[Update] Road Name/USA

Moderator: USA Champs

Re: Unexpected wayfinder instruction

Postby davielde » Wed Aug 20, 2014 8:29 pm

sketch wrote:There's a big difference between the perception of "BUS" in a route number and of "Bus" in a road name. Plus, how many bus-only highways are there? Is that really a thing? I know there are bus-specific U turn segments and all, but not as a part of a US/state highway designation. I don't think it's confusing at all, especially now that TTS says "Business" there.


I just made the change to "BUS" on the wiki. Do we think that clarification should be offered there stating that uppercase is required?
US-90 BUS S for U.S. Highway 90 Business, Southbound (uppercase BUS required for TTS)
or something like that?
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Re: Unexpected wayfinder instruction

Postby davielde » Wed Aug 20, 2014 8:51 pm

kentsmith9 wrote:Yes. And also note that without it you get "Bus" :)

As I said I don't really care, but note that not everyone uses voice guidance (like me). So I (and others without TTS) only see "BUS" and sometimes it does not match Business on the BGS. I am sure no accidents will result from this. :mrgreen:


"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".) "

As for accidents, as we tell UR reporters on occasion, sometimes you just have to use common sense. Please don't hit any buses on the special BUS highway or veer back onto the main highway at the last second at the exit ramp assuming you would otherwise be jumping onto a special BUS-only highway.
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Re: [Update] Road Name/USA

Postby DwarfLord » Wed Oct 21, 2015 9:56 pm

This is a great addition and clarification to the wiki! Thanks for your work on this.

codgerd wrote:...the goal is to provide the clearest navigation instruction to the driver.

Though it seems straightforward enough, this phrase can mean different things to different people.

For some editors, it it can mean identifying the road you're entering, even if the signage disagrees or is unclear. For example, if one is turning left on Main St, but the only available sign says one is turning left on SR-152, this perspective wants the guidance to say "turn left on Main St".

For other editors, it can mean matching the sign as verbatim as possible and giving other considerations lower priority. For example, if one is exiting to SR-85 that will lead drivers to SR-82, but the big green sign simply says "SR-85 SR-82", this perspective wants the guidance to say "exit to SR-85 SR-82".

To help editors through such controversy, I'd like to suggest rewording to:

"...the goal is to help drivers navigate their immediate situation. This means providing simple, practical guidance on the approach and transit of an intersection or interchange. Using literal sign content must be balanced against the risks of (a) confusion when the signs themselves are unclear or poorly visible from a distance, and (b) accidentally inducing unnecessary or counterproductive lane changes during the driver's approach."

[EDIT: wordsmithed suggested paragraph.]
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Re: [Update] Road Name/USA

Postby DwarfLord » Fri Oct 23, 2015 5:44 pm

qwaletee wrote:I purposely left it ambiguous, exactly because it means different things to different people. An editor must try to think like a nervous driver and a confident one, a local and an unfamiliar. The instructions in general (not just this topic) should have a design goal of balancing those needs. "Routing for all."

Very well. I didn't understand we were shooting for ambiguity here. I have been involved in some difficult disagreements that resulted from the ambiguity on this topic, and was hoping to mitigate that situation going forward. Oh well.

If this isn't the place in the wiki for this, is there another? Or perhaps I'm off in left field on this.
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Re: [Update] Road Name/USA

Postby DwarfLord » Sat May 14, 2016 11:14 pm

I fear the guidance on including exit numbers in driver instructions even when no signage displays the exit number (in the Road Names (USA) section on naming ramps) is being interpreted too literally in some cases.

I have been processing a number of unlock/update requests wanting to add exit numbers for ramps where no signs of any kind indicate the exit number on the ground. These requests were filed, I believe, for the sole purpose of complying with the Road Names (USA) guidance. And yes, in ordinary cases where the highway engineers either "forgot" to mark the exit number or haven't yet got round to doing so, this guidance makes perfect sense.

But there are other cases where the guidance leads to confusing situations. Two examples:

(1) A driver is following SR-2 N and encounters a shared alignment with I-210 W. In the online documentation, the highway agency refers to a ramp that carries the continuing SR-2 traffic as "Exit 21A". However, drivers on the ground see no "exit" signs because they are in fact not exiting SR-2 at all but rather continuing on it. Meanwhile, drivers who leave SR-2 on a separate fork encounter two more choices. The highway agency's accounting lists these forks as Exits 21B and 21C. But a driver going that way has left SR-2; how can these be SR-2 exits if one is no longer on SR-2? These "official" exit numbers appear nowhere on any signs.

(2) A driver is following SR-118 E when it comes to an end in I-210. Unable to follow 118 any more because it doesn't exist, the driver must choose between a left fork for I-210 W or a right fork for I-210 E. The highway agency calls these choices Exits 46A and 46B. However, drivers on the ground simply see massive BGS over the end of 118 with the two I-210 choices. As with the other example, the "official" exit numbers appear nowhere.

In these examples I am convinced the highway agency deliberately left the exit numbers off the signs because displaying them could confuse drivers. Our guidance should similarly allow (not require, simply allow) exit numbers to be omitted when the signs don't display them, regardless of whether one can find online documentation as to what they are.

