There’s a Travel App for That!


Like color television overtaking black-and-white in the 1970s, Smartphones have taken over the regular mobile phone. Now most mobile phones are Smartphones designed to work intrinsically with the Internet. The No. 1 way individuals access the Internet worldwide is via their mobile Smartphone.

Smart devices run software in the form of mobile applications. Mobile applications hardly use the computer in your mobile device; they really use the computer of the agency or business you are communicating with. With mobile applications, or “apps,” you have access instantly to a library of information the world has never known.

Apps can inform you about what’s going on around you instantly. From tornadoes to train schedules and traffic reports, there is a proliferation of these mobile tools, and the marketplace continues to grow.

Apps are meant to be simple and direct. Apps are easy to load or delete from your mobile device, and tens of thousands of them are offered at no charge — our government offers many for free.

Never played with an app? There is an army of young people out there in any of the local phone dealers who are trained and paid to demonstrate every aspect of their mobile technology.

We’ve picked some of the most helpful apps for Seattle to improve our quality and efficiency of local transit. Some of the best transportation apps are free and include navigation, traffic and public services.


Local bus, foot transport apps

Are you into using your feet as much as we are? Whether you are cheap, ecological or exercise-friendly, walking is the way to go.


Might you change your residence to be able to walk to restaurants, grocery, hardware, movie theater or museum? Then check your walk score at any address and see the convenience of your community. At press the “Use Current Location” button on the phone and see all the businesses and attractions near you for instant access — even more detail is available.

This sort of technology was only found in cars five years ago, costing thousands. The system you hold in your hand today blows that old, clumsy junk in your car away.


If you are militant about easy public transit close to your home, is for you. This app shows the homes for sale in an area along the bus route of your choice. The app enables you to look for homes in a specific area to take advantage of the public-transit opportunities.

If you like taking the bus for adventure, Estately gives you an oddly different view of a bus route: How many potential residences can you see on one transfer?

Onebusaway uses data collected instantly from the GPS tracking units on top of all the public-transport vehicles from King, Pierce and Thurston counties, among others and shows you on a map exactly how many minutes away your bus is from your stop.

This popular app, created by two University of Washington students, is free and a favorite among bus travelers.


Navigation, traffic apps

If you own a vehicle or walk on our state ferries, you want this Washington State Department of Transportation mobile app contains Seattle traffic and travel information for all of Washington.

The few-years-old app includes statewide traffic cameras, travel alerts, mountain-pass reports, ferry schedules and cameras on the docks for ferry-vessel watch. Just added: northbound Canadian-border courtesy of WSDOT. The information is impressively relevant and broadly helpful, along with being a great energy saver.

One of the most popular travel apps for our area is the one for the Washington State Department of Transportation, which shows travel times & wait times.

Longer-term and more economical parking places are all around Sea-Tac. Check out off-site parking at and follow the Sea-Tac parking link. There’s a map of all the areas, with a matrix of provider, prices per day or week and reviews.


Another widely used and liked traffic app for motorists Beat the traffic is all about “helping you spend less time stuck in traffic.” You can personalize and create your own routes, then sculpt your driving to waste less time. Right now, Google is the king of computerized maps on the Internet. But how long will that last? Competition is mounting. When you are buying a mobile Smart device, ask the guru in the store to show you all about the mapping software and exactly what is available for your machine.


On a different device of the same size, do a side-by-side comparison against Google maps and all its features. How do you like the way it shows you directions? Does it adjust for walking, bicycles or automobile? Can you see photographs of the address you are hoping to find? Can you talk to your map?

With the app on our Smartphones we are able to — while driving with a mono headset in a left ear — say, “Hi, Phone, please navigate to business name or street address with ZIP code.”

Quietly listening to step-by-step navigation with quiet passengers in difficult areas is your safest solution.


Another highly rated traffic app,, claims you will never be late again. A nationwide application, the Inrix telematics is used for in-car navigation for many automotive companies.

Inrix app gives you small, neighborhood detail and allows others to follow you.

Like the other navigation/traffic apps, Inrix can help you avoid situations before you become part of them and offer up-to-the-minute information.


Parking apps

There are many parking apps — some of the more popular are Central Parking, Best Parking and Primospot.


Primospot has information about parking garages, city street parking and bicycle parking. The garages and prices are mapped. It cannot yet pinpoint an open city street spot, although they are working on it.

Currently, it provides the rules for every spot. It has a reminder for time and a map to take you to your car, liked by many for avoiding towing and tickets.

The best way to really understand if an app is for you is to download it on your mobile device and play with it. You may find some great, little, niche apps along the way. For instance, if you cross the bridge to Bellevue, often you might want the 520/90 app (, to find out which bridge is faster and cheaper.


If you’re hungry on the way, try to locate a restaurant coupon wherever you might be. Pirq’s tagline, “Discover More, For Less,” neatly sums up the world of apps.

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