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New App Compares Driving And Transit By Time, Cost And Carbon Footprint

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There's a new app in the works that will not only calculate the quickest trips, but also show you how much of a carbon footprint you're leaving with each means of transit.

Trip2GO is currently in beta, and you can sign up to be a beta tester here. A partnership among California Partners for Advanced Transit Technology, Metro and CalTrans, the app uses realtime information to figure out what's the fastest and cheapest route, and which is best for the planet, according to Metro's The Source. Mobile users will also get updates as to when their bus or train will be arriving, and one cool thing this app does that others don't is offer a combined driving/transit route. Maybe you'll find you want to park at a Metro station, but take the train downtown. Big note, though: It's only available for Android at this time.

While none of us over at Team LAist are Android users, we were able to play around with the service online.

Let's say I want to go from Koreatown (Western and 3rd) to Chinatown. My fastest means of transit would be by car: eight minutes via the 101. It takes me 29 minutes to make the same trip via public transit—the 207 bus to the Purple Line to Union Station, to the Gold Line to Chinatown. The app says that this method produces 2.24 less pounds of CO2, and gives me 15 extra minutes to chill. And it's cheaper, by $1.43.

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Here's a side-by-side comparison of driving versus taking public transit from Silver Lake to Little Tokyo.

Of course, the differences between driving and using Metro becomes more obvious on longer distances: Santa Monica to downtown, for example. Here, you're looking at time differences of an hour or more—which is great if you've got a book to read and want to show your love to Planet Earth, and not so great if you're in a hurry.

At some points, this emphasis on "downtime" seems a little weird. For instance, I decided to plug in Wilshire/Western to LACMA, which is a straight shot by either car or bus. To get my max chillaxing time, it suggests driving away from LACMA, parking, then getting on a bus and going the other way. Realistically, no one is probably ever going to do that.

The app also doesn't factor in other costs, which you'll obviously want to do. Maybe you're just driving home to your designated parking spot, or maybe you're going to circle around for 20 minutes looking for a place to park before you give up and pay $10 for valet.

While the app is being tested, and if you're an iPhone user, we suggest using L.A. Metro's own Go Metro app or Moovit for public transit queries and good, ol' Google for your driving directions. Google offers real-time bus/train info as well as driving routes and traffic updates, however, we find Go Metro and Moovit it to be more accurate when it comes to bus/train arrival times.