From GPS to self-driving cars, the last few years in tech have increasingly moved towards enhancing the driver experience. While personal transport is the standard in many parts of the world, that hasn’t stopped millions from relying on public transportation like trains or buses to get to and from work. This is especially true in Europe and parts of Asia where public transportation continues to advance, and if Elon Musk has his way, the United States may soon have its own updated public transport network through the entrepreneur’s Hyperloop project. In light of this, Google has plans to roll out a new feature to their Maps program that could make public transportation a little bit less stressful.
Online schedules and ticket purchases are nothing new for trains and buses, but the information often fails to reflect delays or sudden schedule changes. Thankfully, Google Maps is set to receive an update that will provide updates for train and bus journeys, including a notification for when the user has reached their destination. It lacks the versatility of apps built around public transport, but Google can always expand this functionality in the future.
Google has been updating their mobile Maps app for some time, making minor tweaks that add a world of convenience. February of this year saw the introduction of the ability for users to mark and share their favorite destinations, adding a handy social media component to the Maps app. In March of this year they added a feature that enables users to share their location with friends. That same month, they introduced the ability to mark parking spots in Maps alongside a timer to keep track of the parking meter.
The new public transportation features work by having the user hit a “start” button after putting in the details of their itinerary, not unlike how the app currently functions for driving directions. From there the app will give live updates along the journey, including an alert that triggers when the bus or train is getting close to the user’s target station or terminal. The new features can be accessed from the lock screen, making it simple to track progress, view delay notifications, and other useful information. While Google’s effort is less informative than competitors like CityMapper, it is still an appreciated bonus to the already robust Maps app. Google has yet to indicate precisely when the update will go live, as it may still being undergoing review by the company’s community of testers.