Road classification update

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Re: Road classification update

Postby davielde » Mon Nov 18, 2013 8:31 pm

In many cases, regardless of what I personally believe a road "should" be classified as, I'm willing to accept the NFC standard as applied by MDOT simply for the sake of having a standard. Even having something listed in the Wiki still leaves open a lot to subjectivity and local interpretation. With the NFC, however, it's hard to argue with how MDOT and the various county road commissions have agreed to classify roads. Red is red and yellow is yellow. There's no relativity allowed.

As sketch points out, traffic counts play a big role in the road classification, but there are also a number of other factors. Counts can show how a road is currently used whether it is two lanes or eight lanes, divided or undivided. Commute patterns have evolved over the past few decades from primarily flowing from the suburbs into downtown Detroit to flowing from suburb to suburb. This creates a huge criss-cross of actual traffic volume that the existing road structure was initially not designed for.

In other cases, MDOT would consider something a principal arterial not only because of current flows but attempting to gauge (and even direct) future flows. Maintainability is another concern. Where there may be 20,000 cars per day on a 30mph two lane stretch, it may be worth it to keep it a smaller road in order to cut down on maintenance costs of a four lane or larger road, for example.

I want to quickly look at the Maple Rd example, and another for Pontiac Trail. One little segment of Maple just east of Drake Rd had a vehicle count of 26,033 on 9/17/2012 with an Annual Average Daily Traffic (AADT) count calculated at 25,360 for 2012. That's quite a flow for a two lane stretch in a residential area.
https://www.waze.com/editor/?zoom=6&lat ... 91&env=usa
Pontiac Trail drops down to 30mph right at Walled Lake coming from the Novi area, and it has a nice, small town feel at that point. That doesn't mean that it's not the best local artery, and it didn't stop 17,398 vehicles from taking that route on 6/13/2013 with an AADT of 14,740. Btw, that's down from an AADT of 19,802 in 1998...
https://www.waze.com/editor/?zoom=5&lat ... 74&env=usa
By comparison, SB Telegraph had an AADT of 27,080 and NB Telegraph has 37,570 at the intersection with Maple. Woodward had an AADT of 28,490. Does that make Maple Rd pink on the NFC map? All this does is throw some data at a debate where, for better or for worse, someone(s) at MDOT decided to apply NFC and considered them all principal arteries. Through all of the smoke and mirrors, Maple Rd was deemed the primary route from Walled Lake to Birmingham. He probably should have consulted the Waze forums first before making these judgments :)
Here is the link to Oakland's traffic counts, which is fascinating: http://oakland.ms2soft.com/tcds/tsearch ... kland&mod=

I don't want to get into too many specific examples, but to anyone who provides examples saying [x] road should be [y] road type, or [x] would never be a minor highway because of [z] conditions; we could argue forever. In most cases, I would probably agree with the person. As Riamus points out though, we need to think in terms of what the road is used for rather than how it may look on certain or even on all stretches. It takes humility in many cases to stay above the fray and ignore what "my" classification is and realize that at the heart of it all, we're adopting a system that was designed for better routing. This is not to get one person from point A to B the way that I think best to do it, but to get tens of thousands of people from A,B,C, and D to any combination of X,Y, and Z. In that case, let's leave it to the pros that actually study traffic for a living and adopted and applied the NFC classification. Drive the routes in question with navigation on. NFC works well with how Waze routes and is much better at finding alternative routes.

One quick point as well about speed limits. Speed limit does not dictate road type, and the potential inclusion of speed limit into Waze is a very contentious point. That is a separate discussion. In most cases, road conditions, number of access points, etc. dictate a safe speed limit. The speed limit doesn't not necessarily dictate whether or not I should choose the road. Just to consider, Michigan Ave/US-12 may drop down to 30mph in stretches like Ypsilanti or 40mph through Wayne, but would we change it to Primary Street for those segments only to pick up again as a Major Highway once it climbs back to 50 or 55mph? How it looks doesn't change what it is. It's still the "artery" it always is even in the slower segments with fewer lanes and more stoplights. For a separate, unrelated discussion on speed limits, for anyone who hasn't seen the following thread, it is worth reading:
https://www.waze.com/forum/viewtopic.ph ... peed+limit

At the end of the day, I would rather defer to the authority on traffic in the area--even if I don't agree with how every segment is classified. In my opinion, it beats having a patchwork map that routes differently every few weeks based on the most recent editor's interpretation of the Wiki.
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Re: Road classification update

Postby davielde » Tue Nov 12, 2013 7:58 pm

Riamus wrote:As far as the county roads that are not part of the County Highway System, most that I've seen are currently in the format of Co Rd XXX or Co Hwy XXX. I don't think we've decided on how to format those. Maybe we'll end up marking them as CR-XXX, but I'm not sure. For now, I'm just leaving those as they are. If anyone wants to discuss how to label those, feel free.


It may be worth moving this discussion into a new topic.

