Moovit shows how crowded buses are before they arrive

  • February 22, 2021
  • Steve Rogerson

More than 65 transit agencies in the USA, Canada, Australia, Italy and Singapore are collaborating with Moovit to show riders how crowded their bus is before they board.

Israel-based Moovit also offers users the ability to see if their upcoming bus is wheelchair accessible.

Mobility-as-a-service (MaaS) provider Moovit, an Intel subsidiary, launched the two features to help riders more easily plan their journeys and get around with confidence. Real-time crowding information will help people relying on public transit to keep their social distance and feel more safe riding.

As of this month, more than 65 transit agencies across the USA, Canada, Australia, Italy and Singapore are showing their real-time crowding information in the Moovit app. The second Moovit feature shows wheelchair accessible buses, empowering wheelchair users with a single app for easy journey planning, and all the information needed to get from A to B with wheelchair accessible lines, routes and stations.

Many public transit riders experience anxiety over whether they will be able to maintain social distance once on board. Based on big data analysed from tens of millions of trip requests, with user research in 104 cities across 28 countries, Moovit found that due to Covid-19, a third of public transit riders around the world want to know how crowded their next bus will be, before they board. This information helps riders feel more comfortable riding public transportation and it can potentially save lives.

Thus Moovit is rolling out real-time crowding information to inform riders about how empty or full their approaching bus is, allowing them to make educated decisions and feel safer riding mass transportation. Transit agencies such as Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority and Los Angeles Department of Transportation are now displaying occupancy levels of lines to Moovit users, as well as over 60 other agencies across the USA, Canada, Australia, Italy and Singapore. 

Considering that riders usually tend to ask themselves “I wonder if I’ll get a seat” as their vehicle is arriving, Moovit has taken the approach of answering their immediate question by displaying available seats, standing room only or crowded in the itinerary, live directions, stations, line details and favourite lines screens.

“Real-time crowding information eliminates another layer of uncertainty from public transit, especially important during the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Yovav Meydad, Moovit’s marketing officer. “Knowing in advance if there will be a seat on the bus gives riders the knowledge they need to make decisions that they are comfortable with when riding mass transit. This feature is also useful for parents with strollers who may need a place to sit, during or after the pandemic.”

Moovit is also rolling out the ability to view wheelchair accessible buses, with the wheelchair symbol redesigned by Moovit to show a more dynamic and engaged person with disability in motion. This feature is in addition to the wheelchair-accessible routes and stations that Moovit already identifies, offering people using wheelchairs one app to plan an entirely wheelchair accessible journey on public transportation covering lines, routes and stations.

Transit agencies in Hong Kong, Brazil and Ecuador are working with Moovit so local users can see this information available in the app.

The app is enhanced with screen reading features for low vision users, including talk-back and voice-over capabilities, and is designed with menus and buttons for people with hand-motor disabilities.

“Having one app that shows wheelchair accessible lines, routes and stations can be life changing for wheelchair users,” said Meydad. “A vehicle that is not accessible could make getting around impossible, but a single app that makes journey planning more streamlined and simple can open up new opportunities for them.”

Moovit was acquired by Intel in 2020 to join forces with Mobileye and advance its MaaS strategy. Together, Moovit and Mobileye plan to accelerate the global adoption of autonomous transportation.

Moovit’s iOS, Android and web apps guide people in getting around town effectively and conveniently, using any mode of transport. Introduced in 2012 it now serves over 950 million users in more than 3400 cities across 112 countries.

Moovit amasses up to six billion anonymous data points a day to add to the world’s largest repository of transit and urban mobility data. For governments, cities, transit agencies and private companies, Moovit offers AI-powered MaaS covering planning, operations and optimisation with value in reducing congestion, growing ridership, and increasing efficiency and asset use. Microsoft, Uber and Cubic are among companies that have partnered Moovit to power their mobility offerings.