When you pull up Google Maps to get directions, under the transit option, you generally see a handful of choices: taking the bus or the subway, or hailing an Uber.
Now, in 13 cities including Dallas, Indianapolis, Oakland, and Seattle, you’ll also see Lime, and its fleet of scooters, pedal bikes, and e-bikes. Google Maps will tell you how long it will take you to walk to pick up the nearest bike or scooter, and how long it will take you to roll to your final destination. If you click on the Lime icon, you’ll be automatically directed to the app, if you have it, to select a vehicle and pay; if you don’t have the app, Google will send you to where you can download it.
In launching this integration with Lime, Google is helping to level the playing field between cars and what’s sometimes called “light individual transport” options, like bikes or scooters. Google Maps began directing people to Lyft and Uber via its mobile app last year, but until now, bikeshare and scooter startups have relied mainly on their own mapping systems to draw users.
But recently, more active modes of transportation–which also take up much less space and emit far less carbon than cars–have taken off in cities. Google’s integration with Lime is both good business and, potentially, very good for cities trying to reduce congestion and carbon emissions. While the Lime partnership is only rolled out in a handful of cities for now, more will come online soon.