Google Maps 500% Greener Than Last Year

Well, at least that's how Google frames it in their latest blog post on the improvements made in the past year on Google Maps and getting transit directions. And we have to agree - they've done a lot of really cool things to help folks get around in a greener way. Here's a look at a year of improvements.

In one year, the total number of cities for which people can plan transit trips with Google Maps has grown to more than 250 -- 500% more than last year. In North America, we've grown from supporting around 20 agencies to 115 agencies, including 8 agencies in Canada.

That's a fantastic upswing, though it's debatable on whether or not that's because more people are using mass transit and need the mapping to help with their green swing, or if it's just because it's a convenient technology being adapted by a world that likes convenience. We're pretty sure it's this second aspect. But in the long run, it doesn't much matter since easier access to public transportation information means more people are likely to use it. And transit authorities are taking note:

Many transit agencies not only share their data with Google, but also make their data public so developers can easily create mashups. A year ago, 6 agencies published their transit feeds; today, there are 24. Many clever transit applications have been developed by third party developers to help people use public transit.

Their new transit layer is also really helpful, turning your Google map into an instant Streetwise Map.

A really great improvement is in the walking directions:

A year ago, we had "walking directions" that simply consisted of an as-the-crow-flies arrow across buildings -- and sometimes rivers! Today, people are no longer directed to swim across rivers or fly over impassible areas - detailed turn-by-turn walking directions have now been seamlessly integrated with our transit directions.

Adding that to apps that help with the walkability of locations encourages people to hoof it.

So while "500% greener" is debatable, it certainly is a whole, whole lot better

Via Google Blog
More on Google Transit
Walk Score: Cool Green Google Map Mashup
Petition to Google: Please Add 'Bike There' Feature
Google Launches New Transit Layer to Maps
Walking Directions Now Available On Google Maps

Tags: Google | Public Transportation | Walking

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