Google Maps for iOS Gains Live Traffic Info for Buses, Transit Crowdedness Predictions

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Google today announced a major update for Google Maps on both Android and iOS, introducing new transit-related features.

Google Maps will now provide details on live traffic delays for buses in places where real-time information doesn't exist from local transit agencies, which will let Maps users see if a bus will be late, how long the delay might be, and how long travel might take.

Me during my commute: MOVE. THAT. BUS.Now you can see real-time delays and how crowded your bus is on your way to work 🙌Read more here: https://t.co/mMrQY3ji5u pic.twitter.com/UwpyqCdYt9 - Google Maps (@googlemaps) June 27, 2019

The app will provide details on exactly where delays are on the map so riders will know what to expect before getting on a bus.

Along with live traffic information for buses, Google is adding crowdedness predictions for transit routes. Based on past ride information, Google Maps will offer up details on how crowded a bus, train, or subway is likely to be.


The new Google Maps features are rolling out today on Android and iOS in close to 200 cities around the world.

Article Link: Google Maps for iOS Gains Live Traffic Info for Buses, Transit Crowdedness Predictions
 

alexandr

macrumors 6502a
Nov 11, 2005
957
1,343
11201-121099
although this is nice, i can't believe it took this long. i wish they would provide live mta trains movement too, that would really help the hell that it is.
 

ImperfectLion

macrumors newbie
Oct 16, 2014
26
88
As someone who uses the busses a lot in the UK, I’m really excited for these new features!
The ‘crowdedness’ sounds awesome because sometimes busses are so full that you’ll have to stand.
I assume it’ll work the same way as how google shows how busy a shop is at certain times.
 

kingpushup

macrumors regular
Jun 24, 2013
218
229
hm, not seeing ‘crowdedness of bus’ just red meaning maybe heavy traffic around bus?
 

zorinlynx

macrumors 603
May 31, 2007
5,525
6,445
Florida, USA
They probably use crowd-sourced info for this, using the same mechanism they use for traffic info. If a cluster of a bunch of people are moving at the same speed and stopping at most bus stops, that's probably the bus, and it can determine if it's late or not.

Should be interesting to see if it works on lighter-used routes; there has to be a threshold where you have enough information to determine whether that group of people is a bus, and not everyone shares their location for "improving transit info".
 

calstanford

macrumors 6502
Nov 25, 2014
304
1,014
Hong Kong
There really needs to be a proper competitor to Google Maps. Apple Maps limited to just Macs and iPhones/iPads isn’t it. And I don’t see anyone else out there actually improving stuff.
 

benlukes

macrumors regular
Jul 13, 2014
119
121
As someone who uses the busses a lot in the UK, I’m really excited for these new features!
The ‘crowdedness’ sounds awesome because sometimes busses are so full that you’ll have to stand.
I assume it’ll work the same way as how google shows how busy a shop is at certain times.
“sometimes busses are so full that you’ll have to stand” ...sometimes? Man, you guys are spoiled over there. The equivalent for me is “often the busses/trains are so full that I literally can’t fit it, no matter how hard I try to squeeze”
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Based on my experiences in Seattle, they could just hard-code “Crowded? YES” and “Running Late? YES” for Metro Transit busses and leave it at that.
Exactly. I’m jealous of the guy in the UK that said “The ‘crowdedness’ sounds awesome because sometimes busses are so full that you’ll have to stand.” In Seattle I’ve almost never gotten to sit on a bus or train in years.
 

Westside guy

macrumors 603
Oct 15, 2003
5,381
2,201
The soggy side of the Pacific NW
In Seattle I’ve almost never gotten to sit on a bus or train in years.
Back before light rail ran to UW, I relied on the Metro 71/72/73 busses between the U district to downtown. With those, we could've used those Tokyo white glove guys to shove people in. :p And it wasn't uncommon for the busses to just blow by our stop because they were already over capacity.

Nowadays on light rail, I sometimes do get to sit... on the final leg from Westlake to UW anyway. Before that point the trains going into and through downtown are bloody crowded. They're still more comfortable to stand on than the old Metro busses, though, and I can count on them being on schedule - which is a big advantage, since I am connecting to the Sounder train.
 

marvin_h

macrumors newbie
Aug 6, 2015
26
5
For a company the size of google and with an ostensibly class leading map service, the lack of obvious features is fascinating.

Where is the option to tell maps how large your vehicle is? Weight, length, height, etc, to prevent using roads that are inappropriate? Eg, clearance height, allowable weight on bridges, turning radius, and other common restrictions?

Glad to see these new features getting rolled out but would be great to cover the basics first no?




