495 Express Lanes

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Re: 495 Express Lanes

Postby CBenson » Mon Dec 03, 2012 2:48 pm

There was a bunch of generic discussion on the topic here: viewtopic.php?f=10&t=30717&hilit=Express&start=40
I agree that marking them toll makes sense. If user's are complaining that they are being routed over the toll lanes, I don't see the problem with having them learn to check the avoid toll option.
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Re: 495 Express Lanes

Postby CBenson » Mon Dec 03, 2012 9:02 pm

Mike-1323 wrote:Maybe only the entrance ramps (or the beginning sections of the ramp) should be marked toll. Then the avoid toll option will prevent toll road routing but HOV'ers will get recalculated routes that are accurate.

I agree that is the best solution. I think that was what shawndoc was proposing. It leaves the HOV'ers in no worse position than they would be if the road is marked parking lot.
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495 Express Lanes

Postby Mike-1323 » Sun Dec 02, 2012 5:41 am

So, after a couple of weeks of the HOT lanes being open along the VA side of the beltway the UR's are pouring in. I put the HOT lanes on the map and have them all set as Freeway with Toll and ramps without. Should this be changed? The wiki recommendation is to make HOV lanes as parking lot roads. Should the new HOT lanes be changed to parking lot roads?

That would prevent the average user from being routed onto the HOT lanes. Many of the UR's are due to users being routed onto the toll Express lanes because they have not checked the avoid toll box in the routing options. With the HOT lanes as PLR the routing server should never route onto the express lanes. The problem is that, due to routing auto-lock and gps error, the users that actually use the express lanes will be getting routing directions from the main travel lanes and will have incorrect exit instructions. (this is currently happening on the I95 HOV lanes in northern VA)

There just doesn't seem to be a good solution.

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Re: 495 Express Lanes

Postby Mike-1323 » Mon Dec 03, 2012 8:53 pm

CBenson wrote:There was a bunch of generic discussion on the topic here: http://www.waze.com/forum/viewtopic.php ... s&start=40
I agree that marking them toll makes sense. If user's are complaining that they are being routed over the toll lanes, I don't see the problem with having them learn to check the avoid toll option.

That's my thoughts as well regarding the toll aspect of it. Unfortunately that breaks when the HOV side of it is used. An HOV commuter with avoid tolls selected will never be routed on the express lanes and if on the express lanes will never recalculate a correct route. In that case the exit info will be wrong along the route making Waze useless.

Maybe only the entrance ramps (or the beginning sections of the ramp) should be marked toll. Then the avoid toll option will prevent toll road routing but HOV'ers will get recalculated routes that are accurate.

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Re: 495 Express Lanes

Postby Mike-1323 » Thu Dec 06, 2012 2:23 pm

wpegues wrote:I am coming from Reston down 267, the routing told me to take the exit ramp to the regular south bond I495 lanes, travel south to route 7. Exit at route 7 and then with a couple stay rights and lefts it was onto the ramp for the South bound HOT lanes.

Now, if that is actually possible, its not a bad idea, if there was truly a backup where the red was indicated. However, in the past there have been some impossible connections at the Route 7/I495 interchange. I don't know personally, I avoid that intersection and that part of route 7 at all costs. But the navigation map showed it as a fairly smooth and direct connection, not a bunch of loop arounds and double backs which I have seen from time to time.

My question - I am wondering if the road really do connect like that, or if there is a mapping error there.


That appears to be a valid route. It looks like you can exit the regular 495 S lanes onto rt7 south then turn right onto the express lanes. I'm not in that area very often, can anybody confirm this either way?

As to why the 267 -> 495 express ram was showing as a red traffic jam; who knows. There doesn't appear to be any opportunity for a ghost jam to occur on that segment so it's a mystery where the slowdown came from.

wpegues wrote:Another anomaly I had been tracking and finally made note of involves traveling south bound on the HOT lanes at the Braddock Road exit. The verbal directions are correct, but way out of time between the way the exit ramp is drawn and the directions you get.

The initial notice is not bad, at least you are in advance of the exit somewhat. But that's just chance. When you get the 1/4 mile alert that in 1/4 mile stay to the left - in actuality you are already on the ramp and going up the elevated grade. This is not the case of the ramp connection being at the end of the dotted lines for the exit lane, its off enough that when you are actually on the separated ramp going up hill that you get the note that you need to exit in 1/4 mile. So the ramp connection to the HOT lane is about 1/4 mile too late. It really is a long exit ramp, most are on the HOT lanes since they need to go uphill to meet an elevated road.

We may need to wait for some better aerials, but, some of these that we actually go exploring on we might take to reporting here and to have those that work those specific areas do some corrections, report back, and the next time we travel it after the tiles are updated, report on how close it is.


I added the HOT lanes based on the very poor cartoonish maps that are on 495expresslanes.com plus a lot of guesswork. I'd be shocked if most of the lanes line up with the actual locations. I don't have and EZ-Pass to drive them myself so I can't do any more without updated aerials, newer gps layer or help and feedback from the people that actually use these lanes. So, thanks for the feedback, I moved the Braddock Rd exit ramp to generate the exit prompt much earlier. If you, or anybody else, wants segments unlocked so you can move the lanes to match up with your personal gps traces just post here or in the unlock forum.

