By Meg Rivera
BACK in the day I used to drive a moped. Apart from the wind brushing my face and no parking fees, I remember loving that traffic was never an issue. You could zip your way through stationary cars before the lights turned and before you know it, you’ve left that jam far behind. Bliss!
These days I drive a car. For the most part, I can’t complain. It gets me where I need to be and it transports more people than you ever could on a moped. I don’t love the traffic though. When I’m on my way home, I often find myself sighing and thinking about the good times. That seems to happen a lot when I’m in a car.
We know that smart devices function as GPS systems. What I didn’t realise that they can also function as traffic guides, telling you which areas to avoid because the traffic is the heaviest. All of these apps need an internet connection to function, but the information you get is up to date. Get home quickly, and never experience the horror of 5pm traffic ever again.
App developer: INRIX, Inc
Available on: iTunes, Android
Easy to use: This is the app you refer to before you make your way out in the morning. INRIX is the serious traffic app, that generates reports for you to read. It also tells you about possible “incidents”, like accidents, road construction and road closures for festivals. It will also navigate your journey for you, like a GPS.
Overall comment: What I love the most is that this app looks just like Google Maps. There is nothing for you to adjust to, and the information you get is pretty darned accurate. Just make sure that you keep refreshing the page, as information seems to be updated as soon as they get it. Brilliant if you want to avoid any kind of delays on the road. Four clicks out of five.
App developer: Sygic, Inc
Available on: Android
Easy to use: Remember those pop-up books you played with as a kid? This app is the updated version of that. When you first look at it, you get a a 3d map of the city you’re in. You get a great view of the streets, with information about the traffic situation kept up to date. The downside is that this app is HUGE to download, at almost 300MB. You will also need to download the country-specific maps that come with it, but hey. At least this app isn’t boring.
Overall comment: With the fantastic visuals, you also get a bunch of cool little features that make life a little easier. Little icons pop up around the map to indicate cafes and shops that you frequent, and you can plot your own route. The app is also connected to your phone function, as the SOS option can ring any police stations or hospitals that are in your immediate vicinity. Lots of function, and an all-around good time. Four clicks out of five.
App developer: Waze, Inc
Available on: iTunes, Android
Easy to use: You cannot expect an app to be difficult when its logo looks like an Adipose from Dr Who (google them. They are adorable.) The information that you see is user generated, so you can assume it’s fairly accurate. I appreciate that it shows you which side of the road has heavy traffic, so even on a single road you can have to different speeds.
Overall comment: I like the functionality of this app, but I think it would do well to read out the traffic reports instead of having them appear on the screen. You can use it when you have a passenger in the car with you, but if you’re going solo it’s a little bit more difficult. Definitely something for the next update. Three clicks out of of five.