Drivers are using map apps in little-known trick to avoid hefty ULEZ charges

  • london
  • July 12, 2023
  • Comments Off on Drivers are using map apps in little-known trick to avoid hefty ULEZ charges

The expansion of London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone is now right around the corner, and, if you currently drive around the capital, it’s time to prepare.

Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, described the move as an ‘incredibly difficult decision’ citing toxic air damaging the health of Londoners as well as the need to tackle the climate crisis, as why he believed ‘the cost of inaction would simply be far too high a price to pay’.

The enlargement of the ULEZ, due August 29, will see over 700,000 drivers potentially liable for the new fee. However, several borough councils (Bexley, Bromley, Harrow, Hillingdon, and Surrey County Council) have launched legal challenges.

So, with so many more people potentially liable to pay the charge, can various map apps avoid the ULEZ zone when planning a journey?

Here is what you need to know.

Can map apps avoid ULEZ?

Many people rely on route planning apps to guide them while driving. Plenty of apps will alert motorists if the quickest route has any form of toll, or the app may contain features that can help you avoid the ULEZ altogether. 

Google Maps

Google Maps is one of the most popular route guidance tools, and happily, the app will also help drivers navigate the ULEZ.

If your journey destination is within the ULEZ, then the app should let you know there is a toll involved when you select your route.

A link to the TfL website will let you know the ULEZ may impact your car, and if your journey simply passes through the zone, Maps may recommend a route that avoids the toll.

Available on: App Store and Play Store


One of the most popular apps for navigating London, Waze, has become a popular app for those seeking to navigate the ULEZ effectively. Since 2019, the app has allowed users to indicate whether their vehicle is ULEZ-compliant.

Motorists will subsequently receive alerts if their route will be affected by the ULEZ.

TfL previously partnered with Waze, collaborating on data sharing.

According to, Finlay Clark, Waze’s UK country manager, has said: ‘The ULEZ-supported routing will not only help to decrease harmful emissions but also help drivers to avoid unnecessary fines and toll charges.

‘Through Waze, transport authorities are reaching communities like never before – we can’t physically take cars off the roads, but the route to cleaner air could start with one notification at a time.’

Available on: App Store and Play Store

Apple Maps

Since 2020, Apple Maps have been expanding to include Low Emissions Zones worldwide. Similar to Google Maps, it also has a feature to toggle toll routes either on or off when planning a journey.

Obviously, this app is only available to Apple users.

Congestion Zone App

Updated to reflect ULEZ in January 2020, the Congestion Zone App will let you know when/if you have to pay the ULEZ charge when navigating around the capital and whether charges apply to your location.

This app is currently only available to Apple users.

TfL Pay to Drive in London

While many use the TfL app to pay things like the congestion charge or ULEZ, it’s worth remembering that the app also features a map of the various zones and the ability to check if a postcode is in a charging area.

If you’re looking to avoid a ULEZ earlier, this is the most authoritative way to check if your destination is in a charging zone and whether it’s worth your while to park up and continue your journey by other means.

Available on: App Store and Play Store

MORE : TfL keep ULEZ camera locations secret in a bid to stop vandalism

MORE : Are classic cars exempt from ULEZ? Rules as expansion date closes in

Follow Metro across our social channels, on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

Share your views in the comments below

Get your need-to-know
latest news, feel-good stories, analysis and more

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.