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Re: 495 Express Lanes

Postby MysticCobra » Sun Dec 02, 2012 4:39 pm

Mike-1323 wrote:So, after a couple of weeks of the HOT lanes being open along the VA side of the beltway the UR's are pouring in. I put the HOT lanes on the map and have them all set as Freeway with Toll and ramps without. Should this be changed? The wiki recommendation is to make HOV lanes as parking lot roads. Should the new HOT lanes be changed to parking lot roads?

That would prevent the average user from being routed onto the HOT lanes. Many of the UR's are due to users being routed onto the toll Express lanes because they have not checked the avoid toll box in the routing options. With the HOT lanes as PLR the routing server should never route onto the express lanes. The problem is that, due to routing auto-lock and gps error, the users that actually use the express lanes will be getting routing directions from the main travel lanes and will have incorrect exit instructions. (this is currently happening on the I95 HOV lanes in northern VA)

There just doesn't seem to be a good solution.

I'm a NOVA native/resident and regular user of the beltway but I do not use it every day for commuting. There is another thread where we've been discussing the 495 Express Lanes and I'm not sure if you saw that discussion.

If someone is complaining about being routed onto the Express Lanes and they have not checked the box to avoid toll lanes, I would say... This is by design. If the 495ELs are the fastest route and are marked as a toll road, then waze is working as designed (just like any other GPS system). If you changed the ELs to a PRL as you suggest then anyone who uses the lanes regularly would have to manually select that route every time (if I understand the system correctly). I'm pretty confident that the majority of 495EL users are regular users/locals and not just passing through. The problem you describe is a sufficient reason to keep it as is.

Can we add some sort of warning/popup that warns the user that the given route contains a toll (it may already, I can't remember) and/or add the word TOLL to the EL lanes name so it is more obvious(it may already)? I think this is sufficient warning that you are on a toll road.

How do we handle the NJ Turn Pike? It is the same thing. When driving from Baltimore to Philly, there are several parallel routes; some with toll and some without. How do you warn wazers that they have been directed onto a toll road there?

This begs another question...When waze suggests one route over another how much time data it is using? Does waze compare minutes only or minutes and seconds? Does it give preference to a shorter (distance-wise) route if it is one minute slower because it keeps you on a main highway. For example, If waze suggests the 495ELs because it saves me 30 seconds over the regular lanes and it costs me $2, it wasn't worth it (I'm not in the top 1%). I know waze doesn't know what the toll is but I want the choice. Give me the information (travel times) and let me choose if I want to pay the toll to save time.

A similar situation happened to me recently. I was using waze to get to a local address. Distance was about 7 miles of back streets, no highways (15 minutes). It is an area I know well. I took a turn against waze's suggested route that I thought was better and the ETA immediately improved by two minutes. Why would waze suggest this slower route? Yes, I have FASTEST selected.

I think I made this suggestion before but I think it's a good one. Every time waze gives a route that contains a toll have it go to the routes choice screen and force the user to choose the toll route or the non-toll route. The toll is marked, the wazer has all the information they need.
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Re: 495 Express Lanes

Postby MysticCobra » Mon Dec 03, 2012 9:32 pm

Excellent idea!
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Re: 495 Express Lanes

Postby MysticCobra » Wed Dec 05, 2012 2:17 pm

I agree Will. Let's just let them simmer for awhile. I think they are working well as they sit now. I still think it would be nice to add the features I mentioned previously (Default to choose a route whenever a toll road is quicker and add some footnote or other warning that the HOV/Express lanes require an EZPass (HOV-3 or TOLL) or a motorcycle.)

There's not much we can do about inattentive (I'm being polite here) drivers who don't read signs, are too busy doing other doings, slam on their brakes at the last second to swerve out of a lane and then cause a wreck. Wrecks don't happen by themselves. Wrecks happen when people run out of driving talent.
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Re: 495 Express Lanes

Postby MysticCobra » Thu Dec 06, 2012 3:54 pm

I had a similar thing happen to me the other day. I was going from Springfield to Fairfax via 495N headed to I-66W. Waze told me to take 495N-regular which I did. Then, due to a building delay at the I-66 interchange, told me to get off onto Gallows Rd and then get back onto 495N-Express as the express ramp to 66 W would put me just past the construction backup.
What other GPS is smart enough to do this?
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Re: 495 Express Lanes

Postby wpegues » Tue Dec 04, 2012 4:51 pm

Just as a comment, I have been driving both directions sometimes the Hot Lanes sometimes the regular 495 lanes on and off since they opened. I enter from the 267 ramps and exit at Braddock Road, so thats about the full length.

The directions for me seem appropriate. I do NOT have avoid tolls checked, and I DO have fastest checked. Sometimes Waze suggests the hot lanes, sometimes not (this since they were actually linked on the map).

I know there was talk about some concern that the roads were so close together that the gps might jump from hot to regular or back and forth or not position you accurately. I have never had that happen, and I have done the routs intentionally with the iPad positioned to be as close to the side of the side nearest the other lanes and driven in the closest lane. Its never jumped or rerouted.

Conceptually, I don't mind being told that for routing the hot lanes are faster. Its a choice. It would be nice if a 'flag' of some kind or color overlay of the routing turn indicated that the next junction was a toll.

The real problem is that the actual toll is very complex - its not necessarily a toll, if you have enough riders.

An interesting feature might be that if you had tolls as acceptable, would be to tap something that for just the upcoming junction onto a toll you could select 'no toll' and have it reroute. This would be a temporary override just for that junction.

I keep tolls selected as YES because I commute the 267 toll road every day, some days 2 round trips.
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