Primary Street Discussion

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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 the1who » Fri Aug 30, 2013 7:28 am

Hello! Just some background, I normally don't jump into these as I do like to have an organic approach and see how the local community handles it. I can't be everywhere, but I do skim these state forums when I can, and didn't know this was one was active as it has turned out. Going through every post, I value the dialogue here. A lot of time and effort has been used here to get us all on the same page and making same editing practices from one city to county, to county to state and state to state in this region. I appreciate that.

I’ll try to use the examples that were used and give a thought based on what I have found through the public resources and what was said during the 2013 meetup in Palo Alto. In combination of these resources, I think we can get a better map product.

Some background on Waze is that it started out as a commuting app first and foremost. With the direction that crowdsourcing has provided, the organic and dynamic situation we are in, has led it to be what it is evolving to today, a navigation app. With that being said, it still lacks the completeness you would expect in the sense we have a lot of rural areas to touch up on. Many I imagine are from those who aren't into technological advancements or the worry of what happens to the price of tea in Detroit from Pellston. I experience that everyday where I live literally on the border of Urban KC and the rural country. Hence why in part I don't go poking my nose into every topic that comes into a state forum, however if some clarification is needed, I'll do my best to fill the gaps or try to get the best answer.

My first example I can produce is the Robinson Rd between US-31 and Pleasantview Rd. I have brought up two external resources, Emmet County GIS and MDOT Main NFC map products. First Emmet GIS doesn't make a distinction at all between road type much. Highway or Major Collector seem to be the same to them but they do make difference between local roads, which Robinson and Mill seem to have same level according to them. It gives us some reference, it shows that they do consider it a primary road type to connect between US-31 and Pleasantview at that spot. Now to MDOT NFC, they consider it a Major Collector today and will continue in their future NFC according to their legend. Both give distinct road class of it being more important to go from US-31 to the lake shore. If it isn't a highway perse, then I'd say it would at least classify at a primary street type.

Using that area still, Van Rd was next. One map, the GIS for the county, considers it a local road, but MDOT NFC considers it a major collector. Brutus Rd / Stutsmanville Rd, from US-31 to the shore, is considered a minor Collector according to MDOT. GIS again considers a local road. So we get two conflicts here for sure. I'd say best practices, local knowledge, and judgement are what will prevail for these scenarios.

MDOT NFC
MDOT Emmet Count NFC PDF
Emmet County GIS

Now, I'll take your routing example head on in what appears to fail for me. I place origin in livemap in Pellston, I place destination near West bank of Larks Lake, get two decent routes, one from the North along Levering, and one along the South on Robinson. Now, here is where the routing fails to provide the more direct, efficient route. Using same origin on Edgar in Pellston, destination is now near the shoreline on Trick Rd, funny how that road is there where I randomly clicked, literally. Anyways, the routing doesn't take the most direct route, it wants to go along Robinson up Pleasantview, then across Levering or up US-31 and then across Levering. Why? I assume because the road types at this point. That is why we could and should use primary streets for these roads that connect rural cities. For a local, we may know the best route, even Waze might learn our frequent route, but the passer by might be the one who ends up suffering because they were taken x amount of miles around, wasting gas and time. Rural, maybe not so much of a big deal, or a big deal anywhere. But we do have that bit of confidence that users must build to gain their trust in using Waze as a normal navigation app and not just a novelty. Based on my research above, I believe that Robinson should be a primary street from the shore to US-31 at least. Van may be disputed yet. Does GIS have a more up to date classification of their maps or does the NFC version provide the more current representation of traffic data? I don't know that much about the local map resources currently so I can't answer that. The v12 Nov 2012 on the NFC helps with a date though.

To answer some other things brought up, Waze in theory, should route based on how a user programs their device (shortest/fastest, avoid dirt/avoid long dirt, avoid tolls/highways etc) to the most direct path. In short distances, this works because as it was originally designed, it was the commuter design. It was at the meetup that they said road types in the end should not make a difference in how a route is generated and provided, no matter what. However, through practice and theory we have discovered that isn't the case, and have been doing so called, hacks, to circumvent this dilemma. Case above with Robinson for example. Another case was presented in front of the heads of Waze, Ehud, Noam, Ohad and Shirli. It was routing in rural California and how a route was used, when stopped for gas, that route became broken in the middle as it was trying to find a route from that new starting point. The roads were classified and placed in their proper types, but the routing bug wanted to route inconveniently out of the way. Now this isn't this case in direct terms, but part of placing road types is to get routing to cooperate. There are other factors, but parameters such as speed meta data and length, junctions, etc are taken into account with the routing. While in theory, road types should not matter, in some ways they do. Most of the issues that are affected are the long distance routing as we transition to this navigation app phase of development. Now granted, I am not up there driving these routes, so I don't have a clue if that is the case or I am just talking to talk at the moment. I do have a scenario where construction is going on here nearby, a direct route did exist around the construction, but it wanted to route me backwards to go on the freeway and around. It was once I past a certain point it continued to then give me the better route. I call that a bug because the map even updated the next day after I made the changes the night before.

