New CTA Technology Hopes to Fix Bus-Bunching Problem | NBC Chicago

New CTA Technology Hopes to Fix Bus-Bunching Problem

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    NEWSLETTERS

    The Chicago Transit Authority unveiled a new technology that aims to boost bus reliability and alleviate commuter frustrations. NBC Chicago's Christian Farr tells us how it works. (Published Monday, May 11, 2015)

    The Chicago Transit Authority has unveiled a new technology that they hope will boost bus reliability and alleviate commuter frustrations.

    For years, the CTA has been plagued by buses “bunching” up, creating large gaps in service and leading to severe delays for riders.

    Now in an effort to correct the problem, the CTA has started using new technology called the Bus Transit Management System which could help reduce delays.

    “Not only on a big board can our operators monitor and see where every bus on this system is on the street, they can also communicate directly to our bus drivers and instruct them on what do to avoid those gaps,” CTA spokesperson Forrest Claypool said of the new system.

    Here is how it works: The CTA command center can use BTMS to track all of their buses in real time. If they spot possible bunching or gaps command can then quickly contact the driver through a touch screen terminal installed on the bus.

    In the past the CTA used a radio system, so drivers could call for onsite help.

    “With the radio you have 1,500 buses trying to contact control,” said CTA spokesman Michael Haynes. “So you would have to wait to hear a space in the airways to get your message across.”
    BTMS hopefully removes that problem and has already helped reduce delays and response times.

    Haynes said some of the routes have reported an up to 40 percent reduction in gaps between buses using the new technology.

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