New road type - Narrow Street

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New road type - Narrow Street

Postby delilush » Tue Apr 24, 2018 1:53 pm

Last Update: Jan 15, 2019

Hi Everyone,

In today's WME version we've added a new road type Narrow Street
This thread should serve as an initial knowledge base on the feature. From questions you ask on the road type we'll create a FAQ at the bottom of this post.

Here is what you need to know on narrow streets:

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Why narrow streets? What are narrow streets?
We mean very narrow streets that are drive-able, but hard to access by car. It's the kind of roads that are so narrow, you'd rather not get a route through when driving, unless it is significantly faster. However, as a motorcycle, narrow streets are convenient for navigation. We'd expect to find relatively low segment speeds on narrow streets already, due to the physical characteristics of the street.

How does it work in routing?
* Narrow Streets have a penalty for private cars and taxis. The exact value for the penalty hasn't been finalized yet, we're going to run some tests to determine this. The value will likely range between 5-10 minutes. There will not be a penalty for motorcycles.
* We defined the default driving speed on narrow street segments with 10 km/h until speed data is collected after the production release in routing server.

What about navigation that ends on an narrow street?
We navigate to destinations set on an narrow street. House numbers are not supported yet.

Will there be a setting to opt-in/opt-out of narrow street navigation?
No. This is why it's important to only map segments that are drivable, yet inconvenient, for cars.

Anything else that is different?
Routing override (unfavored/neutral/preferred) is not supported in this version.

Renaming of road type
After reading your feedback we hear your concern that the naming (previously: alley) can be confusing to editors in many countries. So we changed the string to “Narrow Street”. In addition you can use transifex to translate the road type and localize it to your context.

Removing the road type from the editor until it goes to production in routing
Unfortunately we cannot simply remove a road type from production editor. As narrow streets were mapped already, removing the road type now can cause issues with editing the affected segments. We are looking into an option to remove the road type, but it’s not something we can do very fast, as there are dependencies with what exists on the map today.

Narrow Streets used as detours for traffic jams on main road.
We hear your concerns about this and are going to look at these things closely while collecting data after it is released to routing production.
However, you can use this road type to apply a small penalty on narrow roads that people get detours on frequently today, that you’d like to discourage.
Clarification after we received some questions on this one (Updated Jan 15, 2019):
Narrow Streets are as defined above
Why narrow streets? What are narrow streets?
We mean very narrow streets that are drive-able, but hard to access by car. It's the kind of roads that are so narrow, you'd rather not get a route through when driving, unless it is significantly faster. However, as a motorcycle, narrow streets are convenient for navigation. We'd expect to find relatively low segment speeds on narrow streets already, due to the physical characteristics of the street.
This was written to answer the question that many people asked in this thread concerning road capacity.
Examples
Picture a long line of bumper-to-bumper traffic on a twisty one-lane road with a cliff wall on one side and a sheer dropoff on the other.

...suppose the alley saves more than the penalty because there is a traffic jam in the main street, what will happen? I suppose that all cars that normally would get a route through the main street will be sent to go through the alley. This will cause a catastrophic result if 100 drivers are sent to the alley until the server will stop because the real time velocity through the alley will be found to be very slow. If the routing server will stop sending cars to the alley, then after a while the alley will be cleared and the situation will repeat itself (an oscillation).
If you see a situation where you assume this might be the case, please reach out to your community manager, so we can follow up.

Users should be able to configure their preference in driving on Narrow Streets
We don’t see this as option that would benefit the majority of users. From our experience, we know that often these settings can cause misunderstandings that could lead to problematic routes for a user.

Will going from 1 Narrow Street segment to the next have any additional penalty, or is it just when leaving the road type? Will the penalty stack, so if the route crosses a Narrow Street then a street then an Narrow Street then a street, is that 1 instance of a penalty or 2?
* For continuous Narrow Street segments, the penalty will not be multiplied. (i.e.: 4 continuous Narrow Street segments will have the same penalty as one Narrow Street segment).
* Non-continous segments the penalty will be applied to each Narrow Street section. (i.e.: 4 continuous Narrow Street segment (+one time penalty) > other street segment > Narrow Street (+one time penalty).

