County Road Naming

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County Road Naming

Postby Riamus » Tue Jul 16, 2013 12:10 pm

The naming guidelines in the Wiki for Michigan aren't entirely clear, so I wanted to get some feedback on naming county roads in Michigan. The Wiki says to use County Hwy XXX, which is good. However, county roads in Michigan are named differently by region (B-15, A-2, etc.). Based on the Wiki naming information, should these be called something like County Hwy 15 or County Hwy B-15? I think everyone just says the number, but it could be potentially confusing if there are any instances of 15 in multiple regions. I haven't gone through to compare the county roads in every region to see if there are duplicate numbers or not.

I also noticed a county road just called by the letter-number designation instead of being called County Hwy XXX. According to the Michigan information in the Wiki, that would be incorrect. I just want to verify that the Wiki is correct and these should all be called County Hwy XXX before I look into correcting any of them.
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Re: County Road Naming

Postby robc007 » Tue Jul 16, 2013 12:54 pm

Since we're moving toward MI-XXX for the state highways, we should be using the short format for county highways now as well.

Also, it seems we are still using local signage to determine the primary road name, so the highway number is often just an alternate name.
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Re: County Road Naming

Postby Riamus » Tue Jul 16, 2013 1:07 pm

So, CR-15 in my example? And yes, for many county roads in Michigan, the county roads are definitely an alternate rather than a primary name.
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Re: County Road Naming

Postby robc007 » Tue Jul 16, 2013 2:30 pm

I don't think "CR" is appropriate, but I see other states using it. I just don't think anyone in Michigan would know what "CR" means. I suggest sending a PM to some of the more experienced editors in this area and asking if they would comment here.

"County Hwy 15" is a reasonable alternative to "B-15" but I would prefer the shorter version.
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Re: County Road Naming

Postby Riamus » Tue Jul 16, 2013 3:37 pm

I'll see what the regional coordinator thinks. And if anyone else sees this and wants to leave their opinions as well, that would be good. My only real concern with just B-15 or A-2 is that there are then 8 different designations for county roads. Although that's valid for the state, it's certainly not a standard way of naming roads. I know each state has their own way of doing things, but I think a standard is better so someone driving between states knows what things mean. County Hwy or CR (pronounced in Waze as County Road) are easily recognizable anywhere in the country. B-15 isn't necessarily recognizable as a county road except by those in the state or perhaps nearby states who have heard of it. It's one thing to have some called State Highways and some called State Roads and some called State Routes... those are all clear to anyone hearing them. And interstates are always I-XXX, so that's clear. State roads using a state letter and then number (such as M-XXX in Michigan) are fairly clear as long as the letter matches the state name. That's fairly common across the country. But just B-15 isn't necessarily clear except if you know the area.

CR-B15, CR-15, County Hwy 15, County Hwy B-15... these are all clear when read because they all start with County Road or County Highway in the verbal directions. I do agree that shorter names are nice when displayed and can be nice when read as well. But most county roads in Michigan are going to be alternate names, so won't be displayed. And there really aren't that many county roads in the state, so you are going to have only a small number that are going to be on a sign for an off-ramp and need to be read by Waze. So for the most part, these are more for the editor than for the driver in Michigan. And when editing, it really doesn't matter what it is so long as it makes sense. Of course, I guess that also means that having it be something like B-15 isn't a big deal because in most cases it won't be seen or heard from the client. I don't know... I'll go with whatever everyone decides.
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Re: County Road Naming

Postby sketch » Wed Jul 17, 2013 7:00 pm

What do the signs look like?

State highways and all lesser numbered roads are considered on a state-by-state basis, according to regional usage. That's why we specifically do not have a "standard" for this -- each state has its own system, and therefore its own nomenclature. (While there may also be regional nomenclatures for US Routes and Interstate highways, these are nationwide systems, and therefore have nationwide standards.) Maybe it's easier to look at per-system rather than per-state. Either way, as long as each state's standard matches local usage and looks something like "State Hwy xx", "SR-xx", "M-xx", or "LA-xx", it should be fine. (We shouldn't spell out what can be abbreviated -- TTS will read "SR" as "State Route" -- but we also cannot abbreviate what must be spelled out -- TTS does not expand "SH" to "State Highway".)

