Google may not be able to improve the reliability of the subway, but a new Maps feature lets you see the trouble spots.
New York City straphangers have a new tool at their disposal when trying to figure out if that G train is actually going to show up or not: Google announced a feature for its Maps application that shows planned service alerts for the citys subways, which serve more than 1 billion riders each year. The app is designed to give subway riders information on trains that may be skipping stops, have been rerouted on another line or arent running at all due to scheduled maintenance (were looking at you, F train).
Users click on any of the 468 NYC subway stations labeled on Google Maps and they will then be provided with information regarding any planned service changes that would affect that station, as well as other relevant alerts that will be included in the transit directions pointing riders in the right direction. To adjust the travel around the alerts seen, users simply choose another suggested route or change the departure time.
Weve been working to deliver you with the most accurate and useful information about subway, bus, commuter rail and ferry service across the greater metro area, Csaba Garay, Google Maps transit partner technology manager, wrote in a company blog post. For everybody who lives in one of New York Citys five boroughs, commutes in and out every day or is visiting for business or vacation, we hope todays update improves the ease and efficiency of your trips around the city.
The company began its NYC project way back in 2008, when it unveiled comprehensive transit info for the entire New York metro region, encompassing subway, commuter rail, bus and ferry services from the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, New Jersey Transit and the City of New York. The release is the latest addition to Googles sprawling transit mapping and information project, which covers more than 485 cities across the globe. The company is currently in the process of adding high resolution aerial and satellite imagery to its mapping features, adding 25 cities and 72 countries/regions to its list last week.
Last updated at the end of June, the public beta of Google Maps for Android with Navigation, a free application available through the companys Play content portal, offers detailed maps with 3D buildings, voice guided turn-by-turn GPS navigation, driving, public transit, biking, and walking directions, live traffic information to avoid congestion and local search and business reviews. The latest update now allows users to save maps for use offline.
Nathan Eddy is Associate Editor, Midmarket, at eWEEK.com. Before joining eWEEK.com, Nate was a writer with ChannelWeb and he served as an editor at FierceMarkets. He is a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.