Google Maps will soon start to prioritise safer, quieter roads when giving cycling instructions for journeys within London — thanks to an information sharing partnership with Transport for London (TfL).
The update to Google Maps follows on from an innovation summit held last July, where cyclists highlighted that some of the key barriers to cycling include the need for travel planning tools to include up-to-date data. What was noticed is that existing digital journey planners do not always consider cycle lanes when suggesting routes to follow and don’t always provide the best route for cycling.
Since the summit, Google has worked with TfL’s Open Innovation team to improve cycle routing in Google Maps. This new collaboration approach has allowed TfL to provide pre-launch feedback on product enhancements and means TfL can continue to provide feedback as the product develops.
To complement the changes made for safer cycle route choices, Google Maps is also in the process of rolling out new features to improve cycling in the capital. Users will be able to see the detailed breakdown of the route itself so at a glance, they will see what type of road they’ll be cycling on, for example, if it’s a major road or a segregated cycle lane.
Google has also announced Immersive View for cycle routes on Google Maps, which lets users preview routes in advance, including all the cycle lanes, and junctions along the journey. This feature will begin rolling out this year in London and other select cities around the world.
London’s Walking and Cycling Commissioner, Will Norman, said: “The Mayor and I are committed to making cycling in London as safe and accessible as possible and have been working closely with Google. I’m delighted that Google Maps is enhancing the navigation system for cycling.
“With existing digital journey planning data, cyclists haven’t always been able to see the best route available to them. These updated algorithms will help Londoners choose safer cycling routes, whether it is a road with less traffic or part of the Mayor’s growing network of Cycleways, enabling more people to get around by bike as we build a greener and better London for everyone.”
The improvements made to the Google Maps app will come in staged rollouts, meaning some users may receive the update before others, and the updates should be available to everyone by the end of this year.