New York subway riders first were promised futuristic touchscreen wayfinding maps a year ago. But the plan to install the futuristic infrastructure stalled as the design team took a step back to improve the hardware. Six months overdue, the first batch is finally live in Grand Central Station. They were worth the wait.
Over the last month, the first 18 MTA On the Go kiosks were installed in the Grand Central subway station. Eight of them are split between the uptown and downtown sides of the major 4/5/6 north-south arteries; the other 10 are scattered throughout the mezzanine above that connects the subway to the century-old commuter rail station. (Expect a wider roll out to more stations by the middle of the year.) The screens are basically huge interactive navigation centers, which serve real-time up information about how to get where you're going, and what (inevitable) service disruptions might get in the way.
The project is a collaboration between MTA and Control Group, a local design and technology consultancy firm. Importantly, the city isn't paying for them. Control Group is footing the bill, in hopes that the kiosks will eventually pay for themselves with advertising revenue.