For over 10 years now, Google has been providing Directions and Distance Matrix APIs, helping to quickly create optimized routes for travel and deliveries from point A to B. Lately, the company has been working with leading transport and logistics operators to improve their deliveries and customer experience. To support a larger group of users, Google is opening enhanced routing possibilities to all Google Maps Platform developers.
The new Routes API is available in the preview version. The solution combines Directions and Distance Matrix APIs and offers even more informative, flexible routing capabilities to support your users. Directions and Distance Matrix APIs include features such as thorough, up-to-date directions powered by real-time traffic data as well as calculating distance and estimated time of arrival. Routes API also provides brand-new features:
- Routes for motorized two-wheel vehicles
- Data about toll roads and calculating route cost
- Up-to-date traffic information along each route segment
- Option for specifying pass-through locations and stopping points along the route
- Improved efficiency of apps using the API
- Eco-friendly routing
Directions and Distance Matrix are still available as separate APIs. However, to access additional capabilities and improved performance, we recommend switching to the new Routes API. Now, let’s take a look at what Google has to offer!
More detailed, flexible routes for your users
Support for motorized two-wheel vehicles
In many countries, motorcycles and motorbikes are extremely popular for transporting people and goods. The new Routes API provides effective routing for motorized two-wheel vehicles. One of the capabilities is routing along paths inaccessible for cars.
Route cost calculations
New Routes API provides more accurate information about toll roads along the route as well as the cost of the entire route. Calculations include vehicle type, e.g. EV, hybrid, diesel, etc.
Improved traffic capabilities
New traffic capabilities enable you to specify whether to calculate routes using live or historical traffic data. Additionally, traffic information can be presented for each route segment. This lets you provide your users with more accurate route visualizations by styling route fragments with different colors representing traffic intensity.
Improved efficiency of apps that use the API
The new Routes API improves your app performance through features such as an option for making tradeoffs between comprehensive accuracy and reduced latency. Another feature is field masking which allows you to specify fields returned in a response, e.g. ETA, traffic conditions, and others. With this, you can simplify the response, making it easier to process by your system.
More accurate estimated arrival times with more flexible waypoints
Google introduces improvements to waypoints on routes. From now on, you will be able to specify, whether a user will make a stop or only pass through a given waypoint. This improves the accuracy of estimated arrival times.
This feature is particularly useful for ride-sharing or ride-hailing applications when the driver stops to pick up or drop off the passenger. The feature will direct the driver only to the spots where it’s safe to stop and not consider places such as highways or tunnels.
Additionally, you can also specify the side of the street for a stopping waypoint. This will help to route pick-ups and drop-offs to the right location.
Recently, we shared news about eco-friendly routing. This is also a new capability of Routes API. Eco-friendly routing creates the most fuel-efficient itineraries for drives, helping them save money on fuel and fight climate change.
Companies that select their engine types and enable real-time traffic information will receive the most accurate fuel or energy efficiency estimates. This will allow them to optimize their fuel expenses.
At the moment, Routes API is available in the preview and during this period, it’s free of charge. More information on pricing will be shared when the API is generally available. Existing Directions and Distance Matrix APIs are billed according to their unchanged pricing.