Proposal: Make I-495 Express Lanes non-routable

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Re: Proposal: Make I-495 Express Lanes non-routable

Postby Dachannien » Wed Oct 01, 2014 6:45 pm

My normal commute is on I-95 south of the Beltway, and I can vouch for the fact that Waze usually does a pretty good job of deciding whether the HOV lanes or the regular lanes will be faster for a given trip. However, it also has a lot of trouble figuring out when I've second-guessed it by taking the lanes it didn't choose. This is with a substantial amount of space between the regular and HOV lanes in many spots - it takes probably 200-300 feet of separation from the planned route before Waze will figure out I didn't go that way (there are a couple of places along I-95 where the lanes separate by that amount).

In the case of the 495 express lanes, there are no places where the separation between the lanes becomes that large, and it's likely that Waze will never figure out that you went the other way until you get to the exit it suggested for you. To make matters worse, it's not just a matter of the express exits being on the opposite side from the regular exits - there are exits in each set of lanes that have no equivalent exits on the other side.

Finally, the person a couple of posts above raises a good point. What you really want along this section of highway is an estimate of how bad the traffic is in the regular lanes. The dynamic tolls in the express lanes are already supposed to provide some indication of how crowded the lanes are (so that people will take them when they are uncrowded and avoid them when there is more traffic).

So, my vote is in favor of the original proposal. Either change the entire lanes to PLR, or change the entrance segments and on-ramps to PLR.
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Re: Proposal: Make I-495 Express Lanes non-routable

Postby CBenson » Tue Apr 15, 2014 3:53 pm

My view is that this would be a fairly significant inconvenience to Waze users that do use the Express Lanes. To be effective at choosing the fastest route, waze has to have the fastest route as an available option.

If I understand correctly, at this point you should not be routed on the Express Lanes if you have avoid toll roads selected. I'm not sure I want to accommodate those who (a) don't want to pay the toll, but haven't seleceted "Avoid Toll Roads" or (b) aren't paying attention to the directions given them at the expense of users who wish to have the option of taking the faster Express Lanes at least presented to them. The EZ-Pass only limitation is an issue.

I guess the question becomes, how successfully is waze at giving accurate ETAs that distinguish between using the Express Lanes and not using them. Not commuting over there, I don't know. I can say that waze gives me extremely different routes with "Avoid Tolls Roads" selected or not when routing from Annapolis to the Shenandoah Valley, but presumably that is due to the Dulles Toll Road and Greenway not the Express lanes.
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Re: Proposal: Make I-495 Express Lanes non-routable

Postby arlenm2012 » Fri Sep 12, 2014 6:59 pm

sprinx wrote:I think there should at least be a warning pop-up (with option to disable future warnings) that an EZ-pass is required for a toll road.

I don't mind paying an extra buck or two for convenience, but I just paid a $25 fee due to Waze routing me through I-495 at 10 am on a Sunday morning (i.e. absolutely no traffic on the main Interstate). I realized after a few miles what had happened, but there was no escape.

Bottom line is realizing that until the software is changed to have some other type of notification, just disable tolls. The express lanes are 99% always going to be faster so you can chose that route if you want to.
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Re: Proposal: Make I-495 Express Lanes non-routable

Postby arlenm2012 » Fri Sep 12, 2014 6:54 pm

syborg_sasquatch wrote:
russblau wrote:Those users who want to use the Express Lanes will still be able to do so, of course, and in most cases, when they enter, Waze should snap to the parking lot segment and then recalculate their route from that point. I say "should" because, with the close proximity between the main and Express lanes, there are bound to be some GPS errors in this process, so we will probably still have some user complaints.

In my experience, I have found that the tolerance for GPS "errors" increases when a route is active in the app. If I am on I-270 and for some reason choose the local lanes instead of the express lanes with an active route, many times I will not snap to the lanes I am in for quite some distance. If I stop the route navigation, I usually snap to the appropriate lane and then I would restart my route. I recall having this happening with the I-495 Express lanes when I was new to the app and didn't think to turn off tolls. So for those entering the Express Lanes from either ends, the app may not snap to the Express Lanes until there is a large enough gap between them and the regular lanes. Maybe this is not a big deal so long as the car icon will snap over before the first exit ramp.

I appreciate how much of a pain it is to deal with all the URs currently being generated but I agree with CBenson that this change could significantly impact Exp Lane users. For instance, the Express Lanes have a couple on-ramps that the non-express lanes do not have. If we convert the Express Lanes to PLot segments, users willing to use the Exp Lanes will not be routed to them.

And if there is a significant backup on the Exp Lanes (say, due to an accident), the user would not be able to tell until they were in the lanes and their icon snapped over or unless they scanned ahead on the map (probably while trying to drive).

Personally, I like being able to compare routing times between the Exp and Non-Express lanes by toggling the toll setting. I only use the Exp Lanes if I feel the time savings are worth the cost. And there have been times it has saved me ~15 minutes from I-66 to its northern terminus which made it worth the ~$1.75.

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