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Smart Turns – new on's route-planner

Saturday 23 April
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Today’s route-planner gets the biggest single improvement since it launched – a new feature we call Smart Turns. now casts a forensic eye over every turn and junction on your route. Turns across busy roads get downrated; so does weaving from street to street in cities; so does any turn where you have to dismount. Routes with fewer turns are preferred, and safe crossings (e.g. ‘toucan’ crossings) get a bonus too.

The result is safer and simpler routes in both town and country. But, more than that, the turn-by-turn directions for each route are also clearer and more reliable.

New instructions like ‘Cross major road’ and ‘Leave town’ help you navigate each step at a time. Two-stage turns, where the road flares past a central island, are shown as one clear instruction. So too are doglegs, where a left is followed immediately by a right. Plus there are new symbols to highlight unusual sections of route: unpaved trails, busy roads, ferries, and sections where you need to push.

We’ve also made it easier to follow long-distance cycle routes, such as EuroVelo or the National Cycle Network, without repeatedly dodging off-route and back on again.

But there’s more!

As well as this major new feature, we’ve made dozens of smaller improvements to’s route-finding. It’s now smarter about routing on unpaved tracks, particularly in mainland Europe. Roads with (legally) cyclable hard shoulders get a better rating. Cycle contraflows and other one-way systems are handled better.

We’ve made a concerted effort to improve OpenStreetMap’s minor road data in the rural US, so you can find a safe, enjoyable route without having to ride down an Interstate or other busy road.

Finally, we’ve added Croatia and Mexico to the route-planner. Mexico doesn’t yet have height data but we’re working on it!

Coming soon…

These improvements are partly laying the groundwork for two exciting new additions to this summer – watch this space.

As always, the foundation of’s route-planning is the wonderful OSRM project, and the data contributed to OpenStreetMap: big thanks to all the OSRM developers and OSM contributors for their hard work.

Previous story: River Rhone becomes latest Euro route


Thu 30 Jun 2016, 06:36

This is all fabulous. But how do I find the "key" for route maps?  Sometimes the route is blue and sometimes red dots in blue circles and other times blue or red dots!! But can't find explanation about what these mean. Thanks for your help. 

Sat 23 Jul 2016, 18:07

If you've not already found it, in the top right corner of the map (just below the search box), one of the links is "Key" which will give you the map info.

Sun 22 Jan, 19:43


Just for interest, why does the routing sometimes ignore cycle routes?  Attached is a small section of a France north-south I am planning.  You can see the route takes a D road whilst bypassing the nearby cycle route.

Mon 23 Jan, 09:23

In this case, it's because the cycle route in OpenStreetMap is marked as having a sand surface. Cycling through sand is no fun so chooses the tarmac road instead. I suspect this might be an error in the OSM data and that the surface isn't really sand!

Tue 24 Jan, 13:32

That's probably it.  Even the French would hesitate to surface a bike route in sand.

Tue 28 Feb, 11:16

Is there a way to print the cues from "smart turns"?  I can download pdf's of the map, but they don't contain the turn by turn cue sheet.