I realize that I'm coming into the discussion a bit late, but here's what I've been doing in recent months (with considerable success) in rural areas of upstate NY with regard to Primary Streets. Most "county routes" came in with the basemap as Minor Highway, the same level as "state routes" -- but for the most part, they're rather unequal in real life
. Thus, I've been downgrading such CR's to Primary Street, while leaving SR's at Minor Highway (and US routes mainly as Major Highway, unless they clearly should be only Minor Highway). I've also been upgrading the CR's that came in as "Street" so that they are "Primary Street".
I'd like to propose a new, and easy to follow standard that doesn't require as much individual interpretation on the part of editors. I've already implemented it in King County, Washington, and the difference in routing options and the speed Waze seems to find them is literally night and day.
We as Waze editors actually don't have to waste much of our time determining which roads are important where, and what a 'highway' or a 'street' is defined by. Here's why.FHWA Directive 23 CFR 470 states that the State transportation agency has the primary responsibility for developing and updating a statewide highway functional classification in rural and urban areas to determine functional usage of the existing roads and streets.
Each of the 50 states has published and browseable Functional Classification maps. In Washington, that's located at http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/MapsData/Tools/FunctionalClass/
, but every state has them (I'll be happy to create a forum post with all 50, as far as that goes). The advantage here is that someone whose job it is to DO this all day has already made all these determinations, and done it on freely published maps, so we don't have to waste our time reinventing the wheel.
Here's my simple rule of thumb for Washington, granting I'm not a CM and can't do this for the whole state, but I can do it in areas I drive and manage:
Any road colored ANYTHING is a primary street or above, rural or urban. It is an important road by some definition, and beyond about 10 miles, Waze won't route THROUGH a 'street' no matter how good the speeds on it are.
Any road meeting the standard of a freeway (high speed, no at grade intersections, no traffic lights) is a freeway. It doesn't matter if it's an Interstate or a County Road. (Coincidentally, this also makes the 'Avoid freeways' option in the client do the Right Thing.)
Any 'Other Freeway' or 'Principle Arterial' rural road that is not a freeway is a Major Highway. Rare select roads in high density urban areas will also get this, but most urban streets aren't high speed if they're not already a freeway. In small towns these are more likely.The rest is open to a bit of interpretation, but intuitively I think I get it. 'Other Principle Arterial' and 'Minor arterial' urban roads I make 'minor highways'. If there is a 'Major collector', I look at it in context. Most of the time they're primary streets. (Oh, and trust me, this last paragraph? There are ongoing discussions in other states, Connecticut comes to mind, about these 'on the fence' cases.)
Here's the result of these efforts, based on the published FC maps, in:
King County: https://www.waze.com/editor/?zoom=0&lat ... FFTFTTTTFT
Eureka, CA: https://www.waze.com/editor/?zoom=1&lat ... FFTFTTTTFT
Susanville, CA: https://www.waze.com/editor/?zoom=1&lat ... FFTFTTTTFT
Before I began changes in early December, Waze would find one, or maybe two routes to downtown Seattle from Kent/Federal Way. Now, it fairly easily finds three, and in what I perceive is less time.
The kiss of death for Waze's routing engine, by comparison, is a city that looks like this:
Laramie, WY: https://www.waze.com/editor/?zoom=0&lat ... FFTFTTTTFT
From experience, I can say that if you're in the northeast corner of that city and try to navigate to the city center, Waze will tend to pick one road, and no alternates. I suspect that if there was a traffic jam in between, Waze would also have a hard time picking an alternate then.
I'm happy to share this with editors that can help - and admittedly this will be most useful to AMs and CMs, because this is a seriously time consuming process and requires a lot of rural road traversal. King County took me about a week of heavy editing. (It needs classifying the road, determing one/two way, and making sure turn restrictions allow travel on said roads).I hope we can make a project out of this
, because I believe if this were done everywhere in the U.S., Waze's 'problems with rural areas' would be gone rather quickly. It also greatly reduces 'Most users didn't take the suggested route' URs, because FC maps show HOW they want drivers to be directed, minor to major roads and back again. Users don't want to be routed onto 'a street', generally; they want to go from a major to major road when going across town, and the FC maps tell us, to completion, where those are.EDIT: Changed color references to their names in the Washington FC maps.