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Amtrak Improves Passenger Experience With Big Data
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Re: Behind-the-scenes analytics
  • 4/12/2014 7:42:14 PM
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It is really interesting how major forms of transportation are using technology to improve the experience. I recently flew and the air carrier I used incorporated the use of text or email messaging to alert you of your gate and other travel related information.   It was a great help, no longer having to stop and figure out which gate my connection flight was on was a great relief. 

I think this kind of use would be great for train users as well.

Re: Behind-the-scenes analytics
  • 4/10/2014 9:20:28 PM
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@Lyndon, Septa has many problems, and yes, I have ridden their trains, trolleys, subways and buses almost every day for three years, and I am embittered. Their latest problem is an impending labor strike. Never a dull moment when taking Philly public transit.

Re: Behind-the-scenes analytics
  • 4/10/2014 4:32:44 PM
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..

Broadway writes


...people know when their trains are scheduled to come and go. They have since paper schedules were invented. They don't need these signs to tell them. All these signs do is underestimate the amount of lateness.


 

Broadway, sounds like whatever transit system you're using (Philadelphia?) has really been screwing up with its passenger information system and PID information.

But I assure you that, properly done, the technology is quite a useful amenity for passengers. I speak from first-hand experience.

But not here in Austin. As far as I can tell, the MetroRail PID system seems to work well for MetroRail, which I have never used to actually travel somewhere (just taken joyrides on it -- it doesn't serve my part of town or travel needs).

In contrast, the new MetroRapid system is equipped with PIDs at the little bus-stop-stations, but from what I'm hearing, the information is unreliable -- apparently because the system itself is unreliable (traffic and other problems slow the buses down). The buses are supposed to run about 10min apart during peak hours, but they tend to bunch up, and this throws the system out of whack.

On the other hand, the Portland streetcar (to take a positive example) worked extremely well. You could look up and see how many minutes you had to wait for the next car, and it was accurate. Ditto the Portland light rail system. I've also found PIDs very useful and accurate in other places (e.g., Seattle), even with buses.

My suspicion is that a lot depends on how much the transit agency planners and managers experience being passengers and identify with the perspective of their own riders. If that identification is high, they'll probably make sure the system works like it should. Otherwise...

 

Re: Behind-the-scenes analytics
  • 4/10/2014 2:41:24 PM
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I do believe this lesson will stick with me!

Re: Behind-the-scenes analytics
  • 4/10/2014 2:37:24 PM
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You sound like an embittered commuter, Broadway. But, I'd have to agree with you -- if the rail authority isn't providing accurate arrival times of late trains, then it shouldn't bother with the electronic signage at all. It should simply point people to times posted on a big paper timetable tacked up to a wall.

Re: Behind-the-scenes analytics
  • 4/9/2014 8:47:58 PM
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@Beth, people know when their trains are scheduled to come and go. They have since paper schedules were invented. They don't need these signs to tell them. All these signs do is underestimate the amount of lateness.

Re: Behind-the-scenes analytics
  • 4/9/2014 7:22:23 PM
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..

Beth writes


Oh dear, I stand corrected. The motorman, or motorwoman, in this case, has been deemed to be at fault 


 

Forgot to add that you can also just call them "train operators" or "operators". But please, NOT "conductors". Leave that to clueless reporters and TV news anchors...

 

 

Re: Behind-the-scenes analytics
  • 4/9/2014 4:13:54 PM
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Oh dear, I stand corrected. The motorman, or motorwoman, in this case, has been deemed to be at fault -- although as you suggest there's an investigation as to why the automatic brake function didn't kick in. 

Re: Behind-the-scenes analytics
  • 4/9/2014 4:09:25 PM
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Ariella, yes, it struck me as an awfully lot of responsibility for someone so young, even with all the training in the world.

Re: Behind-the-scenes analytics
  • 4/9/2014 1:38:14 PM
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@Beth wow, that is just astounding. People think they're being kind by cutting young workers slack, but in cases that this, it's a disservice to everyone else. 

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