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Google Maps will soon make it easier to take the train

Google Maps will soon make it easier to take the train
Posted at 10:35 AM, Apr 26, 2024

Train travel isn’t always the first option people think of when it comes to planning a trip. Part of that is awareness, and Google is doing their part to raise it in a big way with a new update to their Maps app. Soon, some travelers will be able to see information on train routes at a glance when they search for directions.

Google announced the changes last week in an initiative aimed at helping commuters and vacationers find more eco-friendly ways to get around.

MORE: This Google Maps feature helps you plan your stops and share your travel plans

“When it comes to traveling and commuting, we want people to have the right information to make more sustainable choices,” said James Byers, Group Product Manager for Google.

In 38 countries, including the U.S., you can already find train routes when you search specifically for them, but Google will be bringing up those options along with bus travel times when you search for flights. You’ll be able to see the ticket prices and schedules along with those times, as well as links that let you quickly book a seat.

Google trains search now shows schedule, prices

In 15 big cities around the globe, Google is taking those highlights a step further. When travelers search for driving directions, the results will bring up train travel times, bus routes and walking directions if those options are comparable. Berlin, London, Sydney, Montreal, Paris and Rome are among the metro areas where Maps users will see the changes in the next few weeks.

MORE: You can travel across the country by train for less than $500

Amtrak train driving through autumn woods

By and large, train travel has a far lower ecological impact than flying by plane. Studies have long shown that a fully-booked train puts out roughly half the emissions that a plane does, and that accounts for older trains that run on diesel fuel. Those that run on electric rail (like most Amtrak routes in the Northeast Corridor) reduce those impacts even further.

Pro tip for eco-conscious flyers: Google already lets you see carbon emission estimates on flights so that you can sort your options sustainably.

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