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Transport for London and Google maps make cycling safer in the captial

A year-long collaboration between Google and Transport for London has seen the former update their Google Maps algorithm to inform cyclists of traffic conditions and the availability of cycle lanes.

In July last year, TfL hosted a cycling innovation summit at which the cycling community highlighted the need for travel planning tools to include up-to-date data. London has over 340 km of cycle routes but digital journey planners do not always take these into account and therefore do not always provide the best route for cycling.

Since the summit, Google has worked with TfL’s Open Innovation team to help solve some of the problems presented and improve cycle routing in Google Maps. TfL have been able to provide pre-launch feedback on product enhancements and will continue to feedback as the product develops further.

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.

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 60 million people who come to Maps every month for cycling directions.’

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.’

Photo: (c) Transport for London

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