People helping people as they get from here to there


Feature write-up: Check-in/Share Location

January 26th, 2016  |  Published in announcements, App, ITFeatureWriteUp


The check-in feature lets commuters share their train’s/bus’ location with the Clever Commute network.
Any active user can send a Check-in (steps below).
However, viewing these messages is done exclusively via the app…and is Opt-In only.
Check-ins are not sent out as mails, texts, or push notifications.


To Send a Check-In To View Check-Ins
  1. Open our free app
  2. Select Send An Alert
  3. Set the The Issue to
    Check-In/Share location
    – Other fields are defaulted or derived
    – The geolocation and timestamp are captured
  4. Press Send
  1. Open our free app
  2. Select Recent Alerts
  3. At the top of the page, select the box  for Check-Ins
  4. When you click on the location pin, you will see the location of that alert
    (see pictures below)





“It’s like Twitter for commuters, right?” Well, kind of…

January 5th, 2016  |  Published in admin, examples, ITFeatureWriteUp

There are at least 4 very important differences between Clever Commute and Twitter:
(1) We use a variety of technologies (keywords, semantics, patterns, user history, etc.) to ensure the alerts are actionable and appropriate content regarding the in-process commute.
(2) We enrich each message with
– the category of the problem
– the impact on your commute (in minutes)
– the train route and number (and origin/destination)
– the geolocation of the alerts
(3) We eliminate duplicate messages about the same issue
(4) We deliver all messages in real time


Please see our best practices for sending an alert to learn more about what makes a message a good message.

The filters are technology-based, so all messages are subject to the same rigor. There are indeed some false positives. and some false negatives. We do our best to resolve those in real-time.
Our robots are there to help ensure a good experience for our commuters, and also to respect our sponsors and other business partners.

Other notes:

How to beat the crowds at Penn Station

August 15th, 2014  |  Published in Inside Track, ITFeatureWriteUp, NJT

Here is a fantastic example of how a commuter can use The Inside Track to determine which track their train will be on…before it is announced.

In this scenario, it’s 5:58 PM and the rider is shown the track number for the 6:10 PMwith 92% probability (see disclaimer below).

The transit providers claim to announce trains “10-15 minutes prior to departure.” However, this train (announced 7:47 in advance) represents what we see based on actual data.

This example demonstrates the value we provide. If you were an The Inside Track user on this day you would have known your track assignment…

  • 12 minutes prior to departure time and
  • 2 minutes earlier than NJ Transit announced it!

Disclaimer: This is a real example from the Montclair-Boonton line on September 2, 2014. Probabilities will vary based on a variety of factors…and will change as scheduled departure time nears. Always confirm that you are on the proper train.

Step 1 – [5:56 PM] Arrive at Penn Station

Here is a view of the NJ Transit departure board.

Nope…the train is not posted yet

Step 2 – [5:58 PM] Check The Inside Track


Since we get our departure board data from the transit providers, it’s no surprise that we don’t list the track number yet, either.

But you can click through on that last column…

Step 3 [5:58 PM] – Your Track Number Prediction…with supporting data!

#1 – Your track prediction!
#2 – Track number history …as a pie chart
#3 – Track number history…as a table
#4 – Extra info…just to keep everyone honest 🙂

Step 4 – [5:59 PM] Still waiting on NJ Transit to announce the track number


Step 5 – [6:00 PM] They finally announce the track.


Optional Step [Anytime] – Browse the track history details for this train


Our premium service lets you manage the alerts from your transit provider

July 14th, 2014  |  Published in Inside Track, ITFeatureWriteUp, NJT

This is another feature of Clever Commute Premium.

Yes, your transit provider may indeed publish travel alerts on their web site. They may even e-mail some of them. But when you give them your e-mail address, you also may get unsolicited mails from them (promotions, corporate comms, etc). We solve for that, and ALSO give you these features:

  • categorization (with the option to filter-by-category)
  • color-coding (for readability)
  • delivery as text message
  • the ability to set delivery preferences by time-of-day and day-of-week
  • a way to easily pause/resume/snooze

And of course, if you don’t want to receive these messages, you can opt out.

