Capitol Corridor Upgrades Wi-Fi System

Linsey Ettlin News Archive, Press Releases

For Immediate Release
April 15, 2013
Contact: James R. Allison, CCJPA Planning Manager
Office: 510-464-6994

Capitol Corridor Upgrades Wi-Fi System
UC Davis Study Confirms Free Amenity Boosts Ridership

OAKLAND, CALIF., April 15, 2013 — Capitol Corridor and Amtrak, its operating partner, recently completed upgrading its free, on-train Wi-Fi system–a cellular based Wi-Fi service called AmtrakConnect–by swapping out some of the 3G technology for faster 4G cards. With the recent 4G installation, Capitol Corridor Wi-Fi speed is three times faster than before.

Capitol Corridor Joint Powers Authority (CCJPA) officials aimed to offer this free amenity in order to entice more drivers onto Capitol Corridor trains. A recent study conducted by UC Davis to determine if Capitol Corridor’s ‘free Wi-Fi model’ would be sustainable, shows the free amenity does motivate travelers to ditch driving in favor of riding Capitol Corridor trains.

“Wi-Fi has proven to be a popular amenity and now with the new 4G cards in place users will find it is faster than ever before,” CCJPA Board Chair Jim Spering said. “The CCJPA is pleased this study validates our business decision to provide free Wi-Fi. It’s a business model that has implications for transit operators worldwide, especially in passenger rail travel.”

The CCJPA worked with Professor Patricia Mokhtarian of the UC Davis Institute of Transportation Studies (ITS) and her team to study the effect of free Wi-Fi on the Capitol Corridor service. The study was conducted in March 2012, about four months after CCJPA launched Wi-Fi. The report has gotten worldwide attention in the transit/Wi-Fi community for its groundbreaking methodology and findings.

“Our analysis shows that providing free Wi-Fi increased Capitol Corridor trips by 2.7%,” UC Davis Professor Patricia L. Mokhtarian said. “New Capitol Corridor riders were particularly influenced by having free Wi-Fi. They made about 9% more trips than they would have done without free Wi-Fi. Those who were already riding Capitol Corridor frequently were the least affected with only about a 1% increase in trips. Finally, those riding less frequently (only a few times per month) contributed 6% more trips than they would have made otherwise. In sum, Wi-Fi’s impact on Capitol Corridor ridership exceeded the level needed to justify its implementation.”

The UC Davis ITS report is available here:

About Capitol Corridor® – The Capitol Corridor serves sixteen stations along the 170-mile rail corridor connecting Placer, Sacramento, Yolo, Solano, Contra Costa, Alameda, San Francisco and Santa Clara counties, paralleling both the I-80/I-680 and I-880 corridors in segments from Sacramento to San Jose. The CCJPA partners with Amtrak, Union Pacific Railroad, Caltrans and the communities comprising the CCJPA to offer cost-effective intercity passenger rail and offers a convenient way to travel between the Sierra Foothills, Sacramento, the San Francisco Bay Area and Silicon Valley/San Jose. For details about the Capitol Corridor, visit or call 1-877-974-3322.