Primo Spot maps when and where street parking will free up (currently available for New York City). Color-coded icons indicate how soon parking zones will become legal, and which ones are a “bad idea.”
Weaving through traffic in search of a parking spot drains your gas tank and your patience. It also compounds traffic snarls. Primo Spot ($5.99) is a crystal ball that maps when and where street parking might free up in metropolitan areas. Information is currently available for New York City, with other cities following soon. It can be accessed via an iPhone or cell phone Web browser. Color-coded icons indicate how soon parking zones will become legal, and which ones are a “bad idea.” Tell Primo Spot once you’ve parked and the app will tag your location and warn you before the spot becomes illegal again (because there’s nothing green about taking a cab to the impound lot). Primo Spot even shows the location of bike racks with photos of each one, as well as rates and locations for paid garages. www.primospot.com
After struggling with the chore of tallying his carbon footprint trip by trip, London grad student Andreas Zachariah set about creating a mobile app that does it for him. Carbon Diem (price to be announced), which works with any BlackBerry, has yet to become publicly available. However, Zachariah says that by using the built-in GPS in his BlackBerry and identifying motion patterns, Carbon Diem can tell if he is walking, driving, flying or taking the train or bus. Based on this information, it creates a tally of carbon emissions. Zachariah says he hopes companies will be able to better aggregate the carbon footprint of their employees via networked mobile devices. www.carbondiem.com
A well-maintained car is substantially more efficient than one that is just clunking along. CarCare ($2.99) for the iPhone can make maintenance and regular service more manageable.It allows you to track any type of service via your iPhone, and then lets you know when, for example, to change your oil, rotate your tires or even wax your car. The more you use it, the less you will need RepairPal, a free app that displays the estimated cost of fixing an array of automotive ailments. www.karlbecker.com/carcare or repairpal.com
Where pulls together a number of helpful services into a bushel of widgets for finding the stuff you need. You can download it free to your BlackBerry, Helio or iPhone, as well as access it on the Web. In addition to serving information from GasBuddy, ShopLocal and Yelp, Where also displays the location of Zipcar stations around the city. www.where.com
Considering the number of social networking apps for the iPhone, it’s surprising we don’t see more geared toward ride sharing. Carticipate (free) is a shining example of the potential of mobile devices to make driving more efficient. It lets you enter your trips, browse where others are headed and view routes in Google Maps. Find someone headed your way and you can e-mail, text or call him or her from within the program and possibly bum a ride or get someone to ride with you. Coming soon will be a chat function via Indalo. Carticipate is available on the iPhone and on Facebook, with other platforms to be announced soon. www.carticipate.com
Not only do traffic jams pump out greenhouse gasses, recent research even suggests that sitting in traffic can raise the risk of heart attack. You can visit traffic.com (free) on the Web before heading out, or the very light and quick mobile version (mobi.traffic.com) via your cell phone’s browser. Search by city or customize it for your own commute to view traffic snags, scheduled construction, length of delay and average speed. www.traffic.com
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