The Top 5 Transit Apps For Your Smartphone Today
Because transit is about moving people, and many people own a smartphone, transit apps emerged and found their way into the ‘most popular’ section of iOS and Android app stores. With giants like Google Maps incorporating Uber and cycling options for navigation, transit and travel apps that exclude a car-driving option have had to up their game and continuously innovate. What makes some of the following transit apps especially worthy is that they benefit passengers twice as much by also providing valuable feedback to transit agencies, teaching them where passengers want to go and how to improve their service accordingly.
Below are our top 5 transit apps for you to check out, each with its own unique design and purpose:
Itinerum (Travel Survey App)
Itinerum is a free tool designed to allow any user to create a travel survey and share it with a group of people, in order to map out transit channels in a city or region.
Developed at Concordia University by Zachary Patterson as part of a local research project, Itinerum quickly went beyond the scope of Concordia students and faculty, and grew into an international travel survey app used by worldwide collaborators including the City of Montreal, the Ministère des Transports du Quèbec, Montreal’s BIXI and the STM, the Accra Municipal Assembly Department of Transit, amongst others. If you are an organization, municipal body, or governmental agency looking for the most accurate way to learn about your resident’s navigation realities, this is the app for you.
City Logger (Travel Survey App)
City Logger is a new project developed at the University of Toronto with the purpose of better understanding the travel needs of citizens across Ontario’s Greater Golden Horseshoe (GGH) by collecting rich and detailed information from the app’s users. The goal of this valuable crowdsourcing project is to provide wider-reaching data for use in transportation infrastructure locally.
City Logger comes into the GGH area for the very first time, and promises to be a massive game-changer for transit planning in the region. The current travel survey preceding City Logger has been in place since 1986, relying heavily on landline phone survey which misses huge portions of the population.
Similar to Itinerum in function, City Logger comes in to Lake Ontario’s densely populated shore to paint a clearer picture of the city’s travel needs. The app is currently collecting data, starting from October 1st until November 30th.
Transit App (Navigation App)
Developed in Canada, this CUTA member and App Store favorite has won over the hearts of smartphone users across Canada, the U.S., Europe, and Australia with over 80 cities and transit systems in its roster, even including car- and bike-share options.
Transit App is one easy-to-use and innovative navigation tool that any user can rely on. Using location tracking, Transit App will suggest bus routes nearest to you, automatically offer real-time schedules for buses and trains, and allow you to customize and add your most used routes to your favorites. Transit App will also guide you to bike shares nearby, show you where the streetcar is on the map, and tell you if and why the subway is backed up.
With the TTC and Transit Calgary as official partners, Transit App has established its reputation as an innovative technology company that can make the most of a transit agency’ data.
Citymapper (Navigation App)
Citymapper is another well-liked navigation app best known for the useful tidbits of information that can really make a difference on your journey. Aside from letting you know the number of calories walking and biking will burn, Citymapper shows you the fare cost of your upcoming trip and even tells you what end of the train is the best for transfers and subway exits.
Citymapper also has a fascinating ‘Rain Safe’ feature that tries to keep you dry by routing your trip underground or through roofed pathways. Highly praised for its knowledge of the NYC transit system, Citymapper is a great app for cities that are also new to transit apps.
Mini Metro (Simulation Game App)
This one is a bit of a cheat but we had to include it because it is just as addicting as it is fascinating and eye-opening.
Metro-Mini is a simple but very interesting simulation game for smartphones. Starting from a clean map of an international city you choose, you must create subway (or arguably bus) routes to link together the different stops and stations that pop up on your map. As the game proceeds, players face the challenge of allocating resources to the different lines in order to meet the demand for service, either by adding trains, making use of underwater tunnels, or turning stations into multi-line hubs. It really puts subway maps into perspective, and makes you appreciate the clean design of train routes in Tokyo and Paris, which also feature as levels in Mini Metro.
The only thing keeping the game from truly becoming a transit-lover’s dream town is adding a multimodal feature. Maybe Mini Metro 2 will have multimodal hubs, bike and bus lanes, streetcars, and pedestrian pathways?