This should have been implemented like a segment attribute (like tunnel) instead of a specific road type.
We don’t currently see the benefit of adding this as an attribute to higher-level street types, as it will be connected to low default segment speeds.

The color of the Narrow Street & Private Streets are now same (brown). Please change its color.
We’re working with the devs to change this for easier differentiation of the two.

Please let me know if you have any questions. We'll try to keep this opening post updated with an FAQ.

Best,
Daliah

This post was edited and updated to reflect the information provided in staff posts from:
May 1, 2018
May 16, 2018

January 15, 2019
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Re: New road type alley

Postby voludu2 » Tue Apr 24, 2018 2:24 pm

Thank you for your very clear and well-illustrated post, delilush

1) Please consider renaming this road type so that its use will be more clear ro every editor who will see it in WME. This is not the meaning of the word "Alley" in the USA. There are many streets in the USA which have the name "alley", or which are considered to be alleys, which are somewhat narrow, but still wide enough for cars. Many editors all over the world have not read your very informative post.

2) Please consider temporarily removing this road type from the WME editor until implementation is closer to completed and a more-descriptive name has been chosen.

Thank you for everything you do to make the map better and keep editing fun for everyone who enjoys the hobby of improving the map with WME.

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Re: New road type alley

Postby yaacobyy » Tue Apr 24, 2018 2:36 pm

It is not clear to me what is the meaning of "not convenient for cars". Either a car can go through or it can't go through. I suppose that it means that a car would pass, but it will be slow because the alley is narrow and the driver would better drive slowly. If this is the case, then suppose the alley saves more than the penalty because there is a traffic jam in the main street, what will happen? I suppose that all cars that normally would get a route through the main street will be sent to go through the alley. This will cause a catastrophic result if 100 drivers are sent to the alley until the server will stop because the real time velocity through the alley will be found to be very slow. If the routing server will stop sending cars to the alley, then after a while the alley will be cleared and the situation will repeat itself (an oscillation).
I suppose the first drivers that will be sent to the alley will be satisfied, while the others will get a much worse ETA than going through the main street.
This is a problem of a delayed feedback that cannot be tackled with just a penalty. I suggest that there will be some more data taken into account such as the number of cars that are in the alley and the number of cars heading to the alley (have a route that goes through there and will get there in the upcoming N minutes).
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Re: New road type alley

Postby DwarfLord » Tue Apr 24, 2018 3:25 pm

yaacobyy wrote:...suppose the alley saves more than the penalty because there is a traffic jam in the main street, what will happen? I suppose that all cars that normally would get a route through the main street will be sent to go through the alley. This will cause a catastrophic result if 100 drivers are sent to the alley until the server will stop because the real time velocity through the alley will be found to be very slow. If the routing server will stop sending cars to the alley, then after a while the alley will be cleared and the situation will repeat itself (an oscillation).

This is a spectacular observation. As far as I know, while Waze can measure road speed, it has no means to estimate road capacity. As a result, in areas where Waze is heavily used, it can route so many drivers onto marginal roads that they quickly become overwhelmed.

Close to me is a major highway (State Route 17) over a 2000-foot mountain pass between the San Francisco Bay Area and the Santa Cruz beaches. On warm sunny weekends it becomes a parking lot going to the beach in the morning and returning from the beach in the evening. We have had many, many complaints from Wazers who were not only detoured onto low-capacity mountain side roads, but then found themselves in even worse traffic once on the detour! Picture a long line of bumper-to-bumper traffic on a twisty one-lane road with a cliff wall on one side and a sheer dropoff on the other.

(Aside: I wonder if the "Alley" type would be appropriate for roads like those?)

While I can't prove that Waze is causing these jams on low-capacity side roads, I know Waze has extremely heavy penetration in the Bay Area, and I am pretty sure that Waze is unable to consider road capacity. Put those two together and the circumstantial evidence is strong that, under intense-traffic conditions, Waze's attempts to detour drivers are making things worse -- for Wazers, not to mention local residents of those low-capacity areas.

I'd like to join with yaacobyy in urging Waze to incorporate road capacity, not just speed, in its calculations.

