[Page Update] Junction Style Guide

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Re: [Page Update] Junction Style Guide

Postby DwarfLord » Tue Jun 24, 2014 4:31 am

How about this for defining non-obvious continuation?

At exits, the continuation path for a ramp, highway or freeway will be considered "non-obvious" if it has least two fewer travel lanes in a given direction after the exit than before it on the typical exit side, or at least one less travel lane on the atypical exit side. The continuation will also be considered "non-obvious" if it consists of a single lane.

(Edit: I was thinking about controlled access highways. For non-controlled access, like a city street that is now a MH due to FC, maybe the threshold should be one fewer on either side.)
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Re: [Page Update] Junction Style Guide

Postby DwarfLord » Wed Jun 25, 2014 5:37 am

sketch wrote:you'd have to also define "travel lane" to mean a lane that's been there a while rather than a lane that started just before the exit

Do-able: a travel lane could be defined as a lane that, at some point before nearing the exit, was neither striped nor signed as "exit only".

sketch wrote:and that two exit only lanes isn't always enough, and that one exit only lane is sometimes enough.

The purpose of the wayfinder is to alert the driver to something that is both unexpected and may require action to continue, i.e. changing lanes.

If no travel lanes depart, no action is required. Therefore only situations involving the loss of one or more travel lanes should be considered for wayfinders. All such situations may require action but not all such situations are unexpected.

So now we come to the heart of it: how many travel lanes have to depart for a naive driver to consider the loss of lanes "unexpected"?

On the atypical exit side, exits are so rare that the loss of even one travel lane would be unexpected and the situation would qualify for a wayfinder.

On the typical side, maybe others feel differently, but I am unaccustomed to losing more than one travel lane at an exit no matter how wide the freeway. I've never driven the widest freeway in the world measured by main travel lanes -- the Ontario Highway 401 at 9 lanes each way -- but I imagine that on my first drive even on that road I would be surprised to lose two travel lanes at an exit.

So, that was my thinking in defining "non-obvious continuation" as the loss of at least two travel lanes on the typical side, or one on the atypical side. The only case where losing a single travel lane on the typical side would be unexpected, IMHO, would be if there had been only two travel lanes in that direction in the first place. But that case is covered by the "single lane continuing" clause.

This is for controlled ramps, highways and freeways. For uncontrolled highways I think losing even one travel lane on the typical side would constitute a non-obvious continuation.

So, another try:

At exits,
  • the continuation path for a controlled-access ramp, highway or freeway will be considered "non-obvious" if it has least two fewer travel lanes in a given direction after the exit than before it on the typical exit side.
  • The continuation path for an uncontrolled ramp or highway, or for an exit on the atypical side, will be considered "non-obvious" if it has at least one less travel lane after the exit than before it.
  • (Added in edit) The continuation path for any highway will be considered "non-obvious" if signage preceding the exit suggests a split, for example with arrows for the continuation that point in a direction other than straight ahead.
  • A continuation path comprised of a single lane will always be considered "non-obvious".
Where "travel lane" is defined as a lane that, at some point before nearing the exit, was neither striped nor signed as "exit only".
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Re: [Page Update] Junction Style Guide

Postby DwarfLord » Wed Jun 25, 2014 1:44 pm

sketch wrote:By drafting the rule properly, we take ONE editor's judgment out of the equation and replace it with the judgment of EVERY editor that came to the wiki update forum and drafted the guidance.

I would add to this that, in many or perhaps most cases due to locking, the editor deciding to add or remove a wayfinder will not be the editor who requested the action. If the senior editor disagrees with the junior editor, standoff and frustration ensue. An objective, agreed-upon standard could save a great deal of energy and frustration for both editors.

Regarding my most recent offering, I wanted to explain the item I added in edit: that a continuation is "non-obvious" when signage preceding the exit suggests a split. This realization threw into the toilet my impeccable logic that no wayfinder is necessary when no travel lanes are lost. This situation prompted it. No travel lanes (by my definition) are lost, so by the other rules a wayfinder would not be called for. Except, signage preceding the exit suggests that the road splits. This signage confused a visiting Wazer who submitted a UR asking for continuation guidance. Thus the additional language for when signage suggests a split.

Signage suggests a split.jpg
Wayfinder situation where signage suggests a split
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Re: [Page Update] Junction Style Guide

Postby DwarfLord » Fri Jun 27, 2014 2:14 pm

Great discussion! Based on what has been said here I've modified the "signage suggests a split" language, tweaked the definition of "travel lane", and offer this for the wiki:

New suggested wiki text wrote:A wayfinder gives a user an instruction directing them how to continue on the road the user is already on, in situations where it may be unclear. A wayfinder is warranted in the following cases:
  • The continuation path for a controlled-access ramp, highway or freeway has least two fewer travel lanes after the exit than before it on the typical exit side (a "travel lane" is defined as a lane that, before nearing the exit, is neither striped nor signed as a departing lane over a length long enough that a naïve driver might consider it a long-distance lane);
  • The continuation path for an uncontrolled ramp or highway, or for an exit on the atypical side, has at least one less travel lane after the exit than before it;
  • The continuation path consists of a single lane; or
  • Some or all of the associated signage may be interpreted as suggesting a split -- for example, lacking typical exit language, or with arrows pointing left and right but no clear "straight-ahead" choice -- or is otherwise unclear or inconsistent so that drivers may be confused as to which way is the continuation or whether there is a continuation at all.


