As I said, this all belongs in another thread. I'm fine with moving all the relevant posts to wherever it is.
dbraughlr wrote:This sounds a lot like the argument that Waze should avoid streets with speed bumps because obviously the city street department does not want through-traffic and drivers (lumbar vertebrae and car suspension come to mind) do not want to use such roads when there is a smooth, paved alternative ¼ mile away.
If the drivers go slowly on bumpy roads, Waze avoids those roads. The paved alternative wins on the speed data.
Perhaps Waze should alert the driver when allowing tolls, major highways, and/or dirt roads would would save considerable time or distance.
That argument is misplaced — it's an argument against including an "avoid speed bumps" option in the client. But the "avoid dirt roads" option is already there. We should not be editing the maps in such a way as to gut the feature of its effectiveness.
The analogy isn't perfect either way — speed bumps are predictable, and they're there to slow you down; they only materially affect your speed. Maybe some incidental effects are possible on your suspension and your vertebrae, but if you're driving over them properly, it's negligible. And Waze already handles speed by its nature.
Dirt roads, on the other hand, carry further consequences. Dirt roads are unpredictable. A freshly-graded one can be traversed at a speed nearly the same as if it were paved. If it's not adequately maintained, yes, they will slow you down — but unlike speed bumps, the ruts and bumps in unmaintained dirt roads are not painted yellow, nor are their locations known ahead of time. Further, even a well-maintained dirt road carries risks. Rocks thrown from gravel roads can crack windshields and lights, dent body panels, and puncture tires and even tanks. Dirt can gunk up your air filters, leading to more frequent service intervals. Dust thrown up into the air can impair visibility. Further, cars are harder to control on loose surfaces, so more inexperienced or skittish drivers may wish to avoid them.
That's not to say all
classified dirt roads should be set to "dirt road", but they also shouldn't all
be set to their functional class type. I've read the other thread, and what that leads me to believe is that standards should be set locally/geographically based on what's necessary, so users in certain areas know what to expect. At least where I've been in southeastern Michigan, there's always a paved alternative; daknife paints quite a different picture out West.
I agree that a "Hey, a toll / dirt road would save you x minutes" would be very nice, but that's a separate issue altogether.