One thing that has seen growth during this pandemic period is the biking industry. With people becoming wary of commuting in crowded buses and trains and some cities actually shutting down public transport, people have turned to bicycles as a more sustainable and also safer mode of getting to where you need to be. Google Maps already has biking directions in the app for some years now but now they’re expanding it to more territories and also adding more features to help people navigate places while on bikes.
Biking directions on Google Maps are now available in nearly 30 countries globally. They use machine learning, complex algorithms, as well as real-world conditions based on imagery and government data and community contributions to give you the best possible information. Because of COVID-19, a lot of cities and countries have been adding or widening bike lanes and so Maps has been integrating all this new information into the app.
In the coming months, you’ll see more information on these expanded bike lanes. Local government agencies are also encouraged to provide important data through Maps’ Geo Data Upload tool so their local information will be reflected on Google Maps as well. The bike routes also reflect things like tunnels, stairs, and surface conditions that might not be the best for two-wheeled transportation.
For those who don’t own bikes, bikesharing services are also equally important. Google Maps will also be adding end-to-end directions that include docked bike share information when you choose biking directions. This includes walking directions to bike share stations near the starting point as well as bike availability, turn-by-turn cycling directions to the bikeshare station closest to your destination with live dock availability, and of course, walking directions from the station to your eventual destination.
These docked bikeshare directions will be available for 10 cities at launch: Chicago, New York City, San Fransisco Bay Area, Washington D.C, London, Mexico City, Montreal, Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, and Taiwan and New Taipei City. They are working with Ito World and other bike share partners so hopefully, they will expand to more cities in the future.