Google Maps introduces new features to protect riders against COVID-19
Google Maps users can now receive information about COVID-19-affected public transport routes, whether face masks are required, and reminders to check healthcare eligibility when travelling to medical facilities.
The latest release of Google Maps for iOS and Android has introduced a number of new features to aid public transport passengers in staying safe from the threat of COVID-19.
The global pandemic has disrupted public transport services the world over, but digital technologies offering up-to-date information for passengers represent a route towards the new normal. Google Maps will now show relevant alerts from public transport companies to those looking for public transport directions for a trip that is likely to be affected by COVID-19 restrictions.
The alerts can help users better prepare for journeys, for example, telling them if government mandates impact services or require them to wear a mask on public transportation. The alerts will initially roll out in Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Colombia, France, India, Mexico, Netherlands, Spain, Thailand, United Kingdom and the U.S.
The app has also been updated with better information for drivers around COVID-19, too, with alerts to notify drivers about COVID-19 checkpoints and restrictions along their route, like when crossing national borders (starting first in Canada, Mexico and the U.S.).
App users in Indonesia, Israel, the Philippines, South Korea, and the U.S. that are travelling to medical centres will also receive reminders to check their eligibility and facility guidelines to avoid being turned away or causing additional strain on the local healthcare system. U.S. users will also receive these alerts when travelling specifically to COVID-19 testing centres.
The update also makes it easier for users to contribute crowdedness information – the data which powers the app’s crowdedness predictions.