Biking Directions Added To Google Maps10:05 AM EST Wed. Mar. 10, 2010
Google has added biking directions, bike lanes and bike trail data for 150 U.S. cities to Google Maps, the online search giant announced Wednesday.
The new feature helps bikers determine the best, most efficient bike routes and allows riders to customize their trip, according to a posting on Google's Web site. The feature makes use of bike lanes and dedicated bike trails where they are available and calculates "rider-friendly" routes that avoid big hills.
Users select "Bicycling" from the drop-down menu when doing a directions search. Maps customized for bikers show dedicated bike lanes along roads (outlined in light green) and roads designated as preferred for biking (dashed green lines), but without dedicated lanes, according to product manager Shannon Guymon. Time estimates for bike routes are based on "a complex set of variables" such as type of road, terrain and the number of turns.
The maps also show 12,000 miles of bike-only trails, information generated through Google's partnership with the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy.
More information can be found at http://maps.google.com/biking. Google said it's seeking feedback on the new service and input from local bikers on route information for inclusion in the service.
Until now Google Maps has been limited to providing directions for people in cars and users of mass transportation.