Picture the scene: it's raining and you're waiting for a night bus in London, with very little charge on your phone. Wouldn't it be great if the bus stop had some up-to-date arrival times? So you didn't have to pull out your phone and refer to Citymapper or Google Maps? Transport for London (TfL) is now trialling e-paper displays at a small number of bus stops which offer timetables, route maps and real-time travel information. The screens are the same size as a conventional bus stop sign -- equivalent to three A4 sheets of paper stacked on top of each other -- and complimented with some colourful buttons for illumination and page switching.
The hope is that the new displays will be both readable and environmentally friendly. Like a Kindle, they should be readable in bright sunlight and draw less power than a conventional full-colour screen. TfL says they can be charged from a solar panel too, and retrieve bus arrival information over 3G. For now, it's only available in one location, near Waterloo Bridge, although the plan is to introduce a further three in Parliament Square, Piccadilly Circus and Sloane Square next month. They're be trialled until the autumn -- a full roll-out is probably too expensive, but this should give TfL a better idea of its viability.