I just noticed Google Maps new feature. It allows the user to get approximate drive times for a specific date and time using average traffic conditions. This is a feature which many people have been wanting for quite some time. It allows the user to choose to depart at a specific time or arrive at a specific time. In the later case it recommends a time for the user to leave. The drive time is given as a possible range of times (see the screencap below).

My question is; how is this range of times defined? Is it the minimum to maximum range, the 90% confidence interval, or perhaps the 25th to 75th percentile?

enter image description here

  • 4
    From experimenting, it looks like the bottom end of the range never changes, no matter what date and start time you put in. Therefore this seems to be the time with no traffic, and if you put in a date and time when it's rush hour, then there may be zero probability of getting there that fast. As an example, I put in this route goo.gl/maps/GzABo , and IMO there is zero probability of completing it in 35 min during rush hour.
    – user5017
    Commented Mar 14, 2015 at 21:25
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    IMO this question should be closed or even deleted since only a Google employee can answer it (and even if one reads it they very likely won't).
    – user4188
    Commented Mar 15, 2015 at 0:32
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    @chx That is an assumption on your part. I am asking for a definition of the units, not information about Google's proprietary algorithm for calculating the numbers. Useful information has units associated with it, and I find it unlikely for Google to not have published the definition they chose to use somewhere (blog, help files, etc.). Commented Mar 15, 2015 at 2:54
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    Since this question is headed towards being closed as a duplicate of a completely unrelated question, I've tried asking the Google Maps team directly. Commented Mar 16, 2015 at 12:24
  • 5
    @chx There is in fact a Google employee working on “geospatial solutions“ no less among the top users on this site.
    – Relaxed
    Commented Apr 18, 2015 at 7:37


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