Solving Cities

App finds best transportation option for your wallet and waistline

App finds best transportation option for your wallet and waistline

Posting in Environment

When deciding how to get from one place to another there's a lot to consider. How long will it take? Which is the most expensive? Which has the lowest carbon impact? An app takes the guesswork out of the process.

When deciding how to get from one place to another there's a lot to consider. How long will it take to walk, drive, or ride the bus? Which is the most expensive? Which has the least strain on the environment? Google Maps can give you an idea of how long it will take to drive, walk, bike, or ride transit, but the other considerations are left up to your better judgement.

But thanks to the app Reroute.it, you can take the guesswork out of which transportation option is the best on your wallet and your waistline, your clock and your conscience. Like most route-mapping services, you start using Reroute.it by entering your two destinations. But instead of just getting a map with the directions and the time it will take to get there, you get an easy to read chart that compares five transportation options -- walking, biking, driving, riding transit, and taking a cab -- with cost, calories burned, total time it will take, and the carbon impact of the trip.

In the image above you can see the options I have for getting home from where I'm writing this. The verdict? It's time to invest in a bike. In this case, it's relatively faster and cheaper. It's also a decent workout and good on the environment. But since I don't have a bike or car to choose from it looks like I'm down to three options. The cab is too expensive, and even though I could probably use a good walk, it looks like transit's the best option.

The app, created by fellows working with Code for America, recently won an award for the "best transit app" of the year.

The numbers aren't 100% accurate, of course. There are lots of assumptions made in the calculation in order to get to final numbers -- you're driving a single-occupancy vehicle, you're 160 lbs, etc. It would be great to be able to change the trip-specific or individual-specific information to get a more accurate number. But that doesn't take away from the best part of this app. The app makes it easy to, in at least a general sense, compare all the different factors that go into making a wise transportation choice without the hassle.

Share this

Tyler Falk

Contributing Editor

Tyler Falk is a freelance journalist based in Washington, D.C. Previously, he was with Smart Growth America and Grist. He holds a degree from Goshen College. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure