Primary Street Discussion

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Re: Primary Street Discussion

Postby Riamus » Thu Aug 29, 2013 11:24 am

Can we get back to just the basics? Why do we have primary streets in the first place? What is their purpose? Is their purpose just to make roads visible or is that just a side effect? Is their purpose to help people navigate and/or find the best routes from point A to point B? Is their purpose to solve routing problems? If so, is that meant as a temporary solution until the routing gets better, or as a permanent classification even if it's no longer necessary for routing? Is there another main purpose for them? Ignore all roads under discussion here and just think about primary streets in general.

EDIT:
In addition to the basic questions above, take a look at this road. It is a far more direct (and faster) route if you were to drive this direction. With the longer route marked as primary, Waze is likely to route you the longer way instead of the shorter way. If no route is primary, Waze will route you the more direct route (assuming no traffic problems). This is part of the issue with "randomly" placing primary streets as you end up telling Waze to route a certain way that may not be the best route.

Note also that there are other problems in that area that could have been fixed instead of worrying about the street type, but which were just left.
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Re: Primary Street Discussion

Postby Riamus » Thu Aug 29, 2013 9:38 pm

And again, I'll state that marking roads just to make them display is incorrect from a GIS point of view. You don't just choose to mark a road differently just because you want it to be visible. If you want to change the display, you do NOT change the data. You never want to change data just to change display. I've pointed this out as well in regard to naming roads - if you want the road to be displayed in one state as State Hwy XX and in another state as Route XX, the data should be entered in a consistent format. You should never change data just to affect the display. You leave data as it is and change the display separately. The same is true here. If streets should be displayed, then the display settings need to be worked on. The roads shouldn't be changed for that. Only the display should. Yes, that is out of our direct control, but if there is desire for it, then that needs to be brought up directly to Waze with options for how to best handle it instead of changing data to suit your needs. It would be very easy for Waze to see how congested streets are at the current zoom level and to reduce them when it gets too congested. If you're in an uncongested area, they show up. If you're in a congested area, they do not. It's really a very easy algorithm to set up and does not require any change of the data itself. There are other options as well, depending on what people want to happen with the display.

We keep coming back to display. And if streets showed up on the display without being primary streets, I doubt we'd even be having this discussion. The reason they were changed was for display as stated initially by robc007. We've come back to that repeatedly. That isn't a good reason to change data. And keep in mind that if you make all roads primary, then you essentially remove all value for them other than for display. Right now, we have the ability to mark certain main routes that are really valuable routes through areas as primary so they stand out. That is valuable to a driver. If every road is primary (minus the ones mentioned above), then what value is there for the driver. At that point, there is no way to know what roads are better because they are all the same. You just removed all value of having two different street classifications. At that point, just make a single classification for street and be done with it because other than display purposes, you'll receive no value from having two classifications.
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Re: Primary Street Discussion

Postby Riamus » Fri Aug 30, 2013 11:55 am

So from the Palo Alto meetup, the consensus for primary streets is to use the NFC? Is that right? If so, the Wiki needs to be updated to state that the one and only source for whether or not it's a primary street is the NFC. That does make for a very cut and dry way of determining what's a primary street and what isn't because it removes all interpretation from the equation.

Unfortunately, that does create issues with highways. Based on the second example, which seems to be what is preferred, US-31 for its entire length in Emmet County would be dropped to a minor highway even though it's the only major route on the western side of the state to the Bridge, which is the only route to the UP within the state by road. That really doesn't make sense. And Levering Rd between Levering and Cheboygan, which is part of the Michigan County Highway system (note the word highway) would be dropped to a primary street by both of those examples, while the western side would be a minor highway. Can you explain the point in that? Even without considering that this is a labeled highway by the state, there is far less reason to take Levering Rd toward Cross Village than to take it toward Cheboygan. So why is it a higher classification toward Cross Village? Cross Village may have a decent population, but it does not have the larger grocery or shopping stores that Cheboygan has. Cheboygan is one of the main shopping destinations in northern Michigan (the others being Petoskey and Mackinaw City). Getting there is far more important than getting to Cross Village. Pleasantview Rd is also part of the county highway system and would be dropped to a primary street instead of a highway based on these.

I really don't put much faith in MDOT's maps anyhow. They can't even place their county highways on the right roads on some maps, even when the highway is well-signed.

I think that using the NFC as a resource has value, but without treating it as being the be all and end all. There are just far too many things that don't make any sense on it. In the end, local knowledge really should be used as a deciding factor over what makes sense in the area. Most of the DOT map makers are likely in southern Michigan and have little to no direct knowledge of what it's like to drive the streets of northern Michigan on a daily basis. They make assumptions based on whatever figures they have, but those assumptions are likely tainted by what is true in urban areas, but may not be true in rural areas.

As far as the roads that were responded to... As I mentioned, I'm fine with Robinson Rd being primary on the west side of US-31. And although traffic *significantly* drops off (my estimate based one what I've witnessed would be a drop of 90%) at Pleasantview Rd, I'd even be okay with it going all of the way to the shore. It really is the only road that will take you there from around the Pellston area without having to change roads multiple times. There is value in that. Van Rd still really isn't a main road regardless of the maps. It has steep hills that are avoided in the winter and even in the summer, those just kill gas mileage, so people tend to avoid it then as well. Further down the road, it stops being a straight road and you have multiple sharp corners compared to other routes that are mostly straight or have corners that aren't as sharp so you can maintain speed. In short, it isn't well-traveled unless you're living on or off the road itself (or going to someone who lives there). As a through road, it's not used anywhere near as often as Robinson or Levering roads.

Your route from Edgar to Trick seems direct to me. I only did it in the Live map, but it is definitely how I'd go. Robinson to State to Trick. Maybe the client routes differently as we've been told many times. But once I am allowed access to the shoreline, State will be changed to a minor highway as it's a county highway, so the routing will be even more likely to route there.

And my last comment for now is in regard to Mundt. Yes, it is a dirt road and based on a user's settings, may be skipped altogether. The point I was making was that IF a user did not have dirt roads skipped AND there wasn't a primary street marked, Waze could route them through Mundt as both faster and shorter. As a driver, if I want the fastest (or shortest) route, then that is what I want. If I say I am willing to drive on a dirt road and that road is faster, then that is the route I want to be given. As a driver, I don't care about classification so much as getting to my destination using the fastest (or shortest) route available. For Waze to assume that I want to drive a certain direction that is longer just because the road is a certain classification is a bad decision as far as I'm concerned. That may be what Waze wants to do, but I don't agree with it. Keep in mind that this is simply a quick example that I could quickly find. It is obviously a very minimal difference in time or distance and the time it takes to make the turn onto Mundt may actually make it take longer than going the longer route. The point wasn't really that this particular road was important. It was to show that marking something as a primary street can adversely affect routing as it can make it so Waze will not route the way that makes the most sense. Especially if you leave it to the NFC to determine what classifications to use.

You stated that Waze feels that road classification should play no role in routing. Obviously that isn't the case. It also perhaps isn't the best option in all cases either. I think Streets, Primary Streets, and Minor Highways should never have any effect on routing. If you are ON a Major Highway or Freeway, then it should prefer to keep you on there unless there is a good reason to route you off. We don't really want to start routing people on and off Major Highways or Freeways just to save a few seconds or even a minute. Not only will that annoy drivers, but it can be dangerous. If you are not on a Major Highway or Freeway, those should not be preferred in any way over other road types so that the routing engine doesn't force you onto them when there are better routes available.
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Re: Primary Street Discussion

Postby Riamus » Fri Aug 30, 2013 2:00 pm

No, I'm not confusing them. The classification in Waze is Highway (major or minor) and not major or minor arterial (or major or minor collector). If Waze has a designation of highway, then all highways should be marked as highways. The examples provided that I responded to would both drop the eastern side of Levering to a primary street while leaving the western side as a minor highway. It is a highway per the state/county for the entire length from Cross Village to Cheboygan. In addition, I just got done explaining why the eastern side is a more important road than the western side. According to the DOT, the western side is more important (arterial vs collector). And that is what doesn't make sense. That isn't even anything relating to Waze itself. Looking only at the NFC and ignoring Waze altogether as well as ignoring that the road is classified by the state/county as a county highway, the NFC says that the western side is a higher classification than the eastern. There is no good reason for that. If anything, it should be reversed if you don't want the same classification for both sides of US-31. The route to Cheboygan is a far more important route than the route to Cross Village.

the1who: Okay, it sounds like it's just preliminary then. Out of curiosity, do you think there is a good demographic of people who take part in these meetups? In other words, are most people from urban areas, or are there a decent number of people in rural areas of the US who can put forth issues with using the NFC such as those I've mentioned? I'm concerned about these issues not being brought up at a meetup that I have a feeling is more likely to include people from urban areas than from rural areas and there are differences obviously between what is good in an urban area and what is good in a rural area. The current format for primary streets in the Wiki seems to indicate that this is the case as it seems to just toss in a side comment about county roads as if the main purpose was to explain an urban classification and someone just thought to toss in a minor option for rural areas at the last minute. Maybe that's just how it sounds and isn't the case, but I know that such meetups or conferences do usually end up being mostly urban-focused.
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Re: Primary Street Discussion

Postby Riamus » Fri Aug 30, 2013 11:24 pm

I think that's a good start and perhaps a good end, though without seeing a sample and considering how it would affect roads and highways, I'm not certain right now. I'm wondering if it may be valuable to include in there something saying that all labeled highways are minor highways as a minimum. That would take care of any question about highways similar to the county highway system in Michigan, where the roads really aren't much different (if any) from normal streets as far as how it's looks.

