Google Maps launches bicycling directions today

While more American cities are including bicycling in transportation planning, and even shooting for status as “bicycle friendly communities,” it can still be tough to get around on a bike. Today, during the opening sessions of the National Bike Summit 2010 in Washington, D.C., Google will be announcing its contribution to making biking easier: a bicycling directions option in Google Maps.

According to the official Google blog, there’s been a steady flow of support and requests for such a feature… even an online petition. In response, Google’s added a set of features that should make getting to a location by bike easier and safer. Some of the elements of the biking directions include:

  • information on bike-only trails and roads with dedicated bike lanes;
  • routing that attempts to avoid hills and busy intersections;
  • information on multiple routes;
  • an option for rider feedback (which will be particularly helpful in cities that are behind the curve on their biking infrastructure).

This feature is still in beta, but already looks useful… I’ve already figured out a better route for one of the trips I make regularly. To get a full sense of the new biking directions, check out this video from Google Maps:

Got other tips for planning trips by bicycle? Share them…

via the blog


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