Train Tracker arrives
By Chrissy Mancini Nichols
Jan 4, 2011
This post first appeared at metroplanning.org
Bus Tracker revolutionized the CTA’s bus service (and reduced our wait times in the cold) and now Train Tracker may do just the same. This month the CTA will launch its new Train Tracker, which, like Bus Tracker, will allow riders using desktop computers or mobile web-enabled devices to access estimated arrival times for trains on all eight rail lines and 144 stations. Riders choose the line and station to find trains arriving within a 15-minute window that will refresh about every 30 seconds.
The pilot system will generate times using scheduling information and data collected by the CTA’s QuickTrak program, which monitors signaling systems and indicates when a portion of the track is in use. The arrival predictions will be calculated by averaging the travel times of the last five trains to move across a given portion of the track.
Since the system requires averaging multiple train travel times, it will not be able to predict the first “L” trains that run in the morning, nor will it have the accuracy of the CTA Bus Tracker, which uses GPS technology.
As part of the January pilot, electronic signs at 10 CTA stations will feature arrival information either at the platform or mezzanine levels. Specific details regarding station locations that will display train arrival information will be made available when the program is officially launched, but if you’re curious, check them out at the Fullerton and Belmont stops on the Brown, Purple and Red Lines, the Cermak/Chinatown Red Line stop, the Chicago Brown Line stop, the Clinton stop on the Green and Pink Lines, and the Polk Pink Line stop.
During the pilot period, riders are encouraged to contact the CTA and provide feedback to assist the agency in identifying ways to enhance and evolve the program. Any questions, comments or suggestions can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.