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Why GPS apps will not always suggest the fastest route in France

New government rules mean that the navigation apps must encourage eco-friendly behaviours among users

France’s government now requires navigation apps to encourage eco-friendly behaviours in users Pic: mhong84 / Shutterstock

GPS navigation apps used by drivers in France will from now on have to encourage users to opt for less polluting means of travel, as the result of a new law adopted on August 6. 

Apps such as Google Maps, Apple Plans, City Mapper and Waze will now show messages such as: “For shorter journeys, opt for walking or cycling,” “Consider a car share” or “Going from 130 to 110km/h on the motorway will reduce your consumption by 20%”. 

These messages will be accompanied by the hashtag #SeDéplacerMoinsPolluer (Travelling with less pollution).

Another measure included in the new law requires the apps to suggest the most environmentally friendly car route to drivers, rather than the fastest. 

For example, while previously the apps may have looked for motorway stretches to make the journey quicker, they might now avoid sections where the speed limit is 110km/h or above, and offer a different route as an alternative.

Each completed route will be accompanied by a message reflecting how much CO2 would have been released over the course of the journey, and the apps should soon warn drivers when they are entering a zone à faibles émissions (ZFE or low-emissions area).

Read more: Confusion over low-emission driving zones in France

Read more: A guide to Crit’Air stickers in France

Users should start to see these changes appearing within the apps in the near future. 

These rules were voted in by Parliament in August 2021 as part of the Loi Climat, in a bid to reduce pollution linked to road vehicles. 

The new law also includes measures aimed at businesses and car-sharing networks, which should come into force by the end of next 2023.

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