Electronic Display Signs (EDS) for buses

Electronic Display Signs (EDS) are exterior-facing LED dot matrix display panels mounted on public buses, mainly used to display the bus route number, destination, and roads served en route. Almost all EDS units on Singapore buses are Orange LED dot matrix displays, with units mounted on the front, left side, and rear of the bus.

In Singapore, these display signs were initially adopted by Trans-Island Bus Services (TIBS) in the 1990s. Singapore Bus Service (SBS) would only adopt them in small numbers until the late 2000s when they became a standard feature on all new SBS Transit buses. Now, all public buses in Singapore have EDS units.


History

Trans-Island Bus Services (TIBS), the predecessor of SMRT Buses, pioneered the use of EDS units on Singapore public buses. Between 1990 and 1992, it introduced 34 Hispano-bodied DAF SB220 buses (TIB391D – TIB424T), all fitted with flip-dot EDS units from BKB Electronica. All successive orders of TIBS buses were fitted with EDS units as standard, with larger flip-dot displays installed on Mercedes-Benz O405 buses (registered TIB425R onwards). A minor exception is the 50 Dennis Lance buses introduced in 1998-1999, which originally used plastic destination signs, but were retrofitted with EDS units several years later.

Singapore Bus Service (SBS) would launch EDS units on its buses in 1993, albeit on buses for its charter subsidiary, SBS Leisure. Twenty Volvo B10M Mark IV (PSV / Soon Chow) buses were delivered with Mobitec flip-dot EDS units (Mobitec MobiDOT) for use on Sentosa Island bus services. Another twelve Scania L113CRL buses were acquired by SBS Leisure for AIRBUS services in 1995, installed with the same Mobitec flip-dot EDS units.

The SBS revenue service fleet would not receive any EDS buses until the 1990s, when flip-dot EDS units were installed on many demonstrator buses, such as the Volvo B10M MkIV Superlong (SBS997A) in 1995, Volvo B10MA demonstrator (SBS998Y) in 1996, Mercedes-Benz O405G demonstrator (SBS999U) in 1996, Volvo B10BLE demonstrator (SBS1688K) in 1998, Volvo B10TL demonstrator (SBS9888Y) in 1999, and the Scania L94UB demonstrator (SBS2888T) in 1999.

The introduction of twenty Dennis Trident buses in 2001 was the first time that SBS had fitted EDS units to a production batch of buses. EDS units as a standard feature for all future SBS Transit buses only started in 2007, with the introduction of Scania K230UB buses. Several bus models were retrofitted with EDS units midway through their lifespan, namely the Volvo Olympian, Volvo B10TL, and Volvo B9TL (CDGE). The Volvo B10BLE (CNG) buses were the last buses in Singapore to use plastic destination signs when they retired in 2019.


Types of EDS units

Early generations of EDS units were flip-dot matrix displays, where each display pixel was a flip disc that was black on one side and bright yellow on the other, representing the “OFF” and “ON” position. Each disc was mechanically rotated to produce the final display. Most flip-dot matrix displays were illuminated from the side using fluorescent tubes, while others had individual LEDs beside each disc that would illuminate when flipped to the “ON” position. The latter would be more visible at night because of the enhanced contrast, making it similar to LED EDS units.

Flip-dot EDS types: Side illuminated (TIB730J; Hanover) and individual pixel illuminated (TIB959S; LAWO ALUMA).

Modern EDS units are LED matrix displays, where each display pixel is a light-emitting diode, typically a monochrome SMD LED producing amber light. The brightness of the EDS is typically controlled by an ambient light sensor. LED displays are also available in full RGB colours, but these are more expensive and only found on a handful of buses.

LED EDS types: Orange monochrome (SG3097P; LECIP) and Full colour (SG5999Z; Mobitec MobiLED ULTIMA RGB).

All EDS units are linked to a controller unit installed at the drivers’ cab, where the Bus Captain can toggle between different bus services and different directions of each bus service. EDS manufacturers typically supply proprietary software for the programming of their EDS units, and bus operators maintain their own database of bus service information, which is loaded into each bus manually (typically via connecting a USB stick into the controller unit).

