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Tolls for National Park Service

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As discussed in the Discord server (USA; wazeopedia_usa) we now have the functionality to display toll prices, which includes the actual entry fee when driving into/through a National Park Service location.

I've proposed an addition to the National Park Service Wazeopedia page: https://wazeopedia.waze.com/wiki/USA/Na ... rk_Service . The scope of this page is only geographic areas managed by the NPS.

My proposal ( https://wazeopedia.waze.com/wiki/USA/Us ... S_Toll_HOV )involves mapping thru-routes as toll so that users will a) get notification they may need to pay on their route through a park and b) see detailed price information consistent with the rest of the Toll Price system.

The concern was raised that we could be starting a slippery slope to mapping small single-entry locations and even parking lots, however the proposed guidance covers only those roads in/through NPS locations with emphasis on parks where a user can be routed through on the way to some other destination. I've added a phrase suggesting that local leadership should be consulted when mapping a single-entry/exit location.

Of note is the current issue whereby if Waze cannot route you *to* your destination the routing server will pick a point *close enough* and end your route there. Unfortunately this can leave users miles away across a mountain ridge or other wilderness. This has been brought up in the Discord routing channel for consideration to bring to staff's attention as it seems to be a symptom of a larger problem and is beyond the scope of properly mapping tolled segments.

Thank you for your consideration!

***
Current Wazeo page for NPS: https://wazeopedia.waze.com/wiki/USA/Na ... rk_Service
Proposed section to add to the above: https://wazeopedia.waze.com/wiki/USA/Us ... S_Toll_HOV
Prior discussion, before 'new' toll prices: viewtopic.php?f=1636&t=223531&start=30
Toll prices Wazeo: https://wazeopedia.waze.com/wiki/USA/Toll
A fee-free NPS park: https://www.nps.gov/grsm/planyourvisit/whyfree.htm

Post by FzNk
To clarify, Waze has in testing routed to a "close enough" segment if Avoid tolls is on and the destination's actual-closest segment is only accessible by passing through a toll. Some tests on tolled parks have also generated routing failures if there isn't a "close enough" segment.

It bears repeating, "this can leave users miles away across a mountain ridge or other wilderness". I think it's premature to enact this guidance before that serious bug is squashed. The risk this poses drivers in its current state is something we need to avoid and it's certainly not worth it for the implementation of a non-essential feature.
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Post by DwarfLord
Can someone confirm for me: the failure mode of concern is when...
  • An expansive location, typically a park, charges an entrance fee;
  • There are likely destinations within that location;
  • The location also happens to support a through road (in California, a major example is Yosemite National Park through which SR-120, the Tioga Pass Road, provides one of the few regional crossings of the Sierra Nevada in exchange for $35 per vehicle);
  • A given Wazer is unaware of or has forgotten having "Avoid tolls" set in his/her app; and
  • That Wazer routes to a location within the park.
Is this the concern? I can see how Waze could take that poor driver down some dreadful roads, including long-abandoned logging roads that have never even been edited.
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Post by DwarfLord
Would it work to set the toll on a one-way exit segment instead of at the entrance? Counterintuitive, but would mirror how PR and PLR incur penalties on exit instead of entrance. Drivers beginning at the park and leaving would be told there is a toll, but since the only ways out would be tolled/penalized the same, they should still get a valid route. I’m probably missing something...
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Post by DwarfLord
If I understand the proposal, parks without a through road will not get a toll at all, right? If so, then there will already be many situations where drivers routed into a park will not be informed of a toll.

The hack would only be visible to through drivers and to drivers starting from the park and leaving it. The former will be told their route involves a toll and how much (which is what we want). So it is just the latter who would be confused, and that’s a valid concern.

It certainly isn’t a perfect solution but perhaps it would work as a temporary patch...?
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Post by DwarfLord
NJMedic2535 wrote:I feel very strongly we shouldn't be hacking around something that should be fixed on the back end.
I agree completely with this sentiment in principle. Unfortunately Waze's development priorities tend to be quite different from what many of us would want or expect, and we are often stuck choosing the lesser of multiple evils.

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NJMedic2535 wrote:I'd like to bring up this odd example:
Yosemite West is outside Yosemite NP, but only reachable by driving into the park. You must pass a fee station, but do not actually exit the park on the thru-road.
7396 Yosemite Park Way, Yosemite West, CA 95389 as an example address.
What then does our hack do for users going to places like this?
The exit-toll hack would tell these drivers there is a toll on the way out, but not on the way in. I doubt this would be a problem going in since such drivers would be well acquainted with the fee gates (and probably have some kind of exemption or pass). But on the way out, yup, this would be confusing and is a valid concern.

The idea behind the exit-toll hack is not that it would be a good solution, but that it may be a better solution than accepting that some unfortunate drivers may be routed onto hazardous roads; the lesser evil. Ideally, as you say, Waze would do something about this at their end.
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Post by DwarfLord
I think I'm hearing two different concerns...

