Phones

15 Top Transportation Apps for Planes, Trains, and Cars

You're going on a big road trip, and you've loaded your smartphone with a GPS app, Google Maps, a weather app, and perhaps a currency converter tool. Now what?

Smartphones have opened a new world of accessibility for travelers--from commuter to business jetsetters to adventurers trekking through foreign lands with just the clothes on their back (and the smartphone in their pocket). Getting there and getting around once you've arrived shouldn't be a chore.

Here are 15 apps for various smartphone platforms that can make going from point A to point B less stressful.

1. Taxi Magic

Need a cab? Taxi Magic has the numbers for all taxi services operating in your area preprogrammed for one-click calling. Alternatively, you can book a cab directly through your phone, providing your pickup address and destination without no hold time. Finally, you can track your cab as it wends its way to your address. Among your options for this app are Android and iPhone versions.

Free
Works on iPhone/Blackberry/Android/Palm

2. Cabulous

Need a taxi? Cabulous will let you hail a cab even if it’s blocks away.
A different approach to grabbing a cab, Cabulous shows you a real-time map of taxis in your neighborhood, and lets you hail the one you want, whether it's down the street or halfway across town. Perfect for busy times cab companies don't bother to pick up the phone and you aren't sure where you are.

Free
Works on iPhone

3. UberCab

"Everyone's private driver" provides a real-time map of private cars (sedans, towncars, and the like) that offer an upscale alternative to taxis. UberCab drivers charge 1.5 times the going cab rate, but you may run less risk of encountering sticky seats and you can pay directly through the app.

Free
Works on iPhone/SMS

4. Bixou

The Bixi service is ingenious: Put hundreds of bicycles all around town and let people rent them on the cheap instead of hopping into a pollution-belching car. But how do you know whetherany bikes are available when you need to get home? Enter Bixou, which offers a real-time map of where the bikes are, so you can see where the closest ride is waiting. The service supports Bixi in London, Melbourne, Minneapolis, Montreal, and Washington, D.C. Bixou Lite is a free version of this app.

$0.99
Works on iPhone

5. Avego Driver

Whether you call it "casual commuting," "ride sharing," or simply "bumming a lift," carpooling makes sense both financially and environmentally. But unless you're standing at an official (or de facto) carpool pickup spot, arranging a ride can be tricky. Avego doesn't have a huge user base yet, but it's the best attempt we've seen to connect the low-tech task of begging for a ride to the high-tech world of mobile apps.

Free
Works on iPhone

6. Zipcar

Sometimes you need a car to take you and your stuff to your destination--but who wants to deal with the hassles of contracting with one of the big rental outfits? Zipcar may be the most popular car-sharing company around, and its official mobile app does just about everything you could want, from showing you where to find available cars to letting you reserve a vehicle instantly to unlocking your car's doors when it's time to hop in.

Free
Works on iPhone

7. Park‘n Find

Whether the car is yours or a rental, you'll eventually have to park it. If your memory runs toward short-term and spotty, Park'n Find can help you find where you left your car. The app drops a pin atop an aerial map of the parking lot you're in and tells you which direction to walk in. Park'n Find also supplies an integrated countdown timer to keep track of exactly how much time is left on your parking meter.

$1.99
Works on iPhone

Next: Find cheap gas, plan subway trips, and more

For comprehensive coverage of the Android ecosystem, visit Greenbot.com.

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