The Seattle region is the latest area to get live transit information right in the Google Maps app. Android users should see the functionality tomorrow, with an update to the iOS app to follow shortly.
The change means users will now receive real-time information instead of relying on timetables. Route options will include the on-time status of different transportation options. This means you may be advised to jump on light rail if traffic is slowing down busses, or told to switch to a different bus line if you just missed your normal bus.
The new data is being included thanks to Brian Ferris, who created the popular OneBusAway app before being hired by Google in 2011. Google added real-time data for Portland, Ore., later that year, and other cities like Chicago and London have been added since then, but Seattleites have had to rely on timetable data until now. Ferris has been car-free for 20 years.
“With traffic congestion in Seattle getting worse every year, real-time information is essential for making our transit system usable,” Ferris said in an email to GeekWire. “I might not be able to build a new light-rail line through Seattle or add new bus service myself, but I can help build tools to make everyone’s commute a little more pleasant. That’s enough for me.”
Data is coming from both King County Metro and Sound Transit. The University of Washington transferred control of OneBusAway to Sound Transit in 2013.