How to choose an eco-friendly route with Google Maps

Today more than ever before have companies been facing incredible pressure to take responsibility and action in combating the climate crisis.

This has led to a number of companies worldwide introducing green initiatives aimed at reducing their impact on the environment.

Having already pledged to help one billion people to reduce their environmental footprint by 2022, Google is taking further steps in helping consumers think more carefully about how their decisions impact the planet.

The company has recently launched a new Eco-Friendly Route option for its Maps application, designed to direct drivers along routes estimated to generate the lowest carbon emissions.

Here’s how the new feature could help you take a greener journey.

How does Google Maps’ co-friendly option work?

Using insights from the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Lab, Google’s Eco-Friendly option will automatically select the route with the lowest carbon footprint. For example, roads with less traffic or fewer stop signs.

If the eco-friendly route has a later estimated arrival time than the original one, users will be able to compare the estimated CO2 emissions between routes before choosing which one they prefer.

Alternative modes of transport

Google has also included additional routes of transport as alternatives for more eco-friendly travel. This feature will depend on availability and user preference, rather than defaulting to routes only doable by car. Users will also be able to compare how long the journey will take depending on the mode of transport they choose.

The user’s preferred way to travel will be prioritised using advanced learning models. For example, if you choose cycling a number of times, then you will automatically be shown more cycling routes by the app.

Google has recently rolled out more than a 100 AI-driven improvements to its map data and walking routes, alongside adding 150,000km of bike routes to the Maps’ live database, meaning more choice for users.

Low emission zone alerts

Google Maps is also launching low emission zone alerts that will inform the driver when they are approaching city zones with low-emission targets. The driver will be told whether their vehicle is allowed in the area, and will be offered either an alternative mode of transport, or directions for another route.

This is in-line with the growing number of cities around the world establishing low emission zones, and will contribute towards a worldwide effort to decrease air pollution.

Google is planning on launching the new feature on Android and iOS in the US later this year, and has also announced plans to expand the feature to other countries soon after.

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