Google adds ride-sharing tab to maps to enable more options, faster time to destination.
Sourced through Scoop.it from: searchengineland.com
Uber, public transport, walking, cycling, driving are all being included. They also do a fairly good job when it comes to traffic jams.
I’ve been doing quite a lot of testing of a variety of services as always, for my commute as well as trips further afield and I have to say that in my opinion, while I like Google a lot more than I used to, I’m not convinced there is a true front runner yet when it comes to the perfect app.
I have many route choices for my commute and if I have time, I follow the directions of an app such as Google, Here or my TomTom GO, all of which feature real time traffic.
What I’ve found is that they all have algorithms that determine how to calculate which way to go.
Some have a bias towards a road class, such as take motorways first (not a good option for me in the morning), others have a bias towards previous weeks (not a great idea when you go from holidays to March Madness when schools, universities and commuters are all on the road at the same time. Some seem to look at the last few consecutive days, but each day of the week has its own characteristics.
I’m not sure that any of them take weather into their calculations, which is when a lot of people who would normally take public transport, take to their cars.
What they do all have in common now is that they are all using location based services (where permission is given by device users) to help identify traffic jams and journey times. The number of users they can crowd-source from has a significant impact on the quality of their information. These sources include your iPhone or Android, your car navigation device, or your Fleet Management system.
So here’s my advice for the day. Whilst we can not easily influence the algorithms of the developers of GPS navigation apps or devices, the more of us who turn location services on (they are anonymous on devices as oppose to some apps where you let them know who you are) the larger the sample size of ‘probes’ (which effectively show where a device is, how fast it is going and in what direction), the more accurate the traffic jam information is.
The rest of the data quality will remain an issue for some time and it comes down to how much these brands need or want to do. If you take the Pareto Principle, 80% of information is enough to give you an idea of what is going on. It doesn’t mean you will be given the perfect route, but it will help you make a smarter decision. The other 20% is very expensive for them to get and someone has to pay for those resources.
The other major gap in my humble opinion is the why. In most systems you will be shown an indication of where the slow traffic is and its extent, but not why. Customer research tells us that people behave very differently when they know the cause of the delays. For example if you are in New Zealand and use the NZTA website at http://nzta.govt.nz/traffic-and-travel-information/ you will find a variety of ways from FREE email alerts, traffic apps to websites you can visit, traffic web cams and in many cases they will tell you the cause of an incident, official detours and when they expect the incident to be cleared.
People behave very differently if they know the cause of the delay wasn’t just traffic congestion but there was a crash and people have been injured or killed or a major sporting event or concert is just starting or ending.
What is the best GPS navigation system? When I wrote one of my most popular blogs on the topic in 2013 it was a lot more clear cut because there were fewer quality options. It is still a good read IMHO at http://bit.ly/1RRjVJd however things have moved on a lot.
Whatever country you are in, I recommend you try a variety of FREE apps and websites for yourself on your smartphone. Ask other people, but note people have an emotional bias towards their choice of device or app and aren’t always objective. Plus if they travel to and from different places to you or on different modes of transport, they will have different experiences. The best thing is that many are now FREE apps and allow you to download the maps at home before you leave, saving you a lot on mobile data. That way you are only downloading traffic information which uses very little.