Great news for cyclists everywhere--but especially in New York City where bike lanes are crucial for the safety of urban bikers: Google Maps has finally added biking directions to their platform. The LatLong blog has an interesting post about how the routing algorithm differs for bicycles than for cars, feet or public transit. The directions favor bike trails (Google has added 12,000 miles of them to its system), bike lanes, and recommended routes (human-curated). It also avoids both uphill and downhill slopes, busy roads and busy intersections.
Interestingly, when the routing algorithm considers all the different routes, it analyzes the slopes on the trip, calculates the effort and speed required to go up hills and factors these calculations into the route it recommends. "Sometimes the model will determine that it's far more efficient to make you ride several extra blocks than to have to deal with a massive hill."
Here's a map of the bike lanes in lower Manhattan and Brooklyn. Great stuff Google!
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