Google Maps Multimodal

Helping people travel multimodally with Google Maps

Google Play · Blog post

The biggest challenge with this project was to update our current directions framework. We broke down all the components and information to figure out what was shared between modes. This allowed us to expand the interface by tweaking the it to accomodate for mixed modes.

A static prototype wouldn't work well for testing with users so I hacked together a multimodal API by combining the public Google Maps driving and transit APIs. This would allow us to test with real data instead of made-up scenarios. Here's how it worked:

  1. User enters origin and destination

  2. API looks up closes train station around origin

  3. It then looks up driving direction from origin to the train station

  4. Then transit direction from the train station to the destination

It was definitely not perfect, but it worked well enough for us to test with.

Multimodal for Commuters

My collagues had already developed a feature that helps people on their daily commute and it was my job to update the feature to allow for multimodal travel. My responsibility became to update the Commute Setup UI (seen above) and coorinating the driving and transit teams to support multimodal. I also built a React Native prototype to test the whole Commute Setup flow.

The feature launched in the second half of 2018 on both Android and iOS.