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West Hollywood Launches Tech-Laden Transit Shelters

The Los Angeles-area city of 34,000 has installed two smart bus shelters for transit riders, complete with real-time travel information, USB charging ports for phone charging and Wi-Fi.

West Hollywood, Calif., has rolled out new smart bus shelters that offer USB ports for phone charging and other perks to residents who use the public transit system.

The city has installed two of the tech-heavy shelters, part of a continuing effort to promote public transit, with plans to replace about 50 more in the coming months, said Francisco Contreras, innovation manager for the city.

The shelters include high-resolution screens displaying transit and other community information as well as free Wi-Fi. Lighting is provided via energy-efficient LEDs, and there’s even tree canopy imagery on the shelter’s ceiling, lending the structures a new aesthetic.

“The bespoke design is unique to West Hollywood and was developed with the participation of a community design committee,” Contreras said.

He also noted that the shelters were designed and developed by Outfront/Decaux Street Furniture, a Los Angeles-based company that specializes in such creations. The arrangement is part of a public-private agreement between the city and Outfront, one that also grants the company an exclusive license to generate ad revenue with the shelters, Contreras said.

In exchange, Outfront will manufacture, install and maintain the shelters and other street furniture at no cost to the city. The partnership also includes a revenue-sharing agreement and a requirement that the shelters be used for public service announcements.

Other features offered by the new shelters include comfortable ergonomic wooden seats and real-time bus arrival information. These smart bus shelters are in line with the WeHo Smart City Strategic Plan, which address five core subject areas: Sustainability, Mobility, Accessibility, Resiliency and Transparency (SMART). That plan was first adopted in 2018.

West Hollywood, with its small two-square-mile size, is home to 34,000 residents. This heavy population density makes it a productive testing ground for new smart city ideas like tech-laden bus stops.

Skip Descant writes about smart cities, the Internet of Things, transportation and other areas. He spent more than 12 years reporting for daily newspapers in Mississippi, Arkansas, Louisiana and California. He lives in downtown Sacramento.
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