LCD displays have also been used for public buses in other countries, but not in Singapore.


Mid-life EDS retrofitting, replacement, and removal

Retrofitting

Several models of SBS Transit buses originally used plastic destination signs, and were retrofitted with EDS units midway through their lifespan. These included 69 Volvo Olympian (Batch 3) buses, 50 Volvo B10TL buses, and 199 Volvo B9TL (CDGE) buses. These buses entered service between 1999 to 2006.

Similarly, TIBS’ 50 UMW-Dennis Lance buses initially entered service using plastic destination signs and were retrofitted with EDS units only several years later.

Replacement

Due to the limited lifespan of flip-dot EDS units, a large number of SMRT buses inherited from TIBS had their original flip-dot EDS units replaced with LED units. These included Mercedes-Benz O405, Mercedes-Benz O405G, Scania L113CRL, Dennis Lance (UK), and Hino HS3KRK buses. A minority of buses with working/serviceable flip-dot EDS units had the original units retained until the end of their lifespan.

A small number of modern buses with LED-type EDS units have also had their EDS units swapped, usually as part of a temporary trial, or as a consequence of accident damage.

Removal

A handful of buses were launched with EDS units and reverted to using plastic destination signs. For example, SBS Leisure’s Volvo B10M Mark IV (PSV/Soon Chow) buses were launched with flip-dot EDS units which were removed prior to entering service with SBS.


List of EDS types, by manufacturer

LECIP (Passenger Information System)

LECIP Corporation of Japan supplies EDS units to many new buses starting from the Volvo B5LH.

The EDS is offered as part of an integrated Passenger Information System that combines EDS, PIDS, Wi-Fi and GNSS features alongside CFMS integration.

EDS Model LECIP
EDS Controller LECIP Driver Display Console
Buses Volvo B5LH – 50 units
BYD K9 – 20 units
Yutong E12 – 10 units
Yutong E12DD – 10 units
MAN A95 (3-Door) – 50 units
Enviro500 (3-door) – 50 units

In addition to EDS units, LECIP also supplies fareboxes and ticket printers on Singapore buses.

External Link: LECIP Singapore Pte Ltd | Products | Passenger Information System


Luminator ULTIMA

Supplied by the Luminator Technology Group (LTG), the Luminator ULTIMA product line consolidates similar EDS displays that were previously manufactured separately by its constituent companies. As a result, the Luminator Ultima goes by several former product names:

  • Gorba imotion LED.e-advanced – supplied by Gorba (now LTG Switzerland GmbH)
  • LAWO FUTURA – supplied by LAWO (now LTG Rastatt GmbH)
  • Mobitec MobiLED Ultima – supplied by Mobitec (now LTG Sweden AB)

Like the LECIP system, Luminator offers an integrated suite of passenger information systems, comprising EDS, PIDS and speakers.

EDS Models Mobitec MobiLED Ultima Amber
Gorba imotion LED.e TOPSMART
EDS Controllers Luminator Basic
Buses MAN A22 (Euro 6) – 150 units
• MAN A95 (Euro 6) (Batch 1 / Batch 2) – 361 units
Linkker LM312 – 20 units
Mercedes-Benz Citaro hybrid – 1 unit (demonstrator)
BYD D9RC – 1 unit (demonstrator)

Luminator Technology Group (LTG) is a large supplier of display systems for public transport, having been formed through mergers and acquisitions of several electronic display manufacturing firms, several of which had previously supplied the Singapore market with EDS units (e.g. Gorba, LAWO, Mobitec, TwinVision).

External Link: Luminator Technology Group | Destination Displays Bus​ | ULTIMA​


Hanover

Manufactured by Hanover displays, these amber LED displays were primarily fitted to SBS Transit’s Scania K230UB (Euro V) and Volvo B9TL Wright buses.

