How are walking and bicycle times calculated?

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How are walking and bicycle times calculated? krusz 5/27/10 4:26 PM
Summarize the issue: I would like to know how the walk and bike times are calculated. In the linked example, I picked a cross-country path but selected "walking". It says that it would take almost 60 days to walk that. Does it mean that it would take 60 days of walking 24x7 at a constant speed of 3mph? Same question for bikes; is it the same deal but just a different average speed? You can assume people travel the posted speed limits to calculate drive times, but walking and biking can vary greatly... Thanks!
Link to the map or business listing in question if applicable:,+MA&daddr=Unknown+road+to:Unknown+road+to:Unknown+road+to:Firethorn+Path+to:US-50+W+to:CA-33+S+to:I-280+S&geocode=FZ9WhgIdw7bD-ykbMT0NLWXjiTGg6GIBJL98eA%3BFYqALwIdmO9A-w%3BFZw_OwIdksjh-g%3BFUqJPwId8sx7-g%3BFUBaxwEdQvMh-g%3BFRIMSQIdRGfB-Q%3BFS7TOAIdopbJ-A%3BFQqqPwId4KCz-A&gl=us&hl=en&mra=ls&via=1,2,3,4,5,6&dirflg=w&sll=36.10585,-96.752915&sspn=58.701578,68.291016&ie=UTF8&z=4
Re: How are walking and bicycle times calculated? Googler Dave 5/28/10 9:51 AM
Hi kruszcontrol,

The time estimate does assume you walk or bike constantly (i.e. it doesn't account for breaks, sleep, etc).  But the speed is not constant - we try to account for the affects of various factors on speed.  The most obvious is walking/biking up and down hills.  I don't recall the precise baseline estimate of what we consider average walking/biking speed in a straight line on a flat surface.

Re: How are walking and bicycle times calculated? nick.bousquet 8/15/10 4:42 PM
Thanks Googler Dave,

I'm about to spend 4 days hiking and biking in VT... so I'm quite interested in this topic.

I just tested your algorithm's accounting for hills and such.  According to Goggle Maps, a theoretical 1.0 mile walk up NH's Mt. Washington  takes 29 minutes, whereas a theoretical 1.0 mile walk on nearby and quite flat US-2 in Gorham NH takes 19 minutes.  I suppose this is taking hills into account in some minor way, but many (if not all) hikers' experiences would double your 29 minute approximate to 60 minutes (or more) required to actually walk/hike up that section of the paved Mt. Washington Auto Road.  The tried-and-true approximating for walking up hills is 30 minutes per mile + 30 minutes per 1000 ft of elevation gain.

I'm sure Google is feeling quite protective of their algorithm, but it would be nice to learn more about it and/or hear that it has been improved upon.

Re: How are walking and bicycle times calculated? Canales 4/4/11 6:22 PM
Hi Googler Dave,

Do you have the formula for calculating biking speeds using slopes? I assume you used Tobler's function for walking/hiking, but haven't found much in the literature for biking speeds.