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July 1, 2015
Larry Page, CEO and Founder
Eric Schmidt, Executive Chairman
Jen Fitzpatrick, Vice President, Google Maps
1600 Amphitheatre Parkway
Mountain View, CA 94043
Dear Mr. Page, Mr. Schmidt, and Ms. Fitzpatrick,
We are writing to request that Google Maps add two features to help save lives and make our
streets safer: (a) a Reduce Left Turns feature, to provide a route that minimizes left turns in
order to prevent crashes and save gas, and (b) a Stay on Truck Routes feature, that would
provide truck drivers with the most convenient route that keeps them off residential streets.
As you may know, New York City has been taking a lead in making our streets safer for all
users, with our Vision Zero goal of eliminating pedestrian deaths from preventable traffic
crashes. We believe that these two steps could help us achieve those goals.
We appreciate that Google has added features to many of its products to increase sustainability
and safety, such as providing very convenient mass transit directions. We were also excited to
learn of the launch of Sidewalk Labs, headed by former NYC Deputy Mayor Dan Doctoroff,
dedicated to technologies that can improve urban life. We hope you will see this as two steps in
that direction.
Reduce Left Turns
Nationally, one quarter of all car crashes involving pedestrians are by cars making left turns
and this rate is particularly high in New York. These accidents often occur when both the driver
and pedestrian are obeying all traffic signals. Kate Hinds of WNYC recently reported for the
public radio program Transportation Nation how left turns require particularly complicated
mental processing for drivers, and how trends in the design of US cars have decreased driver
visibility when making left turns.1

Kate Hinds, Why Left Turns Are So Deadly, Thursday, May 07, 2015, WNYC.

Reducing left turns increases safety and saves lives and it has also been shown that reducing
left turns can save time, gas, and money. Hinds reported on how UPS has saved time and
reduced crashes by planning their routes to reduce or eliminate left turns completely. The UPS
employee featured in the story now plans all of his personal trips by eliminating left turns. This
habit comes naturally to a former professional driver and route planner but such routing is not
available to the vast majority of drivers.
The addition of a simple Reduce Left Turns feature in Google Maps would make it possible
for the rest of us drivers to easily take advantage of this smart strategy.
Stay on Truck Routes
We also request that Google Maps add a Stay on Truck Routes feature that would allow truck
drivers to easy obtain directions that stay on truck routes and therefore avoide residential streets
as much as possible.
A report by the NYC Department of Transportation in 2007 revealed that 35% of 2,389 accidents
involving trucks happened off truck-routes during a two-month period they evaluated.2 We hear
regular complaints from residents of our districts that truck drivers frequently go off of
designated truck routes. Some of this must, of course, be addressed by enforcement. Nonetheless,
it would be far easier for truck drivers to stay on designated truck routes if Google Maps
provided them with an easy way of obtaining directions. While there are currently commercial
GPS systems that provide such routing, these systems are more expensive and not universal; this
is especially problematic since many truck drivers are independent operators, without corporate
resources to pay for more sophisticated systems. We therefore request that Google Maps add a
Stay on Truck Routes feature.
As a benefit to drivers, pedestrians, cyclists, and community residents in New York City and
around the world in order to help save lives, increase safety, and promote sustainability we
request that Google Maps add these two features. We would be glad to work together with you to
make this a reality.
Thank you very much for your consideration.

Brad Lander
Deputy Leader for Policy

Ydanis Rodriguez
Chair, Transportation Committee

Dan Doctoroff, Sidewalk Labs

Commissioner Polly Trottenberg, NYC Department of Transportation
Paul Steely White, Transportation Alternative

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