Google Maps: This new feature may change how you plan your journey

More granular information about toll charges may be on the way for Google Maps users.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer

Google Maps may soon tell you not just which road routes have tolls in case you wish to avoid them, but also automatically display how much each toll costs. 

Having up-to-date information about tolls could be a major bonus for Google Maps users, allowing drivers to be more selective about which routes to take and helping them decide the trade-off between time savings and toll charges. 

Android Police reports that a member of Google Maps preview program was asked to take a survey to inform Maps developers how users would like to see the feature implemented.

Reportedly, the feature will display toll prices, and perhaps even total toll charges along a given route, before the user selects it. This has the potential to change route decision-making by providing more granular price information, as opposed to just informing users that one route has tolls and another does not. It also makes the road user's trade-off between time and money a lot clearer.

It's not clear how Google is implementing price information from various toll operators, but a similar feature has been available in Waze for the past year.

However, Waze, which Google acquired in 2013, notes on a support page that its toll prices are just an estimate and not actual prices from operators.

These estimates are based on factors such as the day and hour of the week, vehicle type, route, settings -- and importantly, information added by the Waze community. 

"Because toll prices in Waze are estimations, they don't replace actual prices set by the toll operators, which are published on their websites and road signs," Google notes.

"Waze does not calculate toll prices for congestion-based toll roads where prices vary depending on traffic. In these cases, you receive a notification that the toll amount varies."

Separately, Google announced earlier this year it had worked with over 80 transit agencies around the world to allow users to buy fares directly within Google Maps ahead of a trip using Google Pay and cards linked to it.

It wouldn't be hard to imagine Maps users driving through foreign cities being able to pay for road tolls in advance from Google Maps and Google Pay, rather than with cash or cards. This could ease congestion at toll booths where drivers don't already rely on automatic payment devices installed in cars.

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