EDS Model Hanover
EDS Controller Hanover Eric+
Buses Scania K230UB (Euro V) – 600 units (all)
Scania K310UD – 1 unit (SBS7888K / demonstrator)
MAN A22 – 1 unit (SMB138Y / demonstrator)
Volvo B9TL (Wright) – 470 units
Retired buses New:
Sunlong SLK6121UF14H – 2 units
Replacement:
Mercedes-Benz O405G (Hispano Habit) – 1 unit
Dennis Trident – 13 units​

External Link: Hanover Displays | LED Destination Displays


LAWO HIGHLED

These high-resolution SMD-LED displays supplied by LAWO are fitted to Mercedes-Benz Citaros ordered under SBS Transit specifications.

EDS Model LAWO HIGHLED
EDS Controller Luminator ODK4
Buses Mercedes-Benz Citaro (SBS Transit-spec) – 1104 units

 


LAWO BENEFIT

Retired buses (Click to expand)
EDS Model LAWO BENEFIT (Orange LED)
EDS Controller LAWO SICMA-Control (OC500LE)
LAWO TopForm CU2 (Citaro)
Buses New:
Mercedes-Benz OC500LE – 134 units (now 133)
Mercedes-Benz Citaro (SMRT Batch) – 50 units
Retired buses Replacement:
Mercedes-Benz O405 (Hispano OAC) – 3 units
Mercedes-Benz O405 (Hispano NAC/CAC) – 6 units
Mercedes-Benz O405 (Volgren) – 1 unit
Mercedes-Benz O405G (Hispano MkII) – 1 unit
Mercedes-Benz O405G (Hispano Habit) – 1 unit
Dennis Lance 245 (UK) – 1 unit
DAF SB220 – 9 units
Scania L113CRL – 3 units

LECIP (Standalone EDS)

Manufactured by LECIP, these standalone EDS systems come in a variety of sizes, and are listed here to differentiate them from the newer PIS-integrated EDS units. Some retrofitted buses received smaller-sized EDS units, like the Volvo B9TL (CDGE).

EDS Model LECIP
EDS Controller LECIP ​Driver Control Console
Buses Volvo B9TL (Wright) – 1136 units
Volvo B9TL (Gemilang) – 1 unit (SBS7777Y / demonstrator)
Volvo B8L – 1 unit (SG4003D / demonstrator)
Retrofitted:
Volvo B9TL (CDGE) – 199 units
Scania K230UB – 1 unit (SBS8405P / between 2010-2011)
Retired buses Retrofitted:
Volvo Olympian 3-axle, Batch 3 – 69 units
Volvo B10TL – 50 units
Volvo B10TL (CDGE) – 1 unit (SBS9889U / demonstrator)

 


Mobitec MobiLED

Manufactured by Mobitec, the long-running MobiLED line of EDS units was widely used by SMRT Buses. Large numbers of these were fitted to new buses procured in the 2010s, and as replacements for faulty flip-dot EDS units on older SMRT Buses such as the Mercedes-Benz O405 and O405G.

EDS Model Mobitec MobiLED
EDS Controller Mobitec MobiMASTER ICU 600
Mobitec MobiMASTER ICU 602
Mobitec MobiMASTER ICU 402
Buses ADL Enviro500 (Euro V) – 216 units (all)
MAN A22 (Euro V) – 734 units (all)
MAN A24 – 40 units (all)
MAN A95 (Euro V) – 197 units
MAN A95 (Euro VI) – 1 unit (SG2017C)
BYD K9 – 1 unit (SG4001J / demonstrator)
Replacement:
MAN A95 (Euro V) – 1 unit (SMB5888H / demonstrator)
Mercedes-Benz OC500LE – 1 unit
Retired buses Replacement:
• Mercedes-Benz O405 (Hispano) – 91 units
Mercedes-Benz O405 (Volgren) – 12 units
Mercedes-Benz O405G (Hispano MkI) – 9 units
Mercedes-Benz O405G (Hispano MkII) – 28 units
Mercedes-Benz O405G (Hispano Habit) – ~201 units
Mercedes-Benz O405G (Volgren) – 21 units (all)
DAF SB220 – 27 units
Hino HS3KRK – 1 unit
Scania L113CRL (WA Strider) – 5 units
New:
Zhongtong LCK6121GHEV – 1 unit (SMB137A / demonstrator)
Retired Buses gallery (Click to expand)

