Google Maps London: UK directions, traffic and route planner updates explained as app aims to help cyclists

TfL and Google have collaborated to improve the functionality of Maps for cyclists
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Cycling in London will soon be a little bit safer thanks to a number of Google Maps improvements made possible by a partnership with Transport for London (TfL), which will make it easier for cyclists to get around the city.

London's cycling network has grown significantly in recent years, from 90km of routes in 2016 to more than 340km earlier this year thanks to TfL and the city's boroughs. Since April 2022, 24km have been added to the network in new or upgraded routes.

However, using Google Maps has proven to be problematic for cyclists, as the most up-to-date information on cycleways is occasionally missing and it does not provide the most efficient route.

In July 2022, TfL hosted a summit to understand some of the primary barriers facing cyclists in London, one of the key findings being how ineffective some digital journey planners were.

Since the summit, TfL and Google have collaborated to improve the functionality of Maps for cyclists, with one step being the transport authority can now provide pre-launch feedback on new products.

As a result of the partnership, Google Maps is also rolling out a host of additional features focused on those travelling on two wheels.

(Photo: Getty Images)(Photo: Getty Images)
(Photo: Getty Images)

These include providing a detailed breakdown of the route, enabling users to preview journeys in advance and delivering recommendations which take account of traffic and new cycling infrastructure. The updates will be launched in stages, and Google hopes all users will have access to them by the end of the year.

London’s walking and cycling commissioner, Will Norman, said: “The mayor and I are committed to making cycling in London as safe and accessible as possible and have been working closely with Google. I’m delighted that Google Maps is enhancing the navigation system for cycling.

“With existing digital journey planning data, cyclists haven’t always been able to see the best route available to them.

"These updated algorithms will help Londoners choose safer cycling routes, whether it is a road with less traffic or part of the mayor’s growing network of cycleways, enabling more people to get around by bike as we build a greener and better London for everyone.”

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.

"In total, these changes are improving the journeys of more than 60m people who come to Maps every month for cycling directions.”

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