Google Distance Matrix API vs. the TravelTime API

Blog post
Niharika Sisodia


    In this blog, we will analyse the differences between Google's Distance Matrix API and the TravelTime API, and their capabilities to create isochrones and calculate travel times from many origin locations to many destinations.

    Number of travel times calculated in 1 request: 

    • Google's Distance Matrix API can calculate up to 25 origins or 25 destinations in 1 request.
    • The TravelTime API can calculate from 1 origin up to 100,000 points in 1 request using 'fast' feature or 2,000 using the standard search.


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    Creating isochrone shapes

    • Google has no dedicated time map output feature such as an isochrone using Distance Matrix, only map tiles using Google Maps.
    • The TravelTime Search API returns a polygon JSON response with coordinates for points showing the boundaries of shapes of zones reachable within corresponding travel time.

    Geocoding & routing

    • Google has separate APIs to return routing information and geocoding.
    • Geocoding is included free within the TravelTime API. Routing is also included but uses a different end point.

    Drive times

    • Live traffic times are taken into account using the Google Distance Matrix advanced feature.
    • Drive time calculations use road speed averages and algorithms using the TravelTime API and are not charged differently.


    Travel times 

    • Google Distance Matrix: Can calculate travel times from an origin to multiple destinations. Results listed in seconds.
    • TravelTime API: Can calculate travel times from an origin to multiple destinations. Results listed in seconds. Users can use a search feature to filter out points of interest that fall within the requested area. For example 'list all hotels within 30 minutes' drive from the airport.

    Travel distance

    • Google Distance Matrix: Can calculate travel distance from an origin to multiple destinations. Results can be returned in imperial and metric.
    • TravelTime API: Can calculate travel distance from an origin to multiple destinations. Results can be returned in metric.

    Fare data

    • Google distance matrix: Provides fare data for public transport where available. Provides price for a standard ticket.
    • TravelTime API: Provides fare data for public transport UK only. Provides price for the standard ticket, weekly ticket, monthly ticket, annual ticket.

    Routing information

    • Google distance matrix: Detailed routing information not included in the price. Use the Direction API for this  - priced separately.
    • TravelTime API: Routing included.


    • Google distance matrix: Additional coding needed. Limitations of exporting 25 points in 1 API call.
    • TravelTime API: Time map endpoint. Returns a JSON response with coordinates for points showing the boundaries of shapes of zones reachable within corresponding travel time.


    • Google distance matrix: Geocoding not included in the price. Use the Geocoding API for this - priced separately.
    • TravelTime API: Free geocoding included.

    Limits per request

    • Google distance matrix: 25 origins or destinations allowed per request.
    • TravelTime API: 1 origin to 2000 destinations per request.

    Limits per second

    • Google distance matrix: 1000 elements (client-side and server-side) per second. Element = origin x destination.
    • TravelTime API: No hard limits.

    Paid plan limits

    • Google distance matrix: 100k elements per day.
    • TravelTime API: limits depend on the plan selected. Unlimited plans available. 

    Transport modes available

    • Google distance matrix: Driving, walking, cycling, public transport. Users can adjust public transport preference towards bus, subway, train, tram or rail.
    • TravelTime API: Driving, walking, cycling, public transport. Users can choose to focus on only 1 mode of public transport if they wish, which includes bus, coach, train, ferry. Can also combine modes including driving and train combined, driving and ferry combined, cycling and ferry combined.

    Driving times

    • Google distance matrix: Using the Distance Matrix advanced feature, traffic conditions can be taken into account if the departure time is set at the current time of day or a time in the future. If using standard matrix it calculates driving based on best guess time based on historical data, as well as a pessimistic & optimistic time.
    • TravelTime API: Does not take live drive times into account, uses drive time averages for that specific departure time. Drive time calculations are only based on best guess using road speed averages and algorithms. Pessimistic/optimistic coming soon.

    Travel preferences

    • Google distance matrix: Users can specify less walking and/ or fewer transfers. Can avoid tolls, highways, ferries and indoor routing.
    • TravelTime API: Users can specify the maximum time spent walking, parking the car or time spent on other modes of transport.


    • Google distance matrix: Available in 30+ languages.
    • TravelTime API: Only available in English.


    • Google distance matrix: 
    • Standard support: Product documentation, Stack Overflow Community, Issue Tracker, API Console HelpCenter.
    • Standard plan: Billing help and billing support, data privacy information Online support.
    • Silver & Gold support: customers get phone support if they have had an issue for over 15 minutes, as well as a support portal where they can log cases.
    • TravelTime API: 
    • Standard support: Documentation, email support for questions on using the API, billing etc. – response within 48 hours Customers can also access dedicated Slack channel support, phone support and dedicated developer days.


    Pricing comparison

    Pay as you go plan

    • Google distance matrix: Yes - available.
    • TravelTime API: Yes - available.

    Contract plan

    • Google distance matrix: Yes - available.
    • TravelTime API: Yes - available.

    Free limits

    • Google distance matrix: A $200 USD Google Maps Platform credit is available each month. Equivalent of up to 40k elements distance matrix API or up to 20k elements if using distance matrix advanced. Element classed as no. origin x destination.
    • TravelTime API: 10 free searches per day. Using distance matrix fast you can make 10 x 100,000 matrices or using distance matrix normal you can make 10 x 2,000 matrices. 

    Prices per element

    • Google distance matrix: Previously, the API had the same pricing for all Distance Matrix requests. Now split between basic and advanced requests. 
    • Basic requests per element (origin x destination)
    • 0-100k: 0.005 USD (5.00 USD per 1000)
    • 100,001 – 500k: 0.004 USD (4.00 USD per 1000) 
    • Distance matrix advanced (live traffic info needed) 
    • 0-100k: 0.01 USD  (10.00 USD per 1000)
    • 100,001 – 500k: 0.008 USD (8.00 USD per 1000)
    • TravelTime API: 
    • Pay as you go £0.01 per API search (If comparing a call to the element, can have up to 2000 Google-type elements in 1 search.) 
    • Contract - View pricing page. Prices £0.006 - £0.003 per call.

    All pricing information was taken from theDevelopers Distance Matrix page June 18 2018. The TravelTime API is not affiliated with Google.


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