Caltrain testing out real-time arrival tracking system

(KGO)
July 9, 2012 11:42:48 AM PDT
Caltrain is going high-tech to help commuters know when their trains will arrive and depart.

It started testing a new system around 10:00 Monday morning that offers riders real-time information. Hopefully, when the system is fully operational, it will eliminate some waiting, estimating, and guessing. If you're lucky, you might catch an announcement that your Caltrain is late, but don't count on it. "We don't have anything at all right now, so this is a big step for us," Caltrain's Christine Dunn said.

From no system, to real-time information.

By the end of the year, message boards and audio annoucements will tell commuters exactly where there train is. "The locomotives already have GPS technology and then there's a system of sensors in the track, so that combined with the GPS is sent to dispatching center where they do calculations to determine the location of the train," Dunn explained.

The first round of testing will happen sporatically at stations all this week from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Riders are ready for the upgrade. They say it will help them better plan their travel plans. "If I know the train is going to be late, beyond a certain point, I can certainly continue driving all the way to my work," passenger Ara Bicakci said. "Anything that Caltrain can do to improve notifying passengers waiting on platforms endlessly without delay would be great," rider Jay Zimmerman said.

Ultimately, the system will also provide real time information on the Caltrain website as well as give customers email and text alerts. "We're all attached to our phones out here, so I think it'll be useful for all the commuters," rider Lisa Conte said.

Another round of testing is scheduled for August and September. The system is due to go live by the end of the year.


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