Ryan O'Connor '19 Rethinks Possible with the MTA LIRR

Ryan O'Connor '19 Rethinks Possible with the MTA LIRR

Chaminade alumnus, Ryan O'Conner '19 (University of Michigan '23), has been working with the MTA LIRR to rethink possible when it comes to the ever-useful TrainTime iOS and Android app, which launched on Tuesday. "Transit is something that really excites me, and this project was especially important to me because taking the train is something that many Chaminade students and alumni rely on. It can be frustrating when things don't go as planned, and there isn't much information. People often dread taking the train because of these unknowns, but this app aims to solve that, and more ⁠— such as simply finding a seat after a long day of work," said O'Conner.

Read on, for more details about the project:

(The old) TrainTime has been provided for free on both iOS and Android app stores by the MTA LIRR for many years, and provided a reliable trip planning interface to, at peak, 70K commuters a day. However, without seeing a major redesign since 2014, the app was in need of a refresh to provide more data, and accurately.

On Tuesday, June 16, 2020, the Long Island Rail Road announced a brand new version of TrainTime. The major new features include:

  • Real-Time Train Tracking (updated every 3 seconds!): See exactly where each train in your trip is, view when it will arrive, and follow it throughout your trip
  • Real-Time Train Crowding: See how full each car is and where you should stand on the platform to have the best chance at finding a seat. Especially important as people return to work and begin taking the train again, looking for more space.
  • Train Length and Platform Layout: See how many cars your train has today, where it will stop, and where you should board in order to get off at your destination
  • Notifications: Track assignments at major terminals, track changes systemwide, and canceled or held trains
  • A variety of commuter features: trip bookmarks, notifications when a track is posted at a major terminal like Penn Station, ability to share a trip, one-tap access to MTA eTix
  • These are in addition to the existing features in TrainTime that riders heavily used: Trip planning, branch-level service status, and station information.
  • After being inspired by a new web-based train-tracking tool by the LIRR at www.mylirr.org, O'Connor joined a very small team at the LIRR, under Chief Innovation Officer Will Fisher, in May 2019. Bringing his app development expertise to the table, he has since been a pivotal part of designing and developing the new app, working with the rest of his team and MTA Information Technology who over the last 2 years outfitted the train fleet with new hardware and developed new software to provide GPS, crowding information, and much more data.

O'Connor said of his work with the MTA LIRR, "it has been invaluable to apply my knowledge in designing this app to something with such a large scale and impact, but also work alongside my teammates who are thinking of many groundbreaking applications of data and computer science, some of which you won't see anywhere across the country."

Download the App Store in the iTunes Store or on Google Play today.