Bike share networks are still a relatively new phenomenon in the U.S. — New York is the latest city to institute such a program. But if you’re traveling abroad, these programs are a cheap and easy way to see some of your favorite cities. CityBikes aggregates bike sharing data for networks in over 40 cities in Europe, Asia and North and South America.
The Android app tells you which stations are near you, how to get there and the number of bikes available. If you happen to be traveling in Paris or Barcelona, you can also receive notifications when bikes at stations near you become available.
CitiyBikes is a free app available for Android on the Google Play Store.
The New York City transit system is about as transparent as Kabuki theater, but it doesn’t have to be. Embark makes getting around the big city easy. Use GPS to enter your location or find the nearest metro stop near you, and Embark will display the best route, number of stops, the time to expect your train(s) and an estimated time of arrival.
Embark offers metro data for the New York metropolitan area and 11 other U.S. transit systems.
The app is available for free for your iPhone.
What started as a much-loved web app for New York City subway directions has become an all-in-one transit app that provides door-to-door directions in over 100 cities. HopStop features transit, walking, biking, taxi and hourly car rental info.
You can still access HopStop on your desktop or your mobile device of choice. Download the free app for iOS, Windows Mobile, Android or Blackberryhere.
Why spend $100 or more on a GPS unit for your road trip when you don’t have to? MotionX GPS Drive HD offers you the same turn-by-turn directions of a GPS car unit, plus up-to-date map data and intergration with your address book and music app — all without breaking the bank.
The iOS app is $2.99 and comes with 30 days of free voice guidance for hands-free navigation. Users can pick up a year’s subscription to the voice feature at a 60% discount for just $10.
The last thing you want to do after a long trip is circle the block for a parking spot. ParkMobile will find both private and public parking spots on city streets, at airports, even sports stadiums and let you pay for your spot before you even arrive.
The app also sends you a notification 15 minutes before your parking expires, and there is even a feature to export your costs as a business expense if you are traveling for work.
Map data is great, but you know what would make it even better? Real-time data about delays or services changes.
Roadify not only routes you through the transit systems of many major American cities; the app also pulls in updates from other riders, as well as from the Twitter accounts of each service line. The app also includes a parking service that lets you report available or soon-to-be available spots and see a list of reported ones near you.
The free app is available for all your iOS devices at the Apple App store.
Designed by the same company behind some of the world’s largest bike-share programs, Spotcycle gives you a real-time look at bicycle availabilities. Check the number of available bikes and bike docks at each station, and easily compare them across a city. Want to ride from your hotel to another location a couple times during your trip? Spotcycle lets you create a list of your favorite bike stations to keep up to date on availabilities.
Another cool feature lets you save and share your favorite bike routes and compare them with other Spotcycle users. Plus, use the desktop client to view or edit bike routes on a larger screen.
Spotcycle is available for cities in the U.S., UK, Australia, Spain and Canada. Download the free app for Android, iOS and Blackberry devices.
Never hail another cab again after downloading TaxiMagic. This app for iOS and Android lets you quickly book a nearby taxi or schedule a ride for later. The app works with 85 taxi fleets in 45 American cities.
TaxiMagic also estimates the cost of your trip, whereupon you can pay directly from your phone. If you’re using the service for a scheduled ride and have particularly complicated directions, use the app to message the driver directly to avoid confusion.
Waze uses crowdsourcing to save you both time and money during your travels. GPS data from users updates your map in real-time, giving you current data on traffic jams, speed traps, even nearby gas stations.
Waze’s new gas station feature lets you find the cheapest fuel along your route. The company has partnered with over 10,000 stations to offer users special discounts.
Waze also includes voice-guided, turn-by-turn navigation and the ability to chat with other users.
Waze is a free download on iOS and Android, and a beta version for Blackberry is also available.
Getting out of town for just a couple of hours or maybe just a day or two but don’t want to rent a car? The Zipcar app makes weekend and day-trips easier by integrating into the popular car-sharing service.
From the app, Zipcar members can find and book rentals nearby, extend a reservation, even unlock your vehicle or call customer service in case of an accident. The Zipcar service costs around $60 per year, but this free app is well worth the download if you’re a regular Zipster.