New York City Is Getting Futuristic Touchscreen Subway Maps

This will be awesome and also deeply unsanitary. New York City has hired a company called Control Group to install 90 47-inch touchscreen subway maps around the city. It looks like real life world-of-tomorrow type stuff.

The maps will show you how to get from one station to another. All you do is tap where you want to go and it shows you the route to get there from where you are. Down the road, it'll also feature points of interest for tourists, so for example, you might select Carnegie Hall and be shown how to get to the 57th St. station.

In addition to maps, the kiosks will also display schedule changes, delays, outages, and ads. Those ads can use the kiosk's always-on network connection to change with current events, or even the weather.

New York City Is Getting Futuristic Touchscreen Subway Maps

Some more specifics about the kiosks:

Each kiosk is a 47-inch touch screen, encapsulated in rugged stainless steel, with an operational temperature up to 200 degrees (which is more than durable enough to handle 120-degree summer days in the subway). They'll be placed, mostly in pairs, outside pay areas, inside mezzanines and even right on train platforms. Control Group has skinned the hardware with a simple front end and an analytics-heavy backend, largely reminiscent of their work with Kate Spade. And the platform will even support third-party apps approved by the MTA.

They'll also have Wi-Fi, which is a huge plus for anyone who spends a lot of time waiting around on subway platforms with no cell service. Cameras and microphones will use that connection to enable two-way communication through the kiosks, or just enable the MTA to see what's going on at its stations.

So basically, this sounds delightful. It's the kind of thing you thought you'd see in cities of the future when you were a kid, minus the holographic tour guide. And now it's here. Almost. The rollout is scheduled for later this year. [FastCo Design]