For comparison, the current wiki guidance is as follows:
Existing wiki text wrote:A wayfinder gives a user an instruction reminding them to stay on the road the user is already on, in situations where a reminder is warranted. A wayfinder is warranted in the following situations:
  • Lane drops, where at least as many lanes leave the road as stay on the road;
  • Non-obvious continuations, where at least one "exit only" lane exists on the side of the road where exits are not normally placed (in a right-hand traffic country, exiting traffic is to the left and continuing traffic is to the right); and
  • Inconsistent signage, where a highway continues as a numbered route, but signs call it only by a name.


Concurrence?
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Re: [Page Update] Junction Style Guide

Postby DwarfLord » Fri Jun 27, 2014 9:18 pm

sketch wrote:Looks pretty good, although I'm not so sure I like the rule change for typical-side exits. There are situations where a wayfinder is warranted even though only one travel lane is lost – where 3 lanes splits into 1.5 continuing and 1.5 exiting. This situation is pretty common on the Interstate system.
I'm definitely open to situations I may not have considered! 1.5 lanes...that's a new reference to me...does that mean a split where the center lane can go either way? To me that case is handled by the fourth item, signage that suggests a split. If the signage is abundantly clear about one direction being "continue on" and the other being "exit", and only one travel lane is lost, I am not sure a wayfinder is called for based on the lane behavior alone.

sketch wrote:Did you insert the uncontrolled vs. controlled distinction?
Yes, I was thinking of cases on large multi-lane urban and suburban highways where a travel lane becomes exit only. In an uncontrolled-access environment it's less common to lose a lane (in my experience anyway) and the signage may not be as clear, so continuation guidance seemed like a good idea. But again, I'm open to situations I may not have considered. Perhaps wayfinder-like guidance in uncontrolled-access situations deserves completely separate treatment in a different wiki...?

sketch wrote:Also, wayfinders aren't used on ramps. Those are ramp splits and are governed differently.
Thanks, yes I had been interpreting the term "wayfinder" to refer to any situation where extra guidance for continuing on the same road is helpful. In San Jose for example we have a ramp that goes on for nearly two miles with two sub-exits of its own! But if the term is not to be used for anything other than controlled-access MH and F types that would be good for me to be clear about. In that case, what if anything do we call continuing-path guidance in other situations?

sketch wrote:If you want to incorporate these changes, feel free. If you'd rather I drafted my own, I wouldn't mind, but it might be tomorrow.
I feel like I'm learning a lot and I enjoy the challenge, so if you don't mind guiding me, I'm happy to keep writing. :)
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Re: [Page Update] Junction Style Guide

Postby DwarfLord » Sat Jun 28, 2014 5:21 am

Good stuff. I am thinking we need to be clarify some terms before we can craft the best language.

The term "dropped lane" is good, but does it mean a dropped travel lane -- i.e., a lane that, for some distance before approaching the intersection, was neither signed nor striped as an exit lane? Or does it include lanes that were never anything but an exit lane? For example, is the right-hand lane of this segment considered a "dropped lane" when it departs for Hwy 150 to Ojai? The right-hand lane joins at the start of the segment and continues over half a mile before it exits for Hwy 150, but it is striped as an exit for that entire length.

The term "wayfinder-type signage" -- would it include a BGS with arrows straight down, or no arrows at all, over the continuing lanes, regardless of what neighboring exit signage looked like? To be sure I am not advocating that "wayfinder-type signage" by that definition would warrant a wayfinder! My thinking is that only signage and striping that suggests a split, or that is absent, unclear, or inconsistent would be sufficient to warrant a wayfinder based on signage alone. In fact, by this criterion, the absence of "wayfinder-type signage" would warrant a wayfinder much more than its presence.

sketch wrote:The idea is that, if you're in either of the right two lanes in a 1.5-1.5 scenario (1 continue, 1 option, 1 dropped), you have to take some sort of action, or at least make a choice, to stay on the road. In the dropped lane, you must get over; in the option lane, you must be sure to stay to the left. If you're a chronic speed limit obeyer and you've been in that right lane for quite a while, the reminder would be good... This one here is definitely warranted — it's (1 continue, 1 option, 1 dropped), but pan up just a little bit and you'll see that the dropped lane was one of only two lanes of I-475, and that the continue lane actually just came off a left entrance ramp.

This is a great evaluation case. In this situation the lane that is being dropped is marked with a sequence of three massive BGS with huge "exit only" yellow stripes at the bottom of each one. If there were exit-only striping present as well I would say this is not a case for a wayfinder; if we cater to drivers who would miss striping and three massive signs spread over a mile of open highway then we would annoy all the others with too-frequent instructions, especially the commuters who already know the road and who make up a big part of the Waze user community.

