Worcestershire County Council has launched a ground-breaking new interactive travel information point that is the first of its kind in the UK.
Members of the public are being invited to provide feedback on the new system for the chance to win an iPad.
The giant outdoor touchscreen device can be found close to bus stops in Worcester's Cathedral Square, and will improve access to real-time travel information in the city.
The new information point means users can access a wealth of travel and tourist information at their fingertips, including live and up-to-date bus and train timetables, together with traffic news.
The unit also provides directions to many city landmarks, as well as amenities like car parks and toilets, thanks to smart-mapping software. Developed by Smart Networked Environments, the interactive map connects to various databases on-demand, and is the first deployment of this kind of software in a public kiosk.
Sharing the story of Worcestershire's proud heritage, another of the unit's features will enable people to access historical facts and figures about a number of key landmarks, including the Cathedral, which was recently named as the 9th best-loved free tourist destination in the UK.
The launch of the information point will see users given an opportunity to offer suggestions to shape the final version of the software. To encourage this, manufacturers 21st Century Passenger Systems Limited are offering the prize of a brand new iPad for the best idea suggested by a member of the public between now and Easter Sunday.
The information point builds on the ongoing introduction of digital displays offering real time bus information in bus stops across Worcestershire, which are encouraging people to use public transport by making it easier to plan journeys.
The installation forms part of the £20million Worcester Transport Strategy Major Scheme, which includes funding of £13.5 million from the DFT, announced last month. The information point has been designed to offer a level of multi-functionality that is not available on other similar digital information points in the UK, and plans are in place to add more units at key locations in Worcester over the coming months.
Councillor Ken Pollock, cabinet member for Economy Skills and Infrastructure said: "Providing access to real-time travel information and live timetables is important to us, and the introduction of this new outdoor information point outside Worcester Cathedral is the next step in ensuring that both residents and visitors alike can access a range of useful information whilst on the go.
"The unit is the very first of its kind in this country, and underlines our commitment to investing in innovation that encourages people to use public transport and reduce congestion on our roads, bringing huge environmental benefits. We look forward to adding more information points at key locations in Worcester over the coming months."
Russ Singleton, Chief Executive for 21st Century, said: “Worcestershire is at the cutting edge of developing platforms that give the public the information they require to easily move around urban spaces and we were delighted to be involved in this project. As a first in the UK, it shows the benefits that can be realised from bringing in data from a number of sources and presenting it to the user through an easy-to-use interface.
"Worcestershire’s new Information Point is a meaningful and purposeful step towards making journeys passenger-centric, and setting the pace for evolving the transport and movement of people through our towns and cities.”
Dr. Ken Guild, Technical Director of Smart Networked Environments, added: "We have been delighted to work with Worcestershire on this innovative project, and to have the opportunity to provide our unique mapping and information consolidation software".