Graphic via Citymapper
With subway disruptions and delays becoming a part of daily life in New York City, even lifelong New Yorkers sometimes have trouble finding alternative routes when their F train switches to a different line. Thankfully, there’s now an app that aims to make commuting in NYC a little less confusing. Citymapper, a transportation software start-up based in the UK, uses artificial intelligence to recommend new routes in response to MTA alert statuses. As CityLab reported, the app’s “bot” reads the complicated message from the authority and uses the relevant information to offer a clearer route change to avoid the problem.
Map of transit options near Times Square via Citymapper
Citymapper stands out among other apps, like Google Maps and Transit App, because it interprets messages in real time to provide commuters the best route possible. If traveling downtown on the F train from 63rd Street and the MTA sends this alert: “Due to FDNY activity at 23St there is no B, D, F, M train service between W4St-Washington Sq and 42St-Bryant Pk in both directions.” The app provides more concise and clear directions by figuring out which routes are accessible and which ones are disrupted.
In addition to subway routes, Citymapper also provides real-time information on the city’s buses and bikes, across all five boroughs. It also gives commuters hyperlocal weather updates and lets users personalize the app with most used places and favorite transport spots. Users can share their trip and ETA with friends, who can then watch them move along the route in the app and on their phone’s lock-screen.
Other tools within the Citymapper app include informing users which part of the train (front, middle or back) is the best to board, which entrance or exit would work best for the trip and the ability to save trips offline for when there is no service.
The app, which won the MTA’s App Quest challenge in 2013, is available for iPhones, Androids and in web browsers. Since creating the app for London and NYC, Citymapper has expanded to many cities across the United States, Latin America, Europe and Asia.
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