Cities are moving again, and summer travel is in full swing. According to a study conducted by World Nomads, most travelers are planning domestic trips, with 29% staying close to home and 66% going out of state. Whether people are getting ready to pack their bags for a nearby destination or somewhere farther away, the rebound of summer travel may have some new and familiar stressors. Now, finding rides with Uber at the pickup spot won’t be one of them.
Drivers have told us that one of their biggest pain points when driving or delivering is navigation. This is equally stressful for riders—especially those who are visiting or unfamiliar with the area. They often don’t know which direction their driver is coming from or if the driver will arrive at their pickup spot or across the street.
Examining the toughest pickup spots to improve the experience
Millions of trips daily show a rider’s pin may drop in the middle of the street, so it’s up to the driver to guess what side of the street the rider is on. To help reduce last-minute “Where are you?” calls, we’re introducing new app enhancements for drivers and riders that will help create a smoother pickup process, even in busy areas and confusing cross streets and adjacent streets.
First, we looked at some of the hardest pickup areas across the country. Based on wait times and the pin falling in the middle or wrong side of the street, we identified the following places as some of the most difficult pickup locations in the US:
- Cloud Gate, Chicago
- Jefferson Square, San Francisco
- Regency Hotel, New York City
- Sherman Circle, Washington, DC
- Westchester Shopping Center, Miami
To help make pickups smoother, we’ve made changes in both the Uber rider and driver apps. Drivers will now be shown on their map what side of the street their pickup will be so there is no confusion – both at the icon at the top of the map and with a pin marking the side of the street along the route line. Additionally, drivers will be given a more descriptive label in the app of where the rider is. For example, the driver will see “Pickup near Starbucks at 100 Market St” instead of “Pickup on 100 Market St.”
There are times when a rider requests a trip while on the way to their intended pickup location. Even if the rider moves a little bit after requesting the trip, we will be able to distinguish between the two and make it easier for the driver to get to the rider’s pickup location.
Going forward, our maps team will continue to improve the navigation experience. By the end of the year, the app will be routing more drivers to arrive on the same side of the street as their rider, creating a more seamless and safe way for riders to reach the vehicle.
To help drivers make better-informed decisions to find alternate quicker routes, we’ve launched a few additional improvements to the drivers’ navigation experience. Drivers can now choose from up to two alternate routes provided by Uber Navigation and make the best decision based on time and distance. We’re also working on traffic-based rerouting, which will be able to predict traffic congestion, so drivers will be given a less-congested route to help get riders to their destination faster. In addition, drivers are now able to change their navigation provider within the app to give them even more flexibility. As always, the rider can follow their trip in the app. After the last year, we’re all looking forward to getting back out to our favorite places, finding new destinations to explore, and visiting friends and family. We are thrilled to make finding drivers even easier so riders can get wherever they’re going safely and seamlessly.