But for some reason there is no exit-only striping in this example. To me the presence of exit-only signs combined with the lack of exit striping constitutes "absent, inconsistent, or unclear" signage and thus warrants a wayfinder based on signage alone. So we agree this exit requires a wayfinder, but I don't believe it's because of the single lane drop, but rather because the signage/striping is not sufficiently clear to wake up a driver to get over.

So I guess I'm still sticking to my four-point suggestion (two lost travel lanes on the right, one on the left, single-lane continuation, or confusing/unclear signage) but there's got to be a example case out there somewhere that would sink my boat :)
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Re: [Page Update] Junction Style Guide

Postby DwarfLord » Sun Jun 29, 2014 3:44 am

CBenson wrote:So it seems to me we are properly taking into account what drivers expect for a particular interchange, but not taking into account what long distance drivers might expect when they enter a highway. It can be disconcerting to have the next instruction be for an exit a couple of states away and 10 hours away.

I did a 4000-mile road trip last summer and used Waze the whole way. This was months before I started editing and visiting the forums, and it's actually what sold me on Waze, because it would give me estimated arrival times for places over 6 hours distant that turned out to be correct within a few minutes. Impressive. (I also really appreciated the "watch out" warnings for heavy traffic in LA.)

During that drive there were many occasions where Waze would fall silent for hours at a time. But you know it never bothered me because I would look at the display, see "exit in 183 miles", and be completely comforted. It never occurred to me that I wanted additional verbal guidance; as long as I could check the display I knew Waze and I were doing fine. But admittedly this was the southwest and the long-distance highways were not complicated.

You raise a lot of other really worthwhile points, I just wanted to get this thought out about the display taking the place of periodic voice announcements to satisfy the driver that things are OK.
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Re: [Page Update] Junction Style Guide

Postby DwarfLord » Tue Jul 29, 2014 1:49 pm

ottonomy wrote:
sketch wrote:Oh, also, I'm not crazy about the "2 dropped lanes on the expected side" rule, exactly—what of the situations with 1 continuing lane, 1 option lane, and 1 dropped lane? The "only 1 lane continues" rule doesn't really apply unless we explicitly exclude option lanes from that count.


Obviously, we do need to have some sort of objective rules for this spelled out in the wiki, but this is a subject where any number of factors could make exceptions to the rules seem reasonable.

There are places where only one existing travel lane peels off to another route, but there's little advance signage, poor road striping, and/or maybe a blind curve, which combine to make the exit sneak up on drivers.

There are other places, where five lanes split into 3 and 3 (option lane in middle), but the BGS have been warning of the split every half mile for 5 miles or so, and giant Y arrows loom above, ominously, sign after sign.

The former situation begs for a wayfinder. The latter should obviously have one, but almost doesn't need it.

Some editor discretion will have to come into play from time to time.

Absolutely! Original intent gave high value to what could be called the "discretion" condition:
Some or all of the associated signage or striping, or the geometry of the road itself, may be interpreted as suggesting a split -- for example:
  • some or all signs lacking typical exit language;
  • signs with arrows pointing left and right but no clear "straight-ahead" choice; or
  • otherwise unclear or inconsistent signage and striping so that drivers may be confused as to which way is the continuation or whether there is a continuation at all.


If readers see that this "discretion" condition is a significant part of the guidance -- maybe it could simply be placed at the front of the list rather than at the end? -- it could accommodate many situations where a purely quantitative approach would be inadequate.

[EDIT: broadened suggested "discretion" language.]
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Re: [Page Update] Junction Style Guide

Postby DwarfLord » Wed Jul 30, 2014 3:00 am

PesachZ wrote:I changed the text of that last condition to read
Some or all of the associated signage may be interpreted as suggesting a split (use your better judgement, and discretion) -- for example;

I've reworded the "discretion" item of the warranted-wayfinder list to read:
Some or all of the associated signage or striping, or the geometry of the road itself, may suggest a split to drivers (use your better judgement, and discretion) -- for example:
  • some or all signage or striping lacks expected "exit" indications;
  • signs are present with arrows pointing left and right but no sign clearly establishes the continuation; or
  • signs and striping are otherwise unclear or inconsistent so that drivers may be confused as to whether they are encountering an exit or a split.

Hope this meets with approval, otherwise it's fine to revert or further modify.
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Re: [Page Update] Junction Style Guide

Postby DwarfLord » Wed Jul 30, 2014 5:19 am

PesachZ wrote:You mentioned the geometry of the road, but all of your examples are talking about the signs only.

How about this (already applied; as before, feel free to revert or modify as desired):
Other conditions exist that may suggest a split rather than an exit (use your better judgement, and discretion) -- for example:
  • The physical roadway itself forks or diverges with no clear straight-ahead direction;
  • Signage and striping do not clearly provide all expected "exit" indications, or do so inconsistently; or
  • Signs are present with arrows pointing left and right but no sign clearly establishes the continuation.
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