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Freeway Message Signs in Orange County to Provide Train Commute Times

December 21, 2011

From Metrolink and OCTA – 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:

TO 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.

From Metro’s The Source – In the Bay area, 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. This good idea is still in its infancy but certainly could be a useful tool for commuters if it can be made to work successfully.

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