Caltrain Tests Technology to Keep Riders Informed

By year's end, the commuter rail system will provide riders with up-to-the-minute information about the location of their train.


You've seen it at other train stations around the country. Now it's finally coming to Caltrain.

July 9th through July 13th, Caltrain will test a predictive arrival and departure system that keeps riders updated, both with visual and audio messages, on the time trains should arrive at their stations. The tests will occur between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.

During the testing period, announcements will be made that will be prefaced with "THIS IS A TEST." Caltrain expects to repeats tests in August and September. 

The $4,799,942 contract to add the new rail control and passenger information systems for the 77-mile Caltrain had been awarded to ARINC Incorporated in 2010 by the Peninsula Corridor Joint Powers Board, the regional authority operating Caltrain.

ARINC system uses GPS technology already on Caltrain to gauge the speed and location of the trains. The information gets relayed into Caltrain’s Central Control Center and then sent to the LED signs and speaker systems at the train stations. Alerts will also be transmited to the Caltrain website and also 511.org.

Other major railways with predictive arrival and departure systems include the Los Angeles MTA, Boston MBTA, the Long Island Rail Road, New York City Transit, New Jersey Transit, CONRAIL, SEPTA, Maryland MTA, and WMATA.

According to Caltrain, can be controlled manually in the event of significant, system-wide delayed.

Caltrain expects to have the system live by year's end.

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Frank Geefay July 06, 2012 at 08:10 PM
If Cupertino had a Shuttle Bus system with a far less expansive way to used GPS to track Shuttle locations and average speed I'm sure an application could be developed for smart phones to let Shuttle Bus users know when a shuttle will arrive at a given shuttle stop location within a couple of minutes. Such an app could also predict how long it would take to go from one stop to another and provide Shuttle Bus route information. Ads and special sales from shops and businesses along the Shuttle route could be used to subsidize the cost of the Shuttle Bus system. This would make shopping time more predictive for Shuttle users.


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