Sept. 9, 2020 By Allie Griffin
Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) riders will be able to avoid crowded trains by tapping into a new feature on the rail system’s app.
LIRR officials unveiled the new feature to the TrainTime app Tuesday that predicts how crowded a specific train will be on a scale of one to four — with four being the most crowded.
The feature is based on the median ridership of the past seven trips of a specific train, at any station. The app is updated every morning to include the prior day’s data, officials said.
The feature will help commuters choose which train to take if they wish to avoid crowds and practice safe social distancing.
For example, someone traveling from Babylon to Penn Station at around 7:00 a.m. can find out ahead of time whether the 6:49 a.m. or the 7:10 a.m. train is likely to be more crowded based on the rating in the app.
“In many cases our riders have options about which trains to take so this high quality data can actually make all the difference,” LIRR Chief Innovation Officer Will Fisher said. “We hope this will help riders ease their transition back into our system.”
App users can also find out while waiting for their train how crowded it is and what seats are available.
In June, the LIRR launched real-time crowding data for most of its train fleet. The real-time data shows commuters which train cars are crowded and which have seats available. This real-time feature is now available on the entire LIRR fleet.
The features utilizes infra-red sensors, weight technology and cameras inside the trains that determine how many passengers are onboard at any given moment.
“Make no mistake, the features in this app are as innovative as anything we’re seeing in public transportation globally in the aftermath of the pandemic,” Fisher said.
“This new feature will seamlessly provide the kind of data our riders are seeking as they begin returning to LIRR.”