Google Maps will simplify commutes

Its new features will now show delays in real-time and overcrowding on public transport

Public transportation is something that undoubtedly plenty of us rely on when it comes to daily commuting, but there are times when the local transit system is anything but reliable. Those who use it to travel back and forth to work are used to being stuck on a moving can of sardines, locked elbow to elbow with their fellow commuters into buses, tramps or subway cars, but sometimes there are just too many passengers and you can’t board.

Sometimes your bus even zooms past you because it can’t accommodate any more people. Other times, delays because of traffic accidents, construction, or mechanical issues slow your commute to a near-crawl.

Fortunately, Google Maps can now give all commuters advanced warning on public transportation crowding to inform them just how busy their preferred mode of transport will be during their commute. To achieve the accuracy of its information, the team at Google Maps collected huge amounts of data for months by asking daily commuters to specify how crowded their rides were over months of travelling by public transport. They were travelling between six and ten in the morning - classic rush hour times in every big city. After finishing their trips, commuters were asked to provide one of four options: many empty seats, few empty seats, standing room only, or cramped standing room only. Analysing the data provided, Google have been able to predict just how busy your morning commute will be. It is not the exact number, but it's a very good estimation nevertheless. As of 27 June, this feature is available in 200 cities around the globe, with a quarter of them situated in the US.

In addition, Google Maps is also rolling out live traffic delays for buses in places where commuters don’t already have real-time information direct from local transit agencies. By using the feature, people will now be able to see if their bus will be late, how long the delay would be, and recalculate how long the journey will take based on specific live traffic conditions along your route. Commuters will also see exactly where the delays are on the map so they know what to expect before they hop on their bus or hop off beforehand and change their initial route, if they want.

With the new features, it seems that there will be no more excuses for tardiness in offices or in schools. Google Map users will be more informed and will now be able to make more clear decisions about their morning commute, and perhaps even snag a seat in a crowded bus. But with all this, Google is also clearly trying to highlight its interest in retaining its pole position among navigation apps, especially as ride-hailing companies like Uber and Lyft make their respective plays to become one-stop shops for all modes of urban transportation.

Company's new features come on top of a range of product updates rolled out by Google Maps in the past few months, including Incognito mode, real-time speeds, parking locations, and traffic jam crowdsourcing.

Similar articles