[EDITS -- minor wordsmithing and clarification.]
Last edited by DwarfLord on Tue Apr 24, 2018 3:29 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: New road type alley

Postby nzahn1 » Tue Apr 24, 2018 3:27 pm

delilush wrote:How does it work in routing?
* Alleys are not implemented in production routing server yet
Until alleys are implemented in production routing server, they should function like regular street segments.
* When alleys will go live in production routing server, they will have a penalty for private cars and taxis. The exact value for the penalty hasn't been finalized yet, we're going to run some tests to determine this. The value will likely range between 5-10 minutes. There will not be a penalty for motorcycles.

Do we have an ETA on the routing server update? Will it be available to RBS users shortly?
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Re: New road type alley

Postby matsalka » Tue Apr 24, 2018 5:22 pm

It's unnecessary to have separate road type only for motorcycles, while the same thing could be accomplished with restrictions! And what's the use for the 5-10 minute penalty? If the street is too narrow for a car, then it's impossible to drive there regardless the penalty and cyclists will use the shortcuts anyway. There are tons of other uses for new road types which could be a lot more beneficial than this.

Oh and thanks for releasing this to prod ;)
Last edited by matsalka on Wed Apr 25, 2018 7:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: New road type alley

Postby iainhouse » Tue Apr 24, 2018 5:42 pm

I have to go with the sentiments above. You saw how many questions were posted in Beta by experienced editors - even though you said it was being internally tested only.

Now you've released it to production without warning to face an even greater avalanche of questions. Questions that can't be answered by experienced editors because you haven't told us anything useful in advance! Not to mention the thousands of casual editors across the world who won't come here and read these discussions.

You have repeatedly insisted you want to make Waze more welcoming to new editors. So you've introduced a new road type with no clear use-case for many markets, an unhelpful/ambiguous description and zero community support.

Do you not remember the examples of the botched Parking Project?

Please immediately withdraw alleys from the production editor. Give us a chance to work with you to determine how it's intended to be used in a way that benefits, not damages, the map. Let us prepare support for the editing community. Let us help you to introduce it to WME in a way that will enhance the map, not cause confusion and damage.
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Re: New road type alley

Postby vince1612 » Tue Apr 24, 2018 5:51 pm

matsalka wrote:It's unnecessary to have separate road type only for motorcycles, while the same thing could be accomplished with restrictions! And what's the use for the 5-10 minute penalty? If the street is too narrow for a car, then it's impossible to drive there regardless the penalty and cyclists will use the shortcuts anyway.
  • This is not a type only for motorcycles
  • You could accomplish the same with restrictions if it was only for motorcycle, but it's not.
  • This is not for streets that are "too narrow for a car" where it's "impossible to drive there" see:
    delilush wrote:we mean very narrow streets that are drive-able, but hard to access by car
  • The previous point answers your question about why there is a penalty.

The way I personally consider Alleys is simply narrow streets, that are either hard to drive through or that could be create situations like these ones in cities or in the country-side:
[ img ] [ img ]

Now even if these streets are allowed and two-way, they could save you time but also just as well make you lose 5-10min if not more in case you're unlucky. So IMHO the pernalty is very useful to prefer a small detour via a regular 2-lanes street rather than a 1-lane one (Alley), unless it's one-way in which case it doesn't create any risk of issues and can be left as a street.

All that being said, I do agree that it was a little early and unexpected that it would go into production WME already, it's a good thing that it doesn't (yet) influence the routing server at least, but will require a lot of monitoring on our part.
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Re: New road type alley

Postby jchiarav » Tue Apr 24, 2018 6:25 pm

Hi. If I have a pick up, I would not want waze to send me through these narrow streets. You should be able to choose to avoid them, like the unpaved ones. Think of the users who do not know the streets that waze sends you.
Regards.

PD: Sorry my english.
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Re: New road type alley

Postby iainhouse » Tue Apr 24, 2018 6:29 pm

jchiarav wrote:You should be able to choose to avoid them

That's a good point. As currently explained, avoiding alleys is not a preference.

An alley segment will have a penalty for all car users, so it has no value in mapping in order to express a routing preference.
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