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Author Topic: Traffic-weary homeowners and Waze are at war, again. Guess who’s winning?  (Read 23848 times)

seicer

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How good is Waze these days? I've had some god-awful routes lately and have been using Waze just to report incidents, and Google/Apple to route.

For instance, going to my parents requires a direct path on Interstate 71 and US 23, a four-lane highway. Somewhere south of Columbus, Ohio, the app will start routing me to a lot of old alignments of US 23 and sometimes dirt roads. With my settings, I've used both routing options (shortest and fastest) and have gotten the same or equally frustrating routes.

When I ignore it, Waze will spend a considerable amount of times (and miles) to reroute me onto its preferred path before sticking to the main route, which in this case is US 23. It's gotten so bad that I can't give reliable ETA's - I can do the drive to my parents in 4.5 hours or so, and Waze will tack on an extra hour easy.

tckma

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I've been using Waze for about two and a half years now.  I'm a map editor, and an Area Manager for parts of Carroll, Baltimore, and Adams (PA) counties.  I'd like to move up to State Manager, but I just don't have the time to devote to map editing what with work and life and pets and wife and other hobbies.

That all said, my preferred route between home in Westminster and work in Columbia is MD-140 to MD-97 to I-70 to (US-40 or US-29 depending on time of day) to US-29 to MD-100 to Snowden River.  At least 75% of the time, despite near daily use and supposed "learning" of my preferred routes, Waze tries to insist on MD-140 to I-795 to I-695 to I-95 to MD-175.  I've complained about this several times in the editor forums and the Google Hangouts.  It has to do with the algorithm's strong preference for freeway class roads above all other roads.  Yet if you've tried the Baltimore Beltway during rush hour you know why I prefer to avoid it by several miles. 

This can also be seen approaching Columbia when Waze does all it can to avoid Snowden River Parkway, insisting on a US-29 to MD-175 routing.

Shortly after Christmas 2014, Waze had a northeastern states map editors' meetup, catered, at a hotel in Manhattan.  Some of the developers flew in from Tel Aviv (Waze was started in Israel; this was before they were bought out by Google) to meet with us.  I and several other editors brought up this routing issue directly with the software engineers.  They seemed to understand the problem, but I don't think the issue has improved.  Short of quitting my job as a software engineer myself and joining the Waze/Google team in Tel Aviv, I think I have limited influence here.

I did learn about a shortcut through Ellicott City via Centennial Drive to Old Annapolis Road using Waze.  It's a decent one, though not great, if both 70 and 40 are backed up, and it DOES go through a more residential area.

It's ridiculous, though, to expect that if you buy a house on any street that isn't a dead end, you're going to be immune from people using the street.  I'm of the "distribute cars to all available roads in the road network to improve capacity and throughput of the highway/road system as a whole" school of thought.  I have no sympathy whatsoever for these kinds of people, and I'm glad Waze has a mechanism to find them and ban them from the app.

hbelkins

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Given that Waze has entered into partnerships with a number of DOTs to exchange information, it's not likely that any government is going to try telling Waze what information it can and cannot relate to users.

And I think a company like Waze has every right to attempt to prevent hackers -- because in essence, that's what they are -- from posting false or faulty information on their system, such as that a road is congested when it really isn't.
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vdeane

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How is making it impossible for people to get out of their driveway equitable?  How is it people are unable to see the difference between a few people who aren't local traffic using the road and a fire hose of 40k vehicles backing up the street?

Fact: we can't turn every single street into a four lane divided arterial or a cul de sac.  And we wouldn't want to live in a world where we did.

It shouldn't be hard to fix the problem.  Simply record the function class of the road in the map data, and set the routing priority based on the function class.  Default to arterials, route to collectors as applicable, and don't use locals except to get to the destination.
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jakeroot

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How is making it impossible for people to get out of their driveway equitable?

I keep hearing this same rhetoric; "impossible for people to get out of their driveway".

Is it really? Or are you just saying that?
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ARMOURERERIC

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If there's traffic jams, why is Waze still sending them down that road?

Perhaps Waze is discounting reports of jams on that road, because of all the false positives planted by the residents?
Could Waze be tricked into "closed due to accident"?
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empirestate

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It shouldn't be hard to fix the problem.  Simply record the function class of the road in the map data, and set the routing priority based on the function class.  Default to arterials, route to collectors as applicable, and don't use locals except to get to the destination.

