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IAlam

Track All Trains In Real Time!

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Since the MTA isn't taking the effort to make real time data available for the (N)(Q)(R)(W) or any other line other than the ones that are already available, transit is allowing users to crowdsource their data via their Go feature. When users are getting directions, and are tracked to be on their bus or train, that information is then sent to all users that may be trying to track that same bus/train. It is also marked as user provide time.

 

 

Today, we’re proud to announce the first ever (not totally terrible) crowdsourced transit tracker. We’re rolling out our crowdsourcing feature gradually, starting in two cities: Montreal and Victoria, BC, but with plans to expand our offering to NYC, SF, Boston, Chicago, LA, London, Paris, Rome, Toronto and many others.

 
So how is crowdsourcing going to affect your transit commute?
 
1. In some cities, there’s simply no real-time transit information. The only departure times that transit apps can show you are based on official transit agency timetables (and, as our Twitter stream will attest, those aren’t always the most reliable).
 
2. In other cities, there is real-time information provided by transit agencies — but predictions can be wildly inaccurate. (What’s the use of “real-time” data if vehicle positions are only updated every 5 minutes?)
 
Clearly, there’s room for improvement — and we had to be the improvers.
You see, people like Transit because we have a beautiful interface, an incredibly speedy app, and features so extensive they’ll charm even the nerdiest transit nerds. But if we don’t have the best data it’s all for nought. Why use a transit app if its departure times are off by 5 minutes 50% of the time?
So instead of waiting for transit agencies to develop/improve their real-time systems, we came up with a crowdsourced solution. Crowdsourcing transit data can overcome a lot of the pitfalls of bad/inaccurate/jerky agency data, but it’s hard to get right. Many tech companies like to hype up their fancy “crowdsourcing” projects, only to realize, whoops! We don’t actually have enough users to harvest the data from. So what are we doing differently?
Source:

https://medium.com/transit-app/better-real-time-transit-data-is-coming-to-your-city-finally-a38ed0e90084#.cjwpialih

 

I've tried it on the <7> along with some other users. It seem to work, and if a user disconnects, it show the train with a grey bubble.

 

I'm planning on testing out a few things in the future to see if I can answer so of these questions I have.

-How does the app reacts if two people are tracking the same vehicle?

-How does the app affects real time data with crowdsourced data for buses?

-How does the app reacts if two people are tracking buses in close proximity?

-What happens when your bus/train goes on a detour?

-Can you get banned for providing misleading information?

Edited by IAlam
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The Transit app has a feature called GO which mirrors this. Not that I care given the routes I use most often are grandfathered in to the real-time data tracking world.

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The Transit app has a feature called GO which mirrors this. Not that I care given the routes I use most often are grandfathered in to the real-time data tracking world.

I thought he was talking about the transit App

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The Transit app has a feature called GO which mirrors this. Not that I care given the routes I use most often are grandfathered in to the real-time data tracking world.

It is Go, it just now send that information to others.

 

So testing out a little more today, the app updates much more frequently than the MTA does, and does a few other things where it shows you the crowdsourced location and the actual location. The app does cut out when you go under ground but will update when you get to the next station. However, it does get a little buggy underground where it doesn't know if in he train or not. Also for services with variations, he app can get confused with why train your on. While I was riding the <7> it thought twice I was in the (7) cause of how close he arrival time was.

 

Sounds cool but it'll drain your battery using the GPS

For about an 1hr 15min on low power I went from 95% to 65% but I also have headphones that kill my battery and I was doing other stuff for most of the time as well. Edited by IAlam

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Sounds cool but it'll drain your battery using the GPS

I already track myself using the GPS. It’s just that my location data stays on my phone. Every time I move from one location to another outside of a building, I turn on GPS.

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It is Go, it just now send that information to others.

 

So testing out a little more today, the app updates much more frequently than the MTA does, and does a few other things where it shows you the crowdsourced location and the actual location. The app does cut out when you go under ground but will update when you get to the next station. However, it does get a little buggy underground where it doesn't know if in he train or not. Also for services with variations, he app can get confused with why train your on. While I was riding the <7> it thought twice I was in the (7) cause of how close he arrival time was.

 

For about an 1hr 15min on low power I went from 95% to 65% but I also have headphones that kill my battery and I was doing other stuff for most of the time as well.

Are they bluetooth headphones?

 

I already track myself using the GPS. It’s just that my location data stays on my phone. Every time I move from one location to another outside of a building, I turn on GPS.

Do you leave the screen on?  I think checking map programs or Transit App periodically is different than an app constantly requesting the GPS for the duration of your trip.

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Are they bluetooth headphones?

 

Do you leave the screen on?  I think checking map programs or Transit App periodically is different than an app constantly requesting the GPS for the duration of your trip.

Yes they're bluetooth

 

You can turn the screen off and it'll continue tracking you. If you set a destination, it will tell you when to get off too. You can leave the app too, and if you want to browse other transit lines while being tracked, you can swipe down to hide GO and continue to use the app like you normally would.

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This concept works exactly like Waze for traffic. It's a good idea, it just needs to be marketed more aggressively so that the crowdsourcing actually works.

 

Won't this be kind of useless with underground routes, since you lose service in between stations for the most part?

If I'm correct, the stations already have service, and the app could update every 2-3 minutes when the user gets to the station. The tunnels might need cell service and wi-fi as well in order for the app to work 100%. Of course the MTA would not fund that.

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I guess the same sort of thing could be done offically by  (MTA). Since all the underground stations now have cell signal and wifi, they could give every train conductor a "beacon" (basically a $30 cheap prepaid phone lol). The conductor launches the app before the train leave terminal.

The ETA might be an issue because there is no cell/wifi in tunnels, but I guess showing "at stop" "<1 stop always" like what MTA Bus Time does is handy enough.

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I guess the same sort of thing could be done offically by  (MTA). Since all the underground stations now have cell signal and wifi, they could give every train conductor a "beacon" (basically a $30 cheap prepaid phone lol). The conductor launches the app before the train leave terminal.

The ETA might be an issue because there is no cell/wifi in tunnels, but I guess showing "at stop" "<1 stop always" like what MTA Bus Time does is handy enough.

 

That's actually what they are doing with the B Division bluetooth clocks. Each A car gets a bluetooth beacon and there are other beacons on platforms and between stations, that receive the route, destination and location information from the first car of the train and transmits it to the clocks.

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This concept works exactly like Waze for traffic. It's a good idea, it just needs to be marketed more aggressively so that the crowdsourcing actually works.

 

If I'm correct, the stations already have service, and the app could update every 2-3 minutes when the user gets to the station. The tunnels might need cell service and wi-fi as well in order for the app to work 100%. Of course the MTA would not fund that.

To be fair you can predict where the train is even if it updates only at the stations.

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To be fair you can predict where the train is even if it updates only at the stations.

Yeah, true. It may be unhelpful when the train is delayed between stations, but even the best countdown clock and ATC system can't account for unplanned delays.

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