I am not sure of all the parameters for the auto-zoom feature when driving. Living near the urban core enough to drive through it, I don't see much clutter, even when slowing down and the grid becomes more apparent. But even then I don't think that it is overwhelming. You can certainly see blocks of areas where the subdivisions are, where the primary streets connecting to the freeways, it provides a good sense of orientation. Even at slow enough speeds, only certain roads are showing names, even when stopped. Older client versions showed every street name, that was definitely a cluttered mess. I believe a map is useful when people can relate to what they know of an area and when it matches. If I am coming up in my opinion as visitor, driving N or S on 31, I come to Robinson and I see that Mill is the only primary road, I might dismiss that path across to the shore and go by it. But if it is vetted by an editor to say this path serves a better source than a dirt road, at least they'd have the visual reference.

The one example of Mundt Rd I am not sure if that can be used as an example of direct path. The street it is on is a dirt road by aerial images. Based on the road configurations, you wouldn't want to label Mundt primary for sure to navigate through that, it comes to me as a more local road type that should only be routed to if you have an address lookup there or the like. Having the primary street like that around the curve is proper in this case. And this is where the road types theory doesn't matter, doesn't hold up because clearly it is the shorter, more direct path, to just cut across, but it would appear then that Burt takes priority in the routing. Speed data on Burt is ranging from 35-45 compared to some segments on Mundt with 25-30. But then we visibly give the cues to users so they can also see the best path. Burt according to the NFC is a major collector. Many people it looks like, would rely on that to get in and out of the rural area to head to town. The GIS doesn't go beyond considering it local road. It isn't like a subdivision road that goes off a primary street into treed streets, this is a road that everyone uses. I could see the justification in the NFC and I also see why GIS refers to it another. In the end, I can't give guidance on that one except I am open to further discussions about it because it is still vague.

I've been all over the place with this post, I'm trying to be concise in explaining this. One other area I'll try to finish this up on is what was showed to me, that I didn't know was in development but a great deal of work by Andypoms and Jasonh300 in translating and putting into practice, the DOT Functional Classification (National Functional Classification according to MDOT) for CT and LA. Essentially three experiments if you will were done to translate the NFC to Waze's road types. Of the three, two worked best, and of those two, each had their pros and cons as they related to the road types and navigation nuances. Here are the two versions:

Principal Arterial - Interstate = Freeway
Principal Arterial - Freeway = Freeway
Principal Arterial - Other = Major Highway
Minor Arterial - Minor Highway
Major Collector = Primary Street
Minor Collector = Primary Street
Local = Street

Principal Arterial - Interstate = Freeway
Principal Arterial - Freeway = Major Highway
Principal Arterial - Other = Minor Highway
Minor Arterial = Minor Highway
Major Collector = Primary Street
Minor Collector = Primary Street
Local = Street

The last version according to their results is it matches the DOT guidelines more closely. While the other example I gave before had some issues with illogical road type changes, significant disconnect between major highways, and doesn't closely match DOT guidelines. For the most part, this all relies strictly best interpretation and judgement. While the major highway segment going through the small town probably should be minor highway based on some Wiki References, it stays major highway much like US-31 through Pellston.

Well, I hope I was of help and benefit. I might have more of an urban take on it, but hope I didn't let that interfere with my rural/suburban roots. I don't think that it is necessary we road type based upon looks as more as it is based upon functionality, where the UI reaps the benefits in the end, and overall I think having both in these cases is an added plus, especially if our main goal is the aforementioned of a better experience. I hope I wasn't way off base on this, let me know and I hope we can steer this ship right. Let me know if there is anything I might not have addressed, thanks!
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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 the1who » Fri Aug 30, 2013 12:31 pm

From Palo Alto, it was an example as to what we could use to classify roads in Waze, there was no particular rule set as to this is what roads will be set as. It was brought before us as a potential solution which would be based upon a standard and not a vague, up in the air approach to road types. It could be a blend of the two rules there, whichever best applies to the area based on local knowledge. To which I'd agree it gives better determination for primary road usage.

Based on your experience and examples, I can agree with the van and Robinson discussion. In that case it seems the gis presented the better representation of local knowledge.

I agree on routing that it should route you the least amount of changes. I also agree that the highway doesn't fit the cookie cutter and some modification or blend of the guide would exist to better represent the real world. It, like aerials and street view would be used as a guide for best editing practice, there could be a flaw in one or more of course, like aerials don't match GPS tracks and such.

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Re: Primary Street Discussion

Postby robc007 » Fri Aug 30, 2013 12:55 pm

Riamus wrote: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?


