Does Waze consider smaller roads into it's routing?

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Does Waze consider smaller roads into it's routing?

Postby kotatsu » Mon Jul 16, 2012 5:19 pm

My daily commute is a long one and in a densely populated area of the country. As such I have many possible routes to take, including a toll motorway (M6 Toll), a few non-toll motorways, and lots of smaller roads. Waze really, REALLY loves the M6 Toll, but even when it does offer me non-toll routes they're always on the other major motorways, even if they're horribly congested.

Because of this, I have to use other GPS apps on my iPhone when traffic is bad, as they consider smaller roads and can save me a lot of time. As an example, last Friday evening the traffic was spectacularly bad, as it often is, and yet Waze only offered me the same three motorway routes as usual. (two using the M6 toll). Each would have taken around three hours to complete had I been foolish enough to attempt them. By contrast, Co-Pilot routed me through villages and on A roads and got me home in 1 hour 45 minutes. It was a complex route but hugely quicker, and completely avoided the traffic apocalypse on the major roads.

So please, if Waze can be made to consider all roads, then make it so, as right now it just isn't much use when the traffic is bad...
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Re: Does Waze consider smaller roads into it's routing?

Postby RallyChris » Mon Jul 16, 2012 5:31 pm

The routing code is a "secret formula". Which makes sense, since this not an open source project, but a business.

What we have been told about the behind the scenes working, is that waze will put a higher preference on higher and higher types of roads based on the distance of the route. (IE: as you go up in distance, the more and more it will prefer to use freeways only)

Waze makes it sound like they will not even consider some types of roads based on the distance, but real world examples make this seem to be incorrect.

More like (and my opinion) is that the longer the route, the higher the penalties waze puts on using a lower type of road, and maybe the more likely waze stop trying to make an alternative work.

Also putting a different spin on it, is if the traffic was discovered after the initial route was created. I've seen little data from waze on how this is handled. When does it start looking for alternatives? Does it just try to find how to get around the traffic or does it just recalc from where the traffic starts?
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Re: Does Waze consider smaller roads into it's routing?

Postby Antmannz » Mon Jul 16, 2012 10:40 pm

I have a feeling junction points also create quite a penalty when calculating routes.

I've seen where a misplaced additional junction point on a primary road caused Waze to route around back streets to avoid it (reducing the total number of junction points traversed).

In theory toll roads, freeways and motorways should have less junction points than standard streets (especially over a distance), thereby giving them quite a precedence when being chosen.
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Re: Does Waze consider smaller roads into it's routing?

Postby RallyChris » Mon Jul 16, 2012 10:49 pm

Antmannz wrote:I have a feeling junction points also create quite a penalty when calculating routes.

I've seen where a misplaced additional junction point on a primary road caused Waze to route around back streets to avoid it (reducing the total number of junction points traversed).

In theory toll roads, freeways and motorways should have less junction points than standard streets (especially over a distance), thereby giving them quite a precedence when being chosen.


When they first started waze, we were told that a junction adds a 5 second penalty.

The last we saw, was that junction where there were no options don't have a penalty.

Again, this is black box and what they leak. And sometimes I think they misspeak themselves. So take the above with a grain of salt.
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Re: Does Waze consider smaller roads into it's routing?

Postby floppyrod84 » Tue Jul 17, 2012 2:19 am

Waze does love the M6 Toll and with good reason. It's at least 10-20% quicker than the M1 or M6, mainly because you have to pay for it.
If you can give us a rough start and end point, and the route you think Waze should take you, we can have a look and see if there are any map problems causing this.
FYI, you'd have got a quicker response from someone in the UK if you had posted in the UK subforum ;-)
Oh, waze does indeed use smaller roads, better than other SatNav apps I find, but the map must be correct, etc.

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Re: Does Waze consider smaller roads into it's routing?

Postby thefatveganchef » Tue Jul 17, 2012 2:48 am

I have a ~ 64km drive each way to work, and I have several options on getting there. I have found that with leaving Waze on and driving those options Waze has learned the routes and time of those routes (all the routes I take all take about the same ammount of time because of distance and I normally don't drive durring rush hour) however one of the suggested routes it gives me as an alternitave is 4 miles of street driving vs 4 miles of highway driving because it knows that durring that time durring the day it is faster to take the surface route over vs the highway drive. You may just have to use waze out of navigation mode a few times on the surface roads to make it realise that the surface roads are quicker than the highways. That is granted your route doesn't have any map issues as suggested above. Once it learns that this is a faster alternitave durring rush hour it might just start navigating you that way too.
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Re: Does Waze consider smaller roads into it's routing?

