Ferries Discussion View history

Ferries are watercraft (ships and boats) that carry vehicles (and people) across water from one shore location to another. Ferries normally have scheduled sailings and are often run as a part of the highway system.

In some states, ferries are a key part of the roadway system and are hard to avoid. In some areas it is important to have them added to the map because they are sometimes the best option, and in a few cases the only option, to get to a destination.

Not all ferries should be mapped however. The following guidelines should be followed when considering adding a ferry onto the Waze map.

When and when not to add

Ferries that meet any of these conditions should generally not be mapped.

  • Passenger ferries without vehicles
  • Ferries requiring pre-booking
  • Private ferries unavailable to the general public
  • Ferries over two hours in duration

If the ferry does not meet any of the above conditions, it can be added to the map. If you have any questions about whether the ferry should or should not be mapped, contact your Regional Coordinator.

Road type

The  • • • • Ferry • • • •   Road type should be used for the segment crossing the waterway. The ferry road type is treated by the Routing Server similarly to a  Minor Highway . The Waze apps display a "ferry" icon for routes including a segment with the Ferry Road type. The speed for the ferry road type is fixed at a very slow speed typical of watercraft, and not estimated from user speeds.

If the ferry you are working on crosses an area well covered with GPS traces, OR travels at higher than normal speeds, please notify your Regional Coordinator. Additionally, if you have issues with routes passing thru a ferry segment, please contact your Regional Coordinator.

How to add

The full length of the ferry route and both docking points must be part of your editable area. It may be necessary to ride the ferry with the Waze app running to add that route to your area.
  1. Turn on the GPS Points Layer to see the ferry's typical path. If no GPS point are visible, it may be OK to simply draw a straight line between the two docks.
  2. Draw a segment from one ferry dock to the other following the GPS points. Name and label the new segment with No City and with the road name of the ferry line. This is often the combined names of both sides of the Ferry. For example: Bainbridge Island - Seattle Ferry.
  3. Draw a segment from the road on land to the Ferry segment on the water. This 'loading ramp' segment should extend from the end of the ferry dock to the beginning of the waiting area. Name the segment "Ferry Loading Ramp" or similar, and match the road type to the attached road network.
  4. Set the time restrictions on the 'loading ramp' segment including the first ferry (opening time) and the last ferry (closing time). These time restrictions should ONLY be added in the direction of traffic loading onto the ferry, not unloading from the ferry.
  5. Set the toll attribute on the ferry segment, as appropriate.
Some ferries charge riders going one direction and not the other. In these cases use two one-way 'loading ramp' segments to and from the ferry segment. Instead of placing the toll attribute on the Ferry segment, set it on the appropriate 'loading ramp' segment. You commonly see this when ferries are going to an Island where the ferry is the only access. Dividing exit and entrance ramps enables this flexibility

Examples of properly mapped ferry docks