Road Types (USA) – comprehensive overhaul of drivable roads

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Re: dirt roads

Postby dbraughlr » Wed Mar 19, 2014 6:01 pm

miked_64 wrote:I routinely downgrade Minor Collector from Primary to 4x4 / Dirt Roads if they are not paved. This is the only way for the Avoid Dirt Roads option to work.


I am on the side that believes where our streets and minor highways are dirt, they can't be avoided anyway and should be set according to function so that they work correctly for the people who haven't set "Avoid dirt roads" (whatever that is really supposed to mean). The function of a road and its surface material are independent characteristics. Not all 4x4 trails are dirt. Abandoned paved highways can be 4x4 trails.
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Re: Road Types (USA) – comprehensive overhaul of drivable ro

Postby sketch » Wed Mar 19, 2014 6:06 pm

What to do with dirt roads is a tough call for me. I do believe that, in places where they're basically the only option, dirt roads can be set to other types. However, in my (limited) experience, even in areas with a lot of dirt roads (northern Macomb County, MI), there's always a viable option on pavement.

I wouldn't give too much credence to the "4x4 trails" part of that. The main purpose of this type is to enable the "avoid dirt roads" feature. There are certainly legitimate reasons to want to avoid dirt roads (my suspension and my lower back come to mind), so we don't want to effectively disable this feature unless we don't have another option.

But that's not covered by this overhaul, anyway. Technically the type is used for drivable public roads, but since they can be disabled in the client, they aren't considered as part of the same calculus. Really, it should be a flag instead of a type (like toll roads), but it's a discussion for a different thread anyway.
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Re: Road Types (USA) – comprehensive overhaul of drivable ro

Postby davielde » Wed Mar 19, 2014 6:15 pm

Here's a recent thread on dirt roads originally for the southwest region that touches on how difficult it is to classify nationally. In largely urban areas, there is usually a paved road within a short distance--even if the dirt road is functionally a minor collector. Out west though, you may not have any other option for miles. With the present system where we cannot separate function from surface, this debate will likely go on without a good compromise at a national level.
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Re: Road Types (USA) – drivable dirt roads

Postby dbraughlr » Wed Mar 19, 2014 6:55 pm

Proposal:
Say something like we use the functional class with the exceptions that a road can be upgraded based on local knowledge of function to produce better routing (what happened to the idea that a city wants people to use certain roads and not cut through on residential streets even if they are faster?), or downgraded to dirt where local knowledge is that the road does not really serve its designated function because there is a paved alternative.

All dirt roads are not equal. Graded and rolled dirt roads that are wide enough for opposite-direction vehicles to pass without slowing down are quite different from single-lane Forest Service roads that ford streams and have steep gradients. Even with gravel roads, there are those that are good roads and those that I consider to be dirt roads. Waze has to distinguish between them so that it can discriminate between them for routing where they are the only choices. Many won't have speed data. There might not be continuous cellular data coverage.

Local knowledge can apply some objective criteria. Do school buses and/or package delivery services (e.g., USPS and couriers) use the dirt road? If so, it probably is at least a street.
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Re: Road Types (USA) – comprehensive overhaul of drivable ro

Postby sketch » Wed Mar 19, 2014 7:22 pm

That sounds pretty good, although like I said, the specifics should be left to a different thread. For this portion, something to the effect of "otherwise-classified unpaved roads may be downgraded to the dirt road type if there are viable paved alternatives in the area".

I will say that whether the mail goes down there isn't really material. I don't care if there are several houses on a dirt road if there's a parallel paved road a quarter mile away. Even a wide, graded dirt road is often rife with holes and bumps.

Perhaps a note should be added to "street" type to say that it should only be used for paved local roads.
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Re: Road Types (USA) – drivable dirt roads

Postby dbraughlr » Wed Mar 19, 2014 7:51 pm

sketch wrote:I don't care if there are several houses on a dirt road if there's a parallel paved road a quarter mile away. Even a wide, graded dirt road is often rife with holes and bumps.


