Urban Engines: Public Transit

Urban Engines: Public Transit 2.02

Great transit map for tourists

Urban Engines: Public Transit provides two necessary things for travelers: maps and transit directions. If you're a tourist, Urban Engines works well but there are better options for specific cities for locals. View full description

PROS

  • Provides detailed transit directions
  • Set Home and Work locations
  • Download entire city maps offline

CONS

  • Can't filter by public transit
  • X-ray mode feels tacked on
  • Limited number of supported cities

Good
7

Urban Engines: Public Transit provides two necessary things for travelers: maps and transit directions. If you're a tourist, Urban Engines works well but there are better options for specific cities for locals.

Overload of public transit information

Urban Engines: Public Transit is designed to give you information about public transportation but is currently limited to select cities and a small number of transit agencies. In San Francisco, it contains all major public transit authorities. If you're looking for a stop nearby, you can use Urban Engines' overview map. You can move the map around to browse and pinch and zoom to get a better view of where stops are.

Since Urban Engines focuses on transit, its maps highlight streets and stops and show a simplified topography. By default, Urban Engines uses your current GPS location. From there you can enter your desired location and the app will give you the best route. Urban Engines also gives you different route options with statistics about the reliability of that transit system.

There are two views for transit routes: a map view and comparison chart. Both give the same information, but with different visual layouts. After you choose your route, navigation will begin.

Urban Engines also includes an X-ray mode, which like Yelp, uses your phone camera to overlay a map on what your camera sees. It's not really helpful for finding directions, but if you're looking for a hidden street, it works decently well.

If you're visiting one of the supported cities, you can download a map of the entire city for offline use. Offline maps let you view, search and get transit directions without needing a data connection.

You can also enter your "Home" and "Work" addresses so you can get directions quickly. The app gives the total arrival time, but only works point to point and always thinks you're walking.

Urban Engines: Public Transit is a decent transit app, but its current lack of supported cities makes it limited.

Too much information

While Urban Engines: Public Transit works fine as a guide, it is overly complicated. The interface looks like a model for Android 5.0 Lollipop's Material Design with a lot of different tabs that flow on top of each other. The app also doesn't have a visible "Back" button and using Android 5.0's "Back" button works until you exit the app accidentally.

Directions work well enough, but it tries to combine the best of Google Maps and a city-specific transit planner, making it a little bloated. There's also no way to filter by transit agencies.

The route options are the standard "depart by" and "arrive by" with a "max transfer" option, but you can't exclude certain forms of public transit. You can only choose from the list of route options.

In comparison to Google Maps, Urban Engines: Public Transit is a great option for travelers with its offline maps options, but there are better choices for transit directions for specific cities. BART Runner is an example of an app specifically designed to give you information on San Francisco's BART subway system.

Needs simplication and polish

Urban Engines: Public Transit created a great core utility. Supplying directions for public transit is very helpful for tourists, but anyone who lives in a particular city won't find the app that useful.

The app uses Material Design, but goes overboard will all the different tiles that you can manipulate. Urban Engines needs to simplify the app with a better user flow. When Urban Engines is able to include more cities and transit options, it could be one of the best travel apps but right now, there is room for improvement.

Urban Engines: Public Transit

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Urban Engines: Public Transit 2.02