From music to health and fitness, app developers are eager to create a new way of simplifying your life.
Right now, there are close to 2.1 million apps in the Apple App Store, less than last year’s 2.2 million recorded. Of those, thousands are dedicated to making driving commutes easier and safer. It started with printed paper directions and evolved into specific gadgets to navigate your drive.
“Back in the old days, people were using GPS software like TomTom and Garmin in their cars to get navigation,” said Atlanta resident and CEO of WebExperts.com, Elliott Augustine. “App developers saw they could eliminate the extra device in your car.”
In 2016, Atlantans spent 71 hours per person driving on congested roadways during peak travel times, according to transportation analytics firm INRIX. It cost drivers, on average, $1,861 in direct and indirect costs like burned gasoline. Statistics show Atlanta’s nightmarish traffic ranked fourth in the nation and ninth in the world. It’s the perfect city for apps like Waze, and drivers from Duluth to College Park are utilizing its potential.
Atlanta driver Michael Parks commutes about 20 minutes to work from his house in Southwest Atlanta. He takes I-75 North from Langford Parkway and knows his time window for leaving his home is narrow.
“If I don’t leave the house by at least 6:15am, traffic coming from the south gets much heavier,” explained Parks. “If I see the interstate is backed up, I have a back way to go to work.”
Waze alerts drivers to that congestion and gives them another option around the Atlanta metro. It’s a must-have app for Augustine, who says this innovative technology has evolved tremendously since the Waze app launched in 2011.
“It’s now looking at traffic or patterns that people drive in the morning. Now it’s more of a crowdsourcing type thing,” Augustine said. “If people are caught in traffic, they can report and it gets sent out to everybody and everybody’s route gets rerouted.”
Drivers can report police traps, hazards in the roadway, crashes, road closures, and traffic cameras. The app even allows you to call for roadside assistance, make an emergency call, or call other Waze users for help if you run out of gas.
Finding a gas station is easier than in the past. You don’t have to wait for exit signs that list how far you have to go to fill up. Just download the GasBuddy app and find out where the cheapest and more expensive gas is, and how far away that gas station is.
“GasBuddy was ahead of the game,” said Augustine. “People need gas. This is where it’s going to be the cheapest and it’s here within your route.”
Finding a parking spot is never convenient, especially in downtown Atlanta. Downloading the Park Mobile app allows you to pay for on-street and off-street parking right from your phone. At the end of the night, the Find My Parked Car app will make tracking down your car less of a hassle. It allows you to save your exact location and view it at a later time when needed, giving you turn-by-turn walking navigation to help find your car.
“It’s a competitive industry. The more you can put into the app, the better. Many of these apps now have voice integration and you don’t have to touch the phone at all,” Augustine said. “It’s super convenient.”
Speaking your commands keeps your focus on driving and off navigating an app on your phone. The key when creating an app, says Augustine, is to increase productivity all while reducing risks when drivers get behind the wheel. The growth and competition among app developers is why Augustine is in the business, and because Atlanta traffic has no sign of slowing down, expect new apps to emerge to help make your life on the roadway a little smoother.