By Tracy Swartz
Now arriving: New changes to Train Tracker displays.
The CTA is testing the addition of alerts such as rail delay information to some Train Tracker signs in stations, the agency said Monday. The CTA also said it plans this year to install up to 450 trackers across the system, bringing the agency’s station tracker count to 1,000 displays.
On Monday, the agency began experimenting with showing alerts on signs at the Grand and Lake Red Line stops and the Randolph/Wabash station in the Loop. These alerts, which can include current delay information and upcoming station work, are available on the CTA’s Web site and trackers accessed by computer or cellphone.
Currently, if riders waiting on platforms are curious about delays, they can log onto Train Tracker with their phone, listen for station announcements or ask a customer service agent. These tracker additions should help better inform riders of any potential problems, the CTA said.
Tony Coppoletta, CTA's manager of external electronic communications, said the agency will solicit feedback from riders on the changes before expanding to the rest of the system.
“We’re going to do a gradual rollout,” Coppoletta said. “I'm excited about these improvements. I want to get [this information] in front of as many people as we can.”
One more experimental change to Train Tracker signs is the display of the number of upcoming trains.
Coppoletta said instead of listing three or four upcoming trains that may confuse riders because the signs continuously scroll through information, the CTA is looking at limiting the display to two upcoming trains.
Riders would be able to glance up and see the next train information, instead of the third or fourth train in the line, Coppoletta said.
Meanwhile, the CTA said it would like to add up to 450 Train Tracker displays to various stations this year. As of September, every station but the Wilson Red Line stop has at least one Train Tracker display.
The Wilson stop is undergoing an overhaul that will make the station a transfer point for the Purple Line Express and accessible for riders with disabilities. Train Tracker displays would be added during construction.
The CTA said the 450 displays are part of a previous purchase of 1,000 displays. Future tracker locations and installation costs are not clear.
“The goal is to have several [trackers] at every station,” CTA spokeswoman Tammy Chase said.