Sometimes green technology isn’t defined by being directly built into something, but instead by being a tool which promotes a greener lifestyle. Such is the case with an announcement Google made today regarding the integration of routing options for bicycle riders who are using the popular Google Maps mapping service. This, like most everything else Google offers, is free for use.
Google, on its official Google Maps blog, details a number of features available for the two wheeled, human (or electric) powered cycles ridden by people. These include the integration into Google Maps of over 12,000 miles of biking trails via data mostly provided from the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, details on dedicated bicycle lanes in over 150 U.S. cities and recommended routes in cities on streets that have been designated as good for cyclists. Taken into account for data when determining the time estimate for one’s journey are such factors as uphill slopes.
Google said, in developing this routing layer for Google Maps, that it wanted to “include as much bike trail data as possible, provide efficient routes, allow riders to customize their trip, make use of bike lanes, calculate rider-friendly routes that avoid big hills and customize the look of the map for cycling to encourage folks to hop on their bikes.” It looks very well like it may have done this, though it should be noted this option is in beta still (and, knowing Google, probably will be still for quite sometime to come).