Research Associate Elizabeth Williams: Countdown clocks ‘could potentially attract more riders to the Green Line’

By Alyssa Meyers, The Daily Free Press

The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority began to activate additional arrival countdown clocks at Green Line stations throughout Boston this week.

The signs at Copley and Arlington were unveiled Tuesday, the Inbound signs for Boylston and Park Street on Wednesday and the North Station, Haymarket, and Science Park Station signs on Thursday.

“These signs provide important information that significantly enhances our customers’ commuting experience,” said MBTA General Manager Frank DePaola in a Wednesday press release,“The oldest subway stations in the United States are now displaying real-time information, letting customers know when they can expect the next train.”

Jason Johnson, a spokesman for the MBTA, said there will be countdown clocks for the B, C and D trollies.

“These signs provide important information that enhances our customers’ commuting experience and allows them to have real time information at their disposal,” Johnson said. “… Over the last few years we’ve made progress and taken steps to provide real time information to our customers, including service alerts, locations and predictions for buses and heavy rail trains.”

Given how busy the Green Line is, Johnson said there is a need for countdown clocks.

“It is the busiest light rail line in the country,” Johnson said. “It has 225,000 daily passenger trips, so having countdowns there is a big step in a series of improvements to the Green Line.”

The MBTA first introduced countdown clocks to the Red, Orange, and Blue Lines in January 2014, according to an MBTA press release.

Elizabeth Williams, a research associate at Northeastern University’s Dukakis Center for Urban and Regional Policy, said the addition of time clocks has the potential to change the perception that people have of the Green Line’s unreliability.

“The Green Line is widely perceived to be the slowest moving of the various rapid transit modes in Boston,” Williams said. “Knowing when the next train is going to come has significant psychological benefits. Trains may not come more frequently, but knowing when the next train is going to come gives riders more control over their trip.”

Read the full article here.

Published On: October 9, 2015 |
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