Google adds biking directions to Maps

On The Official Google Blog, Google has announced the addition of biking directions to Google Maps. The directions work hand in hand with the bike trail data that Google has put together for the US. A lot of work has gone into creating a vast database of available biking routes. Google has teamed up with the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy to compile over 12,000 miles of trails.

When selecting biking as the type of directions you want, you will be shown a new map layout. Here are some of the things you'll see:

  • Dark green lines - trails with no motor vehicles
  • Light green lines - streets with bike lanes
  • Dashed green lines - other recommended streets

Routes are based many factors. Traffic and slopes are a big part of the algorithm. If a steep hill exists in your route, and Google feels that this won't be your most efficient route to take, it will adjust the directions accordingly. Sometimes, going four blocks out of your way will actually save you time and energy when the alternative would take you up a steep hill. Downhill slopes are also avoided when possible, since many cyclists don't like the constant breaking that's required. Google also tries to bypass busy intersections and roads for safety and time consuming reasons. No one likes waiting at a traffic light when they're on a bike.

You can try out the new biking directions by heading over to Google Maps. The biking layer can also be turned on via the "More" button.

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20 Comments

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It was about time. So far I have been using walking directions and there were a few times I ended up in the middle of nowhere. (New route, No visible paths, no gps...)

Haha, as a side project for the upcoming summer I was going to use my cartography skills to do something like this for the regions I ride in. However, looks like I should no longer invest my time in doing so, haha.

Mike Chipshop said,
This would excellent if it was in the UK too :(

We'll probably get it it'll just take a while on only be in London or something.

Mike Chipshop said,
This would excellent if it was in the UK too :(

Just use www.cyclestreets.net instead

Edited by _BeanZ_, Mar 10 2010, 10:56pm :