How does one find the “best” route planner apps? One place to look is a directory like Capterra. The issue here is that the information is generic and does not guide the user in these areas that matter. It does not answer the question that delivery drivers most want to know, “What will solve my problem in the easiest, quickest and most cost-to-value way?” Content is what will help answer this question. Here again, there are many articles about “the best app for planning delivery routes.”
In this article, we wanted to provide a comparative analysis using real live testing to definitively compare applications to give a measurable comparison so that delivery drivers – like you – can make the best choice of a route planner. Without further ado, let’s get to it!
Table of Contents
Results: The Best Multi-Stop Delivery Route Planner
So the verdict is in! Following our research methodology and our first-hand testing, we’ve gotten the results you see below. If you want more details on our methodology and our findings, please consult the sections below.
Problem: Journey and Pain Points of a Delivery Driver
Before we go into our methodology, we will track the journey and pain points of a driver.
The Journey of a Delivery Driver
In the very simplest terms, a driver doing deliveries has a similar path. has the following journey or path
- They receive orders (either by email or over the phone)
- Eventually, they get a list of addresses and deliveries to make, usually in an excel spreadsheet;
- Then there’s a route planning phase: They need to plan or schedule a route with multiple points.
- They use a route planning tool (or not) to map out these points to deliver;
- They then use software to navigate to the different drop-off points and create the path.
There are many pain points along the way. In the end, it comes down to time and money.
- The route planning for drivers often takes a long time to figure out the optimal route to save time and money. This fact is especially true in multi-stop route planning;
- Optimization of route planning is almost impossible to do for drivers;
- Drivers just want to spend time delivering and not multi-stop route planning;
- Assess how many vehicles to meet the needs of all clients;
- Calculate the algorithm to find the distances;
- Assess what capabilities they need to address the volume of products to deliver.
Examples of Three Use Cases Where Route Planning is Needed
This article will simulate how long it would take to add ten addresses into a route planning app. Below are three examples of use cases, or delivery businesses, that have a delivery service and require a route planning tool.
- Food delivery industry: 10 orders of food to bring to homes;
- Pharmaceutical: 10 orders of medication to deliver;
- Brewery: 10 orders for local breweries to drop off kegs.
Methodology: 4 Data points to measure the “Best” Route Planner
Because we wanted to give delivery teams and drivers a clearer picture of which tool would best fit their route planning needs, we tried to figure out a series of criteria that were as objective or at least useful as possible to allow for a basis of comparison. In short, what we chose as the requirements are what’s essential for route planning software, but any software in general. They are 1) efficiency, 2) User Experience (UX), 3) Core Features, and 4) Value. Here is a bit more detail on each.
Efficiency is crucial in route management. Often people focus on profit and overlook the dramatic importance of efficiency of mapping software, e.g., units of output divided by units of input. Many have written on the subject, for instance, the no-nonsense guide to productivity so that we won’t go into further detail. What we’ll say is that the efficiency score is out of 5. We will be using the following data points to give a rating to each of the apps: the speed to log in, the Speed to create an account (registration, verification, etc.), the speed to upload ten stops, and optimization (the key-value feature).
For more information, see How to Be Efficient Route Planner: 5 Critical Questions That Will Save You Tons of Time and Money
The score is out of 5, and we will be using the following data points to give a rating to each of the apps. The user experience criteria measure the overall look and feel, the simplicity with which a completely new user can navigate and intuitively discover the application. It looks at the workings of the fundamental core feature of route planning: the added stop and optimizes features.
The score is out of 5, and we will be using the following data points to give a rating to each of the apps. For this, we looked at the key features one would look for in a route planner application. This list of features includes the ability to create routes, save routes, add many points to routes quickly, optimize, and the ability to share routes.
The score is out of 5, and we will be using the following data points to give a rating to each of the apps. The definition of value is the price and the amount of value you get from the software. In this instance, a free app may not bring you as much value as a paid app. In fact, in most cases, paid apps provide you more value. It’s up to the user to understand and measure value. We aim to do that in this article.
Plan quickly, deliver faster, delight customers and get home early.
Everyone deserves to have simple and easy route planning.
Findings: The Top 5 Ranked Apps and How They Fared
1 – Upper Route Planner – Score 17.5/20 – Grade (A-)
Efficiency Score – (4.5/5)
- Time to input 10 addresses: Our recorded time was approximately 2mins40 seconds. This result was the fastest time among the apps tested.
- Login Flow: The only real knock here is the registration flow, which can be time-consuming because of the email verification stage. A new user can bypass this by creating a “guest account.” This process is quite rapid and allows a new user to access the home page to create routes quickly.
