Turn instructions History

Revision as of 12:56, 31 August 2021 by LostInMyMaps (talk | contribs) (→‎Before editing turn instructions: Added missing links as per feedback)
This page is now a final draft and has entered a review period for feedback. This page will go live on 13 September 2021. Please discuss this page with your peers and leaders, and share your feedback with the community. If you spot any typos or errors, please feed them back to LostInMyMaps.

In line with our Revised Waze Editing Philosophy, our mapping standards have changed in 2020. For more information, see new technology, new mapping standards.


A turn instruction is the combination of text, images, and spoken words that Waze provides to the Wazer, enabling the Wazer to follow Waze's route guidance, ideally with minimal thought and without confusion.

More specifically, it informs the driver a distance or time, to turn, keep, exit, continue, u-turn and in what direction to do so. It displays visual instructions by showing what the turn angle resembles, shields used by the roads, and guidance on what lanes to use. A text-to-speech (TTS) engine also verbalises the instructions in a succinct and helpful manner.

Except for the time and distance, all other components can be customised by the editor to assist drivers and are explained in this page below.


This picture illustrates the names of key points of an intersection referred to within the documentation.

Common terminology and points of reference that are helpful when mapping intersections/junctions.

This page also makes reference to Big Green Signs (BGS). This reference is inclusive of traffic signs of other colours performing the same task.

Big green signs can be blue too

Before editing turn instructions

Bringing the road and intersection "up to standard" before adding turn guidance will avoid double handling by yourself or another editor in the future, while simultaneously adding value to the app user. Before getting started:

Lanes start and end close to the gore point of merging lanes.

Default behaviour

A turn instruction is generated automatically as follows:

  • Voice prompt: The angle the inbound and outbound segments intersect with each other determines if a keep, turn, exit, and left or right is used. This setting was previously known as Turn Instruction Override (TIO) but was renamed in 2021 to align with a new turn instruction interface.
  • Visual instruction: Based on the voice prompt determined above, a symbol corresponding with the turn angle is displayed.
  • Shield: Where the outbound segment has a shield applied and shield number in the primary name, the shield will automatically be displayed.
  • TTS: Based on the above collected information, a text-to-speech phrase is played to the driver if the setting is enabled. For example, “in 100 metres, turn left onto ‘A’ 22 Hume Highway”.

Consider the following example:

The address prefix and corresponding road shield automatically populate the shield in turn guidance.


When lane guidance is added to turn instructions, the text-to-speech (TTS) automatically includes the instructions. For example, "In 200 metres, use the left lane to exit left onto A 31 Hume Highway."

See the lane and far lane guidance page for specific advice.

Road width

Road width is currently in beta and we are awaiting advice on how to proceed with it before releasing it to the wiki.

Road shields

Shields displayed used in turn guidance must be applied to a street first. See road shields for more advice.

Turn guidance

General principles

Australia has a simplified implementation of turn guidance from that of other countries, see problems implementing turn guidance in Australia in the Discussion page for specifics. Further, it is not possible to exactly match turn instructions with big green signs. Instead, turn guidance is "inspired" by the information detailed on big green signs to improve the user experience.

You may find the community developed script, Road Shield Assistant (RSA) of assistance while mapping turn guidance.

Both distance and time are non-editable components of a turn instruction. For the respective pages for details on voice prompts (previously known as turn instruction override / TIO), lane guidance , and road width.


The feature is locked to a minimum of level 4, with plans to reduce to level 2 in the future, see country specific permissions. However, permission is also limited to the lock level of the segment and in most cases the outgoing segment(s) lock level, similar to editing lane guidance.

When should turn guidance be configured?

Add custom turn guidance when signage for a particular turn includes more than just the primary street name. In particular, custom turn instructions should be added where:

  • directional signage shows something other than the primary name (or shield) of the outbound segment, such is found on most exit/on ramps and wayfinders;
  • there is a numbered exit;
  • a shield is desired but won't be automatically displayed (as per the default behaviour discussed above).

How to access turn guidance in WME

The turn guidance interface can be accessed by selecting the inbound segment, hovering over the turn arrow and clicking Add/Edit Instructions:

Adding turn guidance to a turn
START: This section is currently under review.

Where there is a junction box, turn guidance must be applied to the junction box exit rather than the segment turns, else they will be ignored by Waze. Select the junction box exit first, hover over the turn arrow and click Edit instructions:

Editing instructions on a junction box route
END: This section is currently under review.

