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Need A Ride? Oakland’s Real-Time Transportation Screens Will Lay Out Available Options

Margaret Sun
New transportation boards in Oakland note the availability of buses, ride sharing vehicles and bikes, as well as shuttles, in real-time.

If you find yourself in a transportation jam, screens scattered through Oakland could help you find a way out soon. The Oakland Business Improvement Districtis teaming up with a few other non-profits to provide large screens showing real-time transportation options.

They’ve been installed at the University of Pittsburgh’s Sennott Square, the SkyVue Apartments, UPMC’s Falk Medical Clinic and Presbyterian and Montefiore Hospitals.

The 42 to 50-inch screens will display information such as when the next bus is coming, how far away the nearest Uber is and how many bikes are waiting at the nearest Healthy Ride station. The screens will also display information from Lyft and Zipcar, as well as Pitt and UPMC shuttles.

Pitt is paying for the screens and a one-year subscription to a service known as TransitScreens

Oakland Business Improvement District Spokesman Jonathan Winkler said the technology is a perfect fit for Oakland.

“Especially since we have so many people here that are on the move. It’s always buzzing,” he said. “People are going from point A to point B all the time and this definitely helps them.”

The technology was developed by a Washington D.C.-based company and is in use in 33 cities around the world. A mobile version is in the works.

Two Pitt researchers, Alexandros Labrinidis and Kostas Pelechrinis, will measure the impact the screens have on local businesses.

“This technology is the first of its kind in Pittsburgh, not many cities have this. Oakland is the perfect host,” Labrinidis said. “There are spots still open for other local businesses to jump on board.”

University officials have said they’re willing to pay for screens and the $3,000 annual subscription fee for additional sites but did not set a number.

Winkler said it is unclear what will happen after the first year of funding.