New Google Maps Feature Nudges Drivers to Consider Alternatives

Google Maps has been providing valuable transit directions for several years – I use the service frequently on my computer and smartphone to route trips in neighborhoods or cities I’m not used to. The service also provides directions for driving, walking, and cycling, but it hasn’t taken a very active role in helping you choose which mode is the best for your trip… until now.

A new feature in Google Maps suggests to drivers when taking transit or walking might be a better option than driving. It seems to provide the suggestion based largely on travel time and available modes of transit, and I am only able to get it to work in the Bay Area at this time (I tried trips in the central business districts of Los Angeles and San Diego but could not get Google Maps to show the alternative mode suggestions).

For this trip, I asked Google Maps for driving directions from City College of San Francisco to a place called Beep’s Burgers, right across the street from the campus. It presented those directions, as you can see, but it also shows an option for walking and estimates that would take roughly 6 minutes.