Difference between revisions of "Road names Discussion History

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For Road Types in the editor, see [[Road types]].
{{Hatnote| This article covers the <strong>naming conventions</strong> of roads. For the types of roads, see [[Road types]].}}

==Road naming==
==Road naming==

Revision as of 04:54, 11 August 2022

Road naming

All roads in our base maps came with the names as defined in the US TIGER dataset.

However, you might notice a few problems with the original road names: Some of the names are not the 'common' names (usually, Waze will display the 'name' of the highway while most people know this highway by its number).

On other examples, the same highway will have a different name on each side (for example, US Hwy 101 going North, and Bayshore Fwy going South).

Some roads actually have two 'common' names (for example, the NJ Turnpike is also I-95 and both are relevant names), but currently, we can only display one name per road.

For all these issues, we ask that you currently leave the situation as is. We are working on a few fixes, that will automate the proper naming and also allow multiple names for each segments (with a 'Primary' name as the one being displayed, but other names that bring up the same search results).

NOTE: In the future we may be able to display alternate names for each segment / road, and choose which one of these is the 'common' name. This is also true for road shield generation which is partially broken so shields may or may not be displayed in your area.

Concurrent names

Overlapping Highways

When two or more numbered highways (or interstates) run concurrently (one stretch of road has multiple route numbers), the segment should be named after the primary route designation, which usually has one or more of the following attributes:

  • The route whose mile markers are used for the concurrent segments
  • The route whose exit numbers are used for the concurrent segments
  • When the concurrency ends, the route whose path does not get signed as a numbered exit.

The other route number(s) can be entered as alternate names. If alternate names are entered, be sure not to introduce any alternate name discontinuities which may trigger the big detour prevention mechanism. In particular, use cardinal (directional) names on divided highways for both primary and alternate names.

Surface-level highways through cities/towns

In situations where a highway passes through a town, the road in those areas is typically named something other than the numbered route. In these situations the road should be named based on the following conditions:

  • If the local street signs provide guidance with the local name, that should be used as the primary name in the Waze map. The numbered route should be added as an alternate name.
  • If the local signs only indicate the route number, then that should be the primary name and the local road name should be added as an alternate name.

Local freeway names and significant bridges

Sometimes, a numbered freeway will also have a local name or will traverse a named bridge.

  • If the local name or bridge name is used on signage, in broadcast traffic reports, and/or colloquial conversation, the local name or bridge name should be added to the primary name after the primary route designation, separated by a bullet " • ".
    • This is done primarily to improve clarity and precision of traffic, incident, and closure reports, where including the local name or bridge name can make such reports easier to understand at a glance, more precise as to their specific location, or both.
  • Examples:
    • I-94 W • Dan Ryan Expwy
    • M-10 N • Lodge Fwy
    • I-5 N • Santa Ana Fwy
    • I-495 E • Long Island Expwy
    • I-10 E • Bonnet Carré Spillway Br
    • US-90 BUS W • Crescent City Connection


Interstate Highways I-95.svg.png I-695.svg.png

Components of the Interstate Highway System should be denoted as shown:
I-10 E for Interstate 10, Eastbound
I-310 S for Interstate 310, Southbound
I-35E N for Interstate 35E, Northbound (Letter suffixes are only in Minnesota and Texas)
Nearly all interstates are divided highways by necessity, and they should be drawn as such in the map for navigational accuracy.

United States Numbered Highways US 20.svg.png

Certain formatting guidelines must be followed to ensure that highway shields are shown in the Live Map and in the client. Note that map shield generation is not implemented for all situations, so some roads will not display a shield. Waze has said that there will eventually be a process allowing map editors to add shields to road segments in a way that is not connected to the name of that segment.

US Highways
Federal highways should be denoted as follows. Note that the trailing N, S, E, W cardinal direction indicator is used for numbered highways and interstates which are split into two 1-way segments, per the guidelines.
US-61 S for U.S. Highway 61, Southbound
US-425 W for U.S. Highway 425, Westbound
US-90 BUS S for U.S. Highway 90 Business, Southbound
(note that BUS should be all uppercase for TTS to pronounce as "business". "Bus", "bus", etc. will pronounce as "Bus".)
US-90 ALT E for U.S. Highway 90 Alternate, Eastbound
US-199 SPUR for U.S. Highway 199 Spur
Refer to the concurrent names section to determine if the US highway name should be the primary name when traveling through cities & towns.

