Client – Union Station (Kansas City)

Markets – Kansas City

Timing – Launched Oct 31 2014 (app is still available)

Agencies/Vendors – VML

Tech Word Cloud – Augmented reality, app, mobile innovation, interactivity, lead generation

Kansas City’s Union Station leveraged several different types of technology to create an app that allowed visitors to insert themselves into the Station’s most important historical moments.


Union Station in Kansas City is one of America’s most historic train stations, but there has been a significant decline in foot traffic. About to celebrate its 100th anniversary, Union Station needed a way to remind people why it was worth celebrating.


To remind people just how important Union Station is, they created a proximity-aware augmented reality app that allowed visitors to travel back in time and experience the station’s history. They could put themselves in the middle of historical events and share them on social media, inviting others to visit. Union Station was able to measure foot traffic inside the venue, as well as segment users to selectively send messages for future events.


Union Station filmed reenactments of 11 of the most important historic events that took place there, and then leveraged Google maps, Gimbal Beacons, and Metaio special augmented reality technology to provide in-situation video at the exact spot where the event occurred in the Station.


The whole campaign, from the concept to the application design and implementation, was handled by Union Stations agency, VML. They were able to record the architecture of the room to place the videos and beacons in a way that prevented overlap in the actual dimensions of the building.


As a result of the Living History campaign, Union Station experienced foot traffic it had not seen since its days as an operational train station. During the opening weekend, there were more than 30,000 in-app interactions, with visitors spending an average of one hour in the app reliving history. The app is now a permanent attraction at the Station, and their fundraising efforts centered around the theme of the app, called “Innovation for the Future,” saw an increase to $2.5M from the previous year’s $1.25M.