By Ramesh Nagarajan, Group Product Manager, Google Maps
If you’ve ever been stuck in a hot, crowded subway tunnel or caught in gridlocked traffic wishing that you could magically transport yourself to work, you know that commuting can be hard.
Why are commutes so stressful? They’re unpredictable and long. 2016 data from TomTom tells us that the commute time in KL can go up to 34 percent longer due to traffic congestion. If you dig deeper and look at the average daily traffic in some of the busiest highways in KL, you’ll see why commute times can change. For instance, the average daily traffic on the Kuala Lumpur-Karak Highway is at 153,545 last year, and this has increased from 137,870 in 2008!
An article by New Straits Times quoted data from Nielsen Global Survey of Automotive Demand which said: “Malaysia boasts the third highest level of car ownership globally (93 per cent) and the highest incidence of multiple car ownership globally”. This explains why there are more cars on the road, more traffic congestion, and longer commute times!
The results are quite similar, if not worse in North America. Data from 25 cities tells us that daily commute times during rush hour traffic can be up to 60 percent longer than what you expect when you start your drive—resulting in a lot of stress, missed meetings, and skipped breakfasts.
According to historical Google Maps data, people in North America spend a full day per month commuting—which almost adds up to a two-week vacation each year. Plus, a bad commute can negatively impact the rest of your day, long after the actual commute is over.
On Oct 1st, Google rolled new features on Google Maps to help you take control of your daily commute— enabling you to plan ahead, prepare for the inevitable disruptions, and possibly avoid them altogether. Oh, and we’ll also help you have a bit of fun along the way. 👍
Know Before You Go
The Google Maps commute feature/ tab provides one-tap access to live traffic and transit information tailored to your commute. It’ll tell you if your commute is going to be a normal one or if you’ll need to budget extra time due to things like an accident or heavy traffic.
In the case of a delay, it’ll tell you about alternative routes to help you get to work faster. On Android, you’ll also receive notifications about delays and disruptions on your route as they happen, so you can know about an incident before you get caught up in the delay.
Drive 🚗, Walk 🚶🏽 and Ride 🚌 : Support for Mixed-Mode Commutes
There’s a new feature for people whose commutes involve both driving and public transit. You can see helpful information about when to leave, and for each leg of your trip: you’ll know if there’s traffic on your drive, when the next train departs, and how long it’ll take to walk from the train station to the office.
Google Maps does the work for you and automatically factors this into your ETA so you can anticipate exactly when you’ll get to work.
Stop the Guessing Game
Sprinting to the subway station only to find that your train is delayed is not the best way to start the day. Now, transit riders in 80 regions worldwide will be able to see exactly where their bus or train is in real time on the map.
This will help you plan your day more efficiently—you’ll know if you can spend an extra few minutes grabbing coffee, or if you really do need to make a run for it to catch your bus. And in Sydney, Google Maps has partnered with Transport New South Wales to show how full your next bus or train is – so you’ll know whether or not you’ll get a seat. This feature will be coming to more cities around the globe soon.
Get Your Motor Running, Head Out on the Highway 🎸
If you have to sit in traffic, you may as well do it while listening to good music. Google is making Spotify, Apple Music, and Google Play Music available within Google Maps so that you can control your tunes and podcasts right from Google Maps navigation.
With Spotify on Android you can also choose your favourite content by browsing through songs, albums, podcasts, and playlists with the new, easy to use navigation. Say goodbye to toggling between apps, and rock out knowing that you can keep your eyes where they should be—on the road.
The new commute features rolled out globally on Android and iOS during the week of Oct 1st. To get started, update your app from the Play Store or App Store.
Interested to see how you can use Google Maps for your business? Email us at email@example.com or call us at 03-7885 9720.
Article first appeared on the Salesforce blog.
Lava Labs brings together innovation and technology, combined with expertise and deep understanding of businesses and their needs by engaging with industry leaders to empower organizations. We specialise in building custom web and mobile applications in Malaysia and around the APAC region.