| Doris N Truong |
WASHINGTON (WP-BLOOM) – For globe-trotters with a decent data plan, Citymapper points the way, whether you’re on foot, pedaling a bike, using public transit, hailing a cab or visiting with a jetpack from the future.
Citymapper, launched in London in 2011 as Busmapper, has spread to Washington, New York, Boston, San Francisco, Chicago, Paris, Berlin, Madrid and Barcelona.
It is constantly evolving with feedback from users — even letting them choose which locale to map next.
The app — which I tested in London, New York and Washington — recognises street addresses as well as the names of major landmarks, businesses and transit stops. In some cities, it provides a cost comparison between certified taxis and Uber-type services.
Probably most useful, though, is its smooth integration with live transit updates.
I was showing the app to a friend in Washington when he said, “But I want to know if there are Orange Line delays.”
A couple of taps, and voila. Citymapper assured us the trains were on schedule.
The app also shows you exactly where a bus route or subway line goes and where the bus or train is at the moment. You have the option of a live map or a list view.
Both views provide the user’s location in relation to the closest stop.
Cyclists can choose between fast routes or quiet routes and see a map of nearby bike-share locations.
Citymapper also estimates how many calories you’ll burn depending on mode of transport, with comparisons to food portions (117 calories equals seven per cent of daily intake or 0.5 cupcakes or 0.6 bags of chips).
But what if you want to limit your data usage?
For Washington, the app has an offline Metro map, and you can save any personalised set of directions for offline access — handy if you know where you want to go for the day.
The app also remembers your recently queried locations.
Among the only things I wish it had: audible turn-by-turn directions so I don’t have to keep looking at my phone to make sure I don’t stray off the planned route.
And Citymapper is not the best choice if you’re driving yourself.
Map integration seems to extend only as far as a city’s transit system.
Back to the jetpack: Besides
all the useful options for dete-rmining your best way to travel, Citymapper has a few whimsical features.
One is the inclusion of travel time by jetpack or catapult — all much faster than any of the existing alternatives.