To win the rat race, you’ll need a smartphone as your co-pilot
Putting in an honest day’s work can be challenging enough, so commuting shouldn’t make it any harder. But between freak snow storms, soul-crushing traffic, and off-schedule public transit, the daily migration to and from the office can be enough to make a person “work from home.”
Whether you drive, ride, walk, or do a mixture of all three, these ten smartphone apps will help you get to the office (and more importantly, back home) on time and in good spirits.
MotionX GPS Drive
Lauded by gear-heads and techies alike, this GPS app does it all, from providing turn-by-turn voice guidance to giving you quick access to nearby pit stops like coffee shops and gas stations. Clear maps, speed limit readouts and lane-assist visuals make it a must-have weapon for any road warrior.
MotionX GPS Drive is available for $.99 on the App Store.
There are few work tasks more mundane — or important — than logging your mileage. Triplog takes the sting out of it by automatically starting when your phone is plugged in and you’re moving faster than five miles per hour. With comprehensive tracking reports that are IRS compliant, Triplog lets drivers focus on the road — not on the paper trail — ahead.
You have places to be, and ETA is all about getting you there. Use this app to tag your usual haunts (home, work, the gym, your favorite bar), and it automatically calculates the length of time required to get there. If you happen to be in some random locale, tapping on your hotspot will give you driving directions in a pinch. ETA even works if you choose to walk, rather than drive. Just swipe right, and ETA toggles between steering and strolling.
ETA is available for $.99 on the App Store.
Google’s crowdsourced traffic app, Waze, has been making waves lately, with police requesting that the search giant remove the program’s cop-flagging capabilities. But even if Google does that, this app is a favorite among drivers because it shows real-time traffic and road information. With everything from expected-time-of-arrival to reported gas prices (as well as maps and directions, of course), Waze is basically a smart car in a handset, supercharging commutes for weary drivers.
An Apple app of the year for two years running, this trip planner will get you where you want to go by stitching together public transit, bike sharing, ride sharing and walking information into one place. Only available in certain cities (so check the link before you download), the app gives you multiple options for getting to and fro, but the cool part for walkers is how it calculates walking time and calories. Sure, walking apps do that too, but they can’t help you out if you bail on the journey halfway through.
Walk with Map My Walk
If you’re looking to get a workout in on your way to work, this well-trodden walking app is the way to go. Calculating everything from calories burned and speed to elevation and duration, Map My Walk lets you save your information or even integrate it into Apple’s Health app. And if you’ve got co-workers who are also hoofing it, you can share your fitness activity with them through links to social networks such as Facebook and Twitter.
What’s another public transport app doing in the “walking” section? Well, with Transit, it’s all about getting to your destination. So if you’re walking and you suddenly realize that you’ll be late, pull up this app and check out all your nearby options for alternate modes of transportation. Showing nearby departures from various subway and bus lines, as well as how long it will take to hail an Uber, the easy-to-read app will give you a fresh look at your commuting options.
If getting there is half the fun — forget that — Moovit only cares about getting you there. This no-nonsense trip planner uses real arrival times to map out a route through public transport, sending updates and push notifications when there are delays. The app also offers real-time buss tracking powered by other users, helping commuters in more than 60 cities from Albany to Wichita.
Got time to relax on your ride home? Of course you don’t — you’ve got stuff to do, and Things will help you keep them top of mind. A high-powered to-do list app, this isn’t your average box-checking organizer. Part of a suite of programs designed to keep you on task across your computers, Things pulls up a new list each day. It also lets you tag your items, categorize them any way you please, schedule them for later dates, and group them by project. Dive into it on mass transit to not only extend your day, but be ready for the next one, too.
Things is available for $9.99 on the App Store.
If you feel like you have no time to stay current with the news, this personalized video feed is your new companion for your morning and evening commute. Just tell Watchup what kind of news you’re interested in (entertainment, sports, tech, and others) and what time you’d like your newscast ready. Then, using the latest news videos on the web, Watchup will cobble together a program from multiple outlets like Fox News, The Street, the Wall Street Journal, and others.