Being one of the dozens of human sardines in a packed train or bus is bad enough at the best of times — and this is certainly not the best of times.
That’s one of the reasons Google released a new Maps tool to help you gauge in real-time how crowded your train and bus are.
It’s one of nearly 250 features Google has added to Maps since the pandemic began, including a COVID layer introduced in June that provided crucial health info and alerts.
Google Maps uses real-time data from other Maps users to work out just how many phones (and therefore humans) are riding the rails at a given time.
Google’s transit predictions, which use aggregated and anonymized Location History data, have been available since last year. But while Maps previously just told users how busy they could expect a train to be at certain times, now it tells them how busy the train is right now.
Maps are also adding a similar feature for when you’re ordering food through the app, with expected wait and delivery times as well as the live order status.
With cases rising alarmingly fast in the U.S. as well as the UK, public transport is a necessity for many, like the essential workers keeping people alive, fed, and safe. So to keep yourself and others healthy, wear your mask, stay as far from others as possible, and when possible, wait for a less crowded train or bus.