Sadiq Khan and TfL pledges to 'prioritise cycling' on roads with major new Google Maps update

Cyclists in London

The new Google Maps update will help cyclists navigate the capital

Felix Reeves

By Felix Reeves

Published: 13/10/2023

- 12:44

Since April 2022, TfL and boroughs have delivered 49km of new or upgraded cycle routes

A new partnership between Transport for London and Google Maps will aim to “prioritise cycling” on roads across the capital.

Enhancements have been made to Google Maps which could benefit millions of Londoners to put cyclists first on safe, quieter roads.

The new updates will make these roads easier to discover for cyclists, with more than 340 kilometres of cycle routes around the capital.

Google has worked with Transport for London’s Open Innovation team to improve cycle routing within the service.

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Users will be able to see a detailed breakdown of the route including what kind of road they will be cycling on, such as a major road or segregated cycle lane.

Mayor Sadiq Khan has frequently called for more provisions to be introduced to boost the use of cleaner transport options, as well as promoting walking and cycling, across London.

This includes his expansion of the Ultra Low Emission Zone in August to cover all of Greater London.

Any older and more polluting petrol and diesel vehicle is charged a £12.50 daily fee in a bid to reduce emissions in the capital.

A secondary aim of the scheme is to reduce the number of polluting cars on roads and get people to either use cleaner cars or more sustainable methods of transport.

Ajay Arora, UK partnerships lead at Google Maps, said the changes were being made to allow more people to cycle and use cleaner methods of transport.

He added: “We are delighted to collaborate with organisations like Transport for London to add hundreds of kilometres of new cycle lane data.

"Thanks to the collaboration with TfL we've been able to prioritise cycling on safer, quieter roads, and these updates are now available to cities around the world.

“In total, these changes are improving the journeys of more than 60 million people who come to Maps every month for cycling directions."

The improvements to the Google Maps app will slowly be rolled out in the future, with some users potentially receiving the update before others.

Will Norman, London's Walking and Cycling Commissioner, said: “The Mayor and I are committed to making cycling in London as safe and accessible as possible and have been working closely with Google.”

Since April 2022, TfL and boroughs have delivered 49km of new or upgraded cycle routes, with plans to launch another 12km by March 2024.

TfL is also set to deliver 140km of 20mph roads to reduce congestion and air pollution, as well as making efforts to promote cycling and walking.

Oliver Montague, CEO and co-founder of Swytch Technology, praised the new partnership between TfL and Google Maps, saying it would be a positive move to get more people cycling.


Sadiq Khan cycling

Sadiq Khan has called for Londoners to walk and cycle more often


He added: “Londoners have been increasingly leaning towards cycling as a primary mode of transport - even though the capital affords us a functional public transport system, cycling offers up a healthy, active and scenic way to explore the city.

“Google Maps partnering with TfL to prioritise safer cycling routes in London not only marks a new era for the city’s cyclists, but also removes a barrier for those who want to start cycling yet are apprehensive about navigating urban roads.”

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