Do you find yourself regularly cursing the train, bus or subway when delays cause you to be late? This is certainly something I’ve battled with, living in Boston! Such widespread public frustration with city transportation services has led to the development of various smartphone apps and websites that aim to inform users of delays and arrival times. And, as of last Wednesday, to add to that list is Google Maps.
Google Maps has partnered with local transit agencies to list real-time transit data to give public transportation riders the most up-to-date information available. To see transit info, users simply have to click on a transit station in Google Maps and see if there’s any important information or service alerts under the new “Live Departures” section.
With plans to expand, this service will initially be available in Boston, Portland, San Diego and San Francisco for the U.S., as well as Madrid, Spain and Turin, Italy for Europe. It seems like Washington D.C. would be a logical addition for this service, especially as Google just added all of Washington, D.C.’s Metro and bus stations, stops, routes, and connections to Google Maps last month.
Google has made this service available on all Android devices, 1.6 and above, and, for those not yet using an Android smartphone, it also works on desktop and mobile browser versions of Google Maps. Check out the images on the official Google blog to see what it looks like in each instance.
So, now, thanks to Google Maps, you can rest assured, knowing, instead of wondering, that you’ll be 20 minutes late for that meeting. But, all joking aside, this is a great technology integration that is certainly a step in the right direction for improving public transportation. Now, if only our busses and subways could be as efficient as the Swiss trains that we could set our watch by them, that would be something!