This sounds a lot like the argument that Waze should avoid streets with speed bumps because obviously the city street department does not want through-traffic and drivers (lumbar vertebrae and car suspension come to mind) do not want to use such roads when there is a smooth, paved alternative ¼ mile away.

If the drivers go slowly on bumpy roads, Waze avoids those roads. The paved alternative wins on the speed data.

Perhaps Waze should alert the driver when allowing tolls, major highways, and/or dirt roads would would save considerable time or distance.
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Re: Road Types (USA) – comprehensive overhaul of drivable ro

Postby davielde » Wed Mar 19, 2014 8:24 pm

sketch wrote:Perhaps a note should be added to "street" type to say that it should only be used for paved local roads.

I don't think that would sit well in certain areas based on daknife's comments in that other thread, where perhaps we can shift any discussion of dirt roads. This is a wiki page centered on the function of a road, where there is no good solution when we bring in the surface of a road. Freeway > MH > mH > PS > S > Dirt Road/4x4 Trail is not a good hierarchy. Instead, dirt road could fit into any number of the lower levels whether they be minor or major collector, or even arterial. As dbraughlr stated, not all dirt roads are created equal, but not all regions judge by the same criteria, and even seasonality comes into play in certain places. If we cannot reach a consensus nationally, could there perhaps be an effort to come up with a well-defined list of considerations by region for dirt roads or whatever else, and then national FC guidelines are applied after those regional rules?

dbraughlr wrote:Proposal:
Say something like we use the functional class with the exceptions that a road can be upgraded based on local knowledge of function to produce better routing (what happened to the idea that a city wants people to use certain roads and not cut through on residential streets even if they are faster?), or downgraded to dirt where local knowledge is that the road does not really serve its designated function because there is a paved alternative.

I think that this would need to be more explicit since the goal is to avoid as much subjective judgment as possible. "Local knowledge of function" needs to be well-defined as to when it is appropriate versus using FC, and who has the final say in a dispute--the AM? RC?
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Re: Road Types (USA) – comprehensive overhaul of drivable ro

Postby sketch » Wed Mar 19, 2014 8:59 pm

As I said, this all belongs in another thread. I'm fine with moving all the relevant posts to wherever it is.

dbraughlr wrote:This sounds a lot like the argument that Waze should avoid streets with speed bumps because obviously the city street department does not want through-traffic and drivers (lumbar vertebrae and car suspension come to mind) do not want to use such roads when there is a smooth, paved alternative ¼ mile away.

If the drivers go slowly on bumpy roads, Waze avoids those roads. The paved alternative wins on the speed data.

Perhaps Waze should alert the driver when allowing tolls, major highways, and/or dirt roads would would save considerable time or distance.

That argument is misplaced — it's an argument against including an "avoid speed bumps" option in the client. But the "avoid dirt roads" option is already there. We should not be editing the maps in such a way as to gut the feature of its effectiveness.

The analogy isn't perfect either way — speed bumps are predictable, and they're there to slow you down; they only materially affect your speed. Maybe some incidental effects are possible on your suspension and your vertebrae, but if you're driving over them properly, it's negligible. And Waze already handles speed by its nature.

Dirt roads, on the other hand, carry further consequences. Dirt roads are unpredictable. A freshly-graded one can be traversed at a speed nearly the same as if it were paved. If it's not adequately maintained, yes, they will slow you down — but unlike speed bumps, the ruts and bumps in unmaintained dirt roads are not painted yellow, nor are their locations known ahead of time. Further, even a well-maintained dirt road carries risks. Rocks thrown from gravel roads can crack windshields and lights, dent body panels, and puncture tires and even tanks. Dirt can gunk up your air filters, leading to more frequent service intervals. Dust thrown up into the air can impair visibility. Further, cars are harder to control on loose surfaces, so more inexperienced or skittish drivers may wish to avoid them.

