When discussing GPS units as a concept, many people still think about them in the form they took when they originally hit the scene: powerful little devices that let anyone instantly get turn-by-turn directions between any two points. While there was an era where standalone GPS devices for cars were hot retail items (particularly around Christmas and other gift-giving holidays), they have long since transcended their original intention to become something much more meaningful.
We’ve entered into an era where you can log into a website on your desktop and instantly pinpoint the location of your smartphone. You can use that same website to see where your friends are at any moment, allowing you to tell how far away they are from the work happy hour they promised they’d be on time for. On the professional side of things, you can use GPS to get an indication of an employee’s driving habits or for real-time asset tracking purposes.

You can even use GPS to make your morning commute easier than ever, even if you’re not even thinking about hopping behind the wheel of a car. Such is the case with Metrolink, which recently launched a new website that allows passengers to locate trains in real-time and pinpoint their estimated arrival times – all from the Web.

Metrolink’s GPS Solution: What You Need to Know

Earlier in 2017, Metrolink launched a website that allows train riders to get real-time information about upcoming trains beyond the standard estimated arrival times they’re used to. By logging into a particular website (that to be fair, is still in “beta” mode) they can see exactly where a train is at any given moment, they can see what may be holding it up and when it will arrive in the station given all of the most current information available.

Metrolink launched this service with the intention of making it easier for riders to not necessarily take a trip, but to plan them in the first place. The site is expected to leave “beta” mode and go into a full release by the end of the year.

As of October 2017, the GPS-based tracking tool is still only available on the Web via a traditional website. Metrolink officials indicate that they hope to incorporate this feature, along with other exciting new ones, into their own smartphone app by the end of the year.

It’s important to note that Metrolink’s own app is already a powerful one, as users who purchase their train tickets online can easily board the appropriate train by scanning their phone at their point of entry. Traditional paper tickets can still be purchased for those who prefer a decidedly more “old school” method, but it’s clear that this option isn’t going to be around much longer.

Along with the real-time GPS services, Metrolink will also use this technology to allow riders to receive targeted promotions and service advisories based on where they currently are and where they happen to be going. Officials say that they hope this feature will even make it easier for people to participate in special events, particularly if they know exactly how much time they have to wait before their train arrives at the station.

As a concept, GPS has certainly come a long way in the last ten years alone. What used to require the purchase of a standalone device is now incorporated into nearly every smartphone on planet Earth right out of the box. GPS has become such a ubiquitous part of our lives that many of us don’t even think about it anymore – it’s something that just effortlessly makes our lives easier without us actually needing to do much of anything at all.

If GPS has come this far in such a short period of time, it is truly exciting to think what the next five, 10, or even 20 years might hold.