OK, here we go. Completely overhauled the article to incorporate the discussion to date.
Very challenging to compress the language to 8th-grade level, and I'm not sure I succeeded, but good practice for someone like me who gets wordy too easily.
Surprisingly, the Walking Trail
road type is much less useful than it might seem, and should be avoided in most situations.
The WME lists the Walking Trail road type as non-drivable. However, as of May 2015, Walking Trails are fully routable and even support Waze House Numbers. Waze treats them in some ways like "Dirt road / 4X4 Trail" but displays them differently. Historically, editors have disconnected Walking Trails to make sure Waze doesn't route drivers over them. This doesn't always work as desired. If a disconnected Walking Trail comes closer to a destination than any other road, Waze may route drivers to a location nearer to the Walking Trail than to the destination. This problem can be severe for Walking Trails passing close to many destinations in a dense neighborhood. Connected or not, the Walking Trail type should never be used where effects on local routing are not desired.
The name "Walking Trail" suggests that Waze wants to support pedestrians and cyclists. However, as of April 2015, Waze focuses on drivers of motor vehicles and has no plans to encourage or support any other application. In fact, pedestrians and cyclists using the Waze app may damage Waze. By Wazing at speeds different from the traffic, they can create false traffic indications and even influence Waze's records of average road and turn speeds.
Because of this effect, editors should not map Walking Trails, or any other road type, for the sole purpose of encouraging non-driving Wazers.
See the descriptions of other non-drivable road types for recommended applications of those types.
If the GPS Points layer shows clearly that pedestrians and cyclists already use Waze on a path or trail that lies parallel to a drivable road, then, as of May 2015, the path may be mapped with a Pedestrian Boardwalk. Doing so will limit the damage these Wazers would otherwise cause to the road's speed data. Such paths should only be mapped once it is clear Wazers regularly use them.Applications
In rare cases, connected Walking Trails can bring drivers to destinations where otherwise Waze might fail to offer the best route. For example:
- A music pavilion in a large or urban park accessed by a pedestrian path from a distant parking lot.
- A train station reachable from either side of the tracks but with no drivable road across them.
- A destination addressed on a non-drivable footpath.
A connected Walking Trail may be used to route drivers to such destinations. If the Walking Trail goes through from one drivable road to another, ensure that outgoing turn restrictions are red, or that the roads on both sides are private or parking-lot roads, to disallow through routing via the Walking Trail. Lock the Walking Trail as this is uncommon usage that may puzzle other editors.
Orientation or destination applications involving foot or bicycle paths that do not require routing, such as marking where an obvious bicycle path crosses a road or where a trailhead is located, should not use the Walking Trail type. Use Pedestrian Boardwalks or Point Places as appropriate.Naming
If destinations are addressed using House Numbers on a Walking Trail, it is essential that the Walking Trail's name and city fields be set accordingly so that routing to the addresses will work. For other routing situations, Walking Trails should be named to alert drivers that they must leave their car. For example, a Walking Trail connecting the two sides of a train station may be named "Station Access Path".