- Create route flow: What is useful here is that the user has choices about how they want to create a route. If they wish for an efficient path, they can create a “quick route” or create a route with advanced settings. In essence, this is a blend of a strategy or some other applications which have either just the simple route or the advanced routes as default options and do not give a user any choice.
- Address/stop input: As we look at a multi-stop process, the critical efficiency we are looking for is in terms of the address input. Upper scores are quite high here as they have done an excellent job of eliminating unnecessary steps (double taps, confirm, etc.). There is room to improve the efficiency of specific users. Overall, they do an excellent job of allowing users to add inputs quickly.
- Closing Remarks: Overall, Upper did a great job in this field. There could be efficiencies in specific flows, like the verification flow, hence the score of 4.5.
UX Score – (4.5/5)
- Design and Feel: The new Upper update offers a refreshing new look that is crisp and easy on the eyes. They follow many design and branding best practices, including a good color selection, excellent font selection, and simple, gentle transitions between stages of the user journey.
- Initial experience: The initial experience was simple and easy. The initial logo screen looks beautiful, and the home screen is intuitive and straightforward. The flow to lead to the add routes page is direct and straightforward.
- Add stop UX: The team has done a great job of fixing the previous version’s issues. In version 2, Upper’s “add stop” module is intuitive, simple, and efficient.
- Closing Remarks: As always, there is still room for improvement, hence the grade of 4.5.
Core Features Score – (4/5)
This section outlines which of the core features and provides some feedback, if any.
- Route Optimization feature: yes.
- Max Stops: Unlimited.
- Number of Users: Unlimited.
- Saved Routes: Yes, unlimited.
- Add Notes, Signatures, and Photos: Yes to all three. Upper is the only solution to have all three.
- Share to Drivers / Team Members: This is where Upper loses some points. There are unlimited team members. However, the share feature is not as intuitive as one would want it to be. This small fault is the only reason they lost points in this section.
- Other features: Upper has many cool features: advanced reporting for routes and for users, time windows or at least urgent stops, real-time updates.
Value Score – (4.5/5)
- Pricing: $10.99 – available on the App Store (iPhone) and Google Play Store.
- Value for Delivery Drivers: The value for each dollar spent that Upper provides is arguably better than the competitors. The product offers many more features and value than Road Warrior, notably the max number of users. Also, Upper provides a complete solution (Web, Android, Apple (iOs, iPad) for its application, where Route4Me is mobile-only for $10.99.
2 – Route4Me – Score 14.5/20 – Grade (B-)
Efficiency Score – (3/5)
- Time to input 10 addresses: 4 mins 40 seconds.
- Login Flow: Sign up process for Route4Me wasn’t unpleasant. The process was too long and time-consuming. For example, search through a long list of industries in a dropdown.
- Create route flow: Route Creation – lots of steps to be able to add a route. There is no easy way to create a simple route to get going.
- Address/stop input: Load time for adding inputs. It took very long to load a stop. Prolonged latency for adding address = every time you generate a search, it can take several seconds. This latency really slows down the process tremendously.
UX Score – (2.5/5)
- Design and Feel: There were some pleasing design elements, for instance, on the login screen; however, there is an overall inconsistency through the app.
- Initial experience: The initial flow is long and unpleasant. For starters, the registration process is long and tedious. There were many questions, and also, when asked to select an item from a dropdown menu, the list was very long (for industries), which made it a long process. The other unpleasant aspect was that the menus had a small and hard font to read (blue on grey). Also, Once I sign up, I was brought to a dead-end screen. Therefore the user journey was unclear as to where to go next.
- Add stop UX: This appears to be more for an advanced use case. Adding each input is a complex and inefficient process as there are multiple taps to add a single stop. Time-consuming. When adding a stop, it goes through a complicated UX journey, where it talks about validation, then shows an image and a bunch of options without any context. At first glance, these don’t appear to be useful when I just want to plug in and go. The new address pop-up takes a while, and while it loads, you can still tap “add another destination,” and this creates two windows stacked on top of each other. This process is confusing and time-consuming. For a stop, it did not detect when I typed it in, and it gave me Paris France instead. I had to write the full address to recognize it (it took a while) finally. Finally, Add address had only one suggestion – when I typed in the # and street name, it gave me an address in another city. What I would like from a User standpoint is a list of addresses that I can choose from. Example 131 Main Street Boston, 131 Main Street, New York, 131 Main Street, Austin, etc. Because of this design, I had to type in the city name as well. This flow slows down the process. In other words, it needs the exact address name – you need to type in “street” for it to recognize individual addresses.
