LIRR Updates its TrainTime App With Capacity Tracker

Written by Andrew Corselli
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Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) President Phil Eng unveiled a revamped TrainTime app, highlighted by a function that aims to allow customers to track available seats in the electric fleet—which represents more than 90% of all LIRR train cars—in real time.

Beginning today, June 16, LIRR customers will be able to utilize this seat tracking functionality. The feature allows customers to determine the number of seats available in each car at any given moment so that they can make informed decisions based on the real-time data of how many customers are on each train car.

An additional feature on the appprovides customers with the ability to track the real-time location of their train in much the same way as someone taking an Uber ride. Customers can easily share this location information with friends or family to ameliorate pick-ups. The app also provides customers with push notifications for track assignments at Penn Station, Atlantic Terminal and Jamaica Station, allowing riders to spread out throughout the station complexes rather than standing in immediate proximity to departure boards.

A video demonstration of TrainTime can be seen here. And other highlights of the app include:

  • Real-time car seat availability for M9 and M7 fleets (90% of LIRR’s electric fleet).
  • Real-time train location updated every three seconds.
  • Push notifications for track assignments at Penn Station, Atlantic Terminal and Jamaica Station.
  • Ability to bookmark favorite trips.
  • Spanish and Chinese language featured.

On M7 trains, the real-time seat-tracking function works by measuring the payload of each car’s suspension system. LIRR modified the software on the car to transmit this weight value to a central server, from which a nearly precise estimate of how many customers are on board can be derived. On M9 train cars, the doorways on each car are equipped with infrared sensors that count the number of times a person walks in or out of the door.

“The new app updates are incredibly intuitive and focused on the needs of our customers during these challenging times,” said Eng. “This once-in-a-lifetime pandemic has changed the ways we live, work and commute. It’s our responsibility as a railroad to rise to this occasion and this app is evidence of how we’re thinking outside-the-box to do just that.”

“By providing customers with real-time capacity information and service updates, we’re providing the tools necessary for navigating some of the uncertainties of mass transit in this difficult moment,” said LIRR Chief Innovation Officer Will Fisher. “We look forward to rolling out additional features in the weeks and months to come and are eager to hear from our customers about how we can improve the app further.”

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