Bad news for the perpetually tardy: “I was stuck in traffic” is no longer a valid excuse for being late to work. That’s because Google Maps just added a new function that's like a gift for commuters, as it monitors traffic in real-time and lets them know whether their drive or public transit will be delayed. The update will be available for Android and iOS devices beginning this week.
The goal of Google’s new Commute tab is to better prepare people for the obstacles that lie ahead—say, an accident or highway congestion—or help them beat traffic altogether. Commutes during rush hour can be up to 60 percent longer than expected, Google says, citing commute data from 25 North American cities. “According to historical Google Maps data, people in North America spend a full day per month commuting—which almost adds up to a two-week vacation each year,” the company said in a statement.
Before leaving the house, you can check the app to see if your commute will be normal or longer than usual. Alternate routes will be suggested when a delay is present, ensuring you’ll get to work as soon as possible. If your commute involves a combination of driving and public transportation, Google Maps will even let you know when to leave the house based on road traffic, when the next train leaves, and how long it takes to walk from the train station to your destination.
On top of that, commuters in 80 cities around the world will be able to look at a map and track the exact location of their bus or train in real-time. Residents in Sydney, Australia, can use Google Maps to check the passenger capacity of incoming trains and busses, and Google hopes to roll out this function in other cities soon, The Verge reports.
The new update even lets you control Spotify, Apple Music, and Google Play within the app so that you don’t have to toggle between apps to access your music. This is partly a safety feature for those who like to play mobile DJ while driving—although this isn’t advisable when you’re creeping in traffic and trying not to rear-end the vehicle in front of you.
This article was originally published in 2018 and has been updated.