Like to bike? Don't want to bother with owning and caring for one? For a growing number of people, bikeshare systems are their solution to personal urban transit. But when it comes to integrating this mode of movement into tasks such as navigation, you'd usually have to rely on the bikeshare system's proprietary app — that is, until now, as Google Maps is starting integrate richer bike availability data into its interface.
The app is now using information collected by transit data aggregator Ito World using a new global bikeshare data feed specification — similar to the General Transit Feed Specification format that transit agencies use to put station and live vehicle data online — to update commuters in real time on bike availability for docked share systems in 24 cities.
For the past year, New York City has had this data for its Citi Bike system, but the following cities are now joining in tandem:
- Los Angeles
- Lyon, France
- Mexico City
- New Taipei City
- Rio de Janeiro
- San Francisco Bay Area
- São Paulo
Of course, with over 1,600 recognized bikeshare systems in the world, Google and Ito World need help to keep everyone constantly updated — that includes Boston, where Google Maps still labels that area's bikeshare system as "Hubway" when its name has since changed to "Bluebikes." You can urge your local bikeshare system to submit bikeshare data to Ito World at this page.