App for Navigating Taipei Train Station Under Development

The Taipei Train Station is commonly known as “the biggest maze in Taiwan”. To change this stereotype, the Taiwan Railways Administration has been developing an app called “Don’t get lost in the Taipei Train Station”. It will be launched in May at the earliest. In the future, people will be able to use the App currently being referred to as “Taipei Train EZ GO” even without an internet connection. The interface will act like a compass, with an arrow leading people to certain directions, exits and other landmarks.

Every year, Taipei Train Station has 200,000 trains coming in and out. That is in addition to five underground shopping centers and more than 70 entrances. The facilities intertwined has made the station into a big maze. Every time passengers transfer, meet friends and family in certain places, they have to put a lot of effort into finding them. There are even two parking lots in both sides. People often spend one hour in the parking lot in the east after realizing they have parked their cars in the west side.

The Information Department Head of Taiwan Railways Administration, Huang Shifang, says in the past, in order to strengthen the indication of direction, hundreds of indicators have been put on the walls and floors. “Everything that needs to be added is there, but it is hard to clean up its title ‘maze’.” Even the staff, who worked in the train station, get lost. Since January last year, they started to work on the conception of navigation. Due to the lack of funding, they have had do it all by themselves.

At last, Taiwan Railways Administration has borrowed technician Zhang Jilun from the Railway Reconstruction Bureau, Ministry of Transportation and Communications with less than 150,000 yuan in research expenditure. It is the first indoor navigation with Augmented Reality.

Recently, on the first floor and the underground floor of the Train Station, a hundred wall stickers with the number from one to hundred are appeared. Many passengers inquire “whose installation arts are these?” In fact, they are the secret weapons of the navigation of the app.

Huang Shifang says there are 3 categories in the “Taipei Train Station EZ Go”: “Going to the entrance”, “Transferring to the public transportation”, “Looking for Train Station Services”. It includes the 10 entrances in the Dongsan Gate, tickets station entrance for Railway and high-speed railway, transfer metro station, east and west parking lots, restrooms, post offices, inquiry places, railway policies and other categories.

When passenger uses app, you will first choose the destination. The phone interface will show the photo frame. Then, you scan the nearest floor stickers with number, the arrow will appear. Passengers only need to follow the arrow to walk straight or turn. You will reach your destination.

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