That's not to say all classified dirt roads should be set to "dirt road", but they also shouldn't all be set to their functional class type. I've read the other thread, and what that leads me to believe is that standards should be set locally/geographically based on what's necessary, so users in certain areas know what to expect. At least where I've been in southeastern Michigan, there's always a paved alternative; daknife paints quite a different picture out West.

I agree that a "Hey, a toll / dirt road would save you x minutes" would be very nice, but that's a separate issue altogether.
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Re: Road Types (USA) – upgrade/downgrade exceptions

Postby dbraughlr » Wed Mar 19, 2014 10:03 pm

dbraughlr wrote:Local knowledge can apply some objective criteria.

davielde wrote:I think that this would need to be more explicit since the goal is to avoid as much subjective judgment as possible. "Local knowledge of function" needs to be well-defined as to when it is appropriate versus using FC, and who has the final say in a dispute--the AM? RC?


As pointed out, the current system is no less flawed. I don't know how well-defined it can be. I have laid out some objective criteria here such as being the main connector between two towns at least 3 miles apart, used by school buses, etc, as relate to function. These could be "well-defined", but as guidance. We cannot cover every exception.

How to handle disputes isn't really any different than how to handle other disputes like whether a road should be "split" or an intersection should be bowtied.

That is why I propose that we allow for the possibility of upgrade/downgrade exception based on local situations. If there really is a dispute, I think the community can handle it when it arises. AM assignments are pretty arbitrary, so I wouldn't hand it to an AM.

Don't downgrade mH/PS/Street types contrary to local practice for unpaved roads. A rank 1 editor should not reclassify a previously edited road himself but rather seek guidance from an AM or RC. If a road was changed to Dirt, don't upgrade it contrary to local practice. When you upgrade to PS or higher, lock to rank 3+. When you downgrade, lock to rank 2+. If a question arises take it to the community leaders or forum.

Downgrades also happen when a bypass expressway is created or a road is relocated.

In short, I think we can move forward with the principle of FC with a general statement allowing for exceptions according to local practices not specified.
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Re: Road Types (USA) – comprehensive overhaul of drivable ro

Postby banished » Thu Mar 20, 2014 12:33 am

bgodette wrote:
banished wrote:Out-of-area editor: "It's a primary street according to FC."
Local editor: "No, it's a minor highway. I know, because I drive it frequently."

Sorry, but in this case the state's DOT wins.

I'd be uncertain about accepting poor routing as the result of a strict adherence to FC (or any other methodology, including the one used in the Southeast) as "winning."

bgodette wrote:
banished wrote:Florida doesn't even have a web-based FC map.

Yes it does. It's here and it's been in the Wiki for a while. However that site does not appear to work from IP addresses that GeoIP from out of state. Last time it worked for me was when I was there last December. F.I.T. may also have GIS resources usable with ArcGIS.

It doesn't work in-state, either, so effectively there is not a Florida FC reference we could use. (EDIT: Site page is responding sporadically, now.) I wrote the DOT yesterday requesting a URL for Florida’s FC system. The read receipt came back today. Standing by for a response and will advise all if I get one.
bgodette wrote:
banished wrote:Hoping for Waze clarification why road type even matters given https://www.waze.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=212&t=48543.

Because road type is the fall-back for long distance routing.

I'm in a relatively rural area where long-distance routing over primary streets, minor highways and major highways is the norm.

Regardless, the consensus appears we’re going ahead with FC and debate is over. I've had opportunity to make my points.

[EDIT: Response received from FL DOT for functional classification:
http://www3.dot.state.fl.us/EnterpriseI ... sets/IMAP/
• 6:00am to 9:00pm Monday - Friday
• 7:00am to 7:00pm Saturday
• Not available on Sundays
Must have been written by a U. of Florida or FL State undergrad. It's awful.]
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