Google Maps is getting a major upgrade for cyclists

Photo of cyclists on a road
(Image credit: Google)

Cycling has been part of Google Maps’ repertoire for years now, but there’s never been a proper navigation mode for people who prefer getting around on two wheels. That’s about to change with a new feature called ‘lite navigation’.

So, rather than entering turn-by-turn navigation the way you would in a car, cyclists will be able to see important details about their route at a glance.

Turn-by-turn navigation is available, of course, for those times you have no idea where you’re going, and need some consistent guidance from Google’s navigational machine.

google maps lit navigation overview

(Image credit: Google)

But, considering cyclists may not have their phone on display all the time, this new mode is designed to take that into account.

google maps cycling lite navigation status

(Image credit: Google)

So the lite navigation screen will show you an overview of your entire route, your current ETA, and any changes in elevation that might be coming up. The notification bar will also show you where you’re going, when you’re due to arrive, and give you the option to either end or share your trip with someone else. That's less useful if you don’t know where you’re going, but still important information.

Unfortunately this feature isn’t available just yet, but will be rolling out to locations with existing cycling navigation in the “coming months.”

Lite navigation is part of Google’s big push towards sustainability, and isn’t the only big announcement that the company has today. The big one is that from today Google Maps will be directing drivers in the U.S. down routes that emphasize fuel efficiency. If that sounds familiar, it’s because Google originally announced this feature was on the way back in May.

google maps eco friendly route

(Image credit: Google)

Eco-friendly routes will utilize AI to take traffic, optimal driving speed, and stop lights to calculate the best route to take. Not only will that prevent unnecessary emissions, it’ll also keep the fuel in your gas tank going for much longer.

Google will also show you the fastest route, if it’s different to the most eco-friendly option. Likewise if you'd prefer to take the fastest route no matter what, you’ll be able to adjust your preferences in the Settings menu.

google maps bike sharing service route

(Image credit: Google)

Finally, Google Maps is also improving the amount of information you’ll be able to see from bike and scooter sharing services. Google Maps will show you where nearby stations can be found, how many bikes or scooters are actually available, and where you can park up once your journey is complete.

This feature will be going live in over 300 cities across the world, though Google directly confirmed Berlin, New York, São Paulo and Taipei are among them.

Tom Pritchard
UK Phones Editor

Tom is the Tom's Guide's UK Phones Editor, tackling the latest smartphone news and vocally expressing his opinions about upcoming features or changes. It's long way from his days as editor of Gizmodo UK, when pretty much everything was on the table. He’s usually found trying to squeeze another giant Lego set onto the shelf, draining very large cups of coffee, or complaining about how terrible his Smart TV is.