I would suggest having a discussion of proposed changes in the main Wiki forum before making those changes, though. Since it affects more than just Michigan, I think we need more comment on it.
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Re: Primary Street Discussion

Postby Riamus » Tue Sep 03, 2013 11:56 pm

sketch wrote:
Riamus wrote:I think that's a good start and perhaps a good end, though without seeing a sample and considering how it would affect roads and highways, I'm not certain right now. I'm wondering if it may be valuable to include in there something saying that all labeled highways are minor highways as a minimum. That would take care of any question about highways similar to the county highway system in Michigan, where the roads really aren't much different (if any) from normal streets as far as how it's looks.

I already included that provision for state highways, but sure, including county highways would make sense too—at least in Michigan. I don't know that all county roads or county routes should be included, though, and other states may not make the distinction. Perhaps this is best decided per-state.


Absolutely. I don't include Michigan's county roads in this either. Only the county highway system. You are right that such may be best on a per-state basis. We could specify county highways and clearly state that this does not include county roads or routes that are not signed or something like that. Anyhow, I'll take a look at what you came up with once I get through all my watched threads. I wasn't around for the long weekend, so I'm way behind.

Edit: I looked for a topic in the Wiki forum, but didn't see one. Am I missing it in a different forum, or did you not have a chance yet to set it up, sketch? Not trying to rush you. I just want to make sure that I am not missing it somewhere.
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Re: Primary Street Discussion

Postby Riamus » Thu Sep 05, 2013 10:22 am

See my reply in that thread. Any help you can provide to fix up the roads and possibly add in the county highways would be greatly appreciated. Be sure to read through the editing Wiki pages so you know how to do the editing correctly and don't be afraid to ask for clarification on how to do something before attempting it. Some mistakes aren't easily fixed. :)
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Re: Primary Street Discussion

Postby Riamus » Mon Sep 23, 2013 5:48 pm

Just a reminder regarding a Wiki discussion.

Also, have we decided what to do regarding minor collectors? These truly are very minor roads and giving them equal footing with more important roads seems wrong to me. They may have a slightly more important value than regular streets, but not really that much more. If we mark them as primary, it leaves them appearing to be as important as major collectors and potentially even some arterials that don't fit well as highways (at least until we make all arterials minor highways by default). Because Waze does not have as many classifications, I think that minor collectors should be Street by default and only be raised to a higher level if there is a good reason. Major collectors can be Primary by default. And arterials as Minor Highway by default. They can all of course be raised on a case-by-case basis. Does that sound right to everyone? I think it makes sense to have the baseline for minor collectors as Street and only raise it when the individual street has enough value for it to be raised. It would be different if we had more classifications in Waze to work with. Thoughts?

Just to give some examples... look on the NFC map at the two minor collectors between Pickerel and Mitchell roads east of Petoskey, south of Crooked Lake and Pickerel Lake. What makes either of those two roads more important or valuable than the road right between them on that map? That road is a paved road just like those and unlike the minor collector on the right, it doesn't make two 90 degree corners. I'm sure MDOT has a reason, but from our point of view using Waze, do we want Waze to consider those roads to be more important? If I was driving there and wanted to move between those roads, I'd certainly prefer one of the two straight roads instead of having to make two 90 degree turns.
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Re: Primary Street Discussion

Postby Riamus » Tue Sep 24, 2013 11:24 am

I do understand there are reasons for the classifications on the state's end. My question is whether or not we label every single minor collector as a primary street when in many cases, it really isn't necessary.
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Re: Primary Street Discussion

Postby robc007 » Mon Aug 26, 2013 8:41 pm

The bottom line is that the map was not usable when I went up there this summer. At-speed zoom level only showed me I-75 and a state highway (if any). By zooming into the street level, I couldn't see enough of the map to navigate effectively.

Adding the county highways helped slightly.

Still, there were no primary streets in the area, so I've been adding primary streets from the MDOT map.

I don't agree with the resistance to using primary streets. We (the local Wazers) are making use of them in the I-94 corridor to great benefit.
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