Efficient route planning is essential for businesses and individuals alike. It can save time and ensure you make the most of available resources. But how do you plan the most efficient route? Where should you start, and what factors do you consider? Also, which mapping software should you use for this type of planning?
The answers to these questions lie in this article. It provides comprehensive explanations to give you clarity on efficient route planning.
How To Plan a Route on Google Maps
If you want to go for a long drive or a trip, Google Maps makes planning your journey easy. You can enter your starting point and the destination and let Google do its magic. Within seconds, you have a route and the time it takes to reach the final stop. But what if you want to add multiple stops along the way? For instance, you want to stop overnight at a hotel before resuming your journey. The solution lies in this guide on how to plan a route on Google Maps:
- Visit Google Maps on a desktop browser or open the app on your smartphone.
- In the search bar, enter the name of the location you want to visit.
- Select Directions to begin planning your route. By default, it uses your current location as the starting point and the location you enter as the last stop.
- If you’re on the desktop, click Add Destination in the text box below the first stop. You need to tap the three-dot button on the app and select Add Stop.
- Repeat Step 4 to continue adding multiple stops to your route.
- Select Done if you’re using the mobile app to see the route. If you’re on a desktop browser, click Send Directions To Your Phone.
Due to Google Maps limitation, you can’t add more than ten stops. This includes the starting point or your location, which means it is a maximum of nine points of interest.
Does Google Maps Plan the Most Efficient Route?
The answer to whether Google Maps plans the most efficient route is yes or no. How can both these statements be factual? The mapping software doesn’t always pick the most efficient options if you plan a route containing multiple stops.
Why? Because when you add multiple stops, it finds you the best routes to reach your destination. However, due to the way you list the order of the points of interest, it may not be efficient. Fortunately, you can improve on this by manually changing the order of the stops.
You’ll have to keep experimenting by changing the places of each destination to find the most efficient and fastest route.
If you only want to go from point A to point B, it does show you the most efficient option. But this depends on where you live. Why? It’s because of Google Maps’ recent feature, eco-friendly routing.
This new option focuses on reducing fuel consumption and carbon dioxide emissions. Yes, you guessed it, this is part of the company’s goal to bring down emissions.
How does Google find the most efficient trip? It relies on the Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory and the European Environment Agency for data. With this information, it accounts for the following to find efficient routes:
- The engine type in your vehicle, i.e., petrol (gas), diesel, electric, or hybrid.
- Slopes along the way, especially in hills.
- Stop-and-go traffic trends in the roads to the destination.
- The type of road you’ll be driving on, i.e., highways, freeways, expressways, and local roads.
You can use this feature currently if you live in the United States, certain European countries, Canada, or Egypt.
Is Efficient Route Planning Important?
When talking about efficiency in route planning, there’s always this question—why is it important? Shouldn’t the focus be on reaching your destination as quickly as possible? To understand why businesses focus on this, let’s zoom out and look at the bigger picture.
- It improves the utilization of current resources.
Making the most of available resources is essential to stay competitive in the current market. When vehicles spend more time on the road, it increases the wear and tear. Also, employees have to drive for longer durations.
This, in turn, means they’ll also have to sleep for extended periods, which increases idle time and reduces productivity. Not only is this a waste of available resources, but it also becomes expensive in the long run. With proper route planning, you can eliminate these issues and maximize resource utilization.
- It increases customer satisfaction.
Customers want companies to deliver their products and services as soon as possible. And as technology and infrastructure improve, they expect the delivery time to decrease. Ensuring you provide the goods as promised is pivotal to customer satisfaction and happiness. With efficient planning, you can account for delays and ensure you stick to your delivery dates. It boosts customer loyalty, as they know they can rely on you to deliver on time.
- It saves significant amounts of time.
Time management and efficient route planning go hand-in-hand. The goal of this process is to optimize the journey to ensure you reach the destination as expected. You won’t waste time taking detours because of road closures or traffic congestion during peak hours. This allows you to make more deliveries, making the journey cost-efficient. In other words, when you save time, you bring down costs, which can increase revenue.
How Do You Plan the Most Efficient Route?
Now that you know the importance of efficiency, how do you pick the correct route? There are several factors you have to consider to make this decision. Below is a guide explaining how to plan the most efficient route:
- It starts by understanding your requirements—where is the starting point, and where do you have to go? What vehicles will you be using for this journey? When do you want to leave? Do you want to go on highways or prefer local roads? Are toll roads okay, or do you want to avoid them at all costs? Having answers to these questions will give you clarity on how to plan the journey.
- You have to factor in traffic conditions, especially during peak hours. Also, you should consider how many stops you want to make during the journey. For instance, some are necessary to take a break after a long drive. Or, you want to have a meal after driving for several hours to energize. Similarly, you must stop at various locations to drop off your products.
- You need at least one backup plan if things don’t go as expected. For example, traffic congestion on a particular road may occur due to an accident. Or specific routes are experiencing low traffic flow due to ongoing road work. Accounting for these unexpected issues helps pick efficient roads.
- You should have two or more routes to reach the same destination. Why? This helps you compare them and pick the best option. For instance, one road may be longer, but you reach your destination quickly as traffic is minimal. Another option is the shortest route, but there’s a chance it will suffer from traffic congestion.
These pointers help plan efficient trips.
How Do You Pick the Best Map Route Planner?
From the previous section, it’s clear there’s a lot of planning to do. And also, think about it; you need to do it in real-time. You need a map route planner if you don’t want to spend hours or days thinking about the logistics. But how do you pick the right software, as many options are available? Below are a few tips to help you decide which route-planning software is the right tool for you:
1. List Out Your Requirements Depending on Your Needs
The first step in this process is to know what you want from a route planning tool. Do you want something basic as you won’t be using it frequently every month? Or do you need something with a comprehensive feature set like real-time tracking for a fleet of vehicles? Identifying your requirements makes it easier to pick the right software.
2. Compare Features, Pricing, Functionality, User Interface, and Ease of Use
A common mistake is that people tend to only look at the features and pricing. What if you end up with software that requires several weeks of intensive training? Instead, you should look at the entire package to see if it is worth the price.
Is the user interface easy to use or complex? This influences the steepness of the learning curve and whether you need experts to use the software.
Similarly, while a robust feature set is great, how useful are they on the field? Are you paying for additional features you’ll never use?
3. Go Through the Reviews, Get Recommendations, and Test the Planner
Reviews are essential as you know what people actually think of the route planner. Similarly, if you know people who use such software, you should ask them for recommendations. After you get the necessary feedback, you should give the software a test run. Most tools offer a trial period so that you can find out which one meets your requirements.
If you’re part of a team, make sure they also get to use the software. After careful evaluation, you can make the final call.
Mapize Can Help You With Efficient Route Planning
If you’re looking for reliable route-planning software, Mapize has all the features you’ll ever need. It comes with a direction optimizer, which ensures you’ll always reach your destination as quickly as possible. You can add several multi-stop routes far beyond what is possible on Google Maps.
You can also create custom maps to plan your route for efficiency, as it is an online map builder.
They offer high levels of customization, making it easy for anyone to read the charts at a glance. Its interface is easy to use and intuitive, meaning you don’t need experts to use the tool. You can use your spreadsheets to mark relevant points of interest in the custom map.
Join Mapize for free and use its powerful features to plan the most efficient route today!