Unfortunately, there is no standardization across Michigan counties. In one county, you may see Co Rd XXX on a sign, and in another you'll see CR XXX, etc. In many counties, they may be designated a number by the road commission, but it is never posted on a sign, so locals would only ever know the colloquial name. As far as possible, it would be best to have spoken navigation instructions match what someone sees on their local street signs. In these counties, having the CR / Co Rd designation as an alternate name would be fairly low priority.

This may seem like a large undertaking at first glance, but I can do some research and find out how many counties actually still designate their roads with a number and whether those designations are typically posted as the primary name of the road. My guess is it will be fewer than we may think, and with a few notable exceptions in the southern lower peninsula, it will be mostly an "up north" problem :D .
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Re: Road classification update

Postby davielde » Mon Nov 11, 2013 8:14 pm

Riamus wrote:While all of you are doing the NFC classifications, can you also see if there are any roads in the County Highway System and do those as well? For details on those, do a Google search for Michigan County Highway System and you'll find some good resources. Any of these should be minor highway as a minimum and have an alt name formatted like CR-F21.


Just to be very clear, these would only be county highways with the letter prefix from A to H followed by a number. They have blue shields with the designation. In the southern lower peninsula (regions A and D) there are only six left. It should not be confused with the numbered county local route system that certain counties have in place. If anyone is editing Allegan county, for example, which classifies seemingly every road as a CR, certain CRs may not even receive designation as a primary street.

Here's an example from Riamus' edits near Rogers City where the intercounty highway CR-F21 shares a designation with local county road 451:
https://www.waze.com/editor/?zoom=3&lat ... 26&env=usa
Last edited by davielde on Tue Nov 12, 2013 1:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Road classification update

Postby davielde » Sun Nov 10, 2013 4:04 am

I PMed captnkeegs, one of the AMs for Grand Rapids, and he has started upgrading the area around GR. Any takers for Flint and Midland-Bay City-Saginaw? That would take care of all of the major metro areas.

I still have some work left in the Plymouth/Canton/Westland area, but there is a large gap where I cannot edit close to downtown Detroit. South of McNichols, north of Warren Ave, east of Southfield Freeway.
https://www.waze.com/editor/?zoom=1&lat ... TT&env=usa

If Binkowski, Sketch, or anyone else could finish up where they're currently working and then cover that gap and eventually the Downriver area, that should complete metro Detroit.
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Re: Road classification update

Postby davielde » Fri Nov 08, 2013 4:28 pm

I would imagine that Riamus has encountered this in northern Michigan, but the NFC has some dirt roads that the NFC classifies as major collectors, and there was even one minor arterial that I found. In these cases, I've held back from upgrading the road because of the navigation option to avoid long dirt roads or avoid them altogether. Particularly with winter and bad conditions approaching, I'm also thinking that users unfamiliar with the route would not appreciate sliding along an icy dirt road if their navigation setting prohibits dirt roads. Any experience here or problems with having a known dirt road trump the NFC classification?

In this example between Ann Arbor and Plymouth, MDOT classifies the highlighted segments of Cherry Hill and Gotfredson as NFC major collectors:
https://www.waze.com/editor/?zoom=3&lat ... 40&env=usa

In this example, just east of Willow Run airport, the NFC classification is minor arterial for the entire stretch of Beck Rd from Michigan Ave down to the I-94 service drive. In reality, only one small section is actually paved, and people use Belleville Rd as the main artery:
https://www.waze.com/editor/?zoom=3&lat ... 8,23650297
Last edited by davielde on Fri Nov 08, 2013 6:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Road classification update

Postby davielde » Thu Nov 07, 2013 5:23 am

Jackson, Albion, and Marshall have all been upgraded now as well.
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Re: Road classification update

Postby davielde » Wed Nov 06, 2013 4:58 pm

At this point, most of Washtenaw county apart from the Saline area has been upgraded to match NFC. A lot of work west of Telegraph Rd in Wayne and southern Oakland counties has also been done, mostly between the I-94 and I-696 corridors.
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Re: Road classification update

Postby davielde » Wed Nov 06, 2013 3:44 pm

Thanks Riamus. I have made the request for unlocking the one primary street segment in the unlock and update forum. There are a few other areas where I have requested unlocks as well.
Truthfully, I've never touched a ramp because most of them in my area are locked with rank 5. I'll start paying more attention in the future, but it may require an area manager to sweep through since so many are locked at 5.
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Re: Road classification update

Postby davielde » Wed Nov 06, 2013 2:24 pm

Here's the permalink for the ramp onto I-94 from S Hamilton:
https://www.waze.com/editor/?lon=-83.61 ... TT&env=usa
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Re: Road classification update

Postby davielde » Wed Nov 06, 2013 1:05 am

From what I experienced in the Ann Arbor area after upgrading to match NFC classifications, the ability to find alternate routes has improved. The only routing oddity that has come about so far was being told to "exit" off a principal arterial that has now been reclassified as a major highway. Since the arterial is not a limited access highway, it may be misleading for users who are expecting to "turn" instead of exit. In this case, I was "exiting" onto I-94.
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