The Pandemic had us all locked down inside our homes for months. As it draws to an end, most of us are excited to hit the road. Whether you’re planning your next adventure or just looking to make your daily moving more efficient– we’re here to make it easier for you.
2020 hasn’t seen any new walking route planner in the market. But it has seen upgrades in the existing route planner walking apps. With the new features, future promises, and additional changes- a new showdown had to happen.
So here we are, with the top 5 route planners of 2020. Whether you’re looking for a free route planner app, or a multi-stop route planning software, you’re up for an informative read.
Top Walking Route Planners
Here is a general review of the route planners. We’ve placed them in order, best to worst placed left to right.
|Pricing||Free||Free||Free||Free for first 50 Miles||Free|
|Available Offline and for Download||Yes, but downloadable for a limited duration||Yes||No||Yes||Yes, but download available only on Windows|
|Active roadblocks and closure update||❌||✔️||✔️||✔️||❌|
|Local Businesses, Landmarks||✔️||✔️||❌||✔️||✔️|
Now that we have a general idea let us look into these applications in more detail.
Although launched 15 years ago, Google Maps continues to dominate the mapping industry. Conversely, Google Maps checks a lot of boxes that rank it at the top. It seems to be on the verge of making up earliest with quick updates in the areas it lacks.
It has all the prerequisite features of traffic conditions, quickest route, multiple stops, live updates, and constant navigation to avoid wrong turns. Besides, it provides all forms of travel options, including public transport, making route optimization a breeze.
Further, the street-view and 45 imagery features provide a real-time experience of the locations. Users can also navigate enlisted public services like railway stations, multiple-story buildings, and malls. Inside malls or in subways, one can get step by step view of the location as well. They have separate floor plans in multi-story buildings or transit routes in case of bus stands, train stations, etc.
Find places near me
It is an attractive feature of Google Maps. One can also get general information (ratings, address, phone number, opening/closing hours) about offices, hotels, movies, and other businesses within the map. Further, It integrates ride-sharing services like Uber and Ola, food delivery services, and many other third-party applications.
Additionally, it provides a great user experience. Google Maps is easy to use; It caters to all parts of the world and its inhabitants. Navigating it is extremely simple, and it adds to the feature with 70+ languages. It can be accessed in a dark mode as well. Additionally, one can have a customized experience: my maps feature, and local guide service. You can share alternative routes with a group and vote for the favorite one as well. Besides, it has also launched a ‘My Match’ feature where you can see how good a particular area would be according to your taste.
Now, if you want to save up memory during travel or for some other reasons, the Google Maps Go version is also available. You can save up to 100 times storage with this feature.
The most obvious difficulty in Google Maps arises when you’re entering multiple stops. The manual entering of locations itself is full of hassles. Further, it does not provide the most optimized itinerary for longer stops, just the shortest.
Though Google Maps works well in frequently-visited areas, many users have reported inaccuracy in unique stops or areas with longer address forms. Its updates are also limited to traffic. Additionally, in the case of recent roadblocks by construction works or damage- you might find yourself stuck. Google provides road closure information, but not the latest crash report or road damage. On the other hand, with the wealth of information it gathers from the customers, privacy also remains to be a concern.
Google works best for the areas you are well-accustomed to and the areas frequently visited by others. It might be the best choice for short trips, regular day-to-day activities, or traveling to famous tourist destinations. But when planning for longer routes, and relatively less-popular areas, you need to tread with an air of caution, and a possible backup.
- Quick Route Optimization
- Live And Detailed Traffic Updates
- Public Transportation Options
- Available Offline
- Indoor Mapping
- 3D- View Support
- Highly Customizable
- Find Places Near You
- Better Third-Party App integration
- Google Maps Go option available
- Tedious in travel with multiple stops
- Inaccuracy in unpopular destinations
- Lack of latest update in route conditions
- Privacy Concerns
HERE WeGo is not only a popular service, but its efficiency is also continually increasing. It started as Here Maps and eventually changed its name. Currently, it may not have the most extensive audience base, but it certainly has a loyal one.
This application provides constant traffic updates, and also considers a variety of options of transport- including public means. It gives turn by turn guidance, and a voice option is also available. The routes provided are well-optimized and give you the fastest opportunity.
A useful feature of this app is its offline availability. You have the option of downloading the map of either the entire country or just some region. It is especially handy if you add on to your travel plans mid-way. Further, it provides a seamless and immediate switch between maps of different countries.
Pre-planning is an added convenience with HERE WeGo. Public transport costs, parking places, and predicted delays help you plan better in advance. Information regarding train, bus, bike, subway, trolley, or ferry, is provided in over 1300 cities.
The international coverage provided by this app is also impressive. You can download offline maps of the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, Italy, Spain, and more than 100 other countries.