You're confusing two different things here. Highway is not a functional classification. Just because the road is a highway doesn't mean it's an artery or vice versa.
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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 sketch » Fri Aug 30, 2013 9:12 pm

the1who wrote:I've been all over the place with this post, I'm trying to be concise in explaining this. One other area I'll try to finish this up on is what was showed to me, that I didn't know was in development but a great deal of work by Andypoms and Jasonh300 in translating and putting into practice, the DOT Functional Classification (National Functional Classification according to MDOT) for CT and LA. Essentially three experiments if you will were done to translate the NFC to Waze's road types. Of the three, two worked best, and of those two, each had their pros and cons as they related to the road types and navigation nuances. Here are the two versions:

Principal Arterial - Interstate = Freeway
Principal Arterial - Freeway = Freeway
Principal Arterial - Other = Major Highway
Minor Arterial - Minor Highway
Major Collector = Primary Street
Minor Collector = Primary Street
Local = Street

Principal Arterial - Interstate = Freeway
Principal Arterial - Freeway = Major Highway
Principal Arterial - Other = Minor Highway
Minor Arterial = Minor Highway
Major Collector = Primary Street
Minor Collector = Primary Street
Local = Street

The last version according to their results is it matches the DOT guidelines more closely. While the other example I gave before had some issues with illogical road type changes, significant disconnect between major highways, and doesn't closely match DOT guidelines. For the most part, this all relies strictly best interpretation and judgement. While the major highway segment going through the small town probably should be minor highway based on some Wiki References, it stays major highway much like US-31 through Pellston.

Well, Freeways are Freeways no matter what, that is something I don't think should be changed at all. We've been trying basically forever to get "avoid highways" changed to "avoid freeways" in the client because that's the only useful way that feature is gonna work. "I wanna take scenic US-61 instead of I-55"; "I don't like freeways, give me the best way to work on the surface streets"; etc. Doesn't matter if it's an interstate or another type of highway, it's still a freeway.

--

Of course, functional classification doesn't have to be the only way we decide road types. The way we deal with highways that are functionally only connectors or local roads in Louisiana is by setting "minimums" for them -- all state highways* are at least minor highway; all US highways are at least major highway. That way we keep the integrity of our highway systems on the map, and we can upgrade state highways that serve as principal arterials to Major Highway, and either one to Freeway when they are fully limited-access.

* Well, almost all—Louisiana's state highway system is completely ridiculous, with signed routes like LA 611-3 only six short blocks long. It was a lot worse, too, before a lot of the routes were deleted in 2010 -- this was LA 611-6!

Riamus wrote: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.


Similarly, I think it's best if we consider functional classifications as minimums as well. If something's an "other arterial", make it a Minor Highway whether or not it's a state highway, county road, or whatever; if something's a state highway, make it a Minor Highway whether it's an arterial or a connector. If something merits a route's upgrade, do so. That way you satisfy both needs in your above example, you keep your state highway system intact, and you keep all the arterials intact.
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Re: Primary Street Discussion

Postby the1who » Fri Aug 30, 2013 10:02 pm

sketch wrote:Well, Freeways are Freeways no matter what, that is something I don't think should be changed at all. We've been trying basically forever to get "avoid highways" changed to "avoid freeways" in the client because that's the only useful way that feature is gonna work. "I wanna take scenic US-61 instead of I-55"; "I don't like freeways, give me the best way to work on the surface streets"; etc. Doesn't matter if it's an interstate or another type of highway, it's still a freeway.


I totally agree, the above is just the example from their efforts in LA and CT. There was a slideshow that had these efforts to equate the road types to the FC's. I just copy/paste that chart. That is why I am advocating as just a guide and not the rule. As they expressed, it caused the breaking of the road types in the freeway/highway system, therefore it was already shown to be that it isn't the endall. It would mean most likely that a major highway going through a city gets downgraded for the brief mile if we were to follow that to a T. That breaks the road designations of what we intend to provide on the map, which is to a degree, continuity.

But I totally agree that the Wiki needs upgraded to reflect that the road types are not to be set in stone, each area has their own special needs to divert from that. Those who look toward the Wiki as the rule book and the only source, not examining the GIS or DOT maps, one could get these confused and create a situation of conflict. The definitions do remain vague and I agree that maybe one take of the definition only suited towards how someone in the office chair made the FC of a road without actually having been there. I believe that the best approach is to blend the resources to see if any match or don't. If they match the case, we move on, if not we could then say what source provides the most accurate representation of this road segment in particular, even so still evaluate and see if it matches real world scenario.
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Re: Primary Street Discussion

Postby sketch » Fri Aug 30, 2013 10:32 pm

At this point I would advocate a rewrite of the wiki based on a functional classification plus highway system standard.

Not straight up "use FHWA's functional classifications and highway designations to determine road type", but changing the language of each type to match the description of the functional classes.

Like, under Major Highway, adapt the definition of a "principal arterial", add language saying that partially-limited-access expressways are Major Highway, mention that the equivalent FHWA class is "principal arterial", and then mention "all US highways are at minimum Major Highway". Under Minor Highway, adapt the definition of an "other arterial", mention that the equivalent class is "other arterial", and then mention "most state highways are at minimum Minor Highway—check [exceptions page] for details", with a link to a page on per-state exceptions for those states with ridiculous highway systems. And so on.

Freeways would stay the same—all Interstate Highways and any other highway that is fully limited-access.

At the top of the page, mention that these are simply minimums, and that local knowledge and the reality of the roads may warrant a higher class. Repeat this in every category (except Freeways, since that is by nature a maximum).

What do you think?
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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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