Thursday, May 16, 2013

CTA adds new features to train tracker

The Chicago Transit Authority Train Tracker now offers new features, which includes getting train arrival information at any station more quickly, to help time-pressed customers to get around more efficiently.

"Increasing Chicago's use of technology to improve quality of life for all residents is a key priority of my administration and that goal extends to Chicago's transportation system," said Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. "Creating a world-class transit system includes making it easy for Chicagoans to access information about their daily commutes, and CTA Train Tracker's newest features are leading the way among transit agencies in offering the latest technology to riders in Chicago."

Customers can can now figure out what train to take and when they'll arrive in three steps: first, click on or tap the new "Stops near me" function to find the closest station; secondly, on the desired station for upcoming train arrivals and then click on the desired train and look up the destination station and what time their train will get there.

If the customer plans to transfer to another train at their destination station, they can now click on a train of the new rail line and get the same arrival and destination information – providing customers with a seamless, multi-line real-time train trip planning tool with just a few simple clicks or taps.

"CTA Train Tracker has been very popular with our customers and we're pleased to expand the features of this easy-to-use technology to increase its usefulness to passengers," said CTA President Forrest Claypool. "The information available through CTA Train Tracker helps thousands of riders plan and manage their commutes every day, and planning those trips just became easier."

New CTA Train Tracker features include:

• "Follow this train" allows customers to click or tap on an approaching train on CTA Train Tracker and get estimates of how many minutes it will take to get to each of the upcoming stops.

• "Stops near me" lets customers with GPS-enabled devices detect the closest stations to their location.

• Station name search will allow customers to quickly get station information by typing in just part or all of a station name, instead of having to scroll down a screen to find a stop.

• Improved schedule-based information will provide more information for customers who travel off-peak or begin their trips at/near terminals.

• New train location map lets you see where trains are, in near-real-time, on an interactive desktop map. Click on a station and get train arrival information or click on a train and find out the estimated number of minutes it will take to get to the next several rail stations. CTA also currently offers this feature on CTA Bus Tracker to allow customers to see where buses are.

• Updated stop selector on both the desktop and mobile versions, a streamlined interface makes it easier to get the train information how customers want it, by rail line; by favorite or recent stops or through the new "Stops near me" function.

The CTA Train Tracker was launched in 2011 to provide estimated train arrival times for all 145 rail stations across CTA's eight lines. Estimated times are generated through a combination of scheduling information and data generated by software that monitors the signal system to indicate when a portion of track is occupied by a train. Last year, CTA Train Tracker was expanded to enable customers to get estimated train arrival times via text messaging.

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