GOOGLE MAPS will start showing eco-friendly routes in countries like the UK and Spain.
Google Maps is designed to use a number of factors to determine the most environmentally friendly route for motorists.
They announced that the app will start highlighting trips that produce the lowest carbon footprint, mainly using road gradients and traffic data to tackle climate change.
Google said the feature will be rolled out in the US later this year, “global expansion is on the way,” including countries like Spain and the UK.
Once started, the traveller’s trip will default to the “greenest” route unless the user chooses to opt out. If an alternative route is significantly faster, Google will let the user compare the estimated emissions.
Russell Dicker, Director of Product at Google, said, “What we are seeing is that for about half of the routes we can find a greener option with minimal or no time investment.”
Google has stated that it uses emissions information based on testing different makes and types of cars and types of roads, drawing on findings from the US government’s National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL).
The road data they use take into account uphill and downhill gradients with their own Street View auto function as well as satellite and aerial images.
“This is a great example of where three trends come together – data, sustainability and consumer choice,” said Siddharth Pathak, partner at consulting firm Kearney.
“It will also encourage those standing by the fence to make a conscious decision in favor of speed instead of sustainability and often costs.”
Starting in June, Google will start warning drivers about to enter environmental zones where some vehicles are restricted. These environmental zones are common in countries like Spain, France, the Netherlands, Germany and the UK.
“From Amsterdam to Jakarta, cities around the world have set up low-emission zones – areas that restrict environmentally harmful vehicles, such as certain diesel cars or cars with special emission stickers, to keep the air clean.” Google said in a blog post.
“To support these efforts, we are working on alerts to help drivers better understand when they are navigating one of these zones.”
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