I'd like to recommend we amend the relevant paragraph as follows:

Road Names (USA) wrote:Sometimes the local roadway agency may have assigned an exit number but posted no highway signage displaying that number. This may be intentional, for example to avoid driver confusion when the highway comes to an end, changes designation, or joins a shared alignment. In situations where there seems no reason for the lack of exit-number signage, it is OK to include the exit number in advance of it appearing on the road sign. This prevents additional updates later when the numbered sign is added to the roadway and it helps visual guidance when other exits before that one are numbered. Drivers can better anticipate their approaching exit.
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[Update] Road Name/USA

Postby DwarfLord » Sun May 15, 2016 5:47 am

robertonthego wrote:So overall, as part of guidance, I think the exit number should be listed as it's federal standard for them to be there for exits and interchanges and they are present in 49 of 50 states. California signs could be replaced at anytime (and the replacement would have the exit number) so if we have the data at the time of it being edited, I'd say go ahead and add it.

Thanks a bunch. Can you clarify: are you saying that, by federal law, every single highway event that has a number on paper somewhere is required to have that number prominently displayed on signage as well? If it weren't for the waiver, that is.

Here's an example. It's a bit extreme, but an extreme example could help illustrate the conundrum.

In San Jose, I-880 S becomes SR-17 S. From the driver perspective, the highway just keeps going; it doesn't gain or lose any lanes. Despite there being no signs, the I-880 S to SR-17 S transition is officially I-880 Exit 1A. Two questions: (1) If California loses its waiver, would it be required by federal law to put up a sign alerting all traffic that they are taking Exit 1A (whether they like it or not, there being no choice)? And (2), does it mean we should add guidance to the map now, perhaps "stay to the left to Exit 1A" (although there is no place to leave the highway, so the "stay left" will be meaningless, but at least the Exit 1A will be communicated to the driver)?

I don't know if I'm in the minority, but I'd find such an instruction to be darn confusing...

My feeling is that, in situations that could confuse drivers, there is no particular pressing need to add (or force!) exit numbers into the Waze map that don't presently exist on signage. I'd like the guidance to be clearer about that; that at least until such time as the exit number actually appears on signs, it is optional on the map.

[EDIT: The fundamental problem is that US highway practice calls certain things "exits" that do not look like what most people think of as an exit. In those specific cases, the highway jargon is familiar to some but counterintuitive to most. Basically what I'm saying is that we shouldn't be in the habit of adding counterintuitive highway jargon to Waze instructions when it isn't even on any of the signage.]
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Re: [Update] Road Name/USA

Postby DwarfLord » Mon May 16, 2016 2:46 pm

Thanks, now I understand why this concern hasn't come up earlier. Everywhere else in the US besides California, it sounds like the authorities reliably sign anything that's been assigned an exit number. So nobody but us Californians have struggled with this -- whether or not to add an "Exit XYZ" phrase to driving instructions when (a) there's nothing about the configuration for which the word "exit" makes sense to an ordinary driver, and (b) the "Exit XYZ" does not appear on any signs.

I'm also glad to understand that the lack of such signage in California may have less to do with any particular plan or intent, and more to do with money and how suicidal the highway crew feels on any given day.

With that, I'd like to offer a revised amendment as follows:

Road Names (USA) proposal #2 wrote:Sometimes the local roadway agency may have assigned an exit number but posted no highway signage displaying that number. Generally, naming should not include information that is not visibly posted, but as long as there is little chance of driver confusion it is OK to include the exit number in advance of it appearing on the road sign. This prevents^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H obviates additional updates later when the numbered sign is added to the roadway, and it helps visual guidance when other exits before that one are numbered; drivers can better anticipate their approaching exit. In complex situations, however -- such as when the highway comes to an end, changes designation, or joins a shared alignment -- adding the word "exit" and an identifier to the Waze instructions when no signs show them could confuse drivers. In such cases it is better to omit exit identifiers until they're on the signs.
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Re: [Update] Road Name/USA

Postby DwarfLord » Tue May 17, 2016 7:57 pm

Thanks for the feedback!

As the editing community evolves, things that were once thought good can come to be thought just OK; and things that were once thought just OK can come to be recognized as problematic. In over two years of editing I've seen this happen with a number of practices.

I for one have no problem undoing previous work -- including my own work! -- to bring it into line with our current understanding of best practice.

Before doing so in this situation, however, I'd like to wait for additional comments. If a couple of weeks go by with no objection (better yet with support) I'll transition the text into the wiki. Then we can review situations like the one you mentioned against the backdrop of the clarified wiki.
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Re: [Update] Road Name/USA

Postby DwarfLord » Wed May 18, 2016 9:03 pm

Thanks. I don't believe you (qwaletee) and I disagree on interpretation. But the fact remains that we have had at least one editor who did indeed interpret the wiki differently.

This editor did a lot of great research to find the "theoretical" (i.e. unsigned) exit numbers associated with the forks at the end of freeways, at places where one freeway appeared to end but actually joined a shared alignment, and at places where one freeway designation ended and another began. Then he submitted many unlock/update requests to get these unsigned identifiers into the Waze instructions. His reading of the wiki suggested to him that this was desirable, or at the very least OK. When another editor complained that it made the driving instructions confusing (to him personally, as he drove one of these regions) he was told that's what the wiki asked for, so that's the way it is.

I don't feel my proposed changes take anything away from what you've said, and it doesn't sound like you're finding fault with the specific content. Granted, the wiki does make sense, the way it is currently written, to you and to me; but you and I are not the only ones reading it. Clearly others are taking home a different message. Clarifying it in the way I suggested can only improve new editors' understanding of current best practice, and what's not to like about that?
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Re: [Update] Road Name/USA

Postby DwarfLord » Wed May 18, 2016 9:54 pm

Excellent. Please be specific as to what exactly you find excessively complex in my proposal, and I will attempt to satisfy your concern. Or, suggest alternative language, and I will be delighted to critique it.
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