TTS expands "CR" to "County Road", so we should maybe consider using that for the sake of brevity. Perhaps someone looking at "CR" out of context wouldn't know what it means, but in context it should be relatively easy to understand, I would think -- especially once the user hears "County Road" spoken aloud.

Before making a decision, I would want to know (1) what the signs say and (2) what street/postal addresses on these roads look like before ditching the letter. "CR-B-15" looks weird, "CR-B15" should be okay.
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Re: County Road Naming

Postby Riamus » Wed Jul 17, 2013 7:36 pm

Rather than just typing how they look, here is a listing of about a third of the county road signs in the state. The others are also on that site if you wanted to look, but basically you have A2 through H63. The signs include the county and the letter/number designation, when there is a sign at all (county road signage in Michigan is generally very poor). The state is divided into regions, where each region gets a letter A-H. Then, a number is attached to refer to the individual road.

As far as postal addresses, I tried looking at locations around some of the county roads and the addresses are all based on the road name rather than the county road number. This seems to be true even for many addresses along state roads, such as addresses on M-119 being using the street name of Lake Shore Dr. In almost all, or perhaps all, cases in Michigan, the county road designation is an alternate name and not the main name of the street, so there may not be any addresses that use the county road number. I can't easily verify that, though.

As far as the - between letter and number, I think it's fine for that to go. The signs don't have it, but any names given for the roads anywhere other than the signs uses it. That may just be for readability rather than being official, though. In any case, B15 is just as good for directions, both visual and verbal as B-15 and is probably slightly faster in the TTS because of the extra pause for the dash.

And I wasn't meaning every state should drop their naming conventions, but just that I think it helps to avoid confusion if they were all to use something like CR- or County Hwy in front of any county roads. It wouldn't matter how they label the roads (letters, numbers, letters and numbers, etc.) because it would still look and sound okay. I wasn't really expecting that to happen. It was just an idle comment. :)

There is also potential for the name to be read wrong if the letter is at the beginning of the street name. I'm not sure if the dash prevents that or not as I haven't tested it. What does it do for state roads? For example, if it's labeled just "PA-1", is that read "P.A. 1" or "Pennsylvania 1" or "Pa 1"? If it tries to convert PA to Pennsylvania, there could be potential for A, B, C, D, E, F, G, or H to be converted into something by the TTS as well, which would mess up the verbal directions. I don't know if that could be a problem today or could potentially become a problem later or if it will never be a problem. I just thought I'd mention it just in case. I believe if the letter is in the middle, it's treated differently, but maybe I'm wrong about that.

One thing we may need to also consider when naming these... There are roads in Michigan called County Road XXX that aren't county highways with the special signs. They are just regular roads with that label unless I am mistaken. I think the difference between them is perhaps a matter of whether they are inter-county or inner-county. The inter-county ones have the special signs. It may not matter and we could potentially call all of the CR-, but I don't have any experience directly with any of the roads labeled as County Road XXX. I only have direct experience with the ones I mentioned that have the A-H region designations.
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Re: County Road Naming

Postby sketch » Wed Jul 17, 2013 7:46 pm

Based on the signs, I would recommend "CR-B15" as the format. There's no hyphen, and the sign says "County", and doesn't say "Highway". I think that's plenty clear enough.

TTS should say "County Road B Fifteen" for that.

Exits that share a milepost are designated with numbers, e.g., "Exit 235B". In my area, that's how they are displayed on the big green signs, and that's how they are on the Waze map as well: "Exit 235B: Canal St / Superdome". It is pronounced properly, as you might expect, "Exit Two Thirty-Five B, Canal Street, Superdome". I imagine it would work the same with the letter before the number, then.

Not sure about "PA-1", but I know that "LA-1" is prononuced as "L A One". As for the other letters, none of them stand for anything. Michigan smartly skips from D to F in their county road designations and stops before N, so we don't have to worry about any cardinal directions slipping into there.
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Re: County Road Naming

Postby Riamus » Wed Jul 17, 2013 7:54 pm

CR-B15 would be my opinion as well. I'll see if anyone else responds or at least until I hear back from the regional coordinator before using that format to avoid having to change it later if something else is decided.
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Re: County Road Naming

Postby robc007 » Wed Jul 17, 2013 9:22 pm

sketch wrote:Based on the signs, I would recommend "CR-B15" as the format.


Looks good to me.
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