Press Release Article
PATH BECOMES ONE OF THE FIRST RAIL SYSTEMS IN THE REGION
TO PROVIDE CUSTOMERS WITH TRAIN STATUS INFORMATION
Date: Jul 11, 2002
Press Release Number: 77-2002
Using state-of-the-art technology, the Port Authority’s PATH system will be one of the first rail systems in the region to let riders track the status of the next train to arrive at their station, New York Governor George E. Pataki and New Jersey Governor James E. McGreevey announced today.
PATH will provide the train-tracking information to its 180,000 customers on 250 television monitors installed at its 11 stations. A passenger waiting for a train at the Pavonia-Newport station in Jersey City, for example, would see on a monitor that the next train to Manhattan had just left Grove Street.
New York Governor Pataki said, “In the wake of September 11, it is more important than ever to not only rebuild the region’s transportation network, but to make it better. This new system will greatly enhance the information we already provide to our PATH customers, and will be a model for other rail systems in the region to follow.”
New Jersey Governor McGreevey said, “The new system represents an innovative use of technology that will greatly enhance the customer service PATH provides for tens of thousands of New Jersey riders every day. When commuters decide how they will get to and from work, they look for the most convenient travel option. This new feature will make it more attractive for commuters to leave their cars at home and take public transportation, which helps the environment and eases highway congestion.”
Port Authority Board Chairman Jack G. Sinagra said, “PATH remains a key component in the redevelopment of Lower Manhattan. In addition to this new system, PATH also has plans to invest more than $1 billion in new cars and signal system, and will continue to make major improvements to its stations in the two states.”
Port Authority Vice Chairman Charles A. Gargano said, “The PATH system is a critical link that binds New York and New Jersey, and helps strengthen the economy for the entire region. This train tracking system will be warmly welcomed by the traveling public, and will keep them continuously informed about their trip as they travel to and from work.”
Port Authority Executive Director Joseph J. Seymour said, “This new customer service initiative takes the guesswork out of commuting by letting commuters know when their next train will arrive. The information is an important addition to our PATHVision system, which now broadcasts train schedule information as well as news, traffic, weather, customer service announcements and advertisements to help keep our customers informed throughout the day.”
PATH’s train tracking system is based on a computer model that uses data from the rapid transit system’s signal system and integrates it with information about specific trains, such as the terminal it will depart from, the route it will follow, and its scheduled departure time.
The system – developed by rfa/boris of Philadelphia, Pa. – can track a train as it leaves a terminal and moves through the PATH system and supplies that information to customers through the television monitors.
“The accurate and timely delivery of commuter information to passengers is the cornerstone of the design of ONTIME/PATHVISION,” said Jeff Cawthorne, co-founder and system architect of rfa/boris. “This system enhances the commuters’ travel
experiences in a way that no other transit authority is currently providing.”
The monitors will inform PATH customers of the location of the next train due at their station when it is within three stations of arriving at that destination, by indicating that their train “is at” or “has left” a specific station. It also will tell customers when their train is nearing their station and when it is entering their station. The messages are color-coded based on which route the train will follow – Newark to 33rd Street, Journal Square to Hoboken, or Hoboken to 33rd Street.
For example, the monitors will tell a customer at Christopher Street when the next New Jersey-bound train is at 9th, 14th or 23rd street stations or if the next New York uptown train has left Hoboken or is at Grove Street or Pavonia-Newport stations.
Scheduling information is also available on the system at all times. During rush hour, the information is displayed as a frequency, such as “Hoboken train departs every seven minutes.” At all other times, the monitors in every station will tell customers what time the next train is scheduled to depart.
When there is a delay or service suspension, the monitors will tell customers the reason for it. Similar delay messages also will be programmed into the station’s public address system.