Real-time Train TrackerSM Data Allows for Development of Rider Friendly Apps

June 16, 2011
CTA’s Train TrackerSM API Enhances App Developers’ Efforts and Station Displays
Today the CTA made its Train TrackerSM application program interface (API) available on its Developer Center web page to further enhance efforts for those developing mobile applications designed to help riders better manage their travel on CTA. 
In addition, the API will also be used on digital displays at 16 rail stations to improve access to travel information for riders.
“Hundreds of developers are already using CTA Bus Tracker data and with the availability of the Train Tracker API, customers can expect a variety of new and more comprehensive apps that will make intermodal travel simpler,” said CTA President Forrest Claypool. “We’re eager to see the continued development of apps that enhance convenience for riders and to see how this information can be used and applied in other ways to further improve travel throughout the metropolitan area.”
Since the launch of CTA Train Tracker in January, estimated train arrival times have been on display at 13 rail stations as part of a pilot using existing scrolling electronic signs at the stations. Effective today, 16 additional CTA rail stations already equipped with digital display screens have been added to the pilot. These stations are:
  • Jefferson Park, Logan Square and Clark/Lake (Blue Line)
  • Oak Park and 35th-Bronzeville-IIT (Green Line)
  • Harold Washington Library-State/Van Buren and Clark/Lake (Loop Elevated)
  • Pulaski and Roosevelt (Orange Line)
  • Central Park and 18th Street (Pink Line)
  • Davis (Purple Line)
  • 47th Street, Sox-35th, Roosevelt and Addison (Red Line)
*Note: the Clinton Green Line station features estimated train arrival times on a scrolling LED display, but will now also feature this information on the platform digital displays.
CTA Train Tracker provides the estimated arrival times of trains approaching a station within a 15-minute timeframe – with results refreshing approximately every 20-30 seconds.
Estimated arrival times are generated through a combination of scheduling information and data collected by the software that monitors the signal system to indicate when a portion of track is occupied by a train. CTA Train Tracker calculates estimated arrival times by first measuring how long it takes a train to travel a portion of track and then averaging the times of the last five trains to move across a portion of track.
The CTA Developer Center (trans​itchicago.com/developers/default.aspx) serves as a central location for program developers to learn about and access CTA service data and information. Improved access to data enables third-parties to create new applications or integrate data into existing programs designed to improve travel.
The CTA Bus Tracker API was made available to developers in September 2009. The CTA Developer Center was launched in December 2009, in an effort to improve customer information and to allow third-party application developers convenient access to CTA service data. Since its launch, more than 500 developers have registered to access CTA Bus Tracker information. Currently, there are dozens of applications that have been created for desktop, iPhone, Blackberry and Android devices, which would not have been possible to develop internally with existing resources.
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