When it comes to a healthier, happier, greener future, technology plays a huge role. And when you’re talking tech, more often than not, the conversation starts with Google. In 2023, Google’s parent company Alphabet was named the world’s largest technology company by Forbes.com. So when it comes to shaping a brighter tomorrow, they loom large. 

On October 10, Google released a new report detailing some of the steps they’re taking to make the world a more sustainable place to live and thrive. And from traffic flow to buying cars, they’re applying their resources in some new and interesting ways. 

One of the most visible initiatives for the average consumer is that they’re introducing more detailed insights into their search tools for electric vehicles. As EVs become more commonplace and the competition grows more fierce, separating fact from fiction can be a huge help for those in the market for a new car. 

“In the U.S., when people search for terms like ‘best electric cars,’ they can quickly compare prices, battery range and discover models,” reads the report from Katie Brandt, Google’s Chief Sustainability Officer.. “They can also find federal government incentives for qualifying vehicles in the U.S., with German and French national incentives coming soon. We’re also adding an updated Fuel Cost Calculator to electric and fuel-based car results to help drivers understand the cost of charging compared with filling up at the pump. This is available now in 21 countries around the world.”

Google’s also introducing a new battery range explorer so drivers of EVs can better understand what their range may be per charge. And because EVs use energy differently than traditional gasoline vehicles, Google’s also adding a feature that will allow drivers to customize their route to include speed limits, elevation climbs and number of charging stations. For anyone that’s suffered from dead battery anxiety, this should make that next road trip a little more relaxing. 

And on the subject of road trips, in the announcement Google also touted the launch of Project Green Light. With the goal being to optimize traffic flow and cut emissions by reducing the number of red lights cars are forced to stop for, the project uses AI to help city planners make more efficient and cost-effective decisions. Initially rolling out in 12 cities around the world, Google is looking to expand the program in 2024.

“Early numbers from Project Green Light indicate the potential to reduce stops by up to 30% and reduce emissions at intersections by up to 10%,” reads the report.

Other efforts in the transportation sector include focusing on improving fuel efficiency and reducing the impact of long distance travel. Launching a fuel efficiency routing feature to Google Maps, they’re helping drivers make better decisions in real time.

“Since launching in October 2021, it’s estimated to have helped prevent more than 2.4 million metric tons of CO2e emissions—the equivalent of taking approximately 500,000 fuel-based cars off the road for a year,” reveals the report. 

The report concludes with initiatives in home heating and cooling, as well as expanding solar access in urban areas. All told, the report is an impressive document that illustrates the power of tech in the fight for a greener planet. And as tech goes, further advancements and innovations are sure to keep the momentum going, but this is a roadmap for where some of these pressing issues are headed.