To Reduce Carbon Footprint, Google Maps Will Soon Launch A Feature That Shows Eco-Friendly Routes

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As part of its pledge to combat climate change, Google Maps is working on building a new feature that will direct drivers to routes it calculates to be the most eco-friendly based on insights from the U.S. government’s National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL).

As part of its sustainability commitment, Google Maps, owned by Alphabet, is working to enable a billion people to reduce their carbon footprint.

Through this new feature, the app will highlight journeys that generate the lowest carbon footprint taking various factors into account such as traffic data, road data in slopes and inclines via its other feature Street View cars, aerial and satellite imagery and emissions data based on testing across different types of cars.

Once out, the default route on the app will be the ‘eco-friendly’ one. However, drivers can choose to not use it. When other routes show lesser driving time, Google will display choices through which users can compare the estimated emissions of all the routes.

Speaking to the press, director of Product at Google, Russell Dicker, said: “What we are seeing is for around half of routes, we are able to find an option more eco-friendly with minimal or no time-cost trade-off.”

The eco-friendly route feature is slated to debut in the U.S. later this year on Android and iOS, with expansion plans across the globe.

What we are seeing is for around half of the routes, we are able to find an option more eco-friendly with minimal or no time-cost trade-off

Russell Dicker, Product at Google

In a blog post seen by Green Queen, Google said: “From Amsterdam to Jakarta, cities around the world have established low emission zones — areas that restrict polluting vehicles like certain diesel cars or cars with specific emissions stickers —  to help keep the air clean. To support these efforts, we’re working on alerts to help drivers better understand when they’ll be navigating through one of these zones. You can quickly know if your vehicle is allowed in the area, choose an alternative mode of transportation, or take another route.”

The low emission zone alerts will be released this June in Germany, the Netherlands, France, Spain and the U.K.

This and other initiatives are part of Google’s commitment to be carbon-free by 2030 by enabling cities to track their greenhouse gas emissions. According to the tech giant’s website, they became a carbon-neutral company back in 2007.

Back in December of last year, Latam ridesharing tech firm Cabify unveiled a carbon offsetting solution that is powered by blockchain to allow users to keep a track of the emissions they produce through the routes they choose, all in real-time to help decrease the carbon footprint on the environment.

Another app that helps users track their footprint through their transport choices is Singapore-based company Capture. Through this app, users can even auto-offset these emissions every month by being a part of certified tree planting projects.

Lead image courtesy of Google.


  • Tanuvi Joe

    Born and bred in India and dedicated to the cause of sustainability, Tanuvi Joe believes in the power of storytelling. Through her travels and conversations with people, she raises awareness and provides her readers with innovative ways to align themselves towards a kinder way of living that does more good than harm to the planet. Tanuvi has a background in Journalism, Tourism, and Sustainability, and in her free time, this plant parent surrounds herself with books and rants away on her blog Ruffling Wings.

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