Concern #1 is that through routes involving fee gates, such as Yosemite National Park or the 17 Mile Drive in Pebble Beach, are effectively toll routes. As such, the "avoid tolls" feature should support drivers in choosing their routes through these regions much as it does in more traditional toll settings. I share this concern 100%.

Concern #2 is that drivers arriving at a destination may be unprepared for destination fees, and that we should therefore adapt Waze's toll feature to advise them of such even when through routes are not involved. Am I hearing that correctly? Is that a direction we want to go?

I don't think West Yosemite is a good example. Surely anybody taking a vacation rental in this dead-end residential enclave would be advised by the landlords that the only way in involves a $35 fee gate? And if they aren't, I'm not convinced it's Waze's job to make up for that. But perhaps there are better examples that support Concern #2?

Personally I am leery of Concern #2 for many reasons...hopefully I'm misunderstanding.

Regardless, it sounds like we don't yet completely understand the bad-routing-when-avoiding-tolls artifact? We may need to learn more before we try to work around it.
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Post by DwarfLord
NJMedic2535 wrote:
DwarfLord wrote: Concern #2 is that drivers arriving at a destination may be unprepared for destination fees, and that we should therefore adapt Waze's toll feature to advise them of such even when through routes are not involved. Am I hearing that correctly? Is that a direction we want to go?
No, I'm saying we want to use the toll feature to announce entry fees. Leave that up to local leadership though as some people might see it as a sort of toll to drive into a National Park. Now that we have the ability to show the price, it could be nice-to know.
To me, a passage toll and a destination entry fee are two different things. I'm all for using Waze's toll feature to help drivers choose a through route, but I would balk at using it to alert drivers that their destination will charge an entry fee.

In the case of Yosemite, these two separate goals overlap as long as the toll is marked on the entry segment, and we're in functional agreement.

Were we to adopt the temporary workaround of marking the toll on the exit segment, however, then it seems like the complaint is that there would no longer be a destination entry fee alert. What I'm saying is I don't agree with that use of the toll feature, so the loss of the destination entry fee alert doesn't bother me.

In any event, I think we need to learn more about the failure mode before we discuss further. Marking tolls on exit segments instead of entry segments has awkward downsides. I only suggested it as a sort of "outside the box" temporary workaround, but I don't think we should try any workaround at all until we understand the problem better.
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Post by dfortney
Mentioned earlier in this thread is the possibility of serious adverse routing consequences of putting tolls on entrances to National Parks where there are abandoned forest roads that could serve as alternative routes; visitors to national parks may not realize they have the "Avoid Tolls" setting On, and Waze will go to extreme lengths to avoid the tolled park entry if an alternative exists.

An example of this happening can be found at Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park. When tolls were in place at the entrances, users reported being routed over unmaintained forest service roads.

Putting the toll on the exit segments would not solve this particular issue, as exiting Wazers could get routed on the forest roads
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Post by DwarfLord
dfortney wrote:Putting the toll on the exit segments would not solve this particular issue, as exiting Wazers could get routed on the forest roads
My understanding is that the problem of concern is not, actually, connected forest roads that lead to and from the park. The solution to that problem is to disconnect those unmaintained forest roads.

Rather, what I'm hearing is that when all but the proper access roads have been disconnected, Wazers avoiding gate tolls (intentionally or not) will be routed to someplace close to the park as a sort of "next best route". As if the tolled roads did not exist at all. For large wilderness parks in particular, "someplace close to the park" often turns out to be an unmaintained forest or fire road.

I have not encountered this issue personally and don't know how widespread or serious it is. However, if it's happening, and we want to stop it, then putting the tolls on the exit segments will do so as long as avoid-tolls merely imposes a severe penalty. If the avoid-tolls penalty is infinite, then routing out of the park will of course fail altogether. But at least it will fail in a way that will be obvious to the user at the time! Unlike routing incoming drivers to unmaintained roads just outside the park boundaries.
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Post by DwarfLord
voludu2 wrote:We've seen a couple of cases where there is a persistent routing problem for drivers who have selected "avoid tolls". These would then be exceptions to the rule. exit segment tolling is a workaround, and should only be considered in consultation with the state management team. There are some downsides (confusing messages about tolls for those starting or ending their drive within the national park).
Agree 100% with this. Exit tolling was an outside-the-box workaround for a specific (and apparently rare?) issue. I don't like it any more than anyone else, I offered it as a "least bad" option, not a "good" option. :mrgreen:

A completely separate issue is whether we want to extend the application of Waze's toll feature to advise drivers of destination entry fees. It sounds like the suggestion of this thread is that the wiki document this as a possibility that should be considered.

I would strongly resist "nudging" language that offers this as a possibility even if it goes on to say check for prohibitions with local leadership and guidance. Such language puts the onus on every disagreeing region to add counter-guidance, which is extra work for local wiki maintainers and risks (encourages?) adoption of the practice by default. The national guidance should clearly prohibit. If and when a region decides to extend the toll feature to advise of destination entry fees, we can adjust the national language to say "prohibited, but check guidance in case one's region supports it".
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