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If you ever travel in London, you need to download CityMapper right now

Posted at 8:00 am, May 29, 2013 in Technology, Transport
CityMapper's journey planner colours their tube icon to give you a better sense of how you'll be travelling

CityMapper is a London journey planner app and candidate for Best Thing Ever – here’s why.

When I first heard about CityMapper, the free journey planner app for iOS and Android, I was taken aback by my friend’s evangelical zeal. “You have to get it,” she insisted. “This app. It’s the answer. To everything.”

Some time later I can confirm that she was basically right: it’s so slick, oil is jealous.

CityMapper is essentially what official app ‘My TfL’ ought to be. Plug in any journey, and it’ll generate a plethora of ways to travel. Want to walk? It’ll show you a route, estimate the time it’ll take and how many calories you’ll burn. It’ll do the same for cycling, offering you both ‘fast’ and ‘quiet’ routes – or if you’re feeling lazy, an estimated taxi fare is also provided.

For public transport, it colour codes the tube icons and embeds bus route numbers in the overview, so you can see at a glance the journey routes it’s suggesting:

CityPlanner suggests routes

Compare that to the standard Journey Planner look and feel:

My TFL suggested route

Click a route and you’ll get a really detailed step-by-step breakdown of your journey and a nice, Apple Maps powered map (cf. the weird own-brand map view in My TfL)

city-mapper-travel-step-by-step-2

Buttons at the bottom let you switch between suggested routes without having to return to the overview page.

There are other handy features. The ‘take me home’ button, for instance, instantly routes you home from wherever you are. Hate the tube? Bus-only routes are right there on the main page. Hate buses? There’s a rail/tube-only route included to. It’s even got an estimated travel time by ‘catapult’, illustrated by a flying Boris. Seriously.

CityMapper: travel London by catapult

Cycle hire users will appreciate the live docking station maps too:

CityMapper with cycle hire information.

Throw in tube status alerts, live departure boards for every train station and weather forecasts too, and it’s a a must-have for anybody that ever goes anywhere in London. It also shows the huge benefit of TfL opening their up data so others can create apps based on it – CM’s user experience geniuses get to reinvent the smartphone navigation experience, people find their way home easier, and TfL can get on with making sure the trains run on time. Lovely stuff. Guy Parsons

Download CityMapper for iOS or Android, and hey – don’t forget the Time Out London mobile app either!

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