In this lesson, you will learn to:

  • set your home and work locations
  • find directions
  • choose the best route

  • view live traffic

  • get transit directions 
  • and even search for flights

Set your home and work locations  

To get directions, click on Directions in the upper left corner of Google Maps. This will display a to-from search option, and the option of choosing from a home or work location. To set your home or work locations, click set location. (Be sure you are logged into your Google account.) Google Maps will remember specified addresses so that you don’t have to type them in next time, making your search more efficient.

Fig.1 Set Home and Work locations.


Find directions

To find directions, type in the desired start (A) and end (B) locations or choose from the pre-set home or work locations. You can also click directly onto the map to set the start and end points by hand. Drag endpoints to move them, if necessary. The map automatically generates directions and displays the route. Click on the info card to see route options, or get step-by-step directions that you can view or print. If Google Maps does not recognize the location you have entered, (for example, if you have misspelled a word or typed in an unknown location) it will auto-correct the location.  

Fig. 2 Step-by-step directions. Choose directions for driving, transit, walking and bicycling routes.

Choose the best route

The info cards below the search box recommend several ways for you to get where you need to go. The most efficient route is usually the top option shown in blue on the map and the alternates are shown in gray. Click on the alternates to view them on the map. The info cards also help you to:

  • see driving directions

  • choose to drive, take public transit, walk or bike to a place

  • look at the traffic along the way

  • and drag the route to customize it-- in case you want a more scenic drive or to avoid a specific street

Screenshot of alternate routes in Google Maps. Alternate routes appear in gray on the map and info cards.
Fig. 3

View live traffic

Click on Show traffic, in blue, and lines will appear on the map displaying live traffic. Red, yellow and green lines indicate stopped, slow, or regular traffic, respectively. Click Hide traffic to remove these lines. You can also view traffic in Google Maps on your mobile device.

Get transit directions

To see which public transit options are available, such as buses, or trains, click on the respective icon on the info card. This will show you the estimated transit time, departure times, hours of operations and the frequency of a route. See the exact schedule by clicking More options and times.

Fig. 4 Public transit routes, hours and More options and times can help you plan your trips.

Google Maps also allows you to search for a departure or arrival time within a specific time frame by clicking More options. You can view transit schedules based on the time right now, a later time or date of departure, or when you want to arrive. For example, if you want to leave at 5:00 p.m., you can enter in that desired departure time and choose the method of transit that best suits your time frame.

Fig. 5 Plan your trip based on the transit schedule now, or later!

Search for flights

Google Maps now automatically includes Google Flight search when finding directions for longer distances if commercial flights are available from your desired start (A) to end (B) locations. The airplane icon will be available to choose from and Google Flights will list estimated prices and flight times.

Fig. 6 Google Flight search shows you routes, times and prices for flights to your destination.

Not all of the types of transportation demonstrated are available everywhere today, so if you don’t see one of these options for your next trip, keep checking back.