Inaccurate Speed Data for Express vs. Collectors

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Inaccurate Speed Data for Express vs. Collectors

Postby e-sarge » Mon Feb 11, 2019 6:11 pm

On Hwy 401 through Toronto, the highway splits into express and collector lanes.

However, the snapping algorithm in Waze is not smart enough to recognize when Wazers have ignored the provided directions, and therefore the speed data is being recorded against the wrong segment. From personal experience, Waze is recording my speed data on the incorrect segment more than 20% of the time (and worse when traffic gets heavy and drivers are following their own hunches or the directions on the overhead signs indicating heavy traffic ahead).

If Waze was able to correctly determine whether I have taken express versus collectors on my own, then the accuracy of the data would be vastly improved, and Waze would be able to provide Wazers with dynamic instructions to use express or collectors to get to their destination faster.

Waze has an opportunity here (by correcting this problem) to react much faster than the overhead signs (which seem to require someone in the traffic control centre to update the message). As it stands now, the overhead signage is far more accurate than Waze.

When I talk to friends about Waze or servicing user requests as a map editor, this is their number one complaint: "I tried Waze but it kept telling me to exit the express lanes when there was no traffic ahead". Some stayed with Waze and just learned to ignore it, but most get turned off and use something else, or nothing at all.

Since this section of Highway 401 is the busiest highway in North America, I would think this issue should be a priority with Waze staff, no?
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Re: Inaccurate Speed Data for Express vs. Collectors

Postby e-sarge » Mon Feb 11, 2019 6:19 pm

Further information:

Together with one of the Canadian champs, we tried an experiment to increase the physical separation in WME between express and collectors, thinking that might help trigger the snapping function in the app to recognize that you're off course and need to recalculate. We moved the express segments in WME to lane 1, and the collector segments to lane 3 (through this area express and collectors are both 3 lanes wide).

After a few weeks and some personal trips, I can say the the experiment was a failure -- the extra few metres of separation in WME did not help trigger a re-snap in the app.

Are there any editors in other areas facing similar problems with physically separated full-time lanes for the same highway? I know I-490 on the east side of Cleveland has a similar express/collector configuration, there must be more...
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Re: Inaccurate Speed Data for Express vs. Collectors

Postby russblau » Mon Feb 11, 2019 10:10 pm

The problem is not due solely to how the segments are mapped. If you turn on the GPS points layer, you'll see that there's a lot of variation in the accuracy of GPS devices. While the majority of people probably have GPS readings that are accurate enough to snap them to the correct segment, there's a significant minority who don't, and no map edits are going to fix that.
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Re: Inaccurate Speed Data for Express vs. Collectors

Postby e-sarge » Thu Feb 14, 2019 6:01 pm

russblau wrote:The problem is not due solely to how the segments are mapped. If you turn on the GPS points layer, you'll see that there's a lot of variation in the accuracy of GPS devices. While the majority of people probably have GPS readings that are accurate enough to snap them to the correct segment, there's a significant minority who don't, and no map edits are going to fix that.

I am aware that the reason the snap distance is set so high is to account for inaccurate GPS readings, this thread is primarily to raise awareness of the poor speed data quality when freeway segments run parallel for long distances.

I don't know if Waze staff would be open to the concept of a "think tank" to improving snapping on the busiest freeways (where they explain how snapping currently works with a group of volunteers in order to brainstorm possible solutions). I'd be open for that, but I'm not holding out any hope on that front (primarily based on past experience that Waze staff doesn't tend to share that type of stuff with the WME community).

Also, if there is any WME experience out there that has had any success with dealing with snapping and parallel highway segments, please contribute.
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