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I used to be able to specify a url parameter to automatically show public transport directions, but it stopped working and now I only get driving directions when I enter a URL like this: https://www.google.com/maps/dir/120+Spring+St,+Cambridge,+MA+02141/24+Cummington+Mall,+Boston,+MA+02215/ What is the parameter I should add to get biking, walking, or public transport directions? (something like ?mode=b)

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+50

Use this format:

https://www.google.com/maps/preview?saddr=[insert_from_address_here]&daddr=[insert_to_address_here]&dirflg=[insert_mode_here]

Options for dirflg:

  • w: walking
  • b: bicycling
  • d or h or t: drive
  • r: public transit

Example: if you want to bicycle from 120 Spring St, Cambridge, MA 02141 to 24 Cummington Mall, Boston, MA 02215, your URL would be:

https://www.google.com/maps/preview?saddr=120+Spring+St,+Cambridge,+MA+02141&daddr=24+Cummington+Mall,+Boston&dirflg=b
  • Interesting. I didn't know there were two URL schemes: maps/preview and maps/dir – nachocab Sep 18 '14 at 21:22
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    With the new Google Maps interface and URL scheme, those no longer work... I'm looking for an alternative to specify public transit on URL. Does anyone know? – Pedro Gaspar Jun 3 '15 at 13:48
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(Edits made 6/25/2015 based on suggestions)

I've actually been playing with the new URLs for the past several days and have posted the results of my investigations on my blog:

https://mstickles.wordpress.com/2015/06/12/gmaps-urls-intro/

There are about 11 posts covering the various parts of the URL structure, which I can't summarize well in one post. For your purposes, the Directions Options posts (Part 1 and Part 3) are probably the most relevant, along with the Data Options Reference post. I will note a couple of things, though:

The new maps URL's '/data=' section is done in a kind of "data block" setup. So, if you look at the parameter treebles mentioned for walking:

/data=!4m2!4m1!3e2

The first element, '!4m2', means this is the block (m) holding information about the map/image contents (4m) and is two elements long. The second element, '!4m1', means this is the block (m) holding directions route options (4m inside the first 4m) and is one element long. The last element, '3e2', means this is an enumerated value (e) indicating transportation mode (3e inside 4m inside 4m), with a value of 2 = walking. As treebles noted, the other possible values are 0 = driving, 1 = bicycling, 3 = transit, and 4 = flight.

The reason this is important, is that if you were to add another option that goes in those blocks, the first elements would have to change to reflect that they're "containing" more elements. So, if you wanted to specify that distances should be shown in kilometers, you would add an element '4e0' (distance units is a 4e inside 4m inside 4m; value 0 = kilometers), and the new parameter set would be:

/data=!4m3!4m2!3e2!4e0

If I wanted to specify public transit routes with a preference for taking the bus and a preference for fewer transfers, the parameter set would be:

/data=!4m5!4m4!2m2!4e2!5e0!3e3

Broken down to show which elements are in which block:

!4m5 - map/image contents block, 5 elements
- !4m4 - directions block, 4 elements
- - !2m2 - route options, 2 elements
- - - !4e2 - preferred transit route, 2 = fewer transfers
- - -        (1 = best time; 3 = less walking)
- - - !5e0 - preferred transit type, 0 = bus
- - -        (1=subway, 2=train, 3=tram/lt rail)
- - !3e3 - transportation mode, 3 = public transit
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    Thanks for your contribution, but an answer that has no content other than a link is vulnerable to link rot. Editing in a small bit of information you collected would help. Like this... – user79865 Jun 24 '15 at 0:32
7

I asked the same question on Google Forums and got an answer:

[by treebles]

These are the parameters to add at the end of the directions URL for the different modes of transportation

Car                /data=!4m2!4m1!3e0
Bicycling          /data=!4m2!4m1!3e1
Walking            /data=!4m2!4m1!3e2
Public Transit     /data=!4m2!4m1!3e3
Airplane           /data=!4m2!4m1!3e4

For example https://www.google.com/maps/dir/747+Howard+St,+San+Francisco,+CA/55+Music+Concourse+Dr,+San+Francisco,+CA/data=!4m2!4m1!3e3

Thanks again, treebles!

1

Thanks to LoboFX's excellent answer, I've added this as a custom search engine in Google Chrome on my computer, so I can just type pt [destination] into the Chrome omnibox, and it will find public transport leaving now from my Home to that destination.

  • Settings > Search > Manage Search Engines
    • Search engine: Public Transport
    • Keyword: pt
    • URL: https://www.google.com/maps/dir/Home/%s/data=!4m2!4m1!3e3

Of course this requires being telling Google where your home is and being logged in to your Google account.

You can replace Home with Work, or your most common location, say 123+Main+St+Springfield, or even here, if, again, you share your current location with Google.

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