Enhancements to cycling navigation in Google Maps are set to benefit Londoners, following a collaboration between Google and CiTTi Awards 2023 finalist Transport for London (TfL).
Informed by TfL insights, Google has updated its algorithms to prioritise cycling on safer, quieter roads and make them easier to discover within Google Maps.
In July 2022, TfL hosted an innovation summit to understand some of the key problems for people cycling and to work out how to improve them.
Key barriers to cycling highlighted at the event included the need for travel planning tools to include up-to-date data.
And though TfL and London boroughs have delivered more than 340km (211 miles) of cycle routes in the UK capital, existing digital journey planners do not always take these into account and therefore do not always provide the best route for cycling.
Thus, since the summit, Google has worked with TfL’s Open Innovation team to help improve cycle routing in Google Maps.
The collaboration has allowed TfL to provide pre-launch feedback on product enhancements and means TfL can continue to feedback as the product develops further.
Hannah Fallows, Open Innovation partnerships manager at TfL, said: “Our collaboration with Google is a fantastic way of using our shared expertise to make active journeys easier for everyone.
“The improvements to digital way-finding through navigation apps like Google Maps give cyclists confidence about the journey they are about to undertake, especially is it’s not a regular route.
“This is a really exciting development to which that helps Londoners to discover the brilliant cycleways network across our city and will make cycling in London safer and more enjoyable for all.”
Google Maps is also in the process of rolling out new additional features to improve cycling in London.
Foe example, users will be able to see a detailed breakdown of the route itself and the type of road they’ll be cycling on, such as if it’s a major road or a segregated cycle lane.
Google has also announced Immersive View for cycle routes on Google Maps, which lets users preview routes in advance, including all the cycle lanes, and junctions along the journey.
This feature will begin rolling out this year in London and other select cities around the world.
TfL said it will continue to work with Google Maps to refine the cycling routing experience during the roll out.
People can also use the “Send Feedback” option in Google Maps if they spot any routes that have better alternatives.
Ajay Arora, UK partnerships lead at Google Maps, said: “To help make cycling easier for more people, we’ve been working with local governments to ensure Google Maps shows up to date cycling routes.
“We are delighted to collaborate with organisations like Transport for London to add hundreds of kilometres of new cycle lane data.
“Thanks to the collaboration with TfL we’ve been able to prioritise cycling on safer, quieter roads, and these updates are now available to cities around the world.”
Since April 2022, TfL and boroughs have delivered 24km (15 miles) of new or upgraded cycle routes and there are plans to open at least another 40km (25 miles) by March 2024, with the support of boroughs.
TfL said it has reduced danger at 44 junctions across London as part of its Safer Junctions programme, with work on at a further two locations set to start early next year.
Innovations and achievements in active travel and road safety will be highlighted and celebrated at the second annual CiTTi Awards on 21 November 2023 at the De Vere Grand Connaught Rooms in London. Visit www.cittiawards.co.uk to learn more about this unmissable event for the UK’s transportation sector – and to book your table today!