New USA Road Types

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Re: New USA Road Types

Postby qwaletee » Mon May 05, 2014 4:21 am

I hate to rain a little on this parade but it must be said:

There are problems with the new scheme.

NJ Functional Classification maps are positively ancient. They don't account for a lot of construction in the last decade. This affects not just the upgraded roads themselves, but previous primary routes that are obsolete (and should be downgraded) because of them.

Further, the DOT engineers were, ah, creative in their classifications. I have seen minor arterials that were too narrow for box trucks to pass each other in opposite directions, and with no rural Freeway classification available, the southern portion of the Garden State Parkway is only a Major Highway, not a Freeway.

Finally, the maps lack sufficient detail in many cases to properly determine the street route of the country-numbered roads. I spent 3 hours mapping a handful of county roads in Essex and Passaic because the route kept switching streets in a fairly dense road area.

Is anyone else experiencing these sort of difficulties?
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Re: New USA Road Types

Postby qwaletee » Tue May 06, 2014 2:56 pm

Hi, PS,

Your description of FC is somewhat correct, but there are discrepancies to USDOT. (Serendipitously, I was asked to participate in a USDOT survey of traffic and highway access in this area.)

The DOT spec calls for designation to be based on "character of traffic (local or long distance)" and "degree of land access allowed" (close paraphrasing). In other words, they aren't really based on speed, size, etc. They are based on how far you can go (MOBILITY) versus how much you can get to (ACCESS), using the road.

Local roadways provide "land access" - the network of roads that provides very little THROUGH traffic, but to reach destinations. Collectors and Arterials provide through traffic, differing in the length of trips and the amount of local access (non-through) traffic provided.

Separately, DOT has design guidance for how to construct the three classes (Local, Collector, Arterial). It is the FHA's design principles that will make arterials wider, restricted access, etc., to allow greater speed over long distances, and to reduce congestion on collectors as well.

DOT maintains a list of typical attributes of the various roadway types, which include speed, density of "access points" (driveways, intersections, ramps), usage (traffic volume), width and lane count, continuity (connecting larger roads to both other large roads and networks of smaller roads) and route spacing. You may have been referring to route spacing when you mentioned density (you called it percentage) of total roads, but that's not quite the same thing.

All the above is definitional. The actual process for deciding what classification to assign a road, you are correct that the network is the starting point. Regions are carved up, and you have to provide mobility and access within the area and to bordering areas, proportionate to the traffic generation characteristics of the region as a whole and the specific features within it.

Historical note: Many of the classification and design principles can be traced to Robert Moses. The current system learned from his successes (providing continuity in a region, developing networks of feeders) and failures (paying attention to existing uses, non-disruptiveness, improvements, and buffer zones).

Finally, if you carefully look at New Jersey's FC for suburban areas (basically, the north and east parts of the state), you'll find that it doesn't really match the guidance.

/SOAPBOX


P.S. You've been told "every time" by a few advocates of the new Waze classification, system who happen to be in areas where it works better. I still think the system was hastily adopted, with not enough local input or trial. The whole system should have been vetted by having a few dozen regional areas, with a mix of existing routes being good, fair, and poor, then comparing route UR counts over time before and after a change-over. I'm sure we would have found successes and failures, which could have guided us in deciding what areas characteristically will benefit form this system, and what areas should not use it, or should use it judiciously.
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Re: New USA Road Types

Postby qwaletee » Thu May 15, 2014 3:01 pm

PhantomSoul wrote:I totally agree. We just have to get past the map looking radically different.

Like qwaletee said, the FC arterial types are more a function of how far a road goes through than their capacity. However, capacity, like the presence of signals, doesn't matter to Waze because the collected speed data supersedes both. Instead, the road types help Waze determine which roads go how far, which is exactly the purpose of FC. The only exception are freeways, because with their total elimination of intersections, they provide for a much more accurate expected travel time.


Some head-scratchers though. I recall an arterial that started at one GSP exit and ended at another. It was almost as if the DOT engineers were daring drivers to bypass the freeway. The whole length was a a few miles, all within a single county.

I haven't had a chance to check routing on sample mid-distance drives where Waze has been updated with FC.
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Re: New USA Road Types

Postby qwaletee » Thu May 15, 2014 11:25 pm

That's my point, PH. You had this county arterial more or less paralleling the GSP, in the GSP's shadow, across one exit. That was the entirety of the route. II don't think it was even 5 miles.
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Re: New USA Road Types

Postby qwaletee » Sun May 18, 2014 9:00 pm

Hi, Leo,

In this case, you would lose lots of travel time. Some narrow roads, several traffic lights, several turns. There'd have to be a Medevac on the GSP to make this worth it.

The counter would be that you might need this local road to access one of those two GSP entrances from other local streets. In which case, I would think it is really a collector, not an arterial. I suspect we just have one of those quota situations.
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Re: New USA Road Types

Postby WanderlusterMAZ » Thu Apr 24, 2014 8:01 pm

I have everything in my usual area of Burlington and Mercer Counties covered. I started some work in Camden, and smaller scale work in Gloucester, Salem, Ocean, and Monmouth before the standards changed, so I'll run through and adjust things accordingly.

EDIT: Mercer County is done. The entire county is a bloody web of highways.
EDIT 2: Burlington County is mostly done. My editing range is sketchy southeast of Medford and around Pemberton. I'll finish that up when I can.
EDIT 3: Camden County will be next. I've gotten a bit of western Monmouth and Ocean Counties as well so far. Work in progress...
Last edited by WanderlusterMAZ on Fri Apr 25, 2014 4:57 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: New USA Road Types

Postby WanderlusterMAZ » Sun Apr 27, 2014 4:24 am

I took a drive up to get back expired editing rights in some of Hunterdon and Somerset. I'll be able to take care of everything I haven't yet hit along CR-518 between Lambertville and Franklin Twp in the next day or so once my range opens up.

Down south, I also started work in Camden County, mostly in Pennsauken and Cherry Hill. Cherry Hill needs a lot of work due to its size and a lot of obsolete CDPs, but I'll sort that out as I work on the function classifications.

Again, Mercer is done. Burlington is mostly done aside from some work around Pemberton and southeast of Medford. Camden is a WIP, and I'll see what I can do about getting farther into Hunterdon, Monmouth, Ocean, and Gloucester. (Road trip!)
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Re: New USA Road Types

Postby WanderlusterMAZ » Sat May 17, 2014 11:18 pm

qwaletee wrote:That's my point, PH. You had this county arterial more or less paralleling the GSP, in the GSP's shadow, across one exit. That was the entirety of the route. II don't think it was even 5 miles.


Hey, if it saves a toll without ruining traveling time, I wouldn't take issue with it.

Personally, it was a shock when I first checked on the map right after the switch to the FC specs since there were some few radical changes in my area, but it is much more helpful in seeing the framework of how traffic is intended to flow in a given area. Things can look a bit silly in the editor--as for example, half of Mercer County is a a web of minor highways/urban arterials, but it's at least a clear standard over the classifications of "State Route is X. 500-Series C.R. is Y. 600-Series C.R. is Z...but Road A is a total exception that only a local driver would know, and Roads B & C are extremely debatable as to what their status should be."


Also, for a status update, I now have about half of Camden County covered, and Burlington and Mercer Counties have been updated to the most recent FC standard maps.
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