- Closing Remarks: Overall, there were many UX issues and bugs in this route optimization app. They did a decent job of giving tutorials to guide users, and some of the design elements were positives. Therefore a 2.5 mark was awarded.
Core Features Score – (4.5/5)
- Route Optimization feature: Yes.
- Max Stops: Unlimited.
- Number of Users: Unlimited.
- Saved Routes: Yes, unlimited.
- Add Notes, Signatures, and Photos: One out of three.
- Share to Drivers / Team: You can quickly share or add drivers with a simple button.
- Other features: Upper features many cool features: advanced reporting for routes and for users, time windows or at least urgent stops, route views, real-time updates.
- Overall: The app overall packs quite a punch; it has an extensive list of features. As mentioned in the previous evaluations, the trade-off is a bit bulky, complicated, and slow.
Value Score – (4.5/5)
- Pricing: $10,99 per month for mobile-only, variety of subscriptions for customers.
- Value for Delivery Drivers: Even with the UX and efficiency issues, there is a lot of value for the price point offered. Route4Me is a robust solution that will get the job done.
3 – Google Maps – Score 11.5/20 – Grade (C-)
Efficiency Score – (3/5)
- Time to input 10 addresses: 3 mins 20 seconds.
- Login Flow: The login flow was quite rapid as there was no onboarding process.
- Create route flow: What many people say is that Google is an engineer-led company instead of a design-led company like Apple. We estimate this is the case for Google Maps. For instance, it is not immediately straightforward how to add a second stop, and it takes a second to find the button for directions. The process could be more straightforward. And seeing as this is a recurring feature, we find it surprising that Google has not improved the UX on this crucial functionality.
- Address/stop input: Also, there was an additional amount of taps for adding each unnecessary address. This flow slowed down efficiency.
UX Score – (4/5)
- Design and Feel: Perhaps it is just familiar now, but the Google Maps design feels pretty intuitive and functional.
- Initial experience: The initial experience is quite good, as you see a map of where you are and the address bar. Clean and simple.
- Add stop UX: Adding the third stop is quite confusing, as you need to go into the “more settings” menu to find the feature to add the stop. This approach is in sharp contrast with the rest of the apps on this list, where they all have a “add stop” button that is painstakingly obvious. Again, Google misses the mark in the mobile app to create a smoother UX.
- Closing Remarks: At times, the app was slow at reloading the added addresses. There were some latency issues during the test. Otherwise, overall the UX is pretty good, except for some of their “engineer-y ways”.
Core Features Score – (2.5/5)
- Route Optimization: No route optimization feature on the navigation app.
- Max Stops: There is a limit of 10 stops.
- Number of Users: 1
- Saved Routes: None
- Add Notes, Signatures, and Photos: None
- Share to Drivers / Team Members: URL link sharing. This feature is well done and easy and can be sent by email or text message.
- Other features: It includes traffic data, route settings, GPS tracking, etas, and other things.
- Closing remarks: The functionalities are useful, just not explicitly designed to be a delivery route planner for multiple stops.
Value Score – (2/5)
- Pricing: It is free, with no subscription, cost, or trial, or anything.
- Value for Delivery Drivers: So here, a navigation app like Google Maps got lower grades not because of the price but because of the value. As mentioned, this app does not optimize routes for delivery drivers. Therefore, it got a lower score here.
For more information,
How to Use Google Maps for Route Planning
4 – MapQuest – Score 11/20 – Grade (C-)
Efficiency Score – (4/5)
- Time to input 10 addresses: 2 mins 55 seconds.
- Login Flow: Logging into Mapquest is easy. You can sign up using an email id or a Facebook account.
- Create route flow: The ability to create a multi-stop route is facilitated.
- Address/stop input: You can manually input an address, copy/paste, or import a CSV file to create routes.
- Closing Remarks: Entering a location or address is easy and the interface is simple and efficient. But as compared to other route planners, MapQuest is not very efficient.
UX Score – (3.5/5)
- Design and Feel: The design feels a little outdated. I know that MapQuest is old software, and perhaps they are looking to capitalize on nostalgia. The design is functional if a bit bland.
- Initial experience: MapQuest did an excellent job at starting the planning route phase, whereby the app is very intuitive to create and add multiple stops. They get good marks for this.
- Add stop UX: Creating a multi-stop route is facilitated by a simple UX that guides the user with easy-to-understand buttons. One can add multiples stops with ease using the simple “Add stop” button.
