In a move that seems like a PR no-brainer, Metrolink announced yesterday that it's partnering with Caltrans to provide real time info for both trains and cars on some freeway signs in Orange County. On weekdays, the electronic signs closest to the Anaheim and Fullerton train stations on the northbound 5 and westbound 91 will display travel times for Metrolink and Amtrak trains. Metrolink and Caltrans are sure that the traffic updates will sell real rail benefits to commuters. From the Metrolink press release, here's acting Caltrans Director Malcolm Dougherty: "For travel between Orange County and downtown Los Angeles' Union Station, trains are often faster than freeways...We want to give commuters real-time information to help them get to their destination quicker."
The Source followed up yesterday with news that a similar partnership is in the works with Metro: "Caltrans is now looking at opportunities to expand the system to include freeways signs in Los Angeles." The next step in the process is picking the right rail lines--The Source suggests the Blue Line and the Gold Line "because they parallel freeways and have ample parking at various locations."
The Bay Area can be thanked for this innovation (like so many others). According to the Source, "A test of the travel time/rail time system displaying comparisons of transit and highway driving times for Millbrae and Redwood City train stations showed an increase in ridership at both."
· Real-time train travel info displayed on electronic highway signs [The Source]
· More sign language [The Source]