If you’ve ever taken the Caltrain from San Francisco to San Jose, you’ve had a chance to see the corridor where many of today’s top internet related companies call their home, including Google and Yahoo.
A patent application from Google seems inspired by that ride, finding a way to understand transportation routes through the smartphones and handheld devices of commuters taking trains, buses, and planes.
If you find yourself hurrying to catch a train, you could use the system described in this patent filing to check and see if the train is running on time, or if it may be late, not because the commuting service is providing updates, but rather from information aggregated from the cell phone connections of the people onboard.
In the Google Labs, Google Transit provides some information about public transportation, with the most extensive coverage of tranportation information available in Japan, covering all regional and national rail networks, domestic airlines and ferries. But the system described in this patent document goes far beyond making published schedules, routes, and stopping points available to people traveling.