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Google's Pigeon app expands to new cities to help improve public transportation

Google's experimental "Waze for public transit" app is expanding to five new cities.

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Pigeon transit app

Google's Pigeon transit app is expanding to five new cities. 

Google

Google already has a few transit apps, such as Waze and its self-titled Google Maps. But whereas those prioritize driving and walking directions, a few engineers in the company's Area 120 experimental wing have been developing a new one focused on public transportation. 

Called Pigeon, the app functions as a sort of "Waze for public transit." First launched last year, it aims to help guide commuters around New York's complicated subway system using crowdsourcing to help avoid delays, outages and service changes. Project lead Laura Rokita on Tuesday announced in a blog post that the fledgling app is expanding beyond the Big Apple, moving to five new cities: Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington, DC. 

The app, which is available now on iOS (there is a waitlist for Android), will bring many of its current features with it to its new cities. 

"Pigeon users in each city will have access to information that other transit apps don't provide, like real-time crowds, unexpected incidents and more context about delays," Rokita writes. "Pigeon sends alerts whenever there is important information that riders care about, like power outages and major service changes," adding that customized notifications can be set up around your home or office to better "plan around delays, reroutes and even the weather."

It remains to be seen if Google will eventually fold Pigeon into its existing Maps or Waze. In the meantime, anything that helps improve public transit is always welcome. 

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