Google Maps adds new features for bikeshare users
Google Maps is helping bikeshare users by making it easier for them to navigate their city with an update to Maps which will be rolling out across 10 major markets.
The COVID-19 pandemic forced the world for using bicycles as major cities of the US started getting into lockdowns and closures to prevent the spread of the disease. The US even witnessed a jump in bicycle sales in the span of just a few weeks as bikes became the best alternative to public transport like trains and buses, where the coronavirus could spread easily. Commuters shifted to using bikes for their trips instead of relying on public transportation, like buses and subways.
Google Maps could point users to bikesharing locations and it has since long been offering cycling directions between any two points. This feature combines Maps’ existing capabilities including biking directions introduced in 2010 and the ability to locate bikesharing locations. The new update will combine both walking and biking directions in order to provide end-to-end navigation between bike share locations.
Google Maps will provide detailed walking directions to the nearest bikeshare location before providing turn-by-turn directions to the bikeshare closest to any destination. It also offers the final leg of the trip between the bikeshare drop-off and destination as walking directions.
Users planning to use a bikeshare would have to create three separate trips — one to the first bikeshare to pick up a bike, the second to the bikeshare drop-off point, and then walking directions to their final destination. However, now a user can plan this outing as one single trip in Google Maps in the supported markets.
In addition to the new end-to-end navigation, Google Maps in some cities will also display links that allow users to open the relevant bikeshare mobile app in order to book and unlock the bike.
The feature is rolling out over the weeks ahead in 10 cities, in partnership with transportation information company Ito World and supported bikeshare partners. These cities include Chicago, New York City, San Francisco Bay Area, Washington DC, London, Mexico City, Montreal, Rio De Janeiro, São Paulo, Taipei and New Taipei City.
Google says it is actively working to add more partners to bring the functionality to more cities in the months ahead.
Ito World also said in March it had partnered with Apple to integrate bikeshare data into Apple Maps, allowing iPhone owners to find bikeshare locations across 179 cities.
Google continues to offer more detailed bikeshare information in its Google Maps product, as over the years it launched features like dockless bike and scooter integration in more than 100 cities and real-time docked bikeshare information in select cities to provide the information on availability of bikes for rent.
Offering better biking directions has become even more important in recent times for mapping providers, due to the outbreak of the Coronavirus impact on travel and transportation. Google said that the updated bikeshare navigation is rolling out in the coming weeks.