Big idea brings TFL to Google Maps for Olympics

Writing on the Google Maps blog, Thijs van As said, “Ahead of a busy summer in London, we are bringing real time service alerts for the London Underground to Google Maps. We’ll let you know of any disruptions on the Underground that are happening at the time you need them most. To see these alerts, click on a station in a timetable or in the public transport directions results”.

Transport for London has also recently made live information about buses available via its own website, sparking a number of new apps, but Google has yet to include these in its new service.

The new Tube data will be incorporated into Google Maps online and on mobile phones. Updated every 30 seconds, it will also include details of planned engineering works in its journey planner.

Last month Google updated its maps service to show real-time traffic conditions, allowing it to calculate the shortest route to a user’s destination. Where Google has enough information, roads are colour-coded based on the level of congestion. Green routes are moving well, while red routes are slow.

The new feature is available on Google Maps on the web and for Android mobile users in Britain, the US, Canada, France and Australia. It covers major routes across Britain and several cities, including London, Glasgow and Manchester.

As at the time of writing, the service appears to be functioning, as the image above is taken from a screenshot of today’s notifications for Waterloo tube station. With the impending monumental disruption that’s coming in the form of the London 2012 Olympic Games, Google will have to stay on top of this and I suspect, even if they do, that it will do little to alleviate the overwhelming congestion we expect on the London transport system this summer.

Good luck Google!

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