Bus Shelter: Reflecting on Research

A company selling the ads on the panels, MatrixMedia services, describes them this way on its website:

“Digital Bus Shelters or digital transit shelters offer 24-hour visibility to both vehicular and pedestrian traffic. These displays are perfect for a street level marketing campaign since they are typically placed at high circulation locations. Digital transit displays hold multiple advertisers and rotate through messages throughout the day. The movement between advertisers will catch the eye of consumers as they are approaching the digital bus shelters.”

When you are on the Hong Kong street, you would see many bus shelter around you. Yes, buses are the means of transportation that most Hong Kong people often take. The bus can reach the place where the subway can’t reach. I remember when I was a kindergarten student, my grandpa used to take the bus with me since we moved from Yau Ma Tei to Shatin. In the past, we didn’t have the smartphone, iPad or Notebook. The network development was imperfect and still at a preliminary stage. My biggest joy was taking a look at the surrounding streets and people speak. While we were waiting for the bus in the bus shelters, most people would pay attention to bus shelters advertising light boxes. Including me did the same thing for getting through the dull waiting time.

Lately year, the advertising light box at some bus shelter began to turn into a digital screen. There is a large flat-screen TV at the bus shelter that changes the ad video or transforms the image every 8 seconds in 24 hours. We can see and hear the advertising come from the bus shelter. We can even interact with digital screens. Sometimes the advertiser may have the promotion at the bus shelter. People play the game, scan the code and get the sample item from the bus shelter event. It is different from static bus shelter lightbox advertising. It seems the digital screen of the bus shelter more attraction. Is it really effective in this marketing when people already own their individual little digital screen? I can’t help but be curious to wanna explore this new advertising marketing approach and the people opinion of the bus shelter digital screen.

Who & Why?

I interviewed five people who all have experienced the digital screen promo of the bus shelter. The five interviewed targets are from different age groups which make the data quality good. The interview location would be the bus shelter which has the digital screen such as Park Lane Shopper’s Boulevard bus Shelters and Kowloon Bay bus shelters. This will make me easier to find the interview targets. The interview question I would not ask for too much as I am afraid people not willing to stay on the street and answer my question under the hot sun. So I set up three simple question for the interview. Those question about what the bus shelter viewer thought of the digital screen.


There must be challenges in research tasks that need to be overcome by researchers. When the research purpose was already done, the next we must pay the action on our research plan. Before we start the interview, we must check the bus shelter digital screens are still there or change. Unfortunately, there was no more media advertising event on the Park Lane Shopper’s Boulevard bus shelters.  Causeway Bay Sogo bus shelters were in my plan also but bus shelter digital screens are disappeared as Bus shelters is being repaired. However, the biggest challenge is to interview people.
Monday afternoon, I was standing on the street find someone who can allow me to interview in 2 mins. Most people rejected me as they don’t want to on camera even I said it for academic research and just record their voice. It made me feel sad as people rejected me. I was considering to reduce the number of interview people from five to three for this reason but I successfully finish the 5 interview target on that day.

The platform

I decided to use the medium to create a website as firstly, it’s the platform the platform I am most familiar with. Secondly, I think the website will show the data clearer to people ant it’s not hard to create and manage.


People tend to focus on their own screen more than pay attention to the bus shelter digital screen. But some people would willing to watch the digital screen on the bus shelter as it is way different than the static lightbox ad. People can get useful information on the digital screen at the bus shelter such as news or weather. The bus shelter digital screen not just a screen, it also some kind of public media TV. People pay great attention to the content of the bus electronic screen that we seee.

Usefulness to media industries

Through the street interview, I learned how people think of this new marketing platform- bus shelter digital screen. The street audience would notice the bus shelter digital screen presence but not paying to much on the digital screen content. They tend to focus on their smartphone screen as the content of the bus shelter digital screen broadcast not make them interest even the sound doesn’t draw them all. The broadcast content of the bus shelter digital screen is just an annoying thing that what bus shelter digital screen viewer said. But it a good change to the bus shelter at the bus shelter advertising lightboxes are cannot attract others to interact. The bus shelter digital screen can interact with the audience to generate effective publicity benefits. Just the content development of bus shelter digital screen we must focus on.


MarketingDonut .(n.d). retrieved from

Daniel Siden. (n.d). Q&A: The future of outdoor advertising. MarketingDonut retrieved from https://www.marketingdonut.co.uk/media-advertising/billboards-and-outdoor-advertising/q-a-the-future-of-outdoor-advertising

Anonymous. (n.d). Billboards and outdoor advertising. MarketingDonut retrieved from https://www.marketingdonut.co.uk/media-advertising/billboards-and-outdoor-advertising/billboards-and-outdoor-advertising-overview

Anonymous. (n.d). Outdoor advertising – making a big impact. MarketingDonut retrieved from https://www.marketingdonut.co.uk/media-advertising/billboards-and-outdoor-advertising/outdoor-advertising-making-a-big-impact

Anonymous. (14February 2013). Miami Beach rejects digital screens on bus shelters — for now. retrieved from https://belleisleblog.wordpress.com/2013/02/14/miami-beach-rejects-digital-screens-on-bus-shelters-for-now/

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