From Green Right Now Reports
If you're one of the 57 million Americans who ride a bike, mapping your daily commute, exploring new trails, and planning recreational rides should be easier with a new online tool from Google, which has added biking directions in the U.S. to Google Maps.
Google says the feature, announced at this week’s National Bike Summit in Washington, D.C., has been the most requested addition for Google Maps. The service includes step-by-step bicycling directions, bike trails outlined directly on the map and a new "bicycling" layer that indicates bike trails, bike lanes, and bike-friendly roads.
The new bicycling layer for Google Maps, accessible from a drop down menu at the top of the map, will display an overlay of the various bike-friendly roads and trails around town. Google says the layer is color-coded to show three different types of paths:
- Dark green indicates a dedicated bike-only trail;
- Light green indicates a dedicated bike lane along a road;
- Dotted green indicates roads without bike lanes but are more appropriate for biking, based on factors such as terrain, traffic, and intersections.
Google says it has partnered with the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, a nonprofit that creates networks of trails from former rail lines, to provide information on bike trails in more than 150 cities. The company says thousands of miles of trails in the U.S. have been added directly onto the map to help cyclists better plan their routes.
"The demand for trail maps and information has never been higher, especially as more people recognize biking as a viable, inexpensive and healthy alternative to driving," Rails-to-Trails President Keith Laughlin said in a statement. "Sharing our trail data is an exceptional way to introduce the world to what 150,000 RTC members and supporters already know—biking is the ideal way to get where you're going. The addition of biking directions to Google Maps makes life easier for bikers, whether they are commuting to work or biking for fun, and it can introduce our network of trails to a whole new audience of cyclists-to-be."
Google says the biking directions feature is available on desktop versions of Google Maps. A mobile version is being planned.
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