Google Maps Can Now Tell You How Crowded Your Train or Bus Might Be

Posted on June 27, 2019 by Mehedi Hassan in Google with 6 Comments

Google Maps is getting a really nice new feature that could help quite a lot in your next commute. The app can now predict how crowded your next train, bus, or subway could be.

The feature is integrated into the existing navigation interface, and when your commute includes a bus or a train, Google will suggest how crowded your bus, train or subway is likely to be.

The feature is great for when you want to avoid a sweaty train, and Google expects the data to be pretty accurate. The company actually has been analyzing data from existing Google Maps users anonymously to calculate the crowdedness of buses, trains and subway around the world. The company’s finding showed some of the most crowded transit lines around the world (you can find some of the other interesting tidbits here):

Google Maps is also introducing another useful feature that will help bus riders. It can now show live traffic delays based on real-time traffic conditions. This only applies to areas and routes where Google already doesn’t get real-time information directly from local transit agents. The feature can even show exactly where a bus is facing delays which is pretty cool.

These new features are coming to Google Maps on Android and iOS today for users in nearly 200 cities around the world.

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Comments (6)

6 responses to “Google Maps Can Now Tell You How Crowded Your Train or Bus Might Be”

  1. Thom77

    Faraday cages are your friend.

  2. MarkPow

    On the basis that trains are designed to be able to increase and decrease capacity by adding or removing carriages, I hope Network Rail (UK) will pay attention to this technology!

    • VMax

      In reply to MarkPow:

      I think it's often platform length that's the problem, it's OK to have a "passengers for X and Y please use the front four cars" sort of announcement but once you get past one or two short-platform stations on a line, it must start to get a bit unwieldy.

    • tdemerse

      In reply to MarkPow:

      After the advent of cards like Oyster, this is all information that transit operators have to some degree. It becomes more an issue of money, platform real-estate, and headway/switching requirements.

      • MarkPow

        In reply to EnterpriseT:


        My comment isn't about the Tube, it's more about rural to city services which could be improved with better capacity planning.


        @VMax could extend most platforms if capacity increases, which it would if the service improves.

      • amarszal

        In reply to EnterpriseT:

        Systems like Oyster (or for where I live in Sydney “Opal” which is pretty much an Oyster clone) don’t tell you which train you are on, just where you entered and left the system, and that you were on some collection of trains between those points. In Sydney on the newer trains (A and B sets) they have weight sensors on all the bogies that measure the weight of the carriage to estimate how full it is, and this data is shown on screens on platforms as well as available for app makers to use in data feeds. So you know not only whether a train is full/empty but which carriage is your best bet for a seat.

        Many buses in Sydney also have live data feed of how full, not sure whether that is achieved based on Opal tap-on/off or weight, suspect the former given age of many buses.

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