If, like me, you have tried to access journey planning websites via your mobile phone when planning a journey or when you have lost your bearings, you will share my frustration at how difficult it can be. The great news is that many developers have now taken on board the difficulties encountered by customers and produced route planning apps designed to provide a hassle free guide to getting from A to B. There are thousands of journey planning apps available to download, here are a few of my picks.
The Citymapper app takes away all the worry and stress from trying to navigate your way around England’s capital and lets you enjoy your journey. The app covers all different ways of making your way around London including buses, tube, cycling, walking and taxis. The app allows you to compare the best way to travel, based on cost and time. The app also includes cycle routes and live updates on Barclays cycle hire locations and availability. It also provides up to date details of any rail, tube or bus disruptions allowing you to allocate extra travelling time. Like other similar apps the developers rely on public input to help make the mapping more accurate, so there is still room for some improvement. This will hopefully come in future updates. The app is available to download for free on iPhone, iPad and Android.
National Rail Enquiries
The National Rail Enquiries app offers live travel information and the ability to plan train and underground journeys in advance. It also offers a link to main train operating companies to purchase train tickets. There is an option to set your home and work stations on the homepage giving you access to live departure times at the tap of a button. A ‘Get Me Home’ button locates the nearest train station for you when you are out and about. However, what it doesn’t provide you with at this moment is the directions to the closest station…yet! The ‘Live Trains’ button allows you to manually select a station or select a previously used station. The app will then provide you with live train information for the selected station as well as tracking the progress of your chosen train. You can even ask for an alert to warn you if it’s delayed, allowing you to spend some extra time shopping! If you need to get somewhere in a hurry you can programme the app to only display the fastest routes. My favourite setting is the ‘Wake me up’ alarm which will set off an alarm when your destination station is approaching. It is very handy for those of us who like a nap on the train! The app can be downloaded for free on iPhone and Android devices although if you want an Ad-free version it will cost £4.59
Cycle Streets Journey Planner
For all cycling enthusiasts developers have produced a fantastic new app that can plan cycle routes from A to B, anywhere in the UK. You can choose a route to suit your cycling ability using the four routing modes; these are usually faster and hillier routes for the more advanced cyclists and quieter flat routes for the beginners. Users just select the start and finish location by tapping on the map or entering an address. The app uses street network and sustran routes to find the best route for you. All the routes are saved so that they can be re-used by regular cyclists. Photomap is a useful tool that allows you to upload pictures to highlight poor routes or areas for improvement. Like any other routing app the level of detail is improving all the time, so it’s not quite perfect; cyclists in more rural areas have experienced problems with the accuracy of the routes but this is something that will improve in time.