Published on October 11th, 2013 | by Cynthia Shahan0
Transit Ease With Amtrak’s Interactive, Google-powered, Real-time-ish Status Map
I love Amtrak, America’s leading passenger rail company. For many decades, I have parked my bike or car and traveled by train when taking long trips. Checking train status is a part of the adventure. It is the second-most-used action on Amtrak’s website after buying tickets. Generally, I am willing to make use of time writing when there are delays — that is sometimes part of a metro experience. But it can be challenging when one doesn’t really know where a train actually is or how long it will be until it arrives. Perhaps this will not be a problem anymore.
Eric Jaffe of The Atlantic Cities has more:
This week Amtrak released “Track a Train” — an interactive, Google-powered, real-time-ish status map of its 300-plus daily trips…. Now travelers and train enthusiasts alike can see how
slowfast a particular Amtrak train is moving at any given time.
Requisite snark aside, the service looks both polished and useful. (You can find it in the lower-left corner of Amtrak’s main site.) The base map gives a national overview of Amtrak’s service at the moment. Active trains are indicated by a blue arrow pointing in the direction they’re traveling. Stations are shown as smaller white dots. A purple circle enclosing a number shows how many trains are in high-traffic areas and lets users zoom in with one click.
Amtrak’s blog states:
“This (Track a Train) map joins several recent technology-related offerings that have improved the customer experience and changed how Amtrak does business,” says Amtrak Chief Marketing and Sales Officer Matt Hardison. “It ultimately changes and enhances the way customers travel with us.”
The new train location tracking map on Amtrak.com gives you train statuses, estimates of arrival times and even station information for every Amtrak train across the entire Amtrak system. That means the map covers coast to coast movements, 365 days a year and can be accessed 24 hours a day with just the click of a mouse.
“This tool creates a new platform for sharing information with our customers,” Hardison says. “Amtrak will continue to
add helpful layers onto this map such as local travel and tourist information to provide passengers a one-stop location for all their travel needs.”
My day like everyone’s day is packed. Scheduling efficiently is a dear commodity and now lighter, thanks to Amtrak’s new service showing estimates arrival times, and even the speed of the trains in real time. So, if you haven’t ridden the train in awhile, perhaps now is the time to give it another shot!