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NextTrain is a passive crowd sourcing system which determines the real time arrivals of NYC subway trains by leveraging information from thousands of New Yorkers smartphones. NextTrain is completely passive, meaning it requires no user input from you, and does not affect your battery life. To see the next arriving train at a station, simply select the appropriate station on the NYCMate subway map. The station pop-up will display scheduled MTA arrivals and also real-time NextTrain information on actual arrival times if available.

How it Works

NextTrain utilizes the power of crowd sourcing, meaning that it will leverage a critical mass of commuters to drive accurate and reliable information for train locations. As user support increases, the algorithm will become more intelligent at determining the next train arrival time.

The technology behind NextTrain works by picking up changes in Base Station Identification, which are the physical towers to which cell phones are connected. In every form of above ground travel, the phone connects to towers as it moves around the city. But the lack of reception in the subway, a positive for the first time, means that the phone is unable to connect to base stations along the route. Once active, NextTrain automatically notices the difference in these connections and then submits an anonymous report when the user exits the station. A central server aggregates these reports and removes any erroneous signals before updating the times within the app.

Getting Started

iPhone
Open the application, on the first download a popup screen will present NextTrain and ask you to enroll. Simply click "Use NextTrain".

If you would like to enable NextTrain at a later time, simply navigate to the Settings tile located in the pull-up section. Click the info icon in the lower right part of the screen. To enable NextTrain click the button marked NextTrain.

Android
Open the application, on the first download a popup screen will present NextTrain and ask you to enroll. Simply click "Use NextTrain".

If you would like to enable NextTrain at a later time, simpley navigate to the Settings tile located in the pull-up section. There you will find the checkboxes to enable Next Train.

FAQ

How do I use NextTrain?
NextTrain is very easy to use, you don't have to do anything. After enabling NextTrain as indicated above, you have done everything necessary. Your phone will report anonymous exit trips to the server.

I have an iPhone, why is there a blue arrow next to the battery in the indicator bar?
The blue arrow is an indicator that the application is monitoring for BaseStationID changes. The blue arrow does not mean that the application is continuously monitoring for GPS data. The blue arrow will always remain in the status tab and should never disappear.

How do I log NextTrain information?
The application is completely passive which means it does not require input from users. Instead the monitoring of subway data is automatic. We considered allowing for active user inputs, but the problem is people are too damn unpredictable. So relax and be thankful you have one less thing to worry about.

I a worried about Privacy.
At NextTrain we take your privacy very seriously. We do not retrieve any identifiers of the users phones. We do not monitor users location continuously. We do not transmit user information to any third parties.

Is it broken? I don't see any subway information.
NextTrain is a crowd sourcing application and requires a critical mass of users to provide accurate and reliable data on subway location. Therefore you will only see sporadic data until a sufficient number of users have enabled. NextTrain and the data begins to arrive. So until then, be patient, and help out by telling everyone you know in New York to download the app and enable NextTrain.

Will NextTrain drain my battery?
NextTrain has a negligible effect on battery life. The application does not remain consuming processor power in the background. Instead it registers with the operating system to be opened in the background only when an event has occurred. Once the reporting is done the application immediately closes. Great expense was put forth to prevent excessive battery use.

I have a Blackberry, Windows, Symbian ... phone, how can I use NextTrain?
NextTrain is currently only for iPhone and Android devices. Follow us on Twitter for information on when more devices will be supported.

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