It does not provide active rerouting. In other words, if traffic conditions change mid-way of your trip, you won’t be rerouted to a better path. It also doesn’t work as efficiently on the offline mode as well as it does with an internet connection.
HERE WeGo is not free from occasional glitches either. Though it is continuously updated, it does not host a wide range of third-party apps integration and business listings within the app as of now.
It is a rising app with huge potential and has come far from where it started. HERE WeGo provides excellent navigation if you know the businesses around an area already. You might also find it handy if you are traveling to multiple countries within one month or week. You will have to look around separately for good stops in between your travel, however.
- Traffic updates and public transport
- Download map of an entire country or of just a specific region
- Offline availability unlimited
- Turn by turn navigation
- Voice guidance and recognition
- Good International Coverage
- No active rerouting
- Lesser third-party apps
- Occasional glitches
Product of Google again, Waze almost feels like a complimentary product to Google. It is a community-based application, which makes it the most unique in the market. Above all, it gathers real-time data from users, making it more relevant.
The most significant benefit of using Waze is that it provides constant updates on the road conditions, apart from the traffic. If there are any road blocks due to construction or strikes, you’ll be updated. Further, it provides the fastest routes, because it is not just the AI at play. It is user generated who know the best routes to help you walk faster.
When it comes to design and customization, Waze is a clear winner. It has a polished design without compromising the ease of navigation. Also, it has the integration of audio apps like Spotify, audiobooks, and podcasts. Users can modify the voice type, even alter it to make it sound like celebrities. Moreover, Waze also customizes routes according to your vehicle, helping you with fuel optimization.
Waze has found most of its audience base in the international market, including among international travelers. It gives users the best alternatives in an entirely new place. The app runs on community data. Consequently, the trust factor is higher. Especially if you are traveling to tourist hub stops, Waze provides brilliant tracking and route optimization.
To address the elephant in the room, it is not available offline. For data-conservative audiences, or those traveling to places without the internet, Waze is out of the question. Also, it is essentially a “driving” app, as it does not include walking, cycling, or public transport routes. So, if you want to lose weight on you walk, it’s not the best app in the market.
Further, it gives more preference to time over the ease of travel. If you’re in a rush, this sounds amazing, but not otherwise. In other words, you might have to go through a dirt road just to reach a destination 5 minutes earlier.
Additionally, Waze’s third-party integration abilities stop at audio. You will not find hotels with reviews, movies with closing hours, and similar features in significant numbers within the app.
In short, Waze is a fun, ‘driving’ app. If you’re traveling outside of the country to unknown areas, or on a road trip- it can be an excellent companion. It’s pleasing to the eyes, and you can have a great app experience with the cool features. For regular usage and navigation, especially if you prefer public transport or other modes of travel, you might want to wait for a few more updates.
- Real-time updates of road conditions
- Highly Customizable
- Integration of Spotify, and other audio apps
- Fastest Route Optimization
- Excellent user experience and design
- Prioritizes time over convenience
- Not available offline
- Lack of local business listings like hotels, menus, etc
TomTom GO Mobile is a turn-by-turn voice navigation GPS application. It is a premium service that operates in over 150 different countries. It is well-equipped with downloadable maps, offline route viewing, precise live traffic, and speed camera alerts.
In the real-time traffic department, TomTom delivers exceptionally well. It receives information via GPS tracking every minute or two. Hard to beat that, right? Due to this, the quickest routes are at your fingertips. Beating traffic jams and other kinds of roadblocks is a breeze.
TomTom also has an excellent user interface. It offers 150+ voice options additionally. It provides plenty of information as well- your speed, location of speed cameras on the route, road’s speed limit, faster lane information, and the probability of delay.
Moreover, an exciting feature of the app is its pre-planning. Before you set out on your way, you can visit their MyDrive website and plan your route. Then, you can share this plan easily in your phone application.
The service is currently available for use in 111 countries.
TomTom is a premium service. You’re allocated 50 miles for free each month. However, if you wish to go more, you’ll need to reach your pockets. The subscriptions are available yearly for £14.99 or over three years for £34.99. The Price point, seemingly only for regular traffic and road updates, is questionable.
- Turn-by-turn voice navigation
- Real-time traffic updates
- Road and route conditions alert
- Traffic regulation and safety alerts
- Available Offline
- Over 100 voice options available
- The Free service ends after 50 miles
Bing Maps started its services in 2005. Today, the system offers a bird’s-eye view, satellite imaging, and directions. It derives its data from several third-party apps, primarily from HERE, and audiences from time to time.
The standout feature of Bing is its excellent image quality. It provides good 3D options, including street views. However, the image resolution is by far the best than in any other route planning apps. You know that you will be safe against the harsh expectation vs. reality of visiting sites as a user. The API is also quite friendly and more comfortable to navigate through.