No, the programming itself would not be difficult at all. But your idea was to compel the companies to do so; that's the difficult part. How is that accomplished?
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hbelkins

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I've never used Waze as a routing service the way one might use a standalone GPS, Google Maps or Apple Maps. I've only used it to indicate problems along the road I'm currently using at the time.

But if I have access to street-level-detail paper maps, or an electronic service like Google Maps, and I encounter a problem that has my intended through route congested or closed, I will use those sources to route me around the problem regardless of the type of public road it is (residential street, major arterial, what have you.)

A public road is a public road.
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cl94

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Waze is programmed to give higher-class routes a higher priority and will route one along them if the difference is less than a couple of minutes. From looking at it from the editor interface, the street in the article is set to the lowest allowable priority level. For the system to route people along that street instead of the nearby major streets (which are 2-3 levels higher), the time difference has to be significant.

People are going to get around disturbances no matter what. If anything, a system like Waze makes it more orderly, as people not from the area don't try to feel their way around.
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jemacedo9

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How is making it impossible for people to get out of their driveway equitable?

I keep hearing this same rhetoric; "impossible for people to get out of their driveway".

Is it really? Or are you just saying that?

THIS is what I want to know.  If you live on a residential street, and you have to wait for 5 or 6 cars and 30 seconds, I can see that as annoying but I don't think it's worth ranting and raving.  BUT...if that wait is 2 or 3 minutes because traffic is now backed up on your street...and we all know how well people abide by "don't block the driveway laws"; and we all know how nice some people are about letting people out of driveways and side streets, instead of rushing up to block and protect your position in line...then I'd have a beef, too.

IMO, the beef should be directed to the local government to see what they can do - not that there would be many real, quick, cheap options.  Chances are, residential areas that have traffic problems, the overall infrastructure there is not easily expandable, especially with the transportation crisis we're facing.
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bzakharin

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Waze is programmed to give higher-class routes a higher priority and will route one along them if the difference is less than a couple of minutes. From looking at it from the editor interface, the street in the article is set to the lowest allowable priority level. For the system to route people along that street instead of the nearby major streets (which are 2-3 levels higher), the time difference has to be significant.

People are going to get around disturbances no matter what. If anything, a system like Waze makes it more orderly, as people not from the area don't try to feel their way around.
I think the problem, as mentioned before, is that if there is no data for a given street (and local streets are the most likely to suffer from this), Waze assumes that there is no traffic there
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jeffandnicole

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If there's traffic jams, why is Waze still sending them down that road?

Perhaps Waze is discounting reports of jams on that road, because of all the false positives planted by the residents?
Could Waze be tricked into "closed due to accident"?

Did you read the article?  That's exactly what they tried doing.  You can get away with it once or twice maybe. But other drivers are going to record that the road isn't closed and that that's no accident.  And once Waze detects these false reports, you're banned completely from reporting.

How is making it impossible for people to get out of their driveway equitable?

I keep hearing this same rhetoric; "impossible for people to get out of their driveway".

Is it really? Or are you just saying that?

While it's clearly not impossible (unless an accident or cop pulled someone over directly in front of your driveway), it can be difficult.

DOTs hear this all the time for road projects:  "It's impossible to get out of my driveway", or "It's impossible to get into my business because of the road work".  It's never really impossible; it's just very difficult.   And in general, transportation departments don't want to make it difficult; they want to make it safe and allow traffic to flow.

And that's definitely a fault of programs like Waze.  Transportation departments design roads, lanes, signal timings, etc., based on excepted flows of traffic.  In a case like this, the expectation is that traffic will stay on the multi-lane road.  Even though it may be a little longer in terms of mileage, it's quicker because the main road tends to have priority, more lanes, more signals, more turning lanes, etc.  When Waze comes along and says "hey, use this 30 feet wide road with parking on both sides", it sees the road is available, but doesn't take into account the many other features, or lack thereof, of the road.  The signal timing may be short for that road.  Or maybe the signal can allow for more traffic, but at the expense of the main road's cycle, reducing the green time for them, causing congestion there too.  And that's if there is a signal.  Maybe it's only a stop sign, and traffic needs to find limited gaps to cut out into traffic.     

It's also a problem for the town, the state, or whoever is in charge of road maintance.  If a road is expected to see 500 trips per day, mostly cars, the roadbed, layers of asphalt, and underlying stone and gravel isn't going to be as robust as a road expected to see 30,000 vehicles per day, and thus will need additional maintenance at an earlier than expected date in time, increasing costs and delaying other roadwork.