Metra rolls out new website to track trains in real time
Metra debuts a new train tracking system today that will allow riders to see where their trains are in real time and when they should arrive.
The metratracker.com website uses GPS technology to pinpoint trains, plan trips and review station times.
It deploys today on most routes; however, the system is still being installed on the BNSF, Southwest Service, and Union Pacific's North, Northwest, and West lines.
"This new train tracking system is a major upgrade and will be a dramatic improvement in our communications to My Metra customers," said Metra Executive Director Jim Derwinski said in a statement.
"It enables us to do a better job of tracking trains and conveying timely, accurate information, and also includes a variety of interactive new features."
Improvements let commuters check when trains are departing from specific stations and view a list of departure times for a two-hour period.
In addition, an interactive map shows riders where trains are located on the system with up-to-date information about arrival times.
A trip planner features options such as "best route," "fewer transfers" and "less walking," using Metra and other modes of travel such as the Chicago Transit Authority.
The technology allows Metra more accurate updates on trains and platforms. Metra employees in the Train Reporting and Customer Communications Center will be able to text arrival times to trains and platforms that can be converted into announcements and displayed on digital signs, officials said.
Metra contracted with New York-based Clever Devices for $26.7 million in 2018 to place new GPS tracking devices on more than 1,000 railcars and 238 stations.
At the time, officials said older GPS units on trains were failing frequently, which meant 20% to 30% of Metra trains' locations weren't being tracked.
The upgrade also will allow Metra to assess how well trains stay on schedule.