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5 Best Delivery Route Planner Apps for 2021
9 min read

Looking for the best route planning app for your delivery drivers? Read on.

No matter how many stops along your route, all delivery businesses can reap major benefits from a delivery route planner app.  After all, the more optimized your route, the more efficient it'll be—meaning the less time your drivers spend on the road, and the more cost-effective your overall operations will be.

But there are a lot of options out there. Just which delivery route planner is right for your business? Which factors should be at the forefront of your decision-making process when shopping around?

In this post, we're going to help you answer these questions so you can determine your next stop (pun intended).

Keep reading to learn:

  • What a delivery route planner is
  • Key features to look for in a delivery route planner app
  • The 5 best routing apps for delivery drivers

What is a Delivery Route Planner?

A delivery route planner is a software that schedules stops for fleets delivering goods and services. In addition to scheduling, a delivery route planner might also offer features like real-time route optimization, GPS tracking, and on-demand dispatch.

A delivery route planner helps businesses operate more precisely by creating more efficient routes. Many also include machine learning and capture feedback that can be used to make enhancements to the overall delivery process, like improving the driver and/or customer experience.

Key Features to Look for in a Delivery Route Planning App

You want to know your business will see the return on investment both in terms of money and time that you spend on whatever platform you end up going with. This pressure can make shopping around a stressful experience, especially when you don't know where to start.  

We hear you. That’s why, to help get you started, we’ve listed the key capabilities that you should look out for when you're weighing out your options:

  • Route optimization
  • Driver tracking
  • Delivery status
  • Customer communications
  • Proof of delivery

Route optimization

Hands down, the most important thing that you can have in a delivery route planning app is route optimization capabilities. This means that your software can optimize your multi-stop, multi-driver routes in the most efficient way possible.

Onfleet’s route optimization engine factors time, location, capacity and traffic to provide the most efficient multi-stop delivery routes.
Onfleet’s route optimization engine factors time, location, capacity and traffic to provide the most efficient multi-stop delivery routes.

Driver tracking

Driver tracking is another important tool that benefits not only your business but also your customers when you extend this visibility to them. It lets you see where your drivers are at any given time and, in parallel, your customers can see where their parcel is resulting in positive experiences all around.

Onfleet provides real-time GPS driver tracking and predictive ETAs.
Onfleet provides real-time GPS driver tracking and predictive ETAs.

Delivery status

Designated delivery route planning software helps you plan routes that factor in constraints such as vehicle size, capacity, and delivery time windows into your routes to ensure everything is captured and prioritized accurately.

Customer communications

We touched on how driver tracking helps create a positive customer experience as it provides visibility into the status and location of their parcel. Look for a route planner that facilitates this communication, updating customers on the estimated arrival time of their delivery either through email or text.

Some apps (including Onfleet) even allow two-way communication between customer and driver.

Onfleet enables customers to call or message drivers, dispatchers or call centers with a single click. Calls can be anonymized for added privacy.
Onfleet enables customers to call or message drivers, dispatchers or call centers with a single click. Calls can be anonymized for added privacy.

Proof of delivery

Last but certainly not least, you want an app that allows drivers to collect proof of delivery. Proof of delivery usually involves a driver taking a photo of the parcel and where it was left for the recipient (e.g. at their doorstep) and/or collecting their signature.

Onfleet provides multiple ways - photos, barcodes and signatures - to collect proof of delivery.
Onfleet provides multiple ways - photos, barcodes and signatures - to collect proof of delivery.

Proof of delivery is another example of a feature that benefits both your business and the customer. It protects your business by recording the specifics regarding a delivery and a way to backtrack if problems arise. It benefits the customer because they can validate that their item was delivered successfully, even when they're not home.

5 Best Routing Apps for Delivery Drivers in 2021

Here, we’re going to look at 5 different delivery routing apps to see how they help businesses in the delivery space and help you make a decision on which one is best for your own business.

1. Onfleet

Onfleet is the trusted last mile delivery solution for companies across dozens of industries including food and beverage, retail, grocery, construction, pharmacy, and more.

Of all the last mile delivery platforms, Onfleet has the most advanced route planning feature set, promising leaner operations, smarter decisions, and a delightful customer experience.

One thing that sets Onfleet apart from competitors is the ability to create individual driver profiles, each with their own start and end location and shift schedules as well as their vehicle capacity. This is crucial for larger, multi-driver fleets as well as smaller businesses looking for a scalable solution that can grow with them.

Once your driver details are in, Onfleet will optimize your routes so you can dispatch your drivers. Drivers will have access to the Onfleet app on their mobile device while you can track their progress from the web dashboard.

Pricing: The basic plan starts at $349/month and supports unlimited users and unlimited drivers. Take Onfleet for a spin with a 14-day free trial.

Key route planning features:

Route optimization

Onfleet’s integrated route optimization engine considers time, location, capacity, and traffic to produce the most efficient routing solutions. If you need to make a change or re-optimize, updates are sent automatically to your drivers in real-time.

Predictive ETAs

Onfleet lets you identify potential problems before they have a chance to happen with predictive arrival times and real-time alerts powered by machine learning.

GPS tracking

You and your customers can have visibility into live driver locations with accurate ETAs in a beautiful, branded, and responsive web tracking experience.

