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Real-Time London Underground Transit Map
If you are a regular CN reader, you know that I am a railfan and a big fan of public transportation. We’ve covered real-time transit maps from around the world. My favorite up until today was the Swiss train map mashup — the map shows you where all of the trains in Switzerland are in real-time.
We’ve seen other cities including NYC, Boston and Philly get in on the real-time craze. NYC has a bus tracker on the M34 and M16 lines in midtown Manhattan and Philly is running a real-time test of a bus tracker.
Today, some developers in London, my second favorite transit system, launched a real-time transit tracker. The Google Maps mashup shows trains in the London Underground (also known as the Tube) in real-time. I’ve included a screenshot below. Yellow markers are stations and red markers are moving trains. Note that London’s transit system doesn’t run overnight so there won’t be any markers if you look during the overnight hours.
The code for the mashup is available as open source on GitHub. Here’s the overview of how the system works, “Live departure data is fetched from the TfL API, and then it does a bit of maths and magic. It’s surprisingly okay given this was done in only a few hours at Science Hackday and the many naming/location issues encountered, some unresolved. A small number of stations are misplaced or missing; occasional trains behave oddly; some H&C stations are missing in the TfL feed.”
It’s awesome to see so many transit systems embracing new technology and encouraging developers and entrepreneurs to get involved. Many of the world’s top transit systems seemed to move so slowly for decades but in the last 12-18 months, there has been a rapid pace to involve the local communities. This new London Underground real-time map is now my favorite Google Maps mashup – I hope one day we will see NYC host something similar.