Google today announced a major update for Google Maps on both Android and iOS, introducing new transit-related features.

Google Maps will now provide details on live traffic delays for buses in places where real-time information doesn't exist from local transit agencies, which will let Maps users see if a bus will be late, how long the delay might be, and how long travel might take.


The app will provide details on exactly where delays are on the map so riders will know what to expect before getting on a bus.

Along with live traffic information for buses, Google is adding crowdedness predictions for transit routes. Based on past ride information, Google Maps will offer up details on how crowded a bus, train, or subway is likely to be.


The new Google Maps features are rolling out today on Android and iOS in close to 200 cities around the world.

Article Link: Google Maps for iOS Gains Live Traffic Info for Buses, Transit Crowdedness Predictions
 
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truthertech

macrumors 68000
Jun 24, 2016
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Assuming it ends up being accurate, it will be interesting to see if anyone finds value in it. Maybe I am missing the use case where this will be of any value. First, is there any bus system in the world that people don't expect to be crowded during rush hour and not crowded during off hours? Second, if you're taking the bus, it's because the vast majority of times you don't have a choice, so how many people will change their behavior based on this information? In other words, when you are waiting for your bus, if your mapping service tells you the one coming is crowded, what are you going to do differently? Again, 99.9% of the time, whether your bus is going to be crowded is not exactly going to be a news flash for people.
 
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Fzang

macrumors 65816
Jun 15, 2013
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Assuming it ends up being accurate, it will be interesting to see if anyone finds value in it. Maybe I am missing the use case where this will be of any value. First, is there any bus system in the world that people don't expect to be crowded during rush hour and not crowded during off hours? Second, if you're taking the bus, it's because the vast majority of times you don't have a choice, so how many people will change their behavior based on this information? In other words, when you are waiting for your bus, if your mapping service tells you the one coming is crowded, what are you going to do differently? Again, 99.9% of the time, whether your bus is going to be crowded is not exactly going to be a news flash for people.
Psychologically, maybe people will change their behavior based on "I know it's going to be crowded" over "I assume it's going to be crowded, and therefore won't try to proactively take any action in changing my plan"?

It's worth a try.
 

truthertech

macrumors 68000
Jun 24, 2016
1,976
2,067
Psychologically, maybe people will change their behavior based on "I know it's going to be crowded" over "I assume it's going to be crowded, and therefore won't try to proactively take any action in changing my plan"?

It's worth a try.
Can't hurt, but I struggle over what someone could do when you are already standing out there waiting for the bus and you "learn" that it is crowded. It's different than knowing when the bus will arrive when you're waiting. Many transit systems already have apps or now signage at stops that tell you real time when you're bus/train will arrive, so that feature may also have limited value, but at least knowing more precisely when your bus will arrive satisfies some psychological itch and may be useful for planning even if you can't change your method of transportation.
 

Craiguyver

macrumors member
Jan 26, 2013
69
91
Minnesota, USA
For a company the size of google and with an ostensibly class leading map service, the lack of obvious features is fascinating.

Where is the option to tell maps how large your vehicle is? Weight, length, height, etc, to prevent using roads that are inappropriate? Eg, clearance height, allowable weight on bridges, turning radius, and other common restrictions?

Glad to see these new features getting rolled out but would be great to cover the basics first no?

Google Maps knows which roads and bridges are tolled. It has a built-in navigation feature to avoid using toll roads. Yet, Google cannot bother to add a simple feature like coloring toll roads and bridges in a different color than free highways (i.e. like green vs blue), like any decent atlas like Rand McNally does. Bing Maps and Mapquest used to show toll roads in green but they no longer do. It's mind boggling that this is absent.
 

benlukes

macrumors regular
Jul 13, 2014
119
121
Back before light rail ran to UW, I relied on the Metro 71/72/73 busses between the U district to downtown. With those, we could've used those Tokyo white glove guys to shove people in. :p And it wasn't uncommon for the busses to just blow by our stop because they were already over capacity.

Nowadays on light rail, I sometimes do get to sit... on the final leg from Westlake to UW anyway. Before that point the trains going into and through downtown are bloody crowded. They're still more comfortable to stand on than the old Metro busses, though, and I can count on them being on schedule - which is a big advantage, since I am connecting to the Sounder train.
Yep, I used to take those buses from the U District to Downtown as well...pretty insane. I ended up switching to biking. The problem with light rail is the car design (and rider education), which tends to lead to a completely packed car near the doors, but quite a bit of extra space in the aisles that could be used to accommodate more riders... although during rush hour they tend to get truly 100% full.