App that pinpoints trains with spare seats and will tell you the best place to stand on the platform to get one is being tested by Thameslink
Passengers on Thameslink trains will soon be able to avoid overcrowding on journeys with an app that tells travellers which carriages have empty seats.
The system will also one day let passengers know where to stand on the platform for easy access to the free seats and if a carriage is standing-room only.
Dubbed Rail Watch, the system will show the status of the next five trains due on a particular line at a given station and help commuters choose which one to board.
The system is currently being tested on the Thameslink line between East Croydon and Brighton over the next fortnight.
Users will see five dots that relate to how full the incoming train is.
A red mark means 'full and standing, an amber one indicates ' likely standing' and a green one stands for 'seating available.
The technology by CitiLogik is supported by transport provider the Go-Ahead group, who operates Thameslink.
The system analyses Vodafone mobile phone signals and information about train capacity.
Vodafone data is extrapolated by the firm to then provide an approximation of total passenger numbers.
A spokesman for the app told Mail Online: 'If you're standing at a platform in East Croydon, you go on the app and it will be able to tell you which oncoming train is busy.
'It would potentially be able to tell you if the next train to come is busy but the one behind it isn't that busy so you can be confident that you'll get a seat.'
The live-crowding data is currently only available on the website but work is underway to provide data to passengers before they board on the app.
The app will also have extra features and data including carriage-by-carriage crowding, and where people should stand to maximise their chances of getting on.
They will also looks at data to estimate where people are most likely to alight by looking at general behavioural patterns.
At the moment it can only estimate the overall capacity on the train but work is being carried out to let travellers pinpoint exactly which carriages have seats.
The spokesman said that early analysis had shown that the system had an accuracy rate of 89 per cent.
The full version of the app is expected to be rolled out across the southeast network in May.
The development comes amid distrust in the rail industry and overcrowding on trains, leading many commuters to complain to providers.
Figures showed that almost 150,000 people had to stand on trains into London during the morning peak in 2017.
Analysis found earlier this month claimed that the 10 most overcrowded peak train routes were running at 187 per cent overcapacity.