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Lessons from new Go LA app: Uber burns fewer calories than driving yourself

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti on Wednesday announced the launch of a new, comprehensive trip-planning app for the region developed by Xerox Corp.

The Go LA app works much the way Google Maps does, generating times and routes for walking, biking, driving and transit between two points.

But the new free app also offers options for ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft and shows the cost, carbon footprint and calorie burn for each choice.

Users can set their preferences for which transit modes they would like to include for potential routes and sort trip options by which is fastest, cheapest or greenest.

The screenshot at left shows selected mode options to include in route searches. The screenshot at right shows suggested routes filtered by which are cheapest. You can also select "Sooner" or "Greener" as filters.
Go LA/City of LA
The screenshot at left shows selected mode options to include in route searches. The screenshot at right shows suggested routes filtered by which are cheapest. You can also select "Sooner" or "Greener" as filters.

Our initial test run of the app yielded some interesting observations:

  • Driving is sometimes the cheapest option, though the app doesn't figure in the cost of owning a personal vehicle, just the price of gas.
  • You can burn more calories driving yourself than kicking it in the backseat of an Uber or Lyft car. Riding a motorcycle burns even more calories — although, of course, biking and walking help your waistline the most.
  • While the app lets you compare the cost and time to use a ride-hailing service compared to other options, it only lets you select one service at a time. So you can't compare prices between Uber and Lyft for the same trip.
  • On its default settings, the app shares your data with the city and Xerox, although anonymously. Officials want to use the data on trip choices for future transportation planning. If you want to opt out, you have to deselect the option in settings.

Go LA can be dowloaded from the Google and Apple app stores or from www.golaapp.com.

Have you tried the app out yet? Let us know what you think about it in the comments or tweet us @KPCC.