“The new normal” has been a topic of speculation for over a year now and signs are that the world is finally finding out just what that means.
Keeping your distance on mass transit
Paired with a quality travel guide such as Petit Futé —which can help you organise your holidays in Australia this summer, with suggestions on accommodation, restaurants, leisure activities, visits, and all the good addresses tested for a safe stay—Google’s new tools are helping travellers and commuters return safely to public transit, among other things.
Google is delivering transit crowdedness predictions to over 10K transit agencies in 100 countries. So, you’ll know if your line is likely to have many open seats, has hit full capacity, or is somewhere in between. You can now make an informed decision as to whether you want to board a crowded carriage, or wait rather for another train—pandemic or not, no one likes standing in a jam-packed subway car.
In Sydney, Google is piloting the ability to see live crowdedness information right down to the transit car level. Predictions are made via artificial intelligence (AI) technology, aided by contributions by people “on the ground” reporting via Google Maps. Historical location trends that predict future crowdedness levels are also accessed. This technology is furthermore powered by data from agencies like Long Island Rail Road in New York and Transport for New South Wales.
Be more intentional about how you spend your time
Testing in the U.S. shows that nationally you are most likely to find a train seat at nine a.m., whereas cars may be standing-room only between seven and eight a.m. Leaving the office before than rush hour will increase your chances of nabbing a seat, with lines being far less crowded at three p.m. than they are between four and five p.m. Google says it applies anonymisation technology and all predictions are designed with privacy in mind, and it assures that personal data remains secure and private.
Google’s research has determined that people “want to be more intentional about how they spend their time”, having survived a global pandemic. The search giant says its new “Timeline Insights”—visible only to you—can help you do that.
Android users, for example, who have turned on “Location History”, will find a new tab in their “Timeline”—tap on your profile photo, then “Timeline”—that provides monthly trends about how you’re navigating the world. Preserved will be modes of transportation used, distance and time driven, flown, biked, or walked, and you will also be able to scrutinise how much time is spent at shops, airports, and restaurants, etc.