Example (for NJT Riders). [Click to enlarge any image]

1. NJT publishes a Travel Alert










2. Our technology cleans, categorizes and color-codes it and sends it to you

As a text message…






or an e-mail


(inbox view)



(message view)



Inside Track – Track Number Predictions

July 11th, 2014  |  Published in Inside Track, ITFeatureWriteUp, LIRR, NJT

For trains departing NY’s Penn Station, the transit providers have a stated policy of releasing each train’s track number assignment “10-15 minutes prior” to the scheduled departure time. However, that is a guideline…not a guarantee. Some trains are announced just a few minutes in advance. Also, there are instances where the train number is known by the transit providers…but not shared with the commuters.

The Inside Track (Clever Commute’s premium service) changes all that. We use a proprietary algorithm to dynamically predict each track number before it is announced by the transit providers.

When you click-through on history icon (right-most column) for each train, you will see a page with 4 sections: (click to enlarge)


1. Date range selector – Our model is most accurate when it looks at the largest pool (e.g., 60-day) of   historical data.

2. Pie chart – historical track assignments for this train
(it will change as you adjust #1 above)

3. Prediction table – For a given track number, it shows
Location: a list of tracks that this train has used in the selected time period. Our technology eliminates some tracks as options for this train on this day (e.g., Track 3).
– Occurs: the number of times that track has been used by this train
– Historical Percentage: that number expresses as a percent of the sample size
– Probability: the Clever Commute probability of that train being on a given track for this commute

4. Day-by-day track history – track assignment for this train over the selected period


Important things to note 

  • We continue to revise our technology, and the predictions will get better over time. Do not expect 100% accuracy.
  • The stats will change right up until the track is announced.  At that time, the announced track will be set to 100% Probability.
  • Often times, information about eliminated tracks can be just as helpful as the Probability
  • Adjacent tracks matter! One platform serves two tracks. So, feel free to take a peek down the stairs and get a 2-for-1 view!
  • It is your responsibility to be sure you are on the right train. Always verify and listen for official announcements.




Twitter Timelines in The Inside Track

June 6th, 2014  |  Published in Inside Track, ITFeatureWriteUp

This is another feature of The Inside Track, our premium service.

We know that not everyone is a Twitter user. Even if you are, you may not be following the sources who provide good info.

So, we make it easy by giving all of our users access to commute-related info from the Twitter-verse



From the main page, click on the red gear…and pick Twitter timelines












By default, we show you tweets for your primary carrier. However you have options to see other providers, as well as the major terminals (e.g., NY Penn, Port Authority and Grand Central).

It’s one more way we help you leverage the wisdom of the crowds.


We also show you the latest tweets from Clever Commute.



The 1% (not THAT 1%) and “why bus riders will love The Inside Track”

May 30th, 2014  |  Published in Inside Track, ITFeatureWriteUp

Summary: Crowdsourcing is one important component of Clever Commute. However, when you use our premium service, you get the benefit of other datafeeds / sources. [Premium service = The Inside Track. See all the features. Sign up here. More info]

More: In Internet culture, there is a rule of thumb pertaining to participation in an internet community. It states that only 1% of the users of a social service (e.g., the free Clever Commute service) actively create new content. Yes – the other 99% of the participants only lurk. Statistically speaking, that’s YOU!

