Caltrain to Begin Test of Real-Time Information System

The first round of testing will be done July 9 through July 13, between the hours of 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.

Beginning Monday, July 9, Caltrain will start testing a Predictive Arrival/Departure System that will tell riders in real-time when their train will arrive at the station and whether the train is on time.

The first round of testing will be done July 9 through July 13, between the hours of 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. The system will use both visual messages at the train stations and audio announcements on the train platform address systems.

During the testing period, passengers and neighbors may hear live testing announcements. The visual messaging system information and announcements will begin with "THIS IS A TEST" before additional data is provided. Additional testing is expected to take place in August and September of this year.

The new system will work in tandem with GPS technology already on Caltrain locomotives and will transmit information about the train’s speed and location to Caltrain’s Central Control Center. From there, it will be automatically sent to digital message signs at the train stations. Automatic announcements also will be made over the public address system.

The 22nd Street, South San Francisco, Broadway, Atherton, Stanford and College Park stations have public address systems, but do not have visual messages signs.

Stations south of the Tamien station in San Jose have neither visual message signs nor public address systems. When fully operational, the system will begin delivering real-time arrival and departure messages one hour before the train is due to arrive at the station.

The message signs are capable of showing arrival times for two trains. The message will include:
- The train number
- The scheduled arrival time of the train
- If the train is on time or running late As the train approaches the station, the message will change to a caution message: “Caution. Please stand behind the yellow line. The train is approaching.”

Messages can be customized for each station and for north- and southbound platforms. For example, if a northbound train is late, the message would only be displayed on the signs on the northbound platform.

Once the system is installed, customers also will be able to go to the Caltrain website to get real-time information arrival and departure information.

People will be to sign up for a free e-mail alerts and SMS text messages to mobile devices. The same information will be available through the Metropolitan Transportation Commission’s 511 transportation information system.

The automated system also will be capable of manual operation in the event of significant, system-wide delays.

The system is expected to go live by the end of the year.

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