Feb 15, 2008

The time-free time table

I commute to work and back home out of the Ogilvie transportation center in downtown Chicago. The train station has a big, electronic dot-matrix display showing the train departures for the next hour or so. The display shows the departure time, the train and track numbers, the destination, and whether the train is ready to board or not. At the bottom of the list, the display shows the current date.

Is there something missing from this picture? Yes! The display doesn't show the current time! There is a big ornate clock in the station but is not visible by someone who's consulting the electronic timetable. I think that Metra - the train operator - could and should do something about this. Here are two suggestions:
  1. Add the current time at the bottom of the electronic time table.
  2. Add a count-down column on the electronic time table, showing how many minutes remain until the departure of each train.

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