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Google Maps Time estimates: are they accurate?

Old 11-27-12, 08:49 PM
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Google Maps Time estimates: are they accurate?

I'm getting a 3 hour time estimate to ride 30 miles. That's a wicked long commute for me (in time AND distance). I can't do it, not yet any way. OTOH: if I can burn that out in TWO hours (that's only 15 MPH) i think I might be able to swing it.

Have any of you used the bike rout feature on Google Maps and did you find it accurate?
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Old 11-27-12, 09:21 PM
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In my experience, the estimated times are always a bit slow. Of course, it will ultimately depend on how fast you ride, traffic, stop signs/lights, etc.
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Old 11-27-12, 09:25 PM
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Google maps seems to assume 10mph cycling speed, regardless of road conditions. e.g., I took a new route today. I averaged 14 mph compared to Googles 10mph, and this included 5 stop signs and 3 traffic lights.
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Old 11-27-12, 09:30 PM
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I don't think they take terrain into consideration either. Maybe it's 10 minutes to zip downhill, but 30 to slog back up it.
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Old 11-28-12, 12:05 AM
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I find it disturbingly reasonable, given that it seems to assume a more or less straight 10 mph. It's a bit slow, but it seems to take into account (at least on average) that I get flat tires, massive headwinds, stuck behind drawbridges, and distracted by cool birds.
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Old 11-28-12, 01:22 AM
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When I have used it, Google has been fairly accurate, within 10% or so of my travel times, for urban streets in this medium-sized city (Springfield, IL).
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Old 11-28-12, 01:37 AM
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I tend to add about 15 t0 20 minutes as a buffer zone as Im not as fast on a mountain bike as a road bike would be.
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Old 11-28-12, 03:03 AM
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Originally Posted by mr,grumpy
I'm getting a 3 hour time estimate to ride 30 miles. That's a wicked long commute for me (in time AND distance). I can't do it, not yet any way. OTOH: if I can burn that out in TWO hours (that's only 15 MPH) i think I might be able to swing it.

Have any of you used the bike rout feature on Google Maps and did you find it accurate?
Ride the route on a one of your days off from work as a timing run. Depending on time of day, day of week, allow for traffic volume differences, and throw in buffers for flats, headwinds, and the post ride transformation from cyclist to worker drone... time estimates are pretty accurate for me.

Though the choice of routes can often times be baffling...
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Old 11-28-12, 08:28 AM
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Google maps says my commute should have taken 1 hour and 8 minutes. It took me 38 minutes this morning. Have made it to work in around 33 minutes before. It's highly inaccurate for me. For others, it might be more accurate.
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Old 11-28-12, 08:38 AM
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Understand that Google Maps Bike needs to come up with time estimates for a very wide range of cyclists. So they went with 10 mph average. It's a close enough estimate for the average cyclist.
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Old 11-28-12, 09:10 AM
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10-12mph is a good average for somebody cruising at 15mph. You will have traffic lights, stops, yield signs and other obstacles to separate your average from your cruising speed.
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Old 11-28-12, 09:32 AM
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The only time I've used it, it showed 40 minutes for a 9 km route. It took me 25 at an easy pace.
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Old 11-28-12, 09:46 AM
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Originally Posted by bene gesserit
I don't think they take terrain into consideration either. Maybe it's 10 minutes to zip downhill, but 30 to slog back up it.
That's not true. I don't know what the map utility uses, but it does take elevation into consideration. Try hitting the reverse route feature and see if it shows a different time. It does for many of my rides around here. For instance, it shows a 21 minute commute on my route to work, and 17 minute commute coming home. The difference is about right, but when I ride that route, my times are about 3-4 minutes less, depending on how many red lights I get stuck at, mostly.
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Old 11-28-12, 09:58 AM
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Originally Posted by Mr. Hairy Legs
The only time I've used it, it showed 40 minutes for a 9 km route. It took me 25 at an easy pace.
There are still more variables impossible for Google to factor accurately that have not yet been mentioned. I suspect terrain has been made a part of the algorithm that calculates ETA but are headwinds? Tailwinds? I suspect not. Nor can Google possibly estimate the effect that increasing mileage has on an individual riders endurance. A 30mi. one way is outside most commuter riders performance envelope period. I bold commuter because a recreational rider has the option of setting out at a slower pace and/or taking as many rest breaks as necessary to complete the trip. The commuter usually does not.

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Old 11-28-12, 10:03 AM
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I would expect a 30 mile commute to take me around 2.5 hours if I didn't want to show up to work exhausted and craving a meal and a nap.
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Old 11-28-12, 10:12 AM
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google maps says my 14.5 mile route should take 1 hour 22 minutes.

on a good day on my road bike with a tailwind i can do it in 50 minutes.

today i did it in 1 hour 3 minutes (cold, slow bike, and headwind).

so no, i don't find their time estimates terribly accurate for me.

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Old 11-28-12, 03:07 PM
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It's not true that Google Maps simply assumes 10 mph. I calculated the Google speed for several rides I've done, and came up with numbers between 9.3 and 10.8 mph. I haven't figured out their rhyme or reason, but it does make sense that the fast ride was the one on the bike path along the river, which is long and uninterrupted.

Overall, I find the times pretty good. When I first started riding regularly, my travel times were usually very close to what Google predicted. Now I'm a bit faster, by a few minutes on my 15 minute commute to work, and about 10 minutes on one that Google says should take 45 mins. That's in the ballpark, and for me a useful estimate.
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Old 11-28-12, 03:16 PM
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I find it to estimate about 10mph, when I ride between 15-20 normally, my bigger issue is the 'safe' routes it picks. They tend to route me out of my way, or onto MUP's where peds and strollers and dogs etc make my day terrible.

Instead I just use their car routes, but under options I tell it no highways. Then I just figure 15 mph for a pace.
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Old 11-28-12, 03:40 PM
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my tom tom gps uses 15mph as the avrg speed, and for me that's a pretty accurate gauge of time
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Old 11-28-12, 03:52 PM
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https://veloroutes.org/

with elevation profiles

Last edited by acidfast7; 11-28-12 at 03:56 PM.
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Old 11-28-12, 04:53 PM
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Another option that might work depending on where you live is https://ridethecity.com/

I find Google maps to be fairly accurate for sub-10km (6 mile) rides when traffic lights and conditions are likely to have a more significant impact. For your 30 mile ride, I assume (hope!) that a lot of it is open roads, where you can probably cruise fairly easily at 12-15 mph. If it was 30 miles of stop-and-go city riding, I would look into multi-modal commuting.
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Old 11-28-12, 04:56 PM
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The estimate is 36min for my 6.3mi commute to work. I think it takes me about 25, but like other posters have noted, Google doesn't know if I'm one of the 7-8 MPH commuters or the 15-20 MPH group.
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Old 11-28-12, 04:58 PM
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I use Mapmyride.com and love it.

Google maps is okay for getting some basic recommendations for bike routes - the flat 10mph average is probably a good starting point for slower commutes with lots of pace-killers such as lights, stopsigns, and speed restricted MUP's. so much depends on your own riding pace, obstacles, lights, and so forth.
I'd say give it a go on a weekend and see how you do.
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Old 11-29-12, 08:00 AM
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Like most people have said, Google assumes a flat 10 mph, so you have to adjust for your own speed and route. Their routes are pretty questionable, especially over longer distances. I've had them route me 15 miles out of my way simply because their was an MUP there. If you know your route, Map My Ride will be more accurate. They say Google Maps bike feature is in beta stage, I say Llama stage: that's what you'll need, a Llama, sherpa, a couple wool blankets, some extra food....

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