Google Maps is now introducing a set of new features to inform travelers and travelers how COVID-19 could affect their trip — including travel limits, the COVID-19 control points, or even crowds. It also provides features that can better understand eligibility and guidelines for those traveling to COVID-19 test centers. Google says in several countries it will now display local agency transit alerts, which will help users prepare for any government mandates affecting your ability to use public transit. For example, if services are closed or a mask is necessary, the alerts will contain this information.
Google Maps will now also show whether your trip navigation includes a COVID-19 checkpoint, or limitations, as when you cross a border internationally. First, to continue with Canada, Mexico, and the United States, this will be shown on the signposts if your route is impacted. Google did not note any proposals for this to be expanded to other nations.
Alerts would also appear as you schedule a visit to a treatment clinic or COVID-19 research center. These alerts are based on data received by Google from authoritative agencies, including local, state, federal, or central websites. The goal here is to make sure that people going to a center know the rules so that when they come they don’t walk around. For example, if you’re not visiting the center without a date, it’ll be noted.
These first medical alerts are available in Indonesia, Israel, the Philippines, South Korea, and the United States. Google says it focuses on getting them to other countries and extending its partnership with companies. The revised Google Maps framework would also increase access to last year’s “crowding forecasts” functionality. Tens of millions of contributions from Google Maps public transit users are contributing to this data. To predict how crowded a particular bus or train line can be at certain times of the day, Google crunched numbers. It makes it easy for users to make their comments
In the revamped version, you can scroll down to see crowd estimates and apply your feedback, such as “really packed” or “not very packed”, or another metric when you tap into the Transit path of a road. You will also see when a transit station has been more or less crowded historically or you can choose to see live data through Google Maps for a station or tap a station on the map. This function will expand during the next couple of weeks, displaying the starting board and busyness data.
This will be powered by additional and anonymized information from users of the Google Location History program. The company notes that this setting is turned off by default and Google only displays the data when it has sufficient input to meet data confidentiality limitations. Google Maps will now also develop new insights into transit, such as temperature, accessibility, onboard safety, and identified women’s sections in the available regions, without any connection to COVID-19. This was first revealed in February but is now available worldwide. It also includes information on granular accessibility for wheelchair users such as accessible wheelchairs, seats, stop buttons, and more says Google.