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Is There a Need for A Train Tracker App?

By Chuck Sudo in News on Nov 7, 2011 5:30PM


CTA's Train Tracker is one of the better advances the beleaguered public transit authority has unveiled recently. It's often accurate, is easy to refresh and users of the service can bookmark the stations they use the most for easy access on their smartphones.

So is there really a market for a smartphone app using Train Tracker data? Even if it only costs 99 cents?

Jacob Van Order believes so, which is why he created QuickTrain, an iPhone app that allows users to quickly tap into the Train Tracker data stream in order to find out when the next train is approaching the station closest to their current location, and bookmark those stations they use most.

"It's my opinion that although the information is there, it's pretty slow to have to poke through four or five webpages in order to get the information you want," Van Order told us via email. "How many times have you been in a situation where you've been at, let's say Quincy, where you could take a purple line or a brown line in order to get to Belmont? Poking through (the Train tracker website) and trying to find which train is coming might take too long, whereas QuickTrain (as long as you give the okay) uses your location to quickly tell you what train is coming to the station automatically."

QuickTrain does the job and it's fairly simple to customize. "The minute you save could be the difference between sprinting up the stairs and catching the right train or waiting five minutes for the next train," Van Order said.