Google Maps drives pollution

May 3, 2023


Google Maps encourages car use over active travel. Including cycling and walking, EVEN When they are more suitable than using a car.

Mobile phones with Google Maps installed, it's important to note that Google Maps comes pre-installed on most Android devices, which represent a significant share of the smartphone market. Additionally, many iOS users also choose to download and use Google Maps on their iPhones.

Shifting the Focus to Active Travel: Why Google Maps Should Prioritise Walking and Biking Over Cars

Google Pollution


Over the past decade, Google Maps has become an essential tool for millions of people worldwide, helping them navigate the roads and plan their journeys. However, as we enter an age of increased environmental awareness and strive for healthier lifestyles, it's time for Google Maps to make a significant shift in its default settings. By prioritising active travel modes like walking and biking over car use, Google Maps can actively contribute to a greener, healthier future for everyone.

Environmental Benefits of Active Travel:

The transportation sector is a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, with cars being one of the primary culprits. By promoting walking and biking as default modes of transport, Google Maps can help reduce the overall carbon footprint associated with transportation. Active travel modes produce significantly less pollution and consume fewer natural resources, making them a more sustainable choice for our planet.

Health Benefits:

The sedentary lifestyle that accompanies car-based transportation has been linked to numerous health issues such as obesity, heart disease, and diabetes. Encouraging active travel can have a profound impact on public health by promoting regular physical activity. Walking and biking have been proven to help individuals maintain a healthy weight, improve cardiovascular health, and boost mental well-being.

Traffic Congestion:

As urban areas continue to grow, traffic congestion has become an increasingly pressing issue. Prioritising active travel can help alleviate traffic jams, as more people walking and biking leads to fewer cars on the roads. This would not only reduce travel times but also minimize the stress and frustration associated with traffic congestion.

Economic Benefits: Encouraging active travel can have a positive impact on local economies. When people choose to walk or bike, they are more likely to shop at local businesses, boosting economic growth. Additionally, the reduced need for car infrastructure could lead to a decrease in public spending on road maintenance and construction, freeing up resources for other vital projects.

Equity and Accessibility: By defaulting to active travel modes, Google Maps would be promoting a more equitable and accessible transportation system. Not everyone can afford a car, and some individuals may not be able to drive due to physical limitations. By focusing on walking and biking, Google Maps can help create a more inclusive environment that accommodates the diverse needs of its users.


As one of the most popular navigation apps globally, Google Maps has the power to influence the way people travel. By shifting its default settings to prioritise active travel over car use, Google Maps can be a driving force behind a greener, healthier, and more equitable future. It's time for this tech giant to embrace its responsibility and lead by example in promoting sustainable and active transportation.