Postby kotatsu » Tue Jul 17, 2012 5:40 pm

xteejx wrote:Waze does love the M6 Toll and with good reason. It's at least 10-20% quicker than the M1 or M6, mainly because you have to pay for it.
If you can give us a rough start and end point, and the route you think Waze should take you, we can have a look and see if there are any map problems causing this.
FYI, you'd have got a quicker response from someone in the UK if you had posted in the UK subforum ;-)
Oh, waze does indeed use smaller roads, better than other SatNav apps I find, but the map must be correct, etc.

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Funnily enough it was traffic apocalypse on the M6 tonight, as seems to happen quite often now. Waze as usual wanted to get me onto the M6 Toll and then M6, despite there being a SIX HOUR delay. (yes, 6 hours) It offered no alternatives. (I'm not making this up, I promise)

I fired up Co-Pilot and it routed me onto the A34 and got me home in just under 2 hours. Slow, but rather better than 6 hours. I repeatedly tried Waze when on the M6 Toll to see if it knew the A34 existed, just out of curiosity. It failed every time, and only offered me a single route option - the M6, which was closed, and Waze knew it was a disaster as it reported an average speed of 2mph for many miles.

Getting back to the route I was talking about in my original post, these aren't my exact start and end points, but they'll give you the right idea.

This is the route Waze always wants to use to take me home -

https://maps.google.co.uk/maps?saddr=B4 ... via=1&z=11

On a Friday evening, the M42 is car park, as is the M6. It's a really, really, really terrible route. The alternatives it offers me are -

https://maps.google.co.uk/maps?saddr=B4 ... ra=ls&z=10

This one is even worse!

And this one -

https://maps.google.co.uk/maps?saddr=B4 ... a=1,2&z=11

This is also dreadful. The first of these three, on a Friday evening, would get me home in about 3 hours. The second would be more like 3 1/2 hours, and the third, also around 3 hours.

Compare this to co-pilot, which comes up with this route -

https://maps.google.co.uk/maps?saddr=B4 ... 3,4,5&z=12

It knows to avoid the heavy traffic on the A46 in south Coventry, it knows to avoid the M42 as best it can, and it avoids the M6 completely. It uses the toll of course, but if I don't want to pay up it will give me this route instead -

https://maps.google.co.uk/maps?saddr=B4 ... 3,4,5&z=11

It's a bit slower, but there's no toll involved.

This is just on Friday evening. At other times Co-Pilot will give me the same routes as Waze does, but as I've said, on Friday evening the usual routes are a disaster zone.

It really looks to me as if Waze just doesn't know the A34 or the A446 exist, as it will never offer them as valid routes, even when the alternatives have truly epic delays.
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Re: Does Waze consider smaller roads into it's routing?

Postby dknight212 » Tue Jul 17, 2012 6:21 pm

In which case there might well be a mapping error as Roy said. Someone will look into it for you.

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Re: Does Waze consider smaller roads into it's routing?

Postby gerben » Tue Jul 17, 2012 6:41 pm

I checked the first half of the last route. TR's were OK, but in the beginning there are two locations where over a short distance, normal streets were used.
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Re: Does Waze consider smaller roads into it's routing?

Postby floppyrod84 » Tue Jul 17, 2012 9:21 pm

Wow, nice work with a wealth of information to look at. How I wish more wazers were like this!
I've tried to grab the same route now (10:14pm Tues 17th July) and it's given me A4114, A45, A452, A446 and the M6 to Junction 14.
This is the 2nd route, the first one being pretty much the length of the M6 Toll which is 5 minutes faster according to waze.
I'll take a look at each of those "better" routes and see if there's anything missing or wrong on the waze side. Bear in mind, waze will try to keep to fast roads as much as possible, i.e. lock towards motorways BUT, have you tried this route with the "Avoid Highways" option on? It will avoid the M6 and the M6 Toll completely and may well give the A34 route as an option.
Remember you will need to press the Routes button if the one Waze gives you first off isn't the one you think is right. Especially on longer routes like this where there are a couple of choices with motorways, A roads and that.

Will look into the A34 first off, see if there's anything obvious causing the problem.
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