[Page updates] Railroads can be junctioned

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Re: [Page updates] Railroads can be junctioned

Postby DwarfLord » Sat Oct 04, 2014 5:02 am

Track separation can commonly be 4m on center. For this not to be a problem, editors would have to deliberately spread the segments away from the sat image at grade crossings, just slightly. Do-able but a potential source of error.

The deeper question is whether Waze will need railroads to route like reality at some point to support algorithms for train-caused slowdown prediction. That would mean we need to start mapping multiple systems separately (that's a yes to double track at least when different systems share the same right-of-way) and get all the switches correct. Of course Waze won't confirm or deny, we have to guess. I have a funny feeling they will...maybe we need to become more careful and literal in how we map railroads and railyards henceforth...


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Re: [Page updates] Railroads can be junctioned

Postby AlanOfTheBerg » Mon Oct 06, 2014 8:31 pm

Poncewattle wrote:* Elevation: Continue to set to -5 or make ground. I assume the latter, except...
* ... set elevation as appropriate for underpasses and overpasses

Elevation should be set to reality. That means if a road at ground and a RR intersect, then the RR should be at ground. Therefore, most RR should be set to ground, except, as you not, for under/overpasses.
Poncewattle wrote:* turn restrictions. Ideally if it's not routable WME shouldn't even present a turn restriction option, but it does. So do we need to make sure we disable all turns into and out of the railroad or doesn't it matter?

Ideally, yes, WME should not display turns at all. Testing has show turns allowed or not makes no difference. I vote for restricted, just for the sake of logic that most cars cannot/should not turn onto a RR.
Poncewattle wrote:Edit: Hmm, if one sets the direction to unknown, the turn restrictions takes care of itself. How about that for a practice?

Yes, that does handle the turns, but in reality they are just hidden by the WME interface. Also Unknown doesn't affect actual routability. If others would vote for Unknown, I'd be ok with that.
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Re: [Page updates] Railroads can be junctioned

Postby AlanOfTheBerg » Mon Oct 06, 2014 8:35 pm

DwarfLord wrote:This raises the question of whether we should change our practice of limiting mapping of railroads to one track per right-of-way (at least, that is my interpretation of the USA Railroad Road Type article that asks us not to map every piece of parallel track, combined with the principle that Waze is not a railfan app and should focus on drivers).

If Waze wants to follow where different trains are going in real time (based on observing traffic slowdowns at sequential grade crossings?) then it may actually want to know about separate rail networks that happen to share a right-of-way at times.

DwarfLord wrote:Great thinking! Yes, track separations can commonly be under 5m (that's the minimum segment length). Crossings of double track involving junctions would not only be more work to maintain, they'd have to be finagled to ensure road segments stayed >= 5m.

I haven't thought deeply about this. My first gut reaction was to combine all tracks at crossings, like a bowtie, but that would be ... bad. But the though of having 3 tracks crossing a road makes my eyes cringe. I'd say we stick to single track crossing for now as we already have. In the future, when the Editor and App get a map facelift, we can revisit also from a UI standpoint.
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Re: [Page updates] Railroads can be junctioned

Postby Poncewattle » Mon Oct 06, 2014 10:02 pm

AlanOfTheBerg wrote:Ideally, yes, WME should not display turns at all. Testing has show turns allowed or not makes no difference. I vote for restricted, just for the sake of logic that most cars cannot/should not turn onto a RR.


I know you've already tested this on NA but I just had to do it myself in my ole small town that didn't have any railroad mapping.

https://www.waze.com/editor/?env=usa&lo ... s=82033202

I actually enabled all turns off the main street to the railroad and parked a place named "railroad routing test point" right up against the track and far away from any roads. I can't get the live map nor the app to route up the railroad to it.

So now I have a general Waze governance question. Once this hits the wiki, is it practice that work can begin on it, or does the decision on what happens when in each area flow down from the RC, to SM, to AM? Since I have no railroads mapped in my county at all yet, so I'm waiting until I can do it the new way basically :)

In the meantime, there's plenty of pictures to moderate... :lol:
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Re: [Page updates] Railroads can be junctioned

Postby DwarfLord » Mon Oct 06, 2014 10:10 pm

AlanOfTheBerg wrote:...the though of having 3 tracks crossing a road makes my eyes cringe. I'd say we stick to single track crossing for now as we already have. In the future, when the Editor and App get a map facelift, we can revisit also from a UI standpoint.

Agree regarding 3 tracks crossing being not so good!

What about allowing at most a double-track crossing, and then only if each track is associated with a separate railroad network? This would be relatively rare. For example, a closed mass-transit system and a long-haul freight network sharing the same right-of-way for convenience. Having two tracks cross would be symbolic of the two separate networks crossing. It would never be literal, i.e., double track used by the same network would always be simplified to single-track. How does that sound?
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Re: [Page updates] Railroads can be junctioned

Postby Poncewattle » Mon Oct 06, 2014 10:36 pm

I know that in many cases all tracks are subject to be used for all purposes and/or directions as needed. For example, on Amtrak NEC through Delaware there's two primary lines for Amtrak and one for freight but any of them can and do occasionally get routed onto the other rails as needed depending on traffic situations. Now there may be technical limitations that prevent that in some cases, like some Metro North trains require third rail power so they obviously need to be on that sort of track.

From a programming standpoint I don't know if separate lines is needed by Waze anymore than we have to map separate car lanes. Rail line is set with a two-way direction, so a train can logically go either direction on it. Two trains can pass each other on the same drawn line. What we draw on the map doesn't have to match reality for rail any more than what we draw for roads. We just have to get it right for routing.

