Heathrow shows travel costs in real time

Screens in baggage reclaim at Terminal 2 compare current journey times and prices to Paddington station for Heathrow Express and for black cabs

Screens have been installed at Heathrow Terminal 2 baggage claim showing live price and journey time comparisons between the Heathrow Express and black cabs.

Heathrow shows live travel costs in real timeHeathrow Express, digital out-of-home media agency DOOH.com and JCDecaux Airport UK have joined to create what they say is a world-first: the ‘journey comparison generator,’ which combines real-time traffic, weather and train service information to help customers make the best choice for their onward travel.

Installed at Terminal 2, it pulls together five different layers of real-time feeds from TomTom, Heathrow Express, Google, the Highways Agency and the Met Office.

The screens present passengers with the estimated time and costs at the exact moment they would use the rail link to reach central London versus getting a black taxi. Along with displaying the time of the next Heathrow Express train, the campaign also employs GPS-focused technology to highlight real-time traffic on a map that displays the journey between the terminal and Paddington.

The trouble is that the signs claim the journey is to Central London but it is actually to Paddington Station as that is where the Heathrow Express goes to. Few passengers end their journey at Paddington and from there they have to get a black cab or tube or bus to where they are actually going, including to what most people would say is Central London.

So the comparison is of limited value. To be really useful it has to tell passengers the whole route to for example Oxford Circus, Piccadilly Circus, Liverpool Street, Bank etc.

The aim seems to be to persuade passengers that the train service is faster and quicker than taxis.

In what they says is another media first, the screens on each baggage reclaim carousel at Terminal 2 will be translated to the main language of people on the arriving flight. This campaign will also be installed across Heathrow’s Terminals 3 and 5 later in the year.

The aim seems to be to persuade passengers to use the Heathrow Express service.

Heathrow Express single fares are:

  • £21.50 (standard class bought in advance)
  • £26.50 (standard class bought on board)
  • £29.50 (Business First)

(Source: heathrowexpress.com on 25/04/2015)

Fraser Brown, Heathrow Express director, said:

“The aim of the ‘journey comparison generator’ is to enable Heathrow passengers to get into London as speedily, easily and as cheaply as possible. By harnessing many different sources of real-time data into one, we are helping to make this happen. Research shows Heathrow Express trains are three times faster than taxis and a quarter of the price. These screens show how that comparison varies minute to minute depending on traffic, weather and time of day.”

Andrew Newman, co-founder of DOOH.com, says:

“Consumers through their smart phones are incredibly enabled with right information at their choosing. When it’s served up to them via advertising and by a brand, we have to do more to gain their confidence. By linking scheduling information, Google maps, a GPS feed, live clock times and road traffic accident alerts, this multi-layered approach gains the trust of the public, delivering relevant information that enhances their decision making.”


N.B. Image credit: heathrowexpress

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