WASHINGTON, D.C., Wednesday, March 10, 2010—Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (RTC) is proud to announce its partnership with GoogleTM as an official content provider for Google Map’s brand-new biking directions functionality. The release of this long-awaited feature allows Google Maps users to type in their destination and receive directions for the best bicycling route. Previously, Google was able to provide walking, driving or transit directions. Now, RTC is providing its extensive trail-map data to Google Maps for the seamless integration of safe, accessible and fun bicycling routes into daily travel.
Since 2000, RTC has made its extensive trails database of more than 1,600 rail-trails and connecting corridors free to the public through its trail-finder Web site, TrailLink.com. In 2007, RTC’s launched its Mapping Initiative and expanded its library of information to include exclusive and free trail maps. Today, as one of Google’s national content partners with trails data in all 50 states, RTC is helping millions more people find trails and enjoy the benefits of bicycling for active transportation and recreation.
“We’re thrilled to be working with Rails-to-Trails Conservancy to make RTC’s extensive bike trail data available through Google Maps and Google Earth,” says Shannon Guymon, Product Manager for Google Maps. “Bikers all over the country now will be able to explore new trails or find specific directions in their local community with just a few clicks of their mouse.”
The inclusion of RTC’s trail information in Google Maps comes at a time when people are clamoring for biking opportunities. In the last year, RTC has seen an unprecedented surge in its TrailLink.com users. TrailLink.com is the most robust, national resource for rail-trail maps, pictures, descriptions, listings and directions to more than 30,000 miles of trails.
“The demand for trail maps and information has never been higher, especially as more people recognize biking as a viable, inexpensive and healthy alternative to driving,” says Rails-to-Trails President Keith Laughlin. “Sharing our trail data is an exceptional way to introduce the world to what 150,000 RTC members and supporters already know—biking is the ideal way to get where you’re going. The addition of biking directions to Google Maps makes life easier for bikers, whether they are commuting to work or biking for fun, and it can introduce our network of trails to a whole new audience of cyclists-to-be.”
Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, a nonprofit membership organization headquartered in Washington, D.C., is working to create a nationwide network of trails from former rail lines and connecting corridors. To learn more about RTC or to become a member and support trail programs like TrailLink.com, visit www.railstotrails.org. To volunteer to help map trails for RTC’s Mapping Initiative, visit www.traillink.com/gps.aspx.
source: Jennifer Kaleba, RTC