Google Maps not only give driving directions but also provide walking, biking and public trails in many areas.

These instructions work on any mobile device using the Google Maps app or Google Maps on the web. It concerns iPhone and phones Android from companies such as Samsung, Google, Huawei and Xiaomi.

Man using Google Maps to navigate the city
Lifewire / Jaime Knot

Get directions for walking with Google Maps

For pedestrian directions (or driving bicycle or public transport directions), go to Google Maps on the web site or mobile device. Find your destination first. Once you find it, follow these steps:

  1. Select Directions (on a website, this is in the top left corner of an open browser window).

    Screenshot of the Directions button in Google Maps
  2. Choose a starting point. If you’re signed into Google, you may have listed your home or work location, so choose any of those locations as your starting point. If you started on your mobile device, choose your current location as your starting point. Otherwise, enter an address or location.

  3. To change your shipping method, select icon » Walking» (it’s at the top of the left panel). By default it is set to » Driving» but if you’re on mobile and often travel to other locations using an alternative transportation method, you may have different default settings.

  4. When there are several route options, Google suggests routes for the most attractive ones. You can see an estimate of how long it will take to complete each route.

  5. Drag along the route to adjust it as needed. Perhaps you know that the sidewalk is blocked for some part of the route, or you do not feel safe walking in a certain area. You can change the route, and if there are enough people, Google can change the route for future walkers.

    Screenshot of the directions button in Google Maps

    Google is not always aware of road hazards such as construction zones, unsafe neighborhoods, or busy streets with poor lighting. However, if you live in a great walking city, the maps are usually pretty good.

  6. Walking times are approximate. Google collects information by looking at average walking speed. Altitude and slope can also be taken into account, but if you walk slower or faster than the average walker, Google estimates that the time will be wrong.

Public transport directions

When you ask for public transportation, Google usually includes walking. This is what public transport experts sometimes refer to as the last mile. Sometimes that last mile is literally the last mile, so be aware of exactly how much of your public transportation includes walking. If you don’t want to walk book an Uber ride right from the app.

Screenshot of pedestrian sections of a public transport route in Google Maps

While Google provides directions for cycling and driving, it’s currently not possible to combine cycling, driving, and public transit routes with Google Maps if you want to solve the problem of the last mile cycling to or from the bus stop. While this can easily be dismissed as a minor issue, because walking directions can overestimate the time it takes you to get to or from a bus stop, if you are using a different mode of transportation, you need different directions when you are driving or bike. For example, pedestrians can walk in any direction on a one-way street.

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