The problem: Some widespread transit issues can be identified purely by technology (e.g., when 30% of NJT trains are listed as “STAND BY”). However, other issues benefit from user input. When “the latter” happens, we need a way to quickly publish/share the info with interested commuters.
The solution: Clever Commute technology will now “listen” for keywords which indicate that a known large problem is happening. When it does, The Inside Track will then automatically send a message to it’s subscribers.
To be clear: We will still depend on commuters to be the primary source of this info. Somebody must post the first alert to identify when these situations happen. The innovation here is that ALL in-scope commuters are now guaranteed to be notified…according to their preferences (text vs e-mail, time-of-day, day-of-week, etc)
Two examples of where we are putting this to work:
1. LIRR Track number changes at NY’s Penn Station – Seasoned commuters know that LIRR NYP track number assignments are fairly predictable. It’s not exact…but there is a pattern…or a cluster…and the commuters have a feel for what to expect.
However, the absence of finding trains on normal tracks can be a sign of system-wide problems (the problem may be in progress or on the horizon). At a minimum, “track changes” requires heightened awareness on the part of the commuter.
2. Single-tracking into NY’s Penn Station – This appears to be more of a NJ Transit phenomenon…but may happen elsewhere. The scenario is that some type of “blockage” means that only 1 of 2 tracks are available for travel (usually) into or out of the city. Undeniably, a single-track situation creates delays.