Apps are an essential component of the modern smart city. While aspects such as connectability, communications and adaptability are essential factors that affect a smart city’s ranking, transport is the most powerful factor by far. A city is only smart and functional if its greatest asset, its people, have the ability to easily and efficiently access all parts of the city whenever they want. Some cities have proven to be innovators by lauching apps that allow people to use and navigate the public transit most quickly and easily than ever before. Let’s take a look at which cities’ transport authorites have produced the best apps for their commuters.
TfL Oyster App, London
The London Underground may be the oldest subway network in the world, but it’s also one of the most technologically advanced. The advent of the TfL (Transport for London) app has allowed all of the great features of the Tube to be integrated into one user-friendly app. With it you can manage and top up your Oyster account, claim back money for incomplete journeys, and even pay for journeys in an instant via Apple or Android Pay – just scan your phone at the barriers.
SL App, Stockholm
Stockholm has long been lauded for having one of the cleanest and fastest metro systems as well as some of the most mind-blowing stations in the world. The free SL app allows both residents and tourists to buy tickets on the app which can last up to 75 minutes from the moment of purchase, which only takes a couple of seconds and is done by clicking a link on the app. Swedish efficiency and some of the best parts of the culture are summed up with savvy, government-sponsored apps like this, which is just another thing we love about Sweden. Although unfortunately people outside of Sweden can’t enjoy the fruits of the SL app, they can increasingly enjoy some of the other highlights of Swedish culture from home, such as tobacco product snus, which is starting to trend in other countries across Europe and beyond. Looks like everyone is catching a little Swedish fever.
MTR App, Hong Kong
The MTR of Hong Kong is legendary in its efficiency and affordability, allowing people to jet across the islands in mere seconds all for less than the price of a cup of coffee. The launch of their very own MTR app has boosted their rankings even further, being one of the most comprehensive and feature-loaded transport apps around. With the MTR app you can plan your routes, do some online shopping from stores located in metro stations, arrange an airport express pickup and receive live updates about all of your journeys. Definitely one of the most useful apps to have on your phone.
And the winner is… the SL app! It seems when it comes to user experience, Scandinavia just manages to win hands-down every single time. The SL app is the easiest one for a newcomer to use, and comes packed with plenty of handy explainers about the transit system. Being able to buy a ticket on the go is also a major plus.