Google Maps Expands Its Public Transit Info Globally

Google Maps continues to grow its transit maps coverage for residents and tourists, this time adding coverage for every transit line in Great Britain.

Google Maps public transit coverage just received another big update, this time giving residents and tourists in Great Britain coverage for every public transit line throughout the country. The company also added Google Maps with bus line coverage for Vancouver, Canada, and Chicago.

These updates, as well as new transit information for every host city in Brazil just in time for the upcoming World Cup soccer matches, were unveiled by David Tattersall, the product manager for Google Maps public transit, in a May 14 post on the Google Maps Blog.

"Over 70 percent of the world's population doesn't own a car—a surprising fact for anyone who's sat for what seems like hours on end in bumper-to-bumper traffic," wrote Tattersall in the post. "Millions of people rely on public transit to get around. That's why, since 2007, we've worked to include public transit routes and schedules in Google Maps. In fact, buses, trains, trams and subways included in Google Maps travel 200 million kilometers every day—that's the equivalent of driving every single road in the world three times!"

The additions of the Great Britain coverage for every single transit route using Google Maps will make it easier for users there to get around, Tattersall wrote. "On the other side of the globe, Vancouverites looking for sun can now get real-time updates on whether a bus to Kits is faster than one to Third Beach."

The new bus route coverage in Chicago will give the same kinds of benefits to tourists and residents in the Windy City, he wrote. In Brazil, the new transit information recently added for the cities of Salvador, Brasilia, Manaus, Recife, Natal and Cuiaba will help visitors who travel there for the World Cup competition that runs from June 12 through July 13. Six other Brazilian host cities, Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Fortaleza, Belo Horizonte, Curitiba and Porto Alegre, already have Google Maps transit services.

Google is regularly working to increase its Maps coverage of local transit systems, wrote Tattersall. "Our transit data spans six continents, 64 countries and more than 15,000 towns and cities worldwide. And we're not done yet: Google Maps will continue to improve—serving people the information they need to get around town when and where they need it."

Earlier in May, Google spruced up its Google Maps apps for iOS and Android, giving them improved navigation, easier offline map access, new business filters and a tie-in with ride service Uber, according to an eWEEK report. The new business filters can enable users to find just the right nearby business that can provide the products or services that they need while the improved navigation feature now shows users which lane to stay in or move to so they will find their destinations better as they drive.

The upgraded offline Maps capabilities mean that users will be able to find and save maps online before they leave on their trips, so they can use them when WiFi or cellular signal access is a problem.

Google's previous Maps apps for Android and iOS were unveiled in July 2013, when they received a host of updates, including optimization for iPad screens and enhanced navigation for users. Both versions at that time also received the 5.0 star rating system that gave users Zagat's ratings on restaurants, bars, cafes and other destinations. Reviews from friends and acquaintances were also made available through the apps.