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Intersection, a smart city ad platform, unveiling new subway screens in Chicago

New content platform allows for more real-time transit, and advertising, opportunities


Intersection, the New York City-based advertising firm responsible for the LinkNYC kiosks and free Wi-Fi service, will begin upgrading its transit display and advertising platforms, starting in Chicago.

The company’s new IxNConnect system provides additional real-time information management for city transit system, including improved train departure and arrival times, service updates, and the ability to better tailor emergency messages. It also works with touch-screens and interactive kiosks, and will also enable more location- and time-specific ads, allowing advertisers to send specific messages to a line, station, and individual display.

Intersection will upgrade its system in Chicago and add 138 new screens to Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) stations over the next two years, eventually hitting a total of 400 displays across the city.

The company, which has contracts with Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, and Dallas, will expand the new IxNConnect system to Philadelphia’s SEPTA and New Jersey Transit next.

This roll out shows the importance of these public-private partnerships for funding technological upgrades for U.S. mass transit systems, as well as the increased market for contextual, location-aware advertising.

Intersection is backed in part by an investment from Google’s Sidewalk Labs, the smart city firm set to help create a new neighborhood in Toronto to serve as a test-bed for new technology. The company believes that more context-specific ads can help “redeem the credibility” of outdoor urban advertising.

The CTA has been an Intersection partner since 2010. According to Mike Gwinn, director of revenue and fare systems at the CTA, IxNConnect will allow CTA operators to target alerts and emergency messages to individual screens and stations, as opposed to sending messages to an entire route.

“Brands want to be relevant, and real-time transit information gets commuters to pay attention and look up,” says Scott Goldsmith, president of cities and transit at Intersection,

Goldsmith says it’s all about generating more advertising revenue for transit authorities, by helping deliver more real-time advertising opportunities for brands. For example, a previous Intersection campaign in New York allowed MillerCoors to display beer ads to subway riders facing a train delay, and point to bars near the closest station.