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The Ultimate Navigation App

I use Waze almost every time I drive, even when I know the way, maybe only to ensure there are no traffic obstacles. Google Maps is excellent too, especially for discovering how to get from A to B by bike, on foot, or by public transit. Still, there are many ways these could be improved.

    1. Include Gas Pricing En Route

    I'm imagining a user-set threshold, where if a gas station has gas below that threshold, it's flagged by the app on the map, alerting you that you could pull over and fill up on the cheap. The threshold could be an absolute $/Litre (or gallon) value or even a percentage below the local average price.

    2. Self-Populate Favorites

    You can set 'Favorites' for places you go to repeatedly (outside of the 'Home' and 'Work' slots), but it's still a manual process. If there was a frequently visited section that was available, that would be good. For example, I took my son to summer camp for two weeks and kept navigating there. It was usually available in recent history, but if it had been bumped down the list by other searches, it would be nice to go to a 'Frequent' tab and pick it up from there.

    3. "Flight Patterns"

    On a related note, our driving patterns are not necessarily Point A to Point B and back again (e.g. home to work commute), but rather: drop the kids off at school then go to work, or pick the kids up from school take them to gymnastics, then grocery shop, etc. If an app could learn and observe these patterns, there might be a route that is optimal for the entire trip that is better than the sum of its individual legs.

    4. Safest Route

    You can pick a route based on the fastest time, and possibly least distance (which ought to translate to least gas consumed), but what about safety? Ideally there should be a safety metric that is measured when route finding. Left-hand turns are more dangerous than right-hand turns (in countries where we drive on the right) by a certain statistical margin. Some intersections are more dangerous than others within the local area, and ought to be avoided. An algorithm to account for these and deliver passengers via the most statistically safe route would be very desirable.

    5. Other Metrics

    Gas consumption, Carbon Emissions, and Scenic Quality are all other options you might want to consider in finding a route.

    6. Hybrid Transportation Routes

    When I choose public transportation in Google Maps, it assumes I have no vehicle so it will have me walk to the nearest bus station. What if I'm considering driving to the train station and taking public transit from there? How long will it take me? Building these routes manually is tedious. Even if I know the time taken I might want to weigh the cost of fares and parking against gas consumption.

    7. Time Vs Money

    The cost of tolls can sometimes be shown in a selected route, but I've occasionally had to manually evaluate whether saving 5 minutes is worth $5 (or something like that). Having a setting to say how much time savings is worth how much money to me might be useful.

    8. Better Advertising

    I can't believe this is something I want, but I guess it's a necessity for these apps to make money. I'm pre-conditioned to ignore advertising, but every time Waze has asked me whether I can recall seeing an ad for certain brands, the answer is always 'No'. I feel like somehow it's known by Google or whatever that I'm a sucker for a good burger, or that I'm interested in outdoor goods and cycling stores and it might be worth pointing those out to me rather than trying to get me to be more loyal to one gas station than another.

    9. High Resolution Voice Customization

    There are voice packs you can install, like if you'd rather have a British accented female voice or an American male, but what if you could adjust sliders to make the voice 'more Cockney' or 'less Texan'? Tough to pull off, but maybe you could even recreate the voice of your favorite celebrity (as in a reasonable simulacrum without getting into legal trouble) or even a loved one.

    10. Mileage Reports

    I haven't used these for business travel very much - I often go into my Google Maps timeline to figure out how much I drove when submitting travel expense reports - but I'm betting this is an area that could be improved and/or automated to save the travelling businessperson time.

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