Find out how crowded buses and trains are before your journey with Google Maps’ new feature

Friday, 28th June 2019, 3:25 pm
Updated Friday, 28th June 2019, 5:26 pm
This new update could be a travelling game-changer (Photo: Shutterstock)

When you’re planning a journey, one thing that’s impossible to predict is how busy a train or bus is going to be, but Google Maps’ new feature could change that.

Crowdedness predictions

It’s called “crowdedness predictions” and it does what it says on the tin - it will try and predict how crowded your means of transport is likely to be.

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In their announcement, Google said: “We’re introducing transit crowdedness predictions so you can see how crowded your bus, train or subway is likely to be based on past rides.”

“Now you can make an informed decision about whether or not you want to squeeze on, or wait a few more minutes for a vehicle where you’re more likely to snag a seat.”

Alongside this, Google is also launching live traffic delays for buses.

“You’ll now be able to see if your bus will be late, how long the delay will be, and more accurate travel times based on live traffic conditions along your route,” Google explained.

Google continued: “You’ll also see exactly where the delays are on the map so you know what to expect before you even hop on your bus.”

An example of how the new feature will look (Photo: Google)

How does it work?

This feature has been developed using voluntary feedback given by users anonymously between October 2018 and June 2019.

Users were asked about available seating and standing room in order to identify what lines had the highest numbers of crowdedness reports.

The data from peak commuting hours between 6am and 10am was then analysed, aggregated and used by the Google Map team to develop this new feature.

To use the new crowdedness predictions, just use maps as normal - searching for directions between two locations can then prompt messages underneath the route, like “usually standing room only”.

When will the feature arrive?

In the announcement, which was made yesterday (27 June), Google said that people around the world would start seeing the updated feature rollout from “today”.

The update will come to both Android and iOS phones.

What cities in the UK are getting the update?

The update will be coming to almost 200 cities around the world, and the UK has 18 of them.

Those cities are:

EdinburghGlasgowLondonCardiffBirminghamBrightonBristolCambridgeCoventryCrawleyLeedsLiverpoolNewcastleNottinghamOxfordReadingSheffieldSouthampton

This article originally appeared on our sister site Edinburgh Evening News