Road Network Operations
& Intelligent Transport Systems
A guide for practitioners!

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In-terminal / Wayside

Connectivity of the bus stop to the general travel information electronic network is essential in order to ensure accurate and meaningful real-time information for the passenger. Whilst delivery of information over the internet direct to the passenger is becoming more common many passengers do not have mobile devices - so electronic displays at the bus stop are their only means of receiving real-time information. (See Internet/Wireless and Kiosk)

At individual stops en-route communication between the bus and the stop sign may be direct, whereby the bus communicates directly with a communication device at the stop or it may be provided via a control centre - so the bus communicates with the control centre and the control centre communicates with the bus stop. Direct communication is usually more reliable as it involves one less risk of error.

Pre-scheduled information may also be conveyed electronically via signs at the stop - and this is usually the default display if the real-time information system is not working properly for any reason. In bus terminals, particularly large ones where there are large numbers of services, electronic display of scheduled information can be a very effective way of providing information about services. Destinations, route numbers, operator name and departure bay are all helpful information in addition to the scheduled departure time.


Care should be taken to ensure that running costs are known and budgeted. In recent years, unsustainable operating costs have resulted in some local government authorities in England switching off their bus stop real-time information displays.


Low-cost and solar-powered systems may be used to display electronically at the bus stop only those services highlighted by passengers


Electronic stop signs are not usually recommended for developing economies. This is partly because the value of the information may be less - depending on the value placed on time and how rare scheduled bus services may be. However, where these considerations do not apply - a compelling reason for using internet / wireless systems rather than electronic bus stop signs is the rapid penetration of internet-enabled mobile phones. This type of communication platform also shifts much of the operating cost from the operator or agency to the passenger.

Reference sources

Synthesis Report 73 (‘AVL Systems for Bus Transit: Update’ of the USA’s Transit Co-operative Research Program (TCRP) provides an overview of US experience. It is available at