More sign language

Metro and Caltrans also are investigating the possibility that real-time Metro Rail travel info could be displayed on electronic highway signs, as Metrolink announced yesterday.

By offering real-time travel comparisons between a particular freeway and, say, the Blue Line, the signs would let commuters know when it would be faster to Go Metro than stay on the freeway.

Caltrans is the lead agency on the project and in Orange County worked with Metrolink to develop the travel time software. Caltrans is now looking at opportunities to expand the system to include freeways signs in Los Angeles. If so, the next step would be to determine which rail lines to start with. Two logical ideas would be the Blue Line and the Gold Line because they parallel freeways and have ample parking at various locations. (Why abandon the freeway if you can’t find a place to park your car when you get to the station?)

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.

4 replies

  1. I think this is a great idea, and could probably also be used for the Red Line from Universal City into Hollywood, or even Downtown.

    But I am wondering, are the signs going to be electronic, or permanent signs? I’m imagining that the time it takes by rail from station to station doesn’t vary enough to warrant an electronic sign updated in real time. Maybe a permanent sign, placed under the electronic sign with traffic information that said, for example “Red Line to Downtown, 20 min” might be a more efficient use of resources?

  2. I think this is a great idea — will also be especially useful on the 10 when the Expo line opens!

    Implementing it for Metro lines is better than Metrolink because these lines often parallel the freeways more closely, and all importantly run much much more frequently.