Google Maps gets coast-to-coast UK public transport data

Published 
14 May 2014
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Google Maps is now able to tap in to Great Britain's country-wide public transport network when planning journeys

Google has updated its Maps database with coast-to-coast public transport information from the UK, letting you plot a route to practically anywhere in the country without having to jump in a car for the first time.

Until recently, Google had transit data for most of Great Britain, but didn't cover much of Wales, the Midlands and northern England. The new data now extends that coverage nationwide, with departure times and bus routes as well as train, tram and ferry times. The gaps in the coverage were plugged using data from Traveline, the public transport information service set up as a partnership between transport operators and local authorities in 2000.

Google Maps coast-to-coast

According to The BBC, schedules from almost 1,500 transport operators has been added to Google's Maps database, with more than 17,000 different routes and over 330,000 pick-up points now available for journey planning.

With the new data, it's now possible to plan a route from Land's End to John 'o Groats purely with public transport, although the journey itself will take 27 hours by Google's own estimates - and that's if every one of the nine interchanges is on time.

Because Google takes Traveline data and converts it to the General Transit Feed Specification (GTFS) file format used by the Maps API, third-party developers will be able to take the data and integrate it into their own Android apps or web-apps in the future.

Apart from London, where real-time data is used to plan journeys, the rest of the country will use preset timetable information rather than live transport updates for the time being, but Google plans on adding live data to the service at some point in the future.

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