If you’re a Winnipeg driver, it’s likely you’ve had multiple encounters with trains that threw the proverbial wrench in your plans for an otherwise smooth commute.
With rail crossings cutting through major thoroughfares all over the city, train delays are a fact of life for Winnipeggers.
If only there was an app that could help drivers plan their routes by forewarning when trains would come…
Trainfo’s Gareth Rempel told 680 CJOB that his company has created just that — an app that will give drivers a heads-up on the timing of future trains.
“We started our company about three years ago, seeing the need for this rail crossing information,” Rempel said.
“It wasn’t widely available so we had to set out and get it ourselves. We actually had to build our own sensor from scratch, and once we had our own sensor, we actually had to interpret all this data we were collecting.
“It took us almost a year to develop machine learning, artificial intelligence-type software just to interpret this data and predict train movement, but more importantly, to predict traffic delays up to 30 minutes before a train even arrives.”
The app isn’t Trainfo’s first foray into Winnipeg rail notifications. While the construction of the Waverley Street underpass was underway, the company was responsible for digital signs giving drivers advance notification of upcoming trains.
“We saw, and the city of Winnipeg saw, that the underpass could have caused real traffic snarls, and this advance information was meant to help you,” Rempel said.
“The feedback we got from drivers and local businesses and residents was that it worked very well.”
While Trainfo’s technology is now in a dozen cities across Canada and a handful in the U.S., Rempel said the company is looking for beta testers in Winnipeg for the app — which has been one of the company’s most-requested features.
To get a sneak peek at the app, sign up on Trainfo’s website.