Google Maps and Search Update Enhances Pedestrian and Public Transit Route Options

Tech news

With the latest updates to Google Maps and Search, users can now find more convenient routes for walking and using public transportation.

Google states that it aims to ensure people have the right information to make more sustainable travel decisions. Thus, with the recent updates to Maps and Search functionalities, users can now discover convenient walking and public transit routes, explore alternatives to air travel, and gain a better understanding of estimated flight emissions.

In Google Maps, the tech giant is rolling out a feature that displays public transit or walking suggestions alongside driving routes if the travel times are comparable and practical. The company announced that this update will soon be available in the upcoming weeks in more than fifteen cities globally, including Amsterdam, Barcelona, London, Montreal, Paris, Rome, and Sydney.

The technological powerhouse is also enhancing a feature in Search that aids in finding information about long-distance train routes and support for buses and coaches. For example, if you search for “train from Boston to Philadelphia,” you will quickly see the schedules and ticket prices right on the search results page, along with links to complete your booking. This feature is now accessible for train services in 38 countries and long-distance bus routes in 15 countries.

The results include schedules and ticket prices. It may not always be evident when trains are a viable alternative to planes, which is why Google started implementing train route suggestions last year when users search for flights.

Google mentions that in the coming months, these train route suggestions will also appear when using Google Flights, making it easier to find the most sustainable option regardless of where the search begins.

Understanding Flight Emissions Better
Sometimes, flying is truly the only practical way to get from point A to point B, but the environmental impact of your journey can vary significantly depending on the flight you choose. With Google Flights, you can already view the estimated emissions for nearly all flights in the search results and filter for lower emission options.

These estimates are based on the Travel Impact Model (TIM), a methodology Google published in 2022 to predict flight emissions per passenger. To make this information even more accessible, TIM estimates are now also available through an API for developers, which allows any app or website to display flight emissions. Additionally, there is a Google Sheets add-on and a calculator on the TIM website.

While there is still a long way to go in terms of sustainable travel, the updates revealed by Google will provide more individuals with the information they need to choose low-carbon alternatives and, importantly, to find a journey without hassles.