Have you ever approached a London bike share station only to find it completely empty? Google Maps is updating to make that irksome scenario a thing of the past.
Originally a feature just in New York, Google has announced that it’s real-time bikeshare information is rolling out to 24 cities around the world, including London and Dublin.
Maps will highlight bike-sharing stations, with real-time data on how many bikes are available at each one. Moreover, if you’re on a borrowed bike and are looking for somewhere to drop it off, Google will highlight where there are free slots available. All this data comes thanks to a partnership with transit data company Ito World.
“Whether you’re traveling in a new city or planning your daily commute, Google Maps is making it easier to weigh all your transportation options with real-time information,” Andrew Hyatt, a software engineer at Google Maps, wrote in a blog post announcing the update. “Just like how we show you when buses and trains are coming and going in Google Maps, you’ll now know which bikeshare stations have a bike ready for you.”
Twenty-four cities in 16 countries are getting the feature to begin with. Along with New York, London and Dublin, they are: Barcelona, Berlin, Brussels, Budapest, Chicago, Hamburg, Helsinki, Kaohsiung, Los Angeles, Lyon, Madrid, Mexico City, Montreal, New Taipei City, Rio de Janeiro, San Francisco Bay Area, São Paulo, Toronto, Vienna, Warsaw and Zurich.
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Hopefully this is just the beginning, because, as Google notes in the blog, there are more than 1600 bike-sharing programs worldwide. And anything that makes it easier to dump the car and go for a pollution-free alternative is good news in our book.
Are you a cyclist that relies on bike-sharing schemes around the world? Will you be using Google Maps to stay on top of things? Let us know what you think on Twitter: @TrustedReviews.