Guidance on turn instructions

Visual instructions

Contains the road shield and primary name of the road in the outbound segment, unless the outbound segment is a ramp, then the primary name of the road the ramp leads to is used. Where that primary name (“A3 - King Georges Rd”) contains a route prefix (“A3 - “), omit it and only use the road name. Where there is a shield, it should be displayed before the road name.

For example, the inbound segment is called “M5 - East Mwy”, connects to a ramp named “to A3 - King Georges Rd to Hurstville / Sydney Olympic Park”, which ends up connecting to “A3 - King Georges Rd”. The steps to add the visual instruction would be:

  • Remove any default free text instructions present
  • Road Shield box containing the matching shield and text “A3”
  • Leave the direction field blank (not used in Australia)
  • Free text box containing “King Georges Rd”.
An example of how Visual instructions look in the turn instructions interface.
At the time of writing, the yellow “D” shield is not available to be included in this example.
If you are trying to select a shield and it is not in the dropdown, zoom out and pan until you have a segment with the shield on screen. Now, try again by removing the Road shield box and add it again.


Contains useful and relevant destinations to reassure the driver. This may include cities, locations (e.g. airport), other routes (e.g. M31 shield) or roads (e.g. EastLink). Destinations should be collected and added from the last big green sign before or at the gore point of the intersection.

Road shields are listed first and with priority over other destinations. Where there are more destinations than will fit within the towards field, include the most relevant, which is usually the closest destinations.

Technically, all destinations are “to” and this standard chooses to ignore it. Where a sign indicates “to <destination>”, the “to” should be ignored, and destinations listed in the toward field.

An example of how Towards look in the turn instructions interface.
If you are trying to select a shield and it is not in the dropdown, zoom out and pan until you have a segment with the shield on screen. Now, try again by removing the Road shield box and add it again.

Exit shield

The exit signs component is used to insert an exit number in a dedicated, fixed place. In the app, the "exit sign" is displayed in the top right corner of the turn instruction panel. Do not include the word “Exit”. Where the character limit prevents adding the full exit sign (e.g. “1 North”), directions can be abbreviated (e.g. “1N”). If the character limit is still exceeded, flag it with a map comment and refer it to your State Manager.

An example of how Exit signs look in the turn instructions interface.

Text-to-speech (TTS)

Allows the override of the street name component of the instruction. Authorised abbreviations also work here.

Do not use this field to change pronunciations. Submit a TTS change request through the WME interface, ask in the #tts channel on Discord or contact a Local Champ to request a change of the TTS pronunciation for the whole country.

Customising the TTS to talk more conversationally.

Small adjustments can be made to Waze talk conversationally. For example, add “the” before the name of a destination that is normally preceded by “the” (e.g. “Marsh St to the Airport”).

At potentially busy and complex destinations where the driver needs extra reassurance, such as at the airport or stadiums, TTS may be adjusted to direct the driver to hyper-local destinations (e.g. “Arrivals for terminal 2 and 3”).

TTS being changed to include hyper-local specifics about the destination.

Click the microphone symbol to listen to how the TTS text entered will sound in the app.

Turn guidance with junction boxes

Turn guidance can also be applied to junction boxes. Care should be taken to avoid blindly deleting a junction box without checking and noting the applied turn guidance. You may end up having to answer to a grumpy peer why you deleted their work!

There will be times when there are too many signs, too much information, the road is major, and the infrastructure is complex. In these rare circumstances, a large junction box can be applied and turn guidance applied to the junction box exit instead. This has the advantage of displaying only the relevant turn guidance for the route through the complex intersection instead of all possible information. Due to the restrictive nature of junction boxes, this is not recommended as common place practice.

Such complex junction boxes should be marked with a map comment bringing it to the attention of other editors, and may be locked to a higher level to avoid accidental deletion.

Below are two examples:

Known limitations

  • It is not currently possible to map two shields to the one street ID
  • It is not currently possible to map shields to alternate name street ID but is coming
  • Thus, because multiple shields cannot be applied to the same street ID:
    • Extra shields we would like to use like “Toll” shields are not yet possible to implement
    • Where a road is both an important highway like A1 and a Tourist Route, we will only map the A1 shield for now to the street ID. This means Tourist Route will not always be available to use in turn guidance.
  • There is not enough space on the screen to display all the info from BGS and so we don’t try to.
  • Not all the shields we requested have been implemented yet
  • Changes to settings like character limits we requested have not been implemented yet
  • Inheritance of turn guidance might occur in the future. We do not know. Any possible future implementation may impact in unforeseen ways.