May 15, 2014

Md. MTA adds next-train arrival technology

The Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) officially unveiled its Next Train Arrival system, the latest addition to the Light Rail Public Address System Upgrade Project.

The $1.1 million system includes the installation of GPS antennas, cellular modems, specialized software and computers on all 53 light rail vehicles. Much like a car navigation system or the Google Navigation App, the Next Train Arrival system uses GPS coordinates to predict a train’s arrival time for each of the light rail vehicle’s destination routes.

In addition to viewing LED platform signs at all stations, which display a train’s final station destination and arrival time for the next two closest trains, riders will be able to receive real-time information for up to the next four trains arriving by going to the agency’s myMTAtracker site on the Web or by using a mobile device.

Once at the website, light rail customers will have a choice of ways to view and locate live trains by using a simple schematic map or a Google map. Users need to just simply touch or hover over a station or moving train on either map and real-time information pops up.

The mobile website, specifically engineered for smartphones, will be viewable with any operating system including Android, Apple, Windows and Blackberry, as well as tablet browsers.

One of the most requested items from customers, Next Train Arrival technology is part of the MTA’s Transit Modernization Program — an all-inclusive strategic effort to improve public transit throughout the state. Light rail’s Next Train Arrival system will be followed by similar technology roll-outs for MTA local bus and Metro subway service scheduled to launch before the end of 2014.

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