State app gets you where you're going

If you read my personal column earlier this week you know I'm not a fan of the Washington State Transportation Department's (WSDOT) toll system over the SR 520 floating bridge.

But I am a big fan of traveling within this state.

That includes heading over mountain passes to visit family, a touristy trek into downtown Seattle or cooling my heels on a scenic ferry ride to Whidbey Island - one of our favorite haunts.

So that's why I appreciate WSDOT officials for developing a mobile app to monitor travel in the Evergreen state.

The app contains camera views from Seattle traffic and elsewhere around the state.

In addition, it includes high priority travel alerts, mountain pass reports - always key during the winter months - as well as ferry schedules and alerts.

There are some nifty features, too, like a section on the app WSDOT calls "ferry vessel watch," where you can keep tabs on the whereabouts of your ferry.

The app also monitors wait times at the northbound Canadian border for Washingtonians looking to head north.

The app is free, employs social media and has equal opportunity access for Android, Apple, Blackberry and Windows smart phones. The full spectrum of tablets can also plug into WSDOT's mobile app.

As with probably any travel app, WSDOT's will seek to know your location to aid in navigation.

From my own experience, as well as user comments, there's little to quibble with here.

About the only tweak I would recommend is to be able to have the app appear in landscape form on the iPad. I don't have a smart phone, but my hunch the vertical-only orientation is because the app is really geared for a phone screen.

Compared to most apps out there, the iPad version - at least - appears to be quite functional but very basic.

Aside from user complaints such as having to hit refresh every time you want to see traffic camera updates or the fact Seattle traffic is divided into multiple screens, WSDOT's mobile app has a generally good rating.

Android users overall give it a rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars, while Apple users rate it at 3.5 stars.

Unlike the aforementioned toll system, I'd say WSDOT's app is indeed good to go.

You can find it at the app or android stores on-line.


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