My other thought, track maps can get downright complex and confusing. Be careful of what you wish for! :)

Just my thoughts. I love trains, so I find this enjoyable! :)

Anyway, as to your final point, yeah, a closed mass transit system will definitely be a separate track. I think that'd be easy to spot too. Hmm, check this out.... in Baltimore... The "closed" line for light rail and a freight line "next" to each other...

https://www.waze.com/editor/?env=usa&lo ... 069&zoom=7

Interesting, especially since the CSX track is underground there, yet it's still mapped.
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Re: [Page updates] Railroads can be junctioned

Postby AlanOfTheBerg » Mon Oct 06, 2014 11:13 pm

How or whether to map a railroad which goes down the middle of a 2-way street for which there is no restriction of turning at any point including into driveways all along the road? That is to say, it's a two-way segment not a pair of 1-ways. But the rail goes down the center. No way to junction > 5m on each cross street. And I'm not sure that "burying" the rail segment directly under the street segment is a good idea.
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Re: [Page updates] Railroads can be junctioned

Postby DwarfLord » Tue Oct 07, 2014 12:15 am

AlanOfTheBerg wrote:How or whether to map a railroad which goes down the middle of a 2-way street for which there is no restriction of turning at any point including into driveways all along the road? That is to say, it's a two-way segment not a pair of 1-ways. But the rail goes down the center. No way to junction > 5m on each cross street. And I'm not sure that "burying" the rail segment directly under the street segment is a good idea.

Time for a confession...my name is DwarfLord, and I have...I have...put a railroad under a street:

https://www.waze.com/editor/?env=usa&lo ... s=81683610

This went in originally on February 3 as an experiment. I notified the Santa Cruz AM and he said OK, let's watch it, and I have watched ever since for any URs. Haven't seen a single one attributable even remotely to the presence of the railroad. I drive the area often myself and never encountered anything strange at all.

What might be happening behind the scenes I don't know, and maybe it should be torn out on principle. But when the train is rolling down the middle of the road it really does affect traffic. And, it hasn't caused harm that I've been able to detect.

How to redo it (if we don't tear it out) so that there are junctions, yikes. No idea.
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Re: [Page updates] Railroads can be junctioned

Postby CBenson » Tue Oct 07, 2014 3:04 pm

We may need a bit of discussion on why we map railroads and we certainly need some guidance from waze regarding how the back end treats railroads.

One reason to map railroads is that they can be treated as landmarks for orienting a driver. Railroads don't currently show on the client map. So I agree with Alan that when the Editor and the App get a map facelift, we likely will need to revisit this issue from a UI standpoint. (If this was the only reason then there would be no reason to map railroads in tunnels including subway systems).

A second reason to map railroads is that at-grade railroad crossings effect traffic. My understanding is that this is the reason to change the current method of keeping railroads unconnected from the road network to the proposal of including junction nodes at at-grade crossings. The junction node permits waze to gather traffic data regarding crossings at the junction node. If waze is merely gathering data for each crossing independently then again there would be no reason to map subterranean railroads. There seems to be some discussion here hoping that waze would be able to track railroad trains to predict future crossings at adjacent crossings. In this case, accurate mapping of entire railroad systems may be useful. However, this seems to be a long way off. I would hope that if we map entire railroad systems to enable something like this that subterranean railroads do not show on the client map when the App gets a map facelift.

A third reason to map railroads is to account for GPS tracks produced by wazers on trains. This can help prevent wazers on trains from polluting the speed and volume data of nearby roads. This reason only applies to tracks used by passenger rail systems (and again only applies to above ground tracks where GPS is working). I think we need more guidance from waze regarding how waze handles (or plans to handle) GPS tracks where there are congruent streets and rail lines (e.g. streetcars). I would hope that waze could handle this (its not that much different from elevated highways over surface streets or HOV lanes down the middle of a highway).
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Re: [Page updates] Railroads can be junctioned

Postby banished » Wed Oct 08, 2014 2:00 am

Methinks the present wiki (https://wiki.waze.com/wiki/Road_types/USA#Railroad) should continue unaltered. There's much speculation about intelligent grade crossings (http://www.fra.dot.gov/Page/P0309) and the possibility of GPS integration. It's exciting stuff, but likely premature to make changes in Waze based on what we don't know.

Yes, railroads can be junctioned without Waze mistakenly routing on a railroad segment. I tested that for my own interest a few years ago, and again yesterday to re-prove it to myself and a few others since things do change, sometimes unintentionally. (In the test, the railroad segment junction with the navigable road were set to allow all turns, and Waze still correctly ignored the railroad segment, both in Live Map and in the client...even though it wasn't visible in the client, of course.)

My question is because they CAN be junctioned, SHOULD they? The wiki has been stable for a while, and at present I don't see a demonstrable advantage or need to change from the current elevation (-5). Yes, somewhere down the line there may need, but there's nothing driving a change at present, nor is Waze suggesting it.

If I recall, junction points do impact routing, so given two equidistant routes and speeds to the same destination, but one has a junction point and the other doesn't, then theoretically Waze will chose the route without the junction point. (I have not personally tested this. One of you old-timers, please weigh in on that.) And, of course, the more junction points in a route, the greater opportunity for routing failure because someone set the turn restrictions incorrectly.

My final and perhaps most germane point on junctioning railroad segments to streets is an email conversation I had with redviper26 this August where I suggested Waze identify railroad crossings in Waze (ref. https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/rail-cr ... 05214?mt=8), and he responded -- nicely -- it is not on their task list. By the way, Navigon does show RR xings in their client.

There's also discussion elsewhere about segment length. For railroads, 10km maximum has been in the wiki for a while and that was based on longer segments making systems sluggish. I do not know if that is a WME issue or a local system issue, but either way, the effect is the same.

For street-running railroads (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TVzVrpGjRUo#t=111), I've been using max zoom and keeping the road and railroad separated by a hair and not overlapping.

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