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May 15, 2013

Chicago Transit adds Train Tracker features

The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) unveiled several new features to its CTA Train Tracker for smartphones and the Web that now make it simpler than ever for customers to get where they are going, including acquiring train arrival information at any station 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 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.”

There are many exciting features in the new train tracker. For example, customers can in three easy steps figure out what train to take and when they’ll arrive: 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.

New CTA Train Tracker features include:

  • “Follow this train” allows you 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 your location.
  • Station name search will allow you 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 that makes it easier to get the train information you need how you want it — by rail line; by your 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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