How to use Amazon Alexa to make your commute easier

Going to work in the morning can be a stressful activity, especially if you live in a busy city. But your favorite voice assistant can make it a little easier by telling you the fastest route without having to look at your phone.


We’ll show you how Alexa can make your commute a little smoother.


Get traffic updates from Alexa

If you’re traveling to work, chances are you don’t want to add critical minutes to your trip by looking up the latest traffic news. Instead, using Alexa lets you hear a personalized traffic announcement as you prepare for the day ahead.

Once you’ve set up your home and work addresses in the Alexa app, all you need to do is ask, “Alexa, how’s the traffic?” or “Alexa, how’s my commute?” to hear about any delays on your journey. To set your home and work address, simply open the Alexa app (available for iOS and android) and navigate to the More tab, then Settings. Scroll down and tap commuteand then enter your home and work addresses.

Here you can also set whether you want to use Apple Maps or Google Maps as your default navigation app. Now, if you ask, “Alexa, how’s my commute going?” it gives you an overview of the traffic conditions and the fastest route along an ETA.

Include traffic updates in a routine

One of the most powerful aspects of Alexa is the ability to create routines in the Alexa app. Creating a morning routine is particularly useful as you can set an alarm, turn on lights, hear the latest updates and play music without lifting a finger.

But you can also incorporate traffic updates into your routine to make your mornings even smoother. To start creating a routine, open the Alexa app and tap Morethen routine. press the + symbol in the top right corner and customize your trigger. For example, you can use this when an alarm goes off between 7:00 AM and 8:00 AM, or when you say “Alexa, good morning.”

Tap Add action below and then add what you want Alexa to do. To add traffic updates, scroll down and select Traffic. When you’re done, press Save. Now, when your routine is activated, Alexa will tell you what your commute looks like without you even asking.

Find out how to get there by public transport

You may have noticed that under the commute settings you can set your preferred commute type. If you travel to work by public transport, you must set this to Public Transport.

Now, instead of Alexa telling you the fastest route to drive, you’ll hear which bus or train to take, when the next one is, and how long it’s likely to take, including walking time.

Use an Echo Car

The Echo Auto is a useful piece of technology if you don’t have a car with a built-in voice assistant. It can do practically everything a home-based Echo can do, including add items to your to-do list, make calls, and turn on your living room lights — and you can do each without touching your phone.

It comes with a vent and a 3.5mm audio jack, so even if your car doesn’t support Bluetooth, you can still connect the Echo Auto to your stereo system. You only need a USB port to power it.

For example, if you want to get directions, you can ask Alexa, and it will open your commute’s default app on your phone. Or, if you want to hear your Flash Briefing (here’s how to make one) on your way to work, you can just say, “Alexa, play my Flash Brief” like you would at home.

Install commuting skills

There’s also a selection of third-party skills you can use to make the morning (or evening) commute a little easier. Let’s look at three.

Uber

If you usually commute to work via Uber or are frequently faced with unreliable public transportation, you may want to consider the Uber skill. While you still need to give the driver your destination address, you can order an Uber to pick you up without needing your phone. You can also check how far away the driver is and cancel the trip if necessary.

NYC Subway Status & Arrival Times

If you live in New York, commuting on the subway is usually better than taking a taxi or driving through busy streets. The NYC Subway Status & Arrival Times skill allows you to hear detailed information about the status of your regular line or the next arrivals at a particular station. It uses real-time data to measure delays and estimated departures from any subway station in New York.

Public transport departure warning

The Public Transport Departure Alert skill can take finding the best train or bus with Alexa to the next level. Instead of just finding the next train or bus, this skill also takes into account the time you want to get there.

So if you open the Transit Departure Alert and say, “I want to arrive at Venice Boulevard in Los Angeles, California at 7:30 PM,” Alexa returns the optimal service, location, and departure time.

Simplify your mornings with Alexa

Getting to work on time and avoiding traffic just got a whole lot easier when you use Alexa to lend you a hand. Not sure where to start? Try adding your work address in the Alexa app and ask Alexa how your commute is the next time you get ready for work.

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