- Closing Remarks: Drivers will have an easier time figuring out the app. However, MapQuest lost points because of bugs and key functionalities not working correctly. They need to make sure to fix these issues to become more dominant multiple stops delivery route planners. It’s fascinating as they seem to have gotten the simplicity down but lacking in the design and bugs.
Core Features Score – (2/5)
- Route Optimization Feature: Not on the mobile app.
- Max Stops: Up to 50
- Number of Users: One user
- Saved Routes: No
- Add Notes, Signatures, and Photos: No
- Share to Drivers / Team Members: Yes, you can share the route plan with delivery drivers.
- Other features: Real-time traffic, location of toll roads, ferries, and more.
- Closing remarks: MapQuest has a decent list of features. Real-time traffic and other toggles are useful.
Value Score – (1.5/5)
- Pricing: Free
- Value for Delivery Drivers: Out of the two free options, the Mapquest route planner has some advantages, however for mobile, Google Maps is the better choice for delivery drivers planning a delivery route to multiple destinations.
For more information, see
Guide to Use Mapquest Route Planner with Multiple Stops
5 – Road Warrior – Score 10/20 – Grade (D)
Efficiency Score – (1.5/5)
- Time to input 10 addresses: Incomplete – Bugs caused the app to crash and prevented me from planning routes)
- Login Flow: The initial login was reasonably simple.
- Create route flow: This flow was efficient.
- Address/stop input: When the app was working, it took a very long search for a stop. It took an excess of 20 seconds to get a stop. In many instances, it did not find the requested stop. In our estimation, this is a critical fail on the essential feature.
- Closing Remarks: The app scored low here because of the inability to plan routes and add the ten stops. If they work out the bugs, the score would be much higher.
UX Score – (2/5)
- Design and Feel: after a while, I kept having a “spinning wheel of death” continuously spin. It seems to be a bug.
- Initial experience: The first page of Road Warrior is unnecessary. The text on the get started button is a bit light. You can’t see it well. I can skip this. The red color and the light text make for an unpleasant experience for the eyes and hard to read. We like the simplicity of just an email login. Initial UX is unappealing, blocky. Also, the fact that it’s written “Search Mode” at the top is a bit confusing and not a pleasant user experience.
- Add stop UX: From search to edit, it’s a bit confusing. Have to click “exit,” which is not the intuitive thing to do. Another issue is when searching, there are no “auto-suggest” options. What I’d be looking for here is to be able to do that. Also, there is choppy UX when adding multiple stops. When you click, you get whisked away to the Map location. It feels a bit strange and excessive. What was nice is the various manners to add stops.
- Closing Remarks: UX, little pop-up bubbles were great to guide the user. This experience of the routing app was a plus.
Core Features Score – (4/5)
- Route Optimization Feature: It does have a route optimization feature.
- Max Stops: Unlimited stops.
- Number of Users: 1
- Saved Routes: Unlimited
- Add Notes, Signatures, and Photos: We did not see these features.
- Share to Drivers / Team Members: The share route to other drivers feature is seamless and integrated.
- Other features: It had high integration with Apple Maps as well as all other main navigation tools.
- Closing remarks: When it works, and when you can figure out the UX, the feature set is quite robust.
Value Score – (3/5)
- Pricing: $13,99
- Value for Delivery Drivers: RoadWarrior is more expensive, offers fewer users, and is not as useful as some other apps. For that reason, we argue that the value per dollar spent is not as high as some of the others on this list.
- Closing remarks: Overall, the application does deliver on the promise of route planning and route optimization for delivery drivers. It does, however, rank the lowest in total rankings in our list.
Upper Route Planner is the best out of all delivery route planner apps if you consider efficiency, user experience, core features, and value. Other delivery route planner apps may be cheaper, have more features. However, this is the best overall multi-stop route, planner.
Google Maps is still the delivery route planner app of choice for the United States and beyond if you do not wish to disburse any financial costs. However, what you save in money, you may lose in time for your delivery services.
The first step is to open the route planning tool. Then you would be mapping the customer data, in particular the delivery addresses or locations. Routing is the last step, as you would want to reorder on your smartphone.
Choose a Route Planner That Makes Things Easier for the Delivery Driver
There you have it. There are many pages where they look at “what is the best route planner app out there.” As mentioned, many websites give you a ranking or a generic list of route optimization software. This fact is why in this article, we wanted to go a layer deeper and add some real data and real expert tester to give units of comparison. That can be more useful for a delivery driver or delivery business. Please let us know if you think we’ve missed anything. Or if you would want us to review other apps to include in contrast. We are here to serve you as users and as humans. We hope this article has been useful to you, and as always, looking forward to any feedback or comments you may have!