CTA installs Train Tracker screens at all stations

The CTA has finished its yearlong odyssey to install Train Tracker screens in all rail stations – a week ahead of its own Labor Day deadline.

A Train Tracker sign at the CTA's Merchandise Mart station. (CTA photo)
A Train Tracker screen at the CTA’s Merchandise Mart station. (CTA photo)

Last week the CTA installed the screens at the Madison/Wabash Loop elevated station. With this latest installation, the rail system now features 475 display screens offering CTA Train Tracker information. The new iteration of the train-arrival screens also display time and temperature.

And the CTA hasn’t stopped there. “Efforts are under way to equip all CTA stations with multiple displays, with work expected to continue through 2014 for a total of at least 1,000 new CTA Train Tracker displays,” according to a CTA news release.

Installation of the displays is occurring as the CTA upgrades station and platform technology capabilities that can support a new and improved public address system and newer security cameras.

Some stations have already received network upgrades and are fully equipped with multiple displays, including the 10 stations along the South branch of the Green Line, which was done in preparation for the Red Line South Reconstruction Project that began in May 2013; Loop elevated stations Adams/Wabash and Randolph/Wabash; Merchandise Mart and Western on the Brown Line; the Pink Line’s Polk station and the Morgan/Lake Green Line station.

The exceptions include nine stations on the Red Line South that are temporarily closed for renovation as part of the Red Line South Reconstruction project, which began in May. Upon the reopening of the Red Line South in mid-October, those nine stations from 95th to Cermak-Chinatown will be fully equipped with multiple CTA Train Tracker displays. Installation of CTA Train Tracker displays at the Clark/Division and Wilson Red Line stations will occur as part of each station’s reconstruction projects.

The CTA website says the Train Tracker system is currently a “beta 2” project. But I think it’s been a real success. The CTA recently rolled out new features, such “My favorite/recent stops,” “stops near me,” and “follow a train by run number.”

I like the latter feature a lot because it allows you to estimate when you will arrive at your station, and calculate your next bus or rail connection.
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  • Interesting, though, that there is absolutely no train information in the "CTA Photo." Maybe they were pushing Weather Tracker. Or at least could have had a photo newer than April 28.

  • It's a good idea, but is it worth our tax dollars?

  • In reply to ibilldavis:


  • In reply to ibilldavis:

    Oh my god yes.

  • 'Good to see. It would have been nice to have additional displays mounted near the street-level entrances, so we could determine if we need to make a mad dash up the staircase to catch our incoming train. :-)

  • I think they are great, and have long thought Chicago was backward for not having them. But they can be confusing. Often the first thing you see is the post for the 3rd train coming. If you don't know that you have to watch the whole display scroll through, you could think you will have a long wait. I suggest they display, together on one screen, the arrival times for the next two trains.

  • Agree with Phel. The next train arrivals should always be shown. Having to wait is annoying.

    Is it worth our tax dollars? Well it's better than military spending.

    Also I second the notion of having something visible a half block away indicating that a train could be caught if I ran.

  • In reply to wegerje:

    Somebody is going to say that that is called a cell phone.

    As far as half a block away, unless CTA is going to put additional signs, you'll hear light pollution complaints far exceeding those around Wrigley Field. In fact, I'm surprised that no one has complained that Mr CTA can be heard from the other side of Dominick's on Howard.

  • Well, I'm certainly happy to see the CTA engage in any form of communication with passengers that does not require the passenger to purchase expensive special equipment.

    I have mixed feelings about enabling people to make a mad dash, if the result is to push aside or otherwise abuse those who are not hyper-energetic or possessed of springy knees, and who merely want to use at normal speed the CTA facilities for which they've paid. On the other hand, a lot of the time when people do this, it turns out that the sound they responded to was a train going the opposite direction, or one pulling out of the station.

  • In reply to CCWriter:

    Maybe the signs should show the next 2 trains all of the time. You then have a choice--run for the one pulling in now, or wait 3 minutes for the next one.

  • In reply to Cheryl:

    Might work on the one line stations, but hard to see how one could accommodate "running up to the Loop" stations.

  • In reply to CCWriter:

    Lol. I think it would be a wash. For every person that would make the made dash, another who would have made the made dash for the wrong train will walk slowly and calmly up the stairs.

    How about if the CTA installs "Express Stairs" for those wishing to sprint up to the platform? ;-)

  • In reply to SpinyNorman:

    chicago-l.org had in its Loomis station (Englewood) profile that there was a "speed ramp." Of course no station there today nor a need for a speed conveyor belt walkway there.

  • In reply to SpinyNorman:

    When it's a question of running up, the Express Stairs are already there! In the form of the Regular Stairs which they could run up without knocking anyone over. Meanwhile, I'm taking the single-file-wide escalator without running.

  • In reply to CCWriter:

    Escalator? Boy, it must be very nice to commute in style! ;-) My 2 stations, Chicago/Franklin and Van Buren/LaSalle have stairs only, although the Chicago station does have a slow elevator.

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