Google has announced a new feature to Google Maps which should make bikers happy by making it easier to find bike-friendly routes in major cities across the USA. The feature is easy to use and seems quite accurate.
Google wanted to customize the look to their maps for cycling to encourage people to use their bikes. To accomplish this goal, they included the following feature set:
- provide as much bike trail data as possible
- provide efficient routes
- allow riders to customize their trip
- make use of bike lanes
- calculate rider-friendly routes that avoid big hills
Google's new maps for bikes helps out both the commuter bicyclist and the recreational rider. Google also added a layer to normal Google Maps to help riders explore bike-friendly streets and trails for recreational purposes.
The built-in algorithm directs you to the most bike-friendly route between two points on the map by taking into account hills, congestion, bike trails, etc.
Bike-friendly routes are highlighted in green in the map to the left. In this example, the suggested route from Kirkland City Hall to Redmond City Hall differs depending on the mode of transportation. If you travel by bike on this journey, Google Maps suggests you travel through South Rose Hill to avoid NE 85th Street, which is not well suited for bicycle travel.
How does it work?
Biking directions can help you find a convenient and efficient route that makes use of dedicated bike trails or lanes and avoids hills whenever possible.
To find biking directions, select "Bicycling" from the drop-down menu when you do a directions search:
The options available when finding directions on Google Maps are tailored to the mode of transportation you plan to use. You can choose to get directions By Car, By public transit, Walking or Bicycling. The results of each search will produce the appropriate directions as well as an estimated trip time for your journey.