The 7 Best Traffic Apps of 2021

Are you using the right one for traffic in your area?

Timing is everything, especially when it comes to your daily commute. A long road trip is subject to weather, closures, and peak traffic times. Save yourself some time behind the wheel and check out these apps that are ready to guide you quickly to your destination.

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Tried and True Navigation: Google Maps

Google Maps Navigation App Best of 2018

Google 

What We Like
  • Saves frequent locations.

  • Links to Google Reviews for points of interest and recommendations.

  • Download maps for areas where you're headed.

  • Projects what time you should leave locations to make your next appointment.

What We Don't Like
  • Sometimes unsure which direction the user is traveling.

  • It drains the battery.

Google Maps is one of the most prominent traffic navigation apps. It's evolved over the years from a basic turn-by-turn service to warning of traffic events and predicting the time you should leave to arrive at that meeting on your Google Calendar.

Google Maps isn't limited to cars and trucks. Use the app to get walking, cycling, and public transit directions. The Street View shows panoramic images of many locations.

With nearly 14 million downloads in the Google Play store, it's a solid choice for your navigation. If you aren't sure you'll be near a cellular or Wi-Fi connection, use the app to download your maps for offline viewing.

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02
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Proactive Navigation Exclusively for iOS Users: Maps

Apple Maps Navigation App Screen Shot

Apple 

What We Like
  • Attractive iOS-style interface.

  • Receives regular updates.

  • Integrates with Siri.

  • Look Around feature.

What We Don't Like
  • Not available for non-Apple devices.

  • No offline mode.

The Apple Maps app was late to the traffic-app party and had to deal with some bumps in the road before it became a worthy rival to Google Maps. Apple now offers improved maps and satellite imagery, city guides, and cycling navigation.

The Apple Maps app provides recommendations for travel times and routes based on your frequent locations and your calendar. Maps also provides Yelp reviews and informational links for points of interest.

Maps comes loaded on Apple iOS and iPad devices. If you deleted it, download it from the App Store on your device. It is not available as a website or for non-Apple devices.

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03
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Navigating Smarter With Friends: Waze

Waze traffic and navigation app for iOS
What We Like
  • Voice controls for hands-free navigation and event reporting.

  • Alerts-only mode for heads up on road hazards and police without turn-by-turn directions.

  • Reports your ETA to friends and allows them to track your progress.

What We Don't Like
  • Spotify integration is cool, but the widget gets in the way when tracking a friend's drive.

  • Cluttered maps can be confusing.

  • Battery drain higher than Google Maps.

Now owned by Google, Waze has all the knowledge of Google Maps paired with input from users on traffic conditions, road hazards, speed traps, and more. Additionally, it takes the calendar integration one step further and checks your Facebook events along with your Google Calendar, alerting you for when you should leave to make it to your appointment on time based on current traffic. It can even customize your voice options by recording your own voice to give directions.

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04
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Global Navigation With Real Views and Heads Up Display: Sygic

Sygic Navigation App Heads Up Display

Sygic 

What We Like
  • Great turn-by-turn navigation.

  • Additional features are priced individually, so you only pay for what you want.

  • Global user base and offline capabilities make this an excellent choice for navigation outside the U.S.

What We Don't Like
  • Some features, like traffic premiums, are $10 to $20 each.

  • Monthly subscriptions renew automatically, so beware if you go that route.

Sygic Navigation & Maps provides typical navigation app features, such as turn-by-turn directions and search functions, but it's also full of add-on perks. The base app is free, including offline options for downloading maps. Add-on features—many less than $5—include the ability to project a heads-up display and to see real views of your route.

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Still Navigating, Now With Traffic Cameras: MapQuest

MapQuest navigation app
What We Like
  • Access to traffic cameras to see road conditions.

  • Turn-by-turn directions and alternative routes based on live traffic conditions.

  • Customization for icons and frequent destinations

What We Don't Like
  • Map data is not as robust as Google-based options.

  • May track your location in the background (check your settings), which is hard on battery life.

You might remember MapQuest as the program from the 1990s where you put in start and end locations and—wait for it—printed out the directions to take in your car. MapQuest has progressed since then, providing a solid app for turn-by-turn navigation with handy features like favorite locations and night mode.

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06
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Offline Metropolitan Navigation: HERE WeGo

HERE WeGo Navigation app
What We Like
  • Downloading maps to work offline keeps you in the know even when you're on a subway or running out of data.

  • Choose from options like shortest distance or fastest in selecting your route.

  • Public transportation information, including fares.

What We Don't Like
  • Voices are a little robotic-sounding.

  • Does not automatically convert to your current location's units of measure if you travel.

HERE WeGo is your go-to for city navigation, especially if you need access to maps offline. Live traffic and public transit information, fare information for public transportation, and recommendations for whether a bus or a cab is your best bet are all part of the app. With information for over 1300 cities, this is the app to turn you into a professional city slicker.

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Best Live Traffic Alerts: ETA

ETA best live traffic alerts app
What We Like
  • Beautiful user interface.

  • Estimates travel time for driving, walking, and transit.

  • Includes Apple Watch complication.

What We Don't Like
  • Not available for Android.

  • Runs in the background, which decreases battery life.

With a glance at your iPhone and the ETA app, you can see the travel time to your favorite places—by car, walking, or public transit. The app integrates with Messages, Siri, and Today View to provide a gorgeous way to remain punctual and let your friends or coworkers know precisely when you'll arrive.

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