Google Maps Would Do Itself a Favor Should It Copy This Rival's Idea

The feature all navigation apps need 6 photos
Photo: Bogdan Popa/autoevolution/Sygic
Sygic routing optionsSygic routing optionsSygic routing optionsSygic routing optionsSygic routing options
Google Maps already provides users with multiple route options, but rival Sygic has developed a setting that makes it easier for drivers to avoid toll roads.
Most navigation apps offer the standard route option package. Google Maps and Waze, for example, allow users to configure navigation specifically to avoid highways, unpaved roads, ferries, and toll roads.

Out of these settings, the toll roads toggle is of particular interest, especially as users want to reach a destination without having to pay for driving on a certain section of the road.

The setting makes sense particularly for daily commutes, as driving on a toll road two times a day would eventually make every journey rather expensive.

Sygic GPS Navigation pushes things a step further and improves navigation specifically on this front. If the route goes through a congestion charge zone, the application can automatically avoid it.

Sygic’s special option

Congestion charge zones are supposed to reduce traffic and pollution in certain cities. London has been charging drivers for entering certain zones for several years already, with motorists required to pay 15 pounds (about $18) when the restrictions are in place.

For a driver whose daily commute goes through congestion charge zones, paying that much every day is obviously a big no-no. Navigation apps can help them reach their destination by avoiding the charge zones, and Sygic does it the most conveniently.

The navigation options in Sygic include a dedicated option to avoid congestion charge zones. You can find it in the app’s settings under route planning and navigation.

Worth knowing is that Sygic is offering this feature separately from the typical toll roads. As such, if you are particularly interested in avoiding congestion charge zones but wouldn’t mind using other toll roads, you can specifically enable this dedicated option.

Needless to say, this is the most convenient approach, especially because avoiding congestion charge zones can be done in a very straightforward manner. This doesn’t mean that Sygic is the only app that offers such capabilities, though it’s certainly the one making everything a lot more convenient.

Sygic routing options
Photo: Sygic

Google Maps does it too, just not very intuitively

Google Maps also allows users to avoid congestion charge zones. Motorists in London, for example, can configure Google Maps to provide routing that does not include these zones by enabling the avoid tolls option.

The search giant has included all streets covered by the congestion charge zones in the toll road group. As such, once you configure the routing engine to avoid toll roads, the application generates routes that void the congestion charge zones as well.

Compared to Sygic, Google’s approach is less intuitive and comes with one major shortcoming. Drivers can’t use other toll roads during navigation if they want to avoid congested charge zones. For example, if the route includes a toll road and congested charge zones, Google Maps avoids both of them when the option is enabled.

More Sygic route options

Sygic has tried to make the navigation experience in its app as customizable as possible. Users are provided with multiple route options in the app, so in addition to avoiding congestion charge zones, the routing engine can also be instructed to avoid highways, standard toll roads, ferries, and unpaved roads.

By default, Sygic looks for the fastest route to a defined destination. The application can also be configured to use the shortest alternative, with Sygic to search for the shortest distance to the address. A third option is also available to find the economic route. This way, Sygic will recommend the route offering the lowest fuel consumption by searching for an alternative with as few turns as necessary.

Sygic routing options
Photo: Sygic
Google Maps also offers a fuel-saving option for navigation. The application can look for eco-friendly routes by taking into account more factors, including historical traffic patterns and road inclines. Eventually, Google Maps says it could reduce fuel consumption and carbon emissions significantly, even if the suggested route is longer than the fastest sibling.

Waze, on the other hand, always looks for the fastest route to a destination, specifically by taking into account traffic conditions. Waze relies on a crowdsourcing engine to determine the areas where motorists could be slowed down, eventually calculating the ETA more accurately. Users can report incidents on the road, such as traffic jams, speed traps, accidents, and roadkill, therefore helping the app be in the know about potential slowdowns.

Sygic’s route options make perfect sense given the congestion charge zones being implemented across the world, eventually making the daily navigation experience more straightforward for all its users. By offering this option separately from the toll roads setting, Sygic provides users with more control over the routing model pre-loaded with the app. At the end of the day, this comes in handy particularly for long journeys where multiple types of roads could be used, including sections where paying tolls is required.
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About the author: Bogdan Popa
Bogdan Popa profile photo

Bogdan keeps an eye on how technology is taking over the car world. His long-term goals are buying an 18-wheeler because he needs more space for his kid’s toys, and convincing Google and Apple that Android Auto and CarPlay deserve at least as much attention as their phones.
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