this can be achieved through new methods, from a share of flips to the smart utilization of screen space for passenger info. In addition, we require that contractors allow us to display emergency alerts in real time.

Q: Considering the size and scope of the PANYNJ, how do the digital approaches you’ll be discussing scale to smaller cities and markets? In other words, are your examples more relevant more often because it’s generally easier to scale down?

A: While running multiple networks of thousands of screens across multiple states presents some unique challenges, we’re ultimately providing a series of examples that can be scaled to a town, a train station, or a single building. Rather than thinking about our assets as a single system, we’ve learned the value of a modular approach, reflecting the differences in scale and complexity even among our own assets. While a single billboard at a tunnel entrance is different from JFK airport, the same principles apply.  As the song goes, “If I can make it there, I’ll make it anywhere.” 

Q: What are you most excited about sharing with your DSE 2020 audience?

A: Just 10 years ago, a transit agency would have viewed OOH advertising as primarily a matter of static posters. Today, thanks to new technologies in digital signage and content management, DOOH enables cities and transit authorities to deliver tremendous value to both constituents and advertisers. We’re excited to share the creative approaches that help millions of people in the New York and New Jersey region get where they’re going, while generating revenue and providing real-time information.  Looking ahead, we’re also excited about trends in programmatic and experiential activation that enable new advertisers to participate in this market. For example, our latest experiential activation at Newark International Airport for Audible creates awareness for travelers around the convenience of using audible books for their entertainment while traveling.

David Gilford of HR&ADavid Gilford advises cities and companies on harnessing urban technology. Prior to HR&A, he co-founded the Connected Communities practice at Intersection, creating neighborhood-scale digital master plans for real estate developers. His career has spanned the public and private sectors, including the New York City government, GE, McKinsey, and the Federal Reserve.

Gavin Goffe of PANYNJGavin Goffe is the Strategic Advertising Manager for the Port Authority of NY & NJ. He administers the advertising contract that generates revenue across all PA facilities. Goffe is currently applying a cathartic approach to upgrade the PA advertising program during the redevelopments at JFK, LGA, and Newark International Airports.

See below for more info about “How the Port Authority of NY & NJ Keeps the Region Moving with Digital Signage” and DSE 2020 here.

About Author

Jason Kushner is a videographer, editor, writer and filmmaker living in the Greater Atlanta Area. With an educational background combining film and journalism, Kushner has shot video and written for a myriad of publications and multimedia projects including Creative Loafing Tampa,, Starline Films and Digital Signage Connection. His 2009 documentary American Colonies: Collapse of the Bee became an Official Selection at 12 international film festivals, won Best Documentary at the 2009 Central Florida Film Festival and a John Muir Gold Award at the 2009 Yosemite Film Festival.  In 2015, he became Digital Media Editor for Digital Signage Expo, LightShow West and LED Specifier Summit and has since become Digital Content Manager for those shows’ parent company, Exponation.

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