CTA Train Tracker Beta reactions
The CTA Train Tracker Beta version recently launched, bringing similar services to those of the popular CTA Bus Tracker to CTA's rail riders. We were curious as to how the CTA was generating its Train Tracker info. For now, its a bit of fuzzy math, as a press release on 12/30/2010 indicates:
"Estimated arrival times will be generated through a combination of scheduling information and data collected by the CTA’s QuicTrak program, which monitors signaling systems and indicates when a portion of track is occupied by a train.An average transit time is determined by measuring how long it takes a train to travel a portion of track. By averaging the travel times of the last five trains to move across a portion of track, the CTA can calculate the estimated arrival times for trains at each station."
TOC's Jake Malooley has a source that indicates that GPS-enabled trains will eventually be part of the system rendering it more accurate, but in the meantime, how is it doing? We asked some early adopters for reactions.
Zachary Whittenburg: Used it once so far, worked great. Mobile version much better than bus tracker's mobile site (have Android). ALSO: The design of the newer train platforms (Belmont et al) is hilariously awful: They installed the "minutes until arrival" displays in places where they're obscured by other signage from almost all vantage points. Useless, so train tracker comes in extra handy.
Jessica Johnson: Used it a couple of times in the last two days. It doesn't seem to be as on-the-nose as the bus tracker. It's not especially necessary during rush hour traffic, but I'm looking forward to giving it a whirl on the weekends/evenings, when train traffic is less frequent and more unpredictable.
Tony Up (via Twitter): I've bookmarked it on my phone; so far so good. Worked great for my morning commute on the blue line.
Jake Malooley: Just used Train Tracker on the Blue Line Jackson to O'Hare. Said train was due in 2 mins, but it came in 1 minutes. If I had stopped to by a coffee I would've missed my train.
John Dugan: I tried using it one morning to plan an involved trip requiring a massive jogging stroller with all-weather wheels, but the train due in "10 minutes" message would only be helpful to me if I was already on the way to the station. That said, I'll be bookmarking this on my phone.
Tell us about your first impressions of the Train Tracker experience in the comments below.