Google’s Google Maps has been giving people walking directions for about eight years now. It’s gotten pretty good, but apps are still better. But what if those apps all had some of that All-Encompassing Mobility—that combo of walking directions, transit times, and maps that brings them all together? There are apps for that. And a new app, called MakePlan, just raised $4.6 million. It’s all about your commute and bringing those things together to help you save time and money.
The app was first revealed last month to be backed by the TPG Growth growth and mid-market investment company. From that announcement, there were some questions about its sustainability and if it would be able to scale out. All of which was answered. In a patent published this week, Google’s parent company Alphabet revealed it is taking significant interest in making the app a reality.
MakePlan is a collaboration between TPG Growth and Apple. And it is the company’s first stab at creating an All-Encompassing Mobility app. It’s free and built specifically for daily commutes, which would see users take advantage of the app to cross the bridge from the stadium parking lot to the 5. A map called Transit Location gives users their train and bus departures as well as times for how long it will take you to get from one transit stop to the next. A subway map shows the directions to your stop and the subway connection.
MakePlan’s plan to provide all of this information for its users is ambitious and worthy of the company’s first investment. And it’s not exactly breaking the norm here in Washington, where we use Uber for our commute.
But we’re entering into an era where people will be more willing to give up a private car if it saves them money. The amount of time people spend in front of a screen and an app is exploding, and automation will make driving less necessary. The line between personal transportation and professional transportation is becoming more and more blurred. And the ability to reduce that private transportation have grown in recent years.
We also have an ageing population. Maybe more mobility apps will help out with that situation, by either educating drivers about the dangers of driving at all or providing information that could help improve it. Or maybe a ride sharing app will solve everything. Or maybe Google Maps will be the main alternative app and better deliver directions. The option is very wide open.
But one thing is clear. We need more transport apps. And the TPG Growth-backed version of that app is probably only the beginning.