The route optimization and tracking, ETAs, and real-time updates provided by Bing are very accurate. Bing provides useful traffic updates too. It uses live traffic data but also deploys a system of extrapolation. For example, if minimal information is available about a specific route, it considers surrounding streets to project data. It ensures that no matter where you go, you will not be completely stranded.
The public transport feature of Bing is worth-noting as well. It updates the status of your ride, whether it is on time, early, or delayed. The Trip frequency feature tells users how often a ride runs, which is a useful feature for pre-panning, or multiple stops. Further, it gives alternate routes/times/options even in for buses and trains.
Bing is only available as a Windows application. Further, Bing does not have a good reputation for web version on non-android phones wither. The Apple iOS version is heaping with frequent glitches. It lacks turn-by-turn navigation as well. Their mobile application, in general, is not as good as their desktop version.
It also has not installed options for Bike-riders as of late.
In most cases, Bing is as good as walking route planners get. It’s the easiest to use as a pre-planner. If you wish to get more of an idea about a new place and would like to see if the site matches the review or not, Bing excels over other planners by a high mile. However, If you are an Apple user, or want a mobile application in handy at all times, you might want to consider other options.
- Excellent image quality
- Bird’s-eye view feature
- Constant traffic updates
- Good route optimization
- Available Offline
- Good Public Transport Options
- Windows application only
- Frequent glitches on the web version, especially in iOS
- Bike-riding feature unavailable
Why look for the Best Route Planners?
Firstly, let’s discuss why route planners apps for walking have become vital, especially in 2020. Even if you are already using one for years, you might want to check out some alternatives before settling for one.
The essence of route optimization lies in how much time it saves. The time is not only determined by the distance between points A and B. As a result, various factors like road conditions and traffic status also come into play. Time is money, and with all the time we have lost to the Pandemic, we need to be more stringent.
Route planning isn’t just about getting from A to B. It also isn’t only about getting there fast. Therefore, planners will help you navigate road obstacles, inform you of traffic rules, and show you the overall best ways to get to your destination.
The fuel directly correlates to the time. However, as we have seen above, some applications give users the route planning options according to their vehicles as well. You can get the best fuel optimization with a good road planner.
Depending on the route, time, and fuel, transport costs can vary greatly. If you are planning a longer way, the number of stops required may also alter those costs.
How to look for the Best Route Planners?
When route planners launched, they were a projection of real maps into the phone. However, they have significantly evolved. It is not just about getting from A to B now. As mentioned earlier, time, fuel, costs, efficiency are a few of the factors that are also tackled by a planner. Here are some questions we considered before providing a definitive ranking:
- Does the application provide the best routes? Additionally, how many useful alternatives does it provide?
- How recent and accurate are its traffic updates? Also, Does it match the real-time data?
- Does the application take into account road conditions like closures, blockage, accidents, etc.?
- What is the range of transit options that the application provides? If so, does it consider only self-driven vehicles or public transport as well?
- Is it available offline? If so, does it provide routing even when not connected to the offline? Additionally, can maps be downloaded?
- Overall, how good is its coverage? In how many countries or cities does it operate successfully?
- Is it user friendly? Moreover, is it’s API easy to follow?
- Does it include all areas covered in route planning? For instance, does it provide details on the availability of parking spaces? Or does it give details on gas stations, hotels, or food places on the way?
- How many third-party apps does it integrate? Also, what is the quality of the integration?
Apart from the basic features, we also took some other aspects into account. Some of them are:
- Unique Selling Propositions, like the My Match in Google Maps, and excellent image resolution in Bing.
- Overall aesthetics of the service.
- Personalization features like the ability to modify voices, add reviews, etc
Considering all the criteria mentioned above, Google ranks first in the list of route planners. While all of them are useful, hence the top five positions, there are some areas they lag in behind Google.
Are you looking for Multi-stop route planners for your business?
We have covered the best route panners for personal use. These planners work best for daily navigation, trip-planning, and general use. However, if you are looking for multi-stop planners for your business, you will want to check other paid services. While many small businesses use google for it, there are other better options available in the market. These paid services perform well for delivery, customer management, multiple vehicle tracking, and much more.
To sum it up, Google Maps is one of the best walking route planning applications we recommend installing. However, depending on the user and their purpose, the needs might be different. As we’ve discussed earlier in individual reviews, most of these apps provide unique services where they are the best. So depending on your need, you can install these apps.
Further, these apps also run on background and voice navigation. As a result, in some instances, like on road trips outside the border, you might even consider having two of them installed at once. But the apps are constantly updating. We’re excited to see what holds next for these apps in the future. Meanwhile, stay in touch as we will bring you the latest updates at the earliest!