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New York subway to get massive navigation touch screens

Getting around the New York City subway system is about to get a lot more hands-on with the introduction of 47-inch touch screens to help folks find their way.

Subway touch screen
Soon you'll be able to touch your way around the subway. Control Group

Some people are pros at navigating the New York City subway system. Blindfold them, spin them around, set them loose, and they'll still get to their destination on time.

Others need a little assistance, and those people are about to get a high-tech helping hand thanks to a collaboration between the New York City Metropolitan Transit Authority and the Control Group, a technology and design agency.

The Control Group is going big by unleashing a herd of 47-inch touch-screen kiosks across some of the busiest subway stations in the city. Millions of riders each day will have the chance to see and interact with the screens. The interactive machines will replace the old-school maps currently in use.

The kiosks will feature interactive maps, alerts, and service announcements. They are also expected to work with MTA-approved apps, though details on that end are sketchy. Besides offering navigational help and subway information, the touch screens will also be able to serve up advertising, opening up a potentially lucrative new revenue stream for the MTA.

Up to 90 new touch screens are expected to be set up this year. Some people may be concerned about having half of New York swiping their hands all over the screen, but it's no worse than hanging onto the same hand grips inside the cars. If you're worried, then just carry some extra hand sanitizer.

"This is an opportunity to tap into one of the greatest transportation networks in the world, laying a foundation for innovation in customer messaging, wayfinding and advertising. We're excited with our road map of features that will bring the innovations of Web and mobile to the 100-year-old New York City subway system," Colin O'Donnell, founding partner at Control Group, said today in a statement.

(Via Fast Company)