Watch the trains go up and down
November 20, 2015 5:15 AM   Subscribe

The Berlin Transportation Authority has built a website where you can see all of the trains, trams, buses and ferries moving through the city in real-time. Real-time map of Berlin subway system.

Here's some general info about the Berlin subway system and a map of the whole system.

For anyone who doesn't speak German, here's a translation guide:

Fernverkehr - long distance trains traveling through the city
Regionalverkehr - regional trains traveling through the city
S-Bahn - above-ground city trains (like the El in Chicago)
U-Bahn - subway trains
Fähre - ferry/boat traffic
Bahnhöfe/Haltestelle anzeigen - show bus stops and train stops and big train stations
Liniennummer und Pünktlichkeit anzeigen - show which subway line the train is on and if the train is running on time
Richtung - show direction train is going
posted by colfax (18 comments total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
 
Ameisenfarm!
posted by Thorzdad at 5:33 AM on November 20, 2015


That's not coming from some kind of GPS feed, just interpolated between the stations, adjusted for current delays. So it's basically just some half-way decent guesswork, especially for buses and streetcars.
posted by pseudocode at 5:41 AM on November 20, 2015


That's beautiful.
posted by odinsdream at 5:44 AM on November 20, 2015 [1 favorite]


Fun fact: if you select just the U-Bahn and Tram (both Haltestelle which are stops and Fahrten which are the vehicles) you can see the divide between East and West Berlin pretty clearly, because West Berlin had a much more developed subway system than East Berlin (which developed an extensive tram network).
posted by colfax at 5:47 AM on November 20, 2015 [8 favorites]


The Berlin Transportation Authority has built a website where you can see all of the trains, trams, buses and ferries moving through the city in real-time.

yeah but only because it isn't winter yet... :X
(It's beautiful, though, yes.)
posted by bigendian at 6:13 AM on November 20, 2015


The tram system extended across Berlin, but in the West, it was largely torn down at some point around the 1960s (in a free capitalist society, citizens have their own private cars; in Wirtschaftswunder West Germany, doubly so).

There are campaigns to extend the tram system to the old West, keeping up with 21st-century ideas of walkable urbanism and low carbon footprints; some years ago, I was in Berlin and saw a tram made up of bicycles. The two guys running it were Green Party activists, campaigning for tram extension by giving rides to people.
posted by acb at 6:17 AM on November 20, 2015 [2 favorites]


Id like to see this for WMATA in Washington DC, so I could know if the red line was running 20 or 30 minutes behind tonight. But building the website would take funds from the already perilously close to a death spiral budget and they need every penny for operations.
posted by T.D. Strange at 6:30 AM on November 20, 2015


But building the website would take funds from the already perilously close to a death spiral budget and they need every penny for operations.

Could they not just open up a feed of their data and let hobbyists/app entrepreneurs have a go at it? Perhaps going as far as to shell out for a dozen pizzas for a hack day to get things started...
posted by acb at 6:36 AM on November 20, 2015


Acb, that's what my city's system has done, and DC has as well. Look at the app Transit or many like it and you'll see dozens of cities available for real time tracking of their public transit systems.
posted by soren_lorensen at 7:03 AM on November 20, 2015


The novelty and popularity of this map is a reflection of how bad city transit infosystems are. It's 2015; we should expect every transit system to have a map like this. Probably the "hard part" is getting the data out of whatever weirdo control system the transit system uses and into a web page. Which is only hard because it's novel and motivated by customer service.

Here's San Francisco's version, from semi-private company NextBus. It works mostly via GPS trackers. It's not awesome, but it's reliable enough to help catch a ride. I don't think there's any all-vehicle view though. Also the map JS is broken in Chrome right now; you have to go up and hit enter in the URL bar to load the page a second time to get it to size correctly. Because you know, customer service is not job 1.
posted by Nelson at 9:05 AM on November 20, 2015


Holy shit. Germany is so damn efficient. Here in New Zealand, about 75% of trains run close to "on time", and we have worse traffic in a city of 1M with the area of Chicago, than Los Angeles.

So I'm just very very impressed with German timing, engineering, and just being efficient.
posted by hal_c_on at 9:13 AM on November 20, 2015


Here in Vancouver Translink has a Next Bus predictor available on their mobile website. It can use the gps on your smartphone to locate the stop closest to you, then you can display the positions, attained through gps trackers, of all busses that stop at your selected stop. It's pretty slick, which is quite amazing coming from Translink.
posted by vansly at 10:55 AM on November 20, 2015


If you happen to be a public transit fetishist, these CTA (Chicago transit authority) videos are orgasmic.

CTA Ride the Rails: Brown Line in Real Time

CTA Ride the Rails: Green Line from Garfield to Harlem in Real Time
posted by nikoniko at 11:36 AM on November 20, 2015 [1 favorite]


Washington DC?
posted by bdc34 at 12:19 PM on November 20, 2015


Some sort of prototype for NYC:

Tokyo:
posted by bdc34 at 12:22 PM on November 20, 2015


The Berlin Transportation Authority has built a website where you can see all of the trains, trams, buses and ferries moving through the city in real-time.
But somehow it's impossible to do in NYC.

(Notwithstanding the immediately previous post. :) )
posted by sjswitzer at 12:54 PM on November 20, 2015


There's the TRAVIC Transit Visualization Client and I see the A-train is almost at columbus circle.
posted by ouke at 2:34 PM on November 20, 2015


Here's the Swiss live map. But being Switzerland, every train is red, so have fun decoding!

Basel in particular is a major international hub for fast trains between Paris, France; Hamburg, Germany and the rest of Switzerland. "Fast" trains to Milan, Italy (they are severely speed-limited by the Alps) run through the single Italian-speaking canton in the south. Anything with an S is a local network train (S-bahn).

This time of year is fun, because severe weather causes delays and stoppages in certain regions.
posted by tracicle at 4:54 AM on November 21, 2015 [1 favorite]


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