Automatic status updates

Let customers know when a delivery has started, when it should be expected, and when it’s arriving with automatic SMS notifications.

Proof of delivery

Enforce completion requirements through the in-app collection of photos, signatures, barcodes, and notes. Photos, signatures, and barcodes collected in the field make verifying every delivery a breeze.

Integrated customer communications

Allow customers to call or message their driver, dispatcher, or call center with a single tap. Calls can be anonymized to safeguard customer data.

2. RouteXL

RouteXL is a route planner that works by finding the best multi-stop route for deliveries, pickups, and services. These routes are optimized when generated with the help of smart algorithms that sort addresses to minimize their duration.  

All you need to do is add your departure location and all the destinations that you wish to hit on the map, press the button, and the route will be calculated. You can then email the route to your drivers or print them out.

Unlike some of the other tools on this list, RouteXL doesn’t support real-time optimization or automatic updates, so if any changes do happen on the road, your drivers will need to be reactive rather than proactive. There’s also no customer updates, mobile app, or proof of delivery features.

Frankly, RouteXL isn't the most robust tool out there, but if you're a smaller single-driver company making less than 20 stops a month looking for a minimalist solution, this free app could be all you need.

Pricing: RouteXL is free to use for up to 20 addresses. To increase to 100 or 200 addresses a month costs €35 or €75 per month, respectively.

Key route planning features:

  • GPS tracking
  • Addresses can be imported from a spreadsheet or through copy/paste
  • Routes can be sent to drivers via email or a hard copy can be printed
  • WEBFLEET integration allows drivers to load the route directly into their TomTom Pro devices.

3. Flightmap

Flightmap is another basic route planning option. It works similar to RouteXL, by generating the shortest possible route based on the addresses inputted and optimization settings such as the maximum tasks per vehicle and trip duration limit.

Unlike RouteXL, however, Flightmap’s free plan supports up to 200 stops a month per vehicle for up to two vehicles.  The other main benefit Flightmap has over RouteXL is that it integrates directly with Tookan, a delivery management solution offered by the same parent company. This integration does come at an additional monthly charge, though.

Pricing: Flightmap is free for up to 200 stops per month per vehicle for 2 vehicles. If this isn’t enough, you can increase the limits by paying $0.04 per stop or $5/vehicle/month.

Key route planning features:

  • Optimize your fleet based on vehicle type and its volume, speed, and fuel efficiency—whether it’s a bike or a car
  • Interactive drag-and-drop interface
  • Share routes with drivers in one click by exporting to a spreadsheet, email attachment, or shareable web URL
  • Integrates with Tookan, Junglework’s delivery management solution

4. MapQuest Route Planner

MapQuest is like Google Maps except with a higher limit on the number of addresses you can input. Similar to other options on this list, you can upload addresses through copy/paste or a spreadsheet upload. Your route is then optimized for free and stops will be reordered to make your route as efficient as possible, giving you the option to choose between the shortest time or shortest distance traveled.

What makes MapQuest unique is it has the option to set your route as a round trip, accounting for the time it takes your driver to return to the warehouse. Routes can be sent to your drivers through an SMS link.

The biggest downside to this app is probably the pop-up ads, which can get annoying. Otherwise, MapQuest is a good free option if you only have a single driver and no more than 26 addresses to deliver to.

Pricing: MapQuest is free to use.

Key route planning features:

  • Option to optimize route based on the shortest time or shortest distance traveled
  • Option to create a round trip
  • Ability to import routes from a spreadsheet or through copy/paste
  • Customize routes to avoid toll roads, highways, ferries, seasonal roads, time-restricted roads, and country borders

5. Route4Me

Route4Me is second on this list after Onfleet in terms of customization and add-on capabilities.  It offers route optimization, route monitoring, customer communications, and proof of delivery.

Route4Me’s customization support, known as its marketplace catalog, makes it popular among larger delivery operations, particularly in the service tech industry.

A downside to this, however, is some things that come readily available with other programs such as Onfleet come at an additional fee. For example, real-time driver tracking is not included in any of the regular plans.

Like Onfleet, Route4Me can support both single-driver and multi-driver routes. It also lets you optimize your roots with specific constraints in mind,  like avoiding highways and tolls. It also offers GPS tracking and collects driver data,  putting it all front-and-center in a dashboard for you to view predicted travel times vs. actual travel times and whether any deviations were made from the planned route.

Pricing: Route4Me’s Route Optimization Plus plan is their tier that offers both route optimization and multi-driver routes and costs $299 per month. Add-on features from the marketplace catalog (like real-time driver tracking) come with additional fees.

Key route planning features:

  • Promises to reduce the time it takes to plan routes to less than 60 seconds per day
  • Cross-platform functionality syncs it across your iPhone, iPad, and Android devices
  • Mobile app offers turn-by-turn directions and works automatically with Google Maps and Waze
  • Supports route customization for multiple drivers

Start Planning Better Delivery Routes Today

You should now have a good idea of which features to look for in your future delivery route planner app, and just how sophisticated of a tool your business needs.

A demo or free trial can be invaluable in the decision-making process. Check out the websites of any of the apps we mentioned in this article to see if they offer one.
Want to see what Onfleet can do for you?

Start a free trial or get in touch with our sales team.