Last week, the Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) released a Request for Information (RFI) on the integration of real-time transit tracking. The RTA is exploring innovative options for providing up-to-the minute regional travel information. This live information will aid customers riding on the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA), Metra and Pace buses and trains.
The RTA is seeking innovative approaches on possible systems integration approaches that would maximize the use of the current transit infrastructure and enhance customer service by providing the public with a one-stop shop for estimated bus and train arrivals, departures and connections.
"The RTA envisions that transit tracker will provide significant improvements to the RTA system, helping to attract riders because the system will be more accessible and convenient," said RTA board chairman John S. Gates, Jr. The RFI can be downloaded at RTAChicago.com and responses are due to the RTA by Aug. 26, 2011, at 4 p.m.
In December 2010, the RTA conducted three focus groups from passengers who used one or more of the region's bus and train services as part of its regional Customer Service Satisfaction survey. The results showed that customers ranked real-time transit information as a priority for all the transit agencies.
The requirement for real-time information is also tied to the transit technology legislation drafted by the RTA and signed into law earlier this month by Illinois Governor Pat Quinn. The new law calls for real-time public transit tracking information to be provided to riders by July 2012. Other amenities include installing a Wi-Fi system on all buses and trains, as well as a transit system-wide flash card payment system.
As an interim step toward offering system-wide real-time information, the RTA recently added access to the CTA's Bus and Train Tracker from the RTA's trip planner system, goroo®. Goroo® provides trip itineraries using transit, driving, walking, biking, or any combination of these transportation options.