Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Caltrans and Metrolink to advertise train times to freeway commuters

Or, how to advertise while taunting at the same time.

Electronic highway signs show commuters that trains are a viable alternative to freeway traffic
IRVINE - Caltrans and Metrolink have jointly developed a pilot project to show commuters that trains are a viable alternative to freeway traffic. Both train and freeway travel times are now displayed on electronic highway message signs near the Fullerton and Anaheim train stations.
"For travel between Orange County and downtown Los Angeles' Union Station, trains are often faster than freeways," said Acting Caltrans Director Malcolm Dougherty. "We want to give commuters real-time information to help them get to their destination quicker."
The train and highway travel is being displayed weekdays on the northbound
Interstate 5 and westbound State Route 91 electronic signs located closest to the Anaheim and Fullerton train stations. The travel times will resemble the message shown here:
DOWNTOWN LA MIN
FWY 55
11:55 TRAIN 40
"This pilot project will highlight the time a commuter could save by taking a Metrolink train, but that's only one of the many benefits of opting for public transportation over driving your car," said Metrolink Board Member Paul Glaab. "Commuters can also save money, have a positive impact on the environment, and enjoy a stress-free commute. We hope this project will encourage Southern Californians to get familiar with their public transportation options."
Caltrans provides the freeway travel time information using data collected from its vehicle detector stations throughout the freeway system. Metrolink provides train travel times, which include Amtrak and Metrolink train departure and trip duration information.

If memory serves, this should be only the initial rollout of a larger system of such messages along the LOSSAN corridor. They should also act as a useful visual aid for encouraging more investment in the rail corridor to improve system speeds.

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