Of course, this matters if you depend on other people to do the sharing when there are issues with the commute…but none of your fellow commuters are sharing. Let’s cut to the chase and tell you why this all matters:

  • DeCamp bus lines (yes, the bus company) broadcasts bus-related info via their official Twitter account
    (Alas, Clever Commute knows that even fewer than 1% of our users are Twitter users…so this is not really a help)
  • The Port Authority of NY/NJ also electronically publishes timely updates regarding traffic and transit
    (although it has all the shortcomings of a non-integrated e-mail based system)

Oh, yes…we did! Just in time for Summer traffic: the two sources above are now integrated into The Inside Track! Now, our premium users can:

  • Opt-in/Opt-out of either of these new sources (just as they can for any sender)
  • Receive messages via fast e-mail or true text messaging
  • Set delivery preferences such as time-of-day/day-of-week
  • Use our snooze feature to pause alerts for minutes…hours…or until tomorrow!
  • Turn off all messages when you travel/are on business (but we know you like to see those when they don’t impact you: )

The timing could not be better. Let’s look at tonight, for example. The bus commute from Port Authority was indeed a bad one…but the sharers where nowhere to be found. That’s OK…automation saved the day!

At 5:42 PM: our integration with Port Authority provided the content for this automated e-mail message to our Inside Track commuters:










At 5:56 PM: our DeCamp/Twitter integration sent this e-mail message to our Inside Track commuters









It matters because there were no other crowdsourced messages this afternoon. If we did not have this technology in place, you would have no way to know about the problems tonight. 


About “Favorite Senders”

May 27th, 2014  |  Published in Inside Track, ITFeatureWriteUp

Another amazing feature from The Inside Track:

Show some love! When someone sends a really good alert to the group, let them know you care! Add them to your favorites list.

We won’t share any of your personal information. But we will recognize and reward the people who are most-favorited by their fellow commuters.

Maybe it will be YOU!

The power to hide/block messages by sender

May 27th, 2014  |  Published in Inside Track, ITFeatureWriteUp

Another amazing feature of The Inside Track is the ability to maintain a blacklist / whitelist of commuters and data sources. Therefore, you can elect to not receive future messages from certain your discretion. You can also mark a sender or data source as a favorite (more on that later).
To block or favorite a sender, just click on the link in the message (example below).
To manage your list of blocked/favorite senders, use the show-hide senders feature. This is an option on the gears/settings menu in The Inside Track app. (click to enlarge this example for a message from user holb111)








Note: There are a few special senders: the transit providers themselves!
Maybe you want to “show them some love” by marking them as favorites. OK, maybe not:)
But we just wanted to be sure you know which user ID’s represent the official alerts from the various transit providers:

Transit Provider User ID
NJ Transit (MyTransit) NJTTrainsViaCleverCommute
NJ Transit (Twitter) @NJTransit [beta]
LIRR (eAlert ®) LIRRViaCleverCommute
LIRR (Twitter) @LIRR
Metro North (eAlert ®) MNRViaCleverCommute
Metro North (Twitter) @MetroNorth
Port Authority Alerts
(Lincoln Tunnel, XBL etc)
DeCamp Bus Lines (Twitter) @DecampBusLines





Enhanced Twitter integration

May 23rd, 2014  |  Published in Inside Track, ITFeatureWriteUp

This page explains one or more of the dozens of amazing features found in Clever Commute Premium.

As a premium feature, Clever Commute follows the relevant transit providers on Twitter. We then give you to ability to opt-in/opt-out of each. The content is then delivered to you according to your preferences (e.g, time-of-day, day-of-week, snooze/pause-resume, text, e-mail etc).

For example:

  • DeCamp Bus lines ONLY shares info via their Twitter – @DeCampBusLines.  However, not everyone is a Twitter user.
  • Also, even if you are a Twitter user, you don’t want to check Twitter AND Clever Commute just to see your alerts.

Our solution:

  • incorporate these Tweets into Clever Commute
  • attribute the Tweets to the owner (e.g., sender = @DeCampBusLines)
  • give you the ability to opt-out (not receive) messages from that sender

And of course you still get all the bells-and-whistles mentioned above.


<= Click to enlarge


#1 & #2 – Message source is clearly labeled

#3 – You have the choice to “opt-out” by adding the underlying sender to your “Block List”