Mobitec MobiLED ULTIMA / ULTIMA ​RGB

The two MAN concept buses use Mobitec-supplied EDS units. Route details are displayed on a larger white LED display, and the route number is displayed on a smaller RGB coloured LED display

EDS Model Mobitec MobiLED ULTIMA (white LED; route details)
Mobitec MobiLED ULTIMA RGB (RGB LED; service number)
EDS Controller Mobitec MobiMASTER ICU 602
Buses MAN A95 (3-door) concept bus – 1 unit
Retired buses MAN A22 (3-door) concept bus – 1 unit

This product has since been rebranded as the Luminator Ultima and Luminator Ultima Colour.


Mobitec MobiLED Compact

Smaller version of the Mobitec MobiLED. This orange EDS is fitted to the front of BYD C6 midibuses.

EDS Model Mobitec MobiLED Compact (Front)
EDS Controller Mobitec MobiMASTER ICU 600
Buses BYD C6 – 4 units

This product has since been rebranded as the Luminator Ultima.


Shanghai CanRun Electron Tech KLHP-7B1-2

Electronic displays made by Shanghai CanRun Electron Tech Co. Ltd (上海凯伦电子技术有限公司) were primarily fitted on SBS Transit Scania K230UB (Euro IV) buses. Products are branded as ‘Cool-Air’.

EDS Model Shanghai CanRun Electron Tech KLHP-7B1-2 (Branded as Cool-Air)
EDS Controller Shanghai CanRun Electron Tech KLXKQ (Branded as Cool-Air)
Buses Scania K230UB (Euro IV) – 501 units (all)
Volvo B7RLE – 1 unit (SBS8030L / demonstrator)
• MAN 18.240 HOCL-NL – 1 unit (SBS8031J / demonstrator)
Retired buses Replacement:
Dennis Trident – 5 units
Mercedes-Benz O405 (Hispano) – 1 unit

External Link: KLHP-7B1-2 LED显示电子路牌 (canrun.com.cn)


Gorba imotion LED.e

Manufactured by Gorba, these amber LED EDS units found their way onto a small number of buses, mainly as replacements for older flip-dot EDS units on Mercedes-Benz O405G buses.

EDS Model Gorba imotion LED.e
EDS Controller Gorba imotion CU8
Buses Original:
Mercedes-Benz Citaro demonstrator – 1 unit
MAN A24 demonstrator – 1 unit
Retired buses Replacement:
Mercedes-Benz O405G (Hispano MkI) – 47 units
Mercedes-Benz O405G (Hispano Habit) – 7 units
Retired Buses gallery (Click to expand)

Tongda TD-05

EDS Model Tongda TD-05
EDS Controller Tongda Center Controller
Retired Buses Yutong ZK6126HGC – 1 unit (demonstrator)

Continued on Page 2 – Retired EDS units

  • Retired LED EDS units
  • Retired Flip-dot EDS units
  • Pros & Cons of EDS units (versus plastic destination signs)

2 thoughts on “Electronic Display Signs (EDS) for buses

  • 4 May 2021 at 6:40 PM
    Permalink

    Wonder if all EDS only have orange on its display or can tune to other colors?
    If have other color options, I’d like different color coding for our bus route numbers, perhaps can identify the operator of the route, and especially Red and White plates for SBS Transit (may be tough for the BC to flip the signage, in a loop route)

    Reply
    • 9 May 2021 at 7:53 PM
      Permalink

      Hello Mr Tham, it probably depends in the future if they can allow mixed-colour EDS for future buses. Other words, SG4002G and SG5999Z already got coloured EDS

      Reply

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