The Hop, presented by Potawatomi Hotel & Casino, announced a new partnership with Smart City Media on February 20 to implement a smart kiosk infrastructure program designed to support streetcar operations while fostering stronger connections between the streetcar route and key activity centers throughout the central business district.

The initial launch will include 35 digital kiosks, called CityPosts, installed along and near The Hop’s route later this spring. When not in use, the kiosk screens will display a mix of streetcar arrival times, advertising and local content, including public service announcements and community messaging from government departments and local small businesses.

“Our smart kiosk program will be a tremendous asset to the entire community and significantly enhance the streetcar experience for regular riders and visitors alike,” said Mayor Tom Barrett said. “Our vision for the streetcar has always been for it to bridge gaps between centers of activity in the city, making the people and places that make our city great more accessible and connected. This kiosk program will help us bridge the gaps between high-traffic downtown areas while generating a meaningful revenue stream to support our streetcar operations.”

Smart City Media, an industry-leader in digital media solutions with extensive experience integrating their smart kiosk products with transit systems, was awarded the contract following an RFP process in late 2019.

“We are thrilled to launch this partnership with the City of Milwaukee and begin implementing our award-winning smart city solutions in this city on the rise,” said Tom Touchet, Smart City Media CEO and President. “Our CityPost kiosks infuse media, technology and interactivity into public spaces, creating a synergy that provides tremendous benefits for the entire community. We look forward to contributing to a more dynamic and connected streetcar system and downtown environment in Milwaukee.”

The smart kiosks will be dual sided, featuring 55” touch screens that are interactive and fully ADA accessible, providing curated local content in multiple languages to assist residents and visitors with transit use and connections, wayfinding, and other city information. The units also provide free public Wi-Fi and contain security cameras that will be integrated with MPD’s existing surveillance systems.

When the kiosks are engaged, the touch screens can be utilized to access community calendars, business directories, transit information, visitor information and a variety of other content channels. The Smart City kiosks also present a variety of sponsorship opportunities, including a small business sponsorship that will underwrite the ability for local merchants to advertise on the kiosks at no cost.

“There is so much energy and activity in the heart of Milwaukee right now, and the City’s smart kiosk initiative will be a fantastic complement to everything we’re doing to make downtown more vibrant and engaging,” said Beth Weirick, CEO of Milwaukee Downtown BID #21. “These kiosks, combined with additional wayfinding upgrades that we have been working on with our partners at the City of Milwaukee and VISIT Milwaukee, will be of tremendous value to our business partners, residents and visitors, both during the busy summer ahead and for years to come.”

Milwaukee’s smart kiosk initiative comes at no cost to the City, as Smart City will own and maintain the kiosks throughout the 10-year agreement while providing the City a share of the revenue generated through the platform. All kiosks will be located in the public right-of-way, either on streetcar platforms or in key destinations near the route to strengthen connections between the streetcar and high-density activity centers in the city. Specific site locations will be finalized in the coming weeks, with installation slated to begin in the spring and be completed in advance of this summer’s Democratic National Convention.

“This is truly a win-win for The Hop, the City of Milwaukee and for everyone who lives, works or visits downtown,” added Jeff Polenske, Commissioner of Public Works. “This initiative will provide meaningful financial support to our streetcar operations while expanding the utility of the system through improved connections with residential, employment and entertainment areas walkable from the route. This is a critical next step in the growth of The Hop and a tremendous asset for the entire community to utilize.”

Smart City Media