Green Cities Fit for Life

Image by Jean-Dominique Billaud

New energy efficient e-paper displays for Ljubljana’s bus stops

Ljubljana, European Green Capital 2016, is one of the first cities in the world to introduce new electronic paper (e-paper) displays to city centre bus stops. E-paper displays offer better visibility than ordinary signage and content can be changed easily by control centres. They run on very low energy and remove the need for constantly changing paper timetables. These displays can be solar powered where possible and the only time energy is used is when content is changed, not when images are static.

A view of the e-paper displays on Slovenska Street, Ljubljana. Image courtesy of the City of Ljubljana.

A view of the e-paper displays on Slovenska Street, Ljubljana. Image courtesy of the City of Ljubljana.

Slovenian company Visionect has manufactured and supplied the e-paper displays. They can even be seen in the reflection from direct sunlight when reading would otherwise be made very difficult. In addition to bus schedules the electronic paper displays also show exact bus arrival times and passenger information, such as notifications about line detours or new routes. City news and updates about various events and nearby tourist information are also on show.

Installation of the new displays comes after Slovenska Street, Ljubljana’s main street, was renovated to accommodate a pedestrian and bus-only zone. Previously the city was very car-dependant, but in recent years there has been a successful move towards walking, cycling and public transport. This transition was one of the main reasons why the city won the European Green Capital Award for 2016.

The e-paper displays show bus schedules and arrival times, as well as information about detours or new routes and city news. Image courtesy of the City of Ljubljana.

The e-paper displays show bus schedules and arrival times, as well as information about detours or new routes and city news. Image courtesy of the City of Ljubljana.

E-paper displays have become popular for bus stop information, e-readers, retail signage and electronic billboards due to their similarity to ordinary paper and ink, yet higher quality of readability. By implementing smart displays Ljubljana has an opportunity to establish personalized services for its citizens. The partially sighted can, for example, increase the font size on screens or read text with the help of their smartphones, with many similar adjustments possible for the disabled and the elderly.

Installations like e-paper displays are a feature of ‘smart cities’. Smart cities are those which use digital or information technology in order to become more energy and resource efficient and to communicate more effectively with their citizens. To become a ‘smart’, a city would have to incorporate a substantial amount of such technology over a large area.

By sourcing the displays from Visionect, a national company, the City of Ljbuljana is also supporting the local economy and helping to cut down on emissions regarding transport. Visionect is growing quickly due to demand from countries around the world that want to use its new technology for public transport projects, health institutions, educational establishments, museums and more.

Ljubljana hopes to install more e-paper displays over time at LPP public bus stops across the urban territory. In doing so, the city will make it easier for existing bus service users to get around, while encouraging even more people to use public transport.