Google Maps to feature more sustainable travel options

Art Fuentes, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 01 2021 09:58 AM

Google Maps to feature more sustainable travel options 1
Google Maps new features include an option to take a more eco-friendly route.

MANILA - Google Maps is getting a "green" update, allowing users to reduce their carbon footprint and choose more sustainable travel options. 

In a press briefing earlier this week, Google Maps vice president Dane Glasgow said the world’s most popular map and navigation app will soon incorporate features that help minimize users’ impact on the environment. 

“This is all part of the commitment we made last September to help one billion people who use our products take action to reduce their environmental footprint,” Glasgow said in a blog post.
When users plot a driving destination on Google Maps, the app will default to the route with the lowest carbon footprint when it has approximately the same estimated time of arrival as the fastest route, Glasgow said. 

“In cases where the eco-friendly route could significantly increase your ETA, we’ll let you compare the relative CO2 impact between routes so you can choose,” Glasgow said.

"What we are seeing is for around half of routes, we are able to find an option more eco-friendly with minimal or no time-cost tradeoff," said Russell Dicker, a director of product at Google.

The new feature will launch in the US on Android and iOS later this year, with a global expansion on the way, he added. 

Google Maps will also advise users about low emission zones, where cars and other motorized transport may not be allowed, so that users can choose an alternative mode of transport, or take another route. 

The app will soon also have a new directions interface that makes it easier to choose more sustainable options when traveling.

“Soon you’ll get a comprehensive view of all routes and transportation modes available to your destination – you can compare how long it’ll take to get there by car, transit or bike without toggling between tabs. Using advanced machine learning models, Maps will automatically prioritize your preferred modes – and even boost modes that are popular in your city.”

Glasgow said that if a user bikes a lot, Google Maps will automatically show more biking routes. 

“And if you live in a city like New York, London, Tokyo, or Buenos Aires where taking the subway is popular, we’ll rank that mode higher so you get the information you need faster,” he added. 

Google did not specify when users in the Philippines will be able to use the new features, but said these will be rolled out “globally in the coming months on Android and iOS.”

The eco-friendly features launch alongside Google Maps other new features which include the Weather Layer, Air Quality Layer and Indoor Live View. 

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