Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Google Announces Biking Directions

Following is a press release from the League of American Bicyclists:

Washington, D.C. - March 10, 2010 - The League of American Bicyclists is proud to be the forum for Google to announce what all bike riders have been waiting for - Grab Your Bike and Go with Google Maps. Google is announcing at the Opening Plenary Session at the National Bike Summit that they are adding biking directions in the U.S. to Google Maps."This new tool will open people's eyes to the possibility and practicality of hopping on a bike and riding," said Andy Clarke, President of the League of American Bicyclists. "We know people want to ride more, and we know it's good for people and communities when they do ride more - this makes it possible. It is a game-changer, especially for those short trips that are the most polluting,"

Users can now choose biking when deciding how to get to their destination, starting today, March 10, 2010. If you're one of the 57 million Americans who ride a bike, mapping your daily commute, and planning recreational or trail rides just became easier. According to Google this has been the most requested addition to Google Maps, and the League is delighted that they have chosen the National Bike Summit to unveil this new feature. Google's announcement further proves the importance of the Summit and the bicycle movement in helping our nation become a more Bicycle Friendly America. The Google biking directions will make it that much easier for bicyclists to get to work, school or play.

This new feature includes: step-by-step bicycling directions; bike trails outlined directly on the map; and a new "Bicycling" layer that indicates bike trails, bike lanes, and bike-friendly roads. The directions feature provides step-by-step, bike-specific routing suggestions - similar to the directions provided by our driving, walking, or public transit modes. Simply enter a start point and destination and select "Bicycling" from the drop-down menu. You will receive a route that is optimized for cycling, taking advantage of bike trails, bike lanes, and bike-friendly streets and avoiding hilly terrain whenever possible.

Visit http://maps.google.com/biking to try out this new feature. Biking directions for Google Maps is currently in Beta. Follow the League's news feed on the new Google feature on the League's Blog, Facebook and Twitter. If you have any further questions, contact Meghan Cahill at 202.822.1333 or meghan@bikeleague.org.


This is great news, and hopefully it will avoid some of the routing issues that came up when using "Walking Directions," like this cue on a ride I routed last summer to Sunset Beach, NC. I suspect some of you Dirt Road Randonneurs would thoroughly enjoy this option.



One nice feature: Google maps now shows bike routes in major cities, including Raleigh. Look at the map below and you'll see city greenways in dark green and cycling routes in a lighter green:



Of course, there may be a few kinks to work out. I just tried routing from Raleigh up to Clarksville, Virginia, a town the Lake Loop passes through. Google biking directions put me on a 15-mile stretch of Capital Blvd, a major artery into and out of Raleigh and possibly the worst cycling road in our area. Have a look:

3 comments:

bullcitybiker said...

A great addition to Google Maps that will only get better with time.

YungFalbz said...

I put in my commute and it sent me down Creedmore Rd. for 8 miles! Hilly and high traffic! Yikes. It's got a ways to go.

Fairy said...
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