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Getting Around Safely

Google Maps unveils new updates to help you travel safely post-lockdown.

As lockdown rules are being eased, and we're all allowed to start getting out and about again, we still want to carry on living safely by avoiding close contact with too many people. That’s why Google has rolled out two new features for its Maps app that aims to help everyone travel around safely.

Whilst many are switching to walking or cycling to get from A to B whenever they can, it's not always possible. So, Google's Maps app is very handy for times when public transport is your only option.

The app now shows alerts informing you of any coronavirus-related travel restrictions and reports on how crowded public transit may be. If you’re looking up directions for a trip that may require you to wear a mask on public transit, will take you through a COVID-19 checkpoint, or will have another kind of COVID-19-related impact, you’ll see a relevant alert on the app.

Information for these alerts is gathered from “authoritative data from local, state, and federal governments or from their websites,” according to Google. These alerts are live in Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Colombia, France, India, Mexico, Netherlands, Spain, Thailand, United Kingdom, and the US, with plans to expand to more areas.

If you’re going to a medical facility or COVID-19 testing center, Google Maps will display an alert telling you to check that you meet eligibility requirements. This feature is not yet so widely available beyond the US, where testing center alerts are also available.

Finally, Google has simplified a feature it introduced last year that predicts how crowded public transport will be based on user-submitted data. When looking up a route on Google Maps, crowd information can now be found by tapping through to see Transit Details, then scrolling down to see crowdedness predictions. You can also see the times when a station has been busy in the past - just search for a station, or tap on it in the map to see relevant data.

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