3 new ways to navigate more sustainably with Maps
Make greener choices when getting from A to B with new eco-friendly routes, updates to biking directions and bike and scooter share information in Google Maps.
Vehicles on the road account for over 75% of transportation CO2 emissions and are one of the largest contributors of greenhouse gasses worldwide, according to the International Energy Agency. Today at our Sustainable with Google event, we’re announcing three new Google Maps updates to help lower these emissions and provide people with greener choices when getting from A to B.
Eco-friendly routing: now live 🚗
Earlier this year, we announced that Google Maps would be updated with an entirely new routing model that not only gets you to your destination as quickly as possible, but also optimizes for lower fuel consumption — which saves you money on gas. Thanks to AI and insights from the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), eco-friendly routing is rolling out now in the U.S. on Android and iOS, with plans to expand to Europe and beyond in 2022. We estimate that eco-friendly routing has the potential to prevent over one million tons of carbon emissions per year — that’s the equivalent of removing over 200,000 cars from the road.
Now, in addition to showing the fastest route, Google Maps will also display the one that's the most fuel-efficient, if it doesn’t happen to also be the fastest. With just a few taps, you can see the relative fuel savings and ETA difference between the two routes and choose the one that works best for you. Always want to choose the fastest route, no matter what? That’s okay too — simply adjust your preferences in Settings.
According to Jeff Gonder, Center for Integrated Mobility Sciences at NREL, this is a positive change for everyone. “Not only does Google Maps' eco-friendly routing bring NREL’s fuel-efficient technology from the lab to the road, but it has huge potential to significantly lower emissions and save drivers money on gas — something that’s good for both people and the planet.”
Lite navigation for cyclists: coming soon 🚴♀️
Over the past year, the use of biking directions on Maps have increased by up to 98% in cities around the world — making it clear that people are opting for two-wheeled transportation. We’ve heard from a lot of bikers that they don’t want to enter turn-by-turn navigation when they’re cycling since their phone is usually tucked away for most of their ride. To make it easier to get around via bike, we’re introducing a feature called lite navigation.
With lite navigation, cyclists can quickly see important details about their route without needing to keep their screen on or enter turn-by-turn navigation. At a glance, you can track your trip progress, see your ETA update in real-time, and even know the elevation of your route so you can keep your focus where it needs to be — on the road. Lite navigation starts rolling out wherever cycling navigation is live on Android and iOS in the coming months.
Bike and scooter share information: now in 300 cities 🛵
When it comes to eco-friendly alternatives to driving, we want to keep your options open. That’s why we’ve expanded bike and scooter share information to over 300 cities around the world on Android and iOS.
From Google Maps, you can find nearby stations and even pinpoint how many vehicles are available at that moment in places like Berlin, New York, São Paulo and Taipei. And when you’re done with your ride, you can make sure there’s a place to park before heading over to the station. This expansion is made possible thanks to micro-mobility partners like Donkey Republic, Tier and Voi based in Europe, along with Bird and Spin, which are headquartered in the U.S.
We want these updates to give you more choices. Showing you when sustainable routes and travel options are available on Google Maps will help you choose the option that works best for your lifestyle.
Google Maps Platform