4 improvements that Google Maps should make for cyclists
Google Maps has recently added a number of cycling features as more people have adopted bicycles, e - bikes and electric scooters during a coronary virus outbreak. And despite how much I appreciate some of these updates, as I have started exploring other applications aimed at cycling, the boundaries of Google Maps have been limited. increasingly apparent.
Here are just a few changes that I believe could make Google Maps much more attractive to cyclists.
Let me plan and save routes in advance
I get it, Google Maps is mostly aimed at travelers and people who take an immediate trip from time to time. It aims to get you from point A to B as efficiently as possible, as far as the app knows.
But sometimes I don’t want to get out somewhere as soon as possible. Sometimes I want to take the scenic route. Sometimes I want to go up hills unnecessarily for exercise. At other times I want the opposite - to reduce sweating as much as possible.
Yes, there are other apps that are going to do this - my favorite app is Komoot - and you can plot routes in Google Maps using roundabout methods. But Google Maps is often the most suitable, and unfortunately, the best thing you can do with the mobile version of the Google Maps app is add a few stops and look at the routes gone .
Allowing users to plan their route in advance would not only increase flexibility, but also help consumers feel safer by becoming more confident. path decisions. It also means that you could easily save your favorite workflows - and it's not hard to see how Google could integrate such activity with Google Fit.
Even though I'm just trying to get from point A to point B, the best bike paths don't always follow car traffic patterns or use cycle paths. In my own neighborhood, I know to avoid some streets with difficult cycle paths. At times I would rather go down a quiet, wide residential street without a bike line than a busy road with an unprotected bike lane that leaves me just a foot or two away from angry drivers.
While I'm sure Google's features in user trails are somewhat common, I'd like some sort of heat map feature that let me see which routes cyclists typically take - and where they deviate from Map proposals. This is especially useful when visiting a new cycling destination where I do not know the best routes to take.
This is one of the best features of Strava and there is no doubt that Google does not have the data it needs to offer similar functionality.
Information about the path and the land
A common theme here is that Google gives cyclists very little information or choice about how their rides play out. More than just selection where I want to go with my bike, I do not know what kind of path I will take along the way. Am I going to be on a fully protected bike lane, or am I going to be on a narrow lane painted hitting angles with drivers? Do I have to cycle on a dirt track or am I on naval roads?
This is information that is already similar to Google and could make a big difference to cyclists. Different riders - and even different bikes - are more suited to different terrains, and being able to plan my route with a better understanding of the upcoming roads can be a literal lifesaver.
Faster multimodal travel
Back in 2022, Google announced support for mixed mode rides, allowing you to combine cycling with other modes of transportation. But since then, I'm not sure if I've seen such recommendations, despite living in NYC. You know, one of the largest cities in the world.
That is a shame. Sometimes it's quicker to combine a train journey with a short bike or scooter ride, avoiding long and tedious movements. It's not just for ordinary bikes either. Folding bikes and e-scooters are easy to carry on a train or cab or your own car, and could benefit greatly from multiple modes on longer journeys.
And these are just a few improvements the company could implement without making Maps too warm. Heck, I would even pay for a separate app using Google Maps data and Assistant integration just for proper bike-based navigation. If Google is always collecting data on us, they could use it as well.