Best Apps for City Transit
Whether you live in or around a major urban center, you'll soon be moving to one, or you visit them often, your biggest gripes may center on transportation concerns. These could include dealing with traffic, avoiding construction, finding the most expedient routes, utilizing mass transit (or other modes of public transportation), getting gas (at a decent price), and addressing the ongoing issue of parking. Luckily, you're not alone in suffering from these automotive annoyances and several app developers have seen fit to outfit you with the mobile tools you need to circumnavigate all of your traffic-related trials and tribulations. Here are a few must-haves when you're trying to find your way around the city. Several major cities (or more specifically, their transportation departments) have come to realize that the wide world of mobile apps can give them the opportunity to ease some traffic problems that are common to the urban landscape. Oregon natives and transplants alike will appreciate TransitTimes Portland, a helpful app that is practically a necessity when navigating this city's intricate web of trains and buses (it not only provides schedules, but allows of cross-town trip planning complete with an itinerary and alerts when the next leg of the journey is about to disembark). The Los Angeles DOT offers GoMetro to help travelers plan routes, find the nearest transit stops, and receive updates about public transportation (delays, cancellations, and so on). San Francisco has Muni+, with bus info and a feature that lets them check the balance on their Clipper card, New York offers NYC Subway to get users around underground, and Washington, D.C. residents can take advantage of Nextbus, an app that helps the public find their way around the city (this app is also available for several other U.S. and world cities). You may have to look around to find similar apps for your own city. But that only takes care of one set of traffic problems. What if you're traversing the city by car and not public transportation? In this case, you cannot do without Google maps, which provides you with all the functionality of your average navigational tool along with a handy street view so that you can actually see the location you're going to for easy identification even from the roadway. And no city-dweller can do without Inrix Traffic, an app that helps to plan your best route based on all available information, including distance, obstructions (accidents, construction, etc.), and real-time traffic. It will even show you the best time to leave for your destination based on traffic patterns. You can also use the wide world of apps to help you find parking. Denver's Parkmobile lets you pay for your parking via smartphone and alerts you when your meter is about to expire, while SFpark (based in San Francisco) tells you where available spots are in busy metropolitan areas based on monitored parking garage entrances and exits, as well as sensors placed at street level to track literally thousands of spots in some of the most popular areas of the city. You probably won't find spaces big enough to fit RV rentals, but a compact-car owner will definitely appreciate the utility of such apps. And of course, the commuters out there will find a lot to love in GasBuddy, a simple app that helps you find the nearest gas stations with the best prices so that you don't get yourself stuck on the freeway indefinitely (thanks to an empty tank).