State highways State Hwy Sign 35.svg.png South Carolina 170.svg.png Florida 60.svg.png Louisiana 3234.svg.png Alabama 5.svg.png MT-sec-326.svg.png North Dakota 23.svg.png Hawaii marker.png

The Live Map will parse "State Rte xx" and "State Hwy yyy" and show a sign badge. However, as different states have different naming conventions (and different shields), this is not optimal for ramps.

Follow your state's naming conventions as defined in the highway naming by state table.

The same notes and examples for U.S. Highways above applies for state highways. Refer to the concurrent names section to determine if the state route name should be the primary name when traveling through cities & towns. State routes may also be split if it meets the guidelines.

County and township highways and roads Baldwin County Route 64 AL.svg.png St Louis County Route 7 MN.svg.png

Text to speech on the client reads CR- as "County Road." So "CR-10" is read as "County Road Ten"

Where road names are the same as cardinal directions (N, S, E, W), no special modification is necessary so that the voice prompt will read the letter and not say it as a direction. Ensure there are no spaces between the hyphen and the letter. Double or triple-letter roads with directional letters (e.g. CR-EN, CR-SAL) will not be spoken as directions but might be pronounced as if a word.

There is no other TTS abbreviation for county-owned roads in any capacity except those listed here. For these reasons: that county shields may someday be supported (and a named standard makes this easier to implement), and for brevity's sake in turn instructions and map displays, it is suggested (but by no means required) that individual states adopt one of these standards;

  • CR-
  • CH-
  • TR-
  • TH-

Another standard in use (which is longer, but you may see) is 'County Hwy XX'. The shortened format of CH- is available and is encouraged to be adopted when CR- is not appropriate.

Many states have adopted the short format CR-xxx instead of the longer format. See the highway naming by state table for specific formatting of each state.

Also, refer to the concurrent names section when the highway passes through a city or town that also has a local name for the road.

For regions that have township highways, the shortened formats of TH- and TR- are also available.

Ramps and wayfinders


Exit ramps and Entrance ramps are to be set as  Ramp  road type. The name of the ramp should match the exit or entrance signage as closely as possible. If the Waze instructions and display are different from the sign on the exit, Wazers may be unsure about which exit to take. Include everything that is present on the last sign prior to the exit. Do not combine all possible pre-ramp signage into the single ramp segment name.


Ramp names should generally match signage as closely as possible. This maximizes driver confidence.

A ramp name is made up of one or more elements, separated by separators.

  • Elements of a ramp name include:
    • Road names
    • Highway numbers (usually shields)
    • Control cities
    • Other non-city destinations
    • Exit numbers
  • Separators used in ramp names include:
    • Slash ( / ), used when elements are alternatives to each other (e.g., alternative destinations). The TTS engine will generate a pause in its place.
    • Bullet ( • ), used when two elements refer to alternative names for the same thing. The TTS engine will generate a pause in its place.
      • The bullet can be typed by pressing Option-8 on macOS, by holding Alt and pressing 0149 on the number pad in Windows, or by pressing Ctrl-Shift-U then typing 2022 on Chrome OS. Or, copy and paste it from this article.
    • "Toward" character ( » ), used when one element takes you toward the following element. The TTS engine will say "toward" in its place.
      • The "toward" character can be typed by pressing Option-Shift-\ on macOS, by holding Alt and pressing 0187 on the number pad in Windows, or by pressing Ctrl-Shift-U then typing 00BB on Chrome OS. Or, copy and paste it from this article.

All ramp names use the same general format, with slight modifications for different situations. The three basic forms of ramp names are as follows:

  • Numbered exit: Exit [number]: [element] [/ or • or »] [element] [/ or • or »] [element]
  • All other ramps: to [element] [/ or • or »] [element] [/ or • or »] [element] (unnumbered exits, on-ramps, etc.)
  • Wayfinder: [element] [/ or • or »] [element] [/ or • or »] [element]

Exit ramps

Generally, the name of an exit ramp segment should be named using the last sign, closest to (or at) the exit.

Numbered exits

If an exit is signed and numbered, start with the word "Exit", followed by the exit number, followed by a colon (": "), followed by all the other elements on the sign, separated by the appropriate separators.

  • Exit [number]: [element] [/ or • or »] [element] [/ or • or »] [element] (as needed)

For example,

Exit naming and separators
Road name Why? How TTS will pronounce it
Exit 16: I-33 » Bananaville / Celery Town I-33 takes you toward either Bananaville or Celerytown (depending on which direction you go). "Exit 16, I-33 toward Bananaville, Celery Town"
Exit 19A: US-22 N » Critter Hollow / Goop City Northbound US-22 takes you toward both Critter Hollow and Goop City. "Exit 19A, US-22 North toward Critter Hollow, Goop City"
Exit 24: US-103 • Schwarzenegger Rd US-103 and Schwarzenegger Rd are alternative names for the same road. "Exit 24, US-103, Schwarzenegger Road"
Exit 32: Terminator Blvd / Total Recall Rd The exit takes you to either of these roads; neither road takes you to the other. "Exit 32, Terminator Boulevard, Total Recall Road"
Exit 33B: Running Man St "Exit 33B, Running Man Street"
Exit 35C-B-A: Junior Dr / Twins Ave / Jingleallthe Way The exit takes you to these three roads independently; none has a "towards" relationship with the next. "Exit 35 C B A, Junior Drive, Twins Avenue, Jingleallthe Way"
Exit 1E: SR-1000 E » Sarah Connor Blvd The exit takes you directly to SR-1000 eastbound, which in turn takes you to Sarah Connor Blvd. "Exit 1 E, State Route 1000 East toward Sarah Connor Boulevard"


  • If an exit number contains one or more letters, include it exactly as displayed on the sign. Separate sub-exit letters with a hyphen.
    • Do not leave spaces between the number and letter, between hyphens and adjacent letters, or between the last letter and the colon.
  • Note that, if the exit number contains one of the cardinal directions (N, S, E, W), that letter will be pronounced as a letter, not as the corresponding compass direction. For example, the above example will be pronounced "Exit One E, State Route One Thousand East toward Sarah Connor Boulevard".
  • If the Exit has an official number that is documented elsewhere, but this exit number does not appear on any signs, do not use it to name the exit ramp. Waze instructions should match the signs where possible to avoid confusion. Check your state's page for any local exceptions to this rule.
Signed, unnumbered exits

If an exit is signed and unnumbered, start with the word "to" (lowercase) and follow with all elements on the sign, separated with the appropriate separators:

  • to [element] [/ or »] [element] [/ or »] [element] (as needed)
  • e.g.,
    • to SR-33 / Kindergarten Ct (the exit takes you to either SR-33 or Kindergarten Ct)
    • to US-99 » Crazytown (US-99 takes you toward Crazytown)
Unsigned exits

If there is no sign at the exit, start with the word "to" (lowercase) and follow with the name of the road the ramp leads to. If that road has both a route number and a local name, use the route number first, followed by a slash, followed by the local name. If only a local name or only a highway designation are present, use only that. The goal is to avoid confusing the driver.

  • to [element] [/ or • or »] [element] (as needed)
  • e.g., to US-12 • Michigan Ave

Entrance ramps

Entrance ramps should be named similarly to unnumbered exits, following the format to [element] [/ or »] [element], etc. A typical entrance ramp should follow the format to [road name of highway] [direction] » [control city], where those elements are present—even if the control city is on a separate sign.

  • to [element] [/ or • or »] [element] (as needed)
  • to [highway name] [direction] » [control city] / [control city]

For example,

  • to I-10 W » Baton Rouge
  • to Clearview Pkwy N » Mandeville
  • to US-90 BUS W
  • to LA-1 » Thibodaux / Lockport
  • to I-10 E • US-90 E » Lafayette


  • If signs before the on-ramp provide multiple destination information, combine them into the single on-ramp name.
    • e.g., to US-90 BUS W / to I-10 W » Miss River Br / Baton Rouge
  • The highway name and direction should always come before the control city, even if signage is presented in the opposite order.
  • Do not omit the word "to", because this could cause confusion with, say, the "Select entire street" function. Text-to-speech (TTS) instructions will deal properly with the word "to" when it constructs turn instructions.
  • Do not use "Ramp to" (this would result in [turn right / exit right] to ramp to ...)
  • Compass directions (such as "West" or "Westbound") accompanying highway shields and road names should be abbreviated using single-letter abbreviations, such as W.
    • e.g., the legend "WEST" above a shield for I-10 should be entered as I-10 W
    • Do not spell out compass directions (such as "West" or "Westbound") which accompany highway shields and road names. Do not use "WB" or other non-approved abbreviations, as they are not supported by the TTS engine.
  • When multiple on-ramps combine before merging into the main interstate or highway, it is advised to name the last common ramp with the conventions listed above. This will usually be the last ramp which is the one which actually joins the main interstate or highway.
  • When naming ramps and exits that lead to state highways, refer to the road naming conventions listed in Highway naming and cross-reference the state's wiki page (therein linked).
    • New Jersey: to SR-45 » Passaic
    • Louisiana: to LA-308 » Raceland
    • North Carolina: to NC-55 » Winston-Salem

Un-mapped and new streets

Sometimes, there is a brand new road we aren't sure of the name yet, it is okay to leave the name of the road blank by marking the "None" checkbox next to the Name field in the Address Properties in the editor. Always make sure to choose the proper road type and confirm the other road details to ensure that the road appears on the client app. Add a map comment to let other editors know that the name is missing and to check at a later time if more information is available.

Incomplete segments or red roads


Be sure to select country, state, enter the city name or check "None", and enter a street name, or check "None". Until you do this, your road will not be routable and will not show on the client map. These incomplete segments are colored bright red in WME.

This must be done on all streets created in WME and on all streets created with the client "Pave" function.

"Paved" streets must also be connected to their adjacent roads, and turn restrictions must be set in order to be routable.

For more detailed instructions on how to address red roads see: Confirming the road by updating details

City names on segments

No Primary city name with alternate city name added
Every segment with addresses (House Numbers or Residential Place Points) on it, must have a city name. On segments which have the "None" checkbox marked for the primary city name, the city name designated by the U.S. Postal Service should be set as an alternate city name for that segment.

To keep city names from sprawling over too wide an area in the Waze app, WME and Live Map, except for within military bases a city name should only be used as a primary name for segments located in areas determined by local leadership to be displayed as cities on the map. This generally includes incorporated cities, towns, villages, etc., as well as census-designated or other unincorporated places recognized as city names by the USPS, but rules vary by state. This may mean that many addresses on the map are in “no city” areas, particularly in rural regions. The Waze addresses on these segments are otherwise not searchable without a city name, and because many Wazers will search for a location by its postal address, U.S. community leadership has established the above editing standard.

There are other standards in place for other purposes requiring adding other street data in the the alternate. The addition of the USPS data does not change any other standards but is in addition to anything existing already on those affected segments.

For more details on city naming, see /City names.

Navigation instructions for unnamed segments

When Waze gives navigation instructions to "turn", "exit", or "keep" onto an unnamed segment, it will look ahead on the recommended route for a road name that it can use. If there is a named segment further along the recommended route, it will use (inherit) that name in the instruction.

The inherited name is only used in the displayed and spoken instruction prompts, it does not affect the actual name of the segment. Unnamed segments are often used to control instructions on feeder ramps and at grade connectors (AGCs). Please be sure to understand all the ways in which unnamed segments can affect navigation instructions before adding names to unnamed segments or removing them from named segments.

This always works for  Freeways  and  Ramps .

This never works for  Parking Lot Roads  or  Private Roads , As of October 2018

On all other road types (any road type which is not a Freeway, Ramp, Parking Lot Road, or Private Road), this feature only works if:

  1. The combined length of the consecutive unnamed segments is shorter than 400 meters (1,312 feet),
  2. There are 3 or fewer unnamed segments in a row.

To explain the above conditions from other perspectives:

  1. If the consecutive unnamed  Local Street ,  Primary Street ,  Minor Highway , or  Major Highway  segments measured together are longer than 400 m (1,312 ft), or if there are 4 or more unnamed segments in a row, Waze will not show or speak a name in the instructions.
  2. Names are never inherited through unnamed  Parking Lot Road  or  Private Road  segments.

Abbreviations and acronyms

Only abbreviations that Waze recognizes should be used within the editor. Since Waze uses TTS (Text-to-Speech) prompting, it is important that the correct abbreviations are used to produce the correct speech output.

A basic rule of thumb is, "when in doubt, spell it out".

Refer to the Abbreviations and acronyms page for a list of suffix and recommended abbreviations.

Construction zones and closed roads

No naming changes are necessary for construction zone & closed roads.

For short-term closures or closures requiring immediate attention (e.g., traffic incidents), see Real time closures.

For large, long-term closures and major (re-)construction projects, see Scheduled reconfiguration.

Official sources of mapping information

Being in the Waze community of editors means sharing information you discover and learning from the discoveries of others! You can see some of the (old) official sources of mapping information (US only) provided in the forum or check out the (new) mapping resources wiki page (preferred).

Feel free to add new resources as you find them.