Photo: A B Division countdown clock, in trialBy
An eagle-eyed straphanger spotted these countdown clocks on the B Division yesterday. Although he said an R came first, the point remains that some technology that had been in the discussion stages seems to be moving closer toward a reality. While A Division stations currently enjoy countdown clocks everywhere, bringing a similar PA/CIS system to the B Division would be costly and time-consuming. So what’s going on here?
I reached out to Transit to track down more information and learned that this clock is part of a test that hasn’t quite yet begun. The plan is to test the clocks at 14th St., 23rd St. and 28th Sts. along the BMT Broadway Line, and the underlying technology uses Optical Character Recognition and some scheduling information. Right now, Transit says they are still working with vendors to configure the software, and the customer information screens may display some messages while the tests move forward.
As I understand, OCR can be used to identify train sets based on scans of the car numbers as they move through the system. Such a technology can offer similar results to the A Division’s clocks, but the underlying technology is entirely different. I’ll try to have more on OCR soon, but it seems as though the plans to bring some type of countdown clock to the B Division are beginning to move forward.