The Bulletin

Apps tell you when trains are crowded

Posting in Cities

Data analytics combines with customer feedback to predict congestion

The age old mystery of 'will the next train be less crowded?' may finally be solved - in Holland. A Dutch train operator made an app to alleviate congestion on its railways.

If you loathe being enclosed in a weary mass of cramped commuters, you might appreciate Netherlands Railways's Reisplanner Xtra app. The app, as reported by Ben Schiller for Co.EXIST, combines historical ridership data with passenger feedback to provide a graphical portrayal of train car crowdedness at a given time. It helps passengers make decisions about where to board trains, improving service for everyone.

If you aren't going Dutch anytime soon, there's options such as Moovit, an app that uses peers' geolocation updates to map whether you'll be sitting or standing on your ride home. It's available for many major cities.

And here we New Yorkers thought we were advanced with our real-time subway schedule updates, running more trains where they are needed (genius), mobile payments, real-time bus tracking, and contactless credit card payments. Yeah, I'm piling on, like a Reuben special.

(image credit: Netherlands Railways)

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— By on February 19, 2013, 12:29 PM PST

David Worthington

Contributing Editor

David Worthington has written for BetaNews, eWeek, PC World, Technologizer and ZDNet. Formerly, he was a senior editor at SD Times. He holds a business degree from Temple University. He is based in New York. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure