Parking Lot Roads [PLR]
Why do PLRs have such a bad rap?
As you expand your edit areas, you will also likely expand the number of editors that you meet and interact with. You will see their opinions in places like Waze Forums, Waze Map Editor [WME] Chat, and other communication platforms like Slack and Google Hangouts [GHO].
The general thought process against PLRs starts from a point of 'clutter'. PLRs can most definitely be over used, and that will create a very cluttered map, that is difficult to navigate through when using the Waze app or WME.
Some editors of the most extreme viewpoints, feel that Parking Lot Roads [PLR] are some how evil, and should be avoided at all costs, and used only as a last resort.
This page hopefully will explain to you why they could not be further from the truth about PLRs.
One of the goals of Waze is to provide 'door to door' routing.
Sending a user from 'door to the closest intersection' seems a bit silly doesn't it?
Waze users constantly send Reports about Map Problems after they repeatedly get dumped off in the middle of a busy road or intersection and being told 'you have arrived', with no clear direction to their intended destination.
In today's world of instant gratification, users of Waze will not waste a second uninstalling it from their devices if they don't think it is reliable.
As editors, it is our responsibility to make sure they dont get dumped off like that in the future.
Why use PLRs
So why do we use PLRS?
PLRs have as an important of a role in Waze as any Freeway segment does.
YES, I said as important as a FREEWAY segment.
- The PLR road type prevents erroneous traffic reports
- The PLR allows the start & completion of the 'door to door' routing
Erroneous Traffic Reports
When ever the Waze app is open on a mobile device, it is giving live data back to the servers about your location, speed, direction of travel and so on. When Waze 'detects a slow down' it might create a visual warning on the map as well as route around that slowdown. Most 'drive-able' segment send back this type of speed data, except PLRs.
PLRs specifically do NOT send any traffic data back to the servers. PLRs are used on roadways that are not intended for driving, but more for arriving and parking. Hence the name 'parking lot roads'. Driving across the parking lot at the mall is not really driving. Stopping for coffee at the convenience store is not really driving. These are both examples of the transition from driving to parking.
Speeds while in these areas are typically slower than the adjacent road segments that we drive on, like Streets, Highways and Freeways. Waze needs a way to distinguish a user stopping for gasoline from a user stuck in a huge back up at an intersection due to an accident that just happened. PLRs is how it does that.
Door to Door Routing
As mentioned above, the PLR is the segment type used to transition from driving to parking, and so it is often also the segment that you will actually be on when 'you have arrived at your destination'. PLRs connect Waze 'roads' to Waze 'places'. With a properly configured PLR network, Waze can navigate a user thru a massive mall and take you to the correct side to enter or even right up to the door in a strip mall. Most GPS devices will simply drop you at the entrance to the parking lot and then your on your own to actually locate the store.
PLRs can also be used to help navigate large apartment or townhouse complexes. The actual entrances to homes are not always from the main street used in the address, and often are on the side or in the back of these buildings. Using PLRs and correctly configured HN stop points, you can now navigate directly 'door to door'.
As you can see, the PLR type road segment can be used in all types of areas: Residential, Retail/Commercial & Industrial settings.
When to use PLRs
There are a few things to consider before deciding to add PLRs to Waze.
- Are these PLRs "justified" per wiki guidance
- Are these PLRs "needed" for this scenario
The 'Shopping Centers' section of PLR section of the wiki explains various reasons to use PLRs. Those same reasons can be used as a general guidance about PLRs as a whole.
- Main Entrances
- Travel Lanes
These are all considered 'justified' reasons to add a PLR to Waze. Please review this section of the wiki again for more specific details
So once we determine the wiki would support a PLR in a location, we need to decide are they also needed. For larger complex areas, there may be a use for PLRs using all 4 justifications. Smaller areas may only be able to support one reason for justifying a PLR.
Another point to consider: Can you combine 2 of the justified PLR types into a single PLR?
For example, can you add a single PLR that can serve both as the 'Storefront' PLR as well as the 'Perimeter' PLR?
Remember we don't want to add clutter to the map. We want a clean and functional map!