Google Maps recently launched a new interactive tool that allows Amtrak’s 31 million passengers to easily track the exact location of and arrival times for the rail service’s trains. The new locator map will track more than 300 daily trains en route to more than 500 destinations across the country. Checking train status is the second most-used function on Amtrak.com, behind buying tickets, so this infrastructure upgrade should be extremely useful to rail riders.
Image © David Sugden
“A big part of being innovative and making travel easier for our 31 million passengers every year, is giving people accurate information about train locations and arrival times,” Steve Alexander, Creative Director of E-commerce for Amtrak, wrote on Google’s enterprise blog. “Google Maps Engine is providing the technology behind our newest online feature: an interactive train locator map that makes it easy for people to see where trains are and when they’re getting to their destinations.”
The system works through sensors embedded on train tracks that send location data via GPS installed on each train; that data is then sent to the Google Maps Engine along with Amtrak station data. All the map data is stored in Google’s cloud.
Previously, Amtrak passengers could only see a text list of train statuses and arrival times. Now, passengers can get detailed information about their train, including exact location, estimated arrival times at upcoming stations, current speed and more. Amtrak plans to add more information to Google Maps, including local transit connections as well as nearby restaurants and tourist attractions.
Lead image via Amtrak