This App Helps LA Residents Reduce Commute Time

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The average urban commuter spends 42 hours a year stuck in traffic. For residents of Los Angeles, that jumps around 90 hours. But this week Los Angeles officials announced a partnership with Xerox that seeks to reduce those dreaded traffic jams with an eco-friendly app.

App users will be able to type in their destination and select from a variety of transportation modes: public transit, taxis, driving, bicycling, Uber, Lyft, Zipcar and Flitways. Once the transportation selections have been made, the app will rank the transit options based on what is fast, inexpensive or green. (The green score will be calculated based on carbon dioxide emissions.)

Xerox created the app, called Go LA, and plans to increase functionality by adding ridesharing and parking information. The Los Angeles Department of Transportation will regularly update the app based on feedback regarding popular transit routes.

Mayor Eric Garcetti supports the new app and said: “Go LA will help Angelenos get where they need to go by connecting smart technology with infrastructure. The app helps users move around in faster, cheaper, and greener ways by linking them to all of the transportation options available to them — from freeways, to Metro, to bike routes — while also providing the city with useful data that can help us shape a more mobile future for the people who live and work here.”

To see how the app worked, I tested it out. I typed in my departure location as the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) and entered The Broad art museum as my destination. The app automatically found the fastest route, and with two quick button clicks I was also able to look at the cheapest and greenest routes as well. The default search can be changed in user settings to automatically search for the greenest transit option.

For my particular search, the fastest route was by car (24 minutes), the cheapest route by bicycle (35 minutes), and the greenest route by bicycle (although closely followed by public transit which was 41 minutes).

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One thing to note is that the cheapest route isn’t always the cheapest route based on the automatic app settings. That’s because the app is set so that 10 minutes of time is worth $5. So, the app still lists driving as the cheapest route when the cost to drive is under $5 and ranks it ahead of biking which is free. However, in the settings this can be changed to zero which will ensure you always get the cheapest option.

There are also several other customizable features. For example, you can set your walk speed, your maximum walk time and minimum transfer time. All of these features make the app highly customizable, and you can also save your favorite ride routes. Another user-friendly aspect is that you can easily send feedback about the app by entering your email address and typing in your comments.

In the future, users will be able to integrate their personal fitness and financial goals into their modes of transit and be able to track all of them together.

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A customized version of the app will also be rolled out in Denver next month. You can check out the app on the website or search for it in the Apple store by typing in the search words “Go LA” and “Xerox.”

Image credits: 1) Zan Ilic via Unsplash 2) and 3) Screenshots by the author

Renee Farris

Renee is a freelance strategist who works with brands to help them tell their social impact stories in a purposeful and engaging way. She loves connecting with people and discussing cause marketing. You can chat with her at renee.a.farris@gmail.com or TheSocialInnovator.com.

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