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Old Dec 29, 2012, 04:37 PM   #1
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New York MTA Introduces iOS App with Real-Time Subway Arrival Info




New York's Metropolitan Transportation Authority just released a new app, MTA Subway Time, which provides accurate real-time information on subway arrivals for six of the numbered lines, including No. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6, plus the 42nd Street shuttle, covering 156 different stations in the city. Subway Time will allow commuters to plan trips down to the minute.

The app works with the countdown clocks that are linked to centralized computers, which have been installed in just seven of the city's 24 lines.

According to The Wall Street Journal, the system's age and the cost of upgrading has prevented it from being easily updated, though real-time coverage will roll out to other lines in the future. The first update will come in six to 12 months, when the L line is added.
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The new app covers only about a third of the subway system, and agency officials acknowledged that it will likely take years of work and hundreds of millions of dollars in new investment before conveniences increasingly common elsewhere are standard in the Big Apple.

The rest, encompassing two-thirds of its total stations and roughly 60% of its daily ridership, continues to rely on signal technology dating to the middle of the 20th century or earlier. It will be years before those lines have signal systems that can generate the digital information that drives countdown clocks on platforms and apps on cellphones with live updates.
Other cities have been quicker to incorporate current technology into existing transit systems. California's Bay Area Rapid Transit System, or BART, for example, has developed a web-based mobile app and in 2007, the city released open format transit data that third party developers were able to incorporate into their own apps.

The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority and the Chicago Transit Authority also provide information for third party developers.

New York Transit officials are hoping to inspire app developers to create third party apps as well, and a free live stream of arrival time data will be given to app developers.

Transit apps have become especially important with the release of iOS 6, because Apple Maps does not provide innate transit directions. Instead, the Maps program redirects users to download relevant routing apps like New York's new Subway Time.

MTA Subway Time can currently be downloaded from the App Store for free. [Direct Link]

Article Link: New York MTA Introduces iOS App with Real-Time Subway Arrival Info
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Old Dec 29, 2012, 04:44 PM   #2
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ugly UI
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Old Dec 29, 2012, 05:01 PM   #3
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OK, now we need about 200 more of these apps to cover the majority of the subway times' for major cities.
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Old Dec 29, 2012, 05:15 PM   #4
FuNGi
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I hope you all appreciate the chronological irony of this and the previous MR story about i-device theft in NYC.

Now there is more reason than ever to check your phone as you wait on the platform...
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Old Dec 29, 2012, 05:26 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by FuNGi View Post
I hope you all appreciate the chronological irony of this and the previous MR story about i-device theft in NYC.

Now there is more reason than ever to check your phone as you wait on the platform...

Or, perhaps, never take your phone out as you wait on the platform!
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Last edited by dejo; Dec 31, 2012 at 02:35 PM. Reason: Fixed quote.
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Old Dec 29, 2012, 05:29 PM   #6
miknos
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Or they could have some digital clock in every station so passengers could see when the train is coming.
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Old Dec 29, 2012, 05:33 PM   #7
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Downloaded and deleted within one minute. It seems like no care was taken designing this. Poor.
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Old Dec 29, 2012, 05:36 PM   #8
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Or they could have some digital clock in every station so passengers could see when the train is coming.
We have that but only for certain lines, hence this app. It'll be a few more years before the entire system have it.

This app is specifically for the lines which already have the digital signs, which in short is stupid because the signs are active in the stations. Why would we need to look at our phones if we could just look at the countdown clocks?

For reference:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/15/ny...15bigcity.html
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Old Dec 29, 2012, 05:45 PM   #9
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it should be presented with the Fugliest Design Award
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Old Dec 29, 2012, 05:49 PM   #10
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Chicago's CTA implemented almost real-time train tracking essentially for free by reading the data from their current signals as trains cross them, and combining that with data collected from previous trains to give a very close approximation on arrival time. Just another reason I like Chicago 1000x better than NY. Enjoy your 33% coverage, that sounds like AT&T's slogan.
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Old Dec 29, 2012, 06:02 PM   #11
StuddedLeather
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Chicago's CTA implemented almost real-time train tracking essentially for free by reading the data from their current signals as trains cross them, and combining that with data collected from previous trains to give a very close approximation on arrival time. Just another reason I like Chicago 1000x better than NY. Enjoy your 33% coverage, that sounds like AT&T's slogan.
Well this isn't "approximate" timing. This is actual real time. You would think a smaller city like Chicago would already be able to implement this technology to it's smaller system. It'll take a few more years for our entire system to be complete with real time tracking. Not approximate. We already have that.
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Old Dec 29, 2012, 06:03 PM   #12
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Seriously with this design? ASCII would have been a better choice.
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Old Dec 29, 2012, 06:11 PM   #13
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Now New Yorkers can push people on to the tracks with precision.
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Old Dec 29, 2012, 06:12 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by StuddedLeather View Post
This app is specifically for the lines which already have the digital signs, which in short is stupid because the signs are active in the stations. Why would we need to look at our phones if we could just look at the countdown clocks?
So that if the train isn't coming in 15 minutes I could catch a cab instead of walking to the subway stop. Etc.
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Old Dec 29, 2012, 06:17 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by StuddedLeather View Post
We have that but only for certain lines, hence this app. It'll be a few more years before the entire system have it.

This app is specifically for the lines which already have the digital signs, which in short is stupid because the signs are active in the stations. Why would we need to look at our phones if we could just look at the countdown clocks?

For reference:
Image
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/15/ny...15bigcity.html
The clocks are great but what they really need to do is to put them outside the stations as well so you know how long you're going to have to wait before you go into the station. That would most helpful late at night.
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Old Dec 29, 2012, 06:20 PM   #16
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Why no API?

I would just make API and give private developers to make the app. It will be much better and user friendly. There are many great developers that can do much better job on the UI and much more user friendly app.
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Old Dec 29, 2012, 06:36 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by JangoFett124 View Post
So that if the train isn't coming in 15 minutes I could catch a cab instead of walking to the subway stop. Etc.
Quote:
Originally Posted by RobNYC View Post
The clocks are great but what they really need to do is to put them outside the stations as well so you know how long you're going to have to wait before you go into the station. That would most helpful late at night.
Both points are true. I too agree though the MTA should try to put the clocks in an area before we pay. Perhaps by the token booth.

Once the technology gets expanded I can see the benefit of this app. Hopefully though the MTA will allow third parties to access the data to create their own apps. While the UI is horrible, it gets the job done.
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Old Dec 29, 2012, 06:38 PM   #18
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Welcome to the 21st Century, NYC!

Is this considered front page news simply because this is New York? Because they are pretty much the last major public transit system in America to do this.
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Old Dec 29, 2012, 06:41 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by StuddedLeather View Post
Well this isn't "approximate" timing. This is actual real time. You would think a smaller city like Chicago would already be able to implement this technology to it's smaller system. It'll take a few more years for our entire system to be complete with real time tracking. Not approximate. We already have that.
By approximate, I mean within 1 minute if not dead on. Chicago did it without needing to "take years of work and hundreds of millions of dollars in new investment". This was standard in Chicago a year ago, and they provide all that data free to any app developer. How's your tracking for the other 66% of rail lines not covered by this half-assed app? I get 100% train tracking coverage, do you?
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Old Dec 29, 2012, 07:03 PM   #20
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ugly UI
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Originally Posted by mrrory View Post
Downloaded and deleted within one minute. It seems like no care was taken designing this. Poor.
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Originally Posted by needfx View Post
it should be presented with the Fugliest Design Award
So apparently you don't understand that this UI is pretty much dead on with MTA's own, non-virtual UI? It actually comes across quite nice, if you know that.
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Old Dec 29, 2012, 07:06 PM   #21
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So apparently you don't understand that this UI is pretty much dead on with MTA's own, non-virtual UI? It actually comes across quite nice, if you know that.
Either you're being sarcastic or you work for the MTA. This is the worst designed app I have ever seen, and I am not exaggerating.
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Old Dec 29, 2012, 07:50 PM   #22
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By approximate, I mean within 1 minute if not dead on. Chicago did it without needing to "take years of work and hundreds of millions of dollars in new investment". This was standard in Chicago a year ago, and they provide all that data free to any app developer. How's your tracking for the other 66% of rail lines not covered by this half-assed app? I get 100% train tracking coverage, do you?
It's funny that you think you know what you're talking about. Let me first say I don't work for the MTA and I admit we should have a better way of tracking the trains. With that said though, no system in America is as advanced as ours, system wise or actual trains. Not to mention the fact that Brooklyn's ridership alone trumps other major cities for ridership (Chicago Brooklyn). When you combine the TOTAL system ridership forget it, we're light years ahead for the US.

I mention the ridership because we don't have the luxury to just shut down our system like other cities have. It'll take years of work and millions of dollars in new investment because of the old track work/tunnels/24/7 service, the technology wouldn't work on the old system. Building and expanding in NY is expensive, you would think someone from the 2nd city would be able to comprehend this .
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Old Dec 29, 2012, 08:22 PM   #23
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Cool, when I am in NYC, I spend 90% of my time on the 1,2,3 lines.

Most of the rest of the time, I walk.


Quote:
Originally Posted by StuddedLeather View Post
We have that but only for certain lines, hence this app. It'll be a few more years before the entire system have it.

This app is specifically for the lines which already have the digital signs, which in short is stupid because the signs are active in the stations. Why would we need to look at our phones if we could just look at the countdown clocks?

For reference:
Image
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/15/ny...15bigcity.html
It's good to tell you if you need to walk or run to catch the next train.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JangoFett124 View Post
Either you're being sarcastic or you work for the MTA. This is the worst designed app I have ever seen, and I am not exaggerating.
The question is, does it work or not. A cool UI would be nice, however, a slightly clunky design or a ugly font will not turn me off of a useful tool.
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Old Dec 29, 2012, 09:23 PM   #24
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Nice, but why does it cost millions to update the system though? I would assume some detection camaras and math can accomplish tracking accurately?
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Old Dec 29, 2012, 09:50 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by RobNYC View Post
The clocks are great but what they really need to do is to put them outside the stations as well so you know how long you're going to have to wait before you go into the station. That would most helpful late at night.
I think thats the point of the app. Seeing the wait times before you get to the subway station.

----------

Quote:
Originally Posted by StuddedLeather View Post
Once the technology gets expanded I can see the benefit of this app. Hopefully though the MTA will allow third parties to access the data to create their own apps. While the UI is horrible, it gets the job done.
They're starting to do this now: http://www.mta.info/apps/

I think they realize they're not experts in app development and are willing to make the data available to anyone who wants it.

----------

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Originally Posted by Carlanga View Post
Nice, but why does it cost millions to update the system though? I would assume some detection camaras and math can accomplish tracking accurately?
The subway system is ancient. When sections of the system got wiped out because of Hurricane Sandy, they realized that some parts could not be easily replaced because they were so old the companies that made them had gone out of business years ago. There's so much ~100-year old technology underground.
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