The prevalence of smartphones in everyday life has made it immensely easy to access thousands of apps which provide useful (and not so useful, sorry Taco Text) information, from health monitoring to how to cook a chicken. The beauty of all of that data packed into your tiny little phone is that getting around Arlington County has never been easier. We’ve compiled a list of great apps to simplify your transit options in the area.
Transit apps (all encompassing)
CarFreeAtoZ is a trip planning tool for commuters (and every day transportation as well). It is the only platform that lets you see bus, metro, carpooling, Capital Bikeshare and walking all in a single interface. The program is not technically an ‘app’ in the traditional sense of downloading a program onto your phone. Rather, you can go to CarFreeAtoZ.com to plan your trip in advance and to know all your options.
This app stands out in the list because it can be used in major cities in the US and in Europe. The app provides tons of transportation options from your current location, even offering alternatives to the fastest route in case you would rather be on a bus instead of underground. This app should be on every transit user’s phone as you can mark favorite routes as well as set alarms so you never miss your bus! The app also shows ART bus routes.
Bus and Metro apps
Tracks Metrobus, DC Circulator and Metro rail in real time to help you plan accordingly. As mentioned above, unfortunately, no ART buses are tracked/
Not interested in when buses are coming and don’t need it clogging your interface? Here’s your solution. Capital Rails tracks Metro train arrivals, anytime and anywhere.
Capital Bikeshare’s official app for station locations, bike/dock availability and locations nearest to you. Any Capital Bikeshare user who has used this app swears by it, allowing you to make sure that you can get a bike from your desired location and confirm that your destination has open docks available. Spotcycle, similar to Transit, can also be used in other cities as long as the city has a compatible bikeshare system.
Bridj looks to connect under-served commute routes in the DC area by providing express service with dynamic bus stops. Look out for Bridj coming to Arlington County in the future. You can read all about the service in Brendan Casey’s post on the subject here.
Both Uber and Lyft have carpooling capabilities that charge you a discounted rate for your trip with the understanding you may match with other riders on your route. When ordering your car you will be prompted with the option to share your ride and the price of your trip is given in advance! You can often save 40% off your trip by selecting the pooling option.
As you can see from this list, there are plenty of apps that make travel in the area easier. Mostly, it comes down to preference of interface and usability when deciding which is best for you! I, personally, have been using Transit exclusively for help finding routes around Arlington. Also, I tend to use Spotcycle on a daily basis to make sure I’ll have a bike and bike dock waiting for me at each end of a Capital Bikeshare trip.
Editor's Note: This blog was first published in August 2015 and has been republished with updated information written by Jonathan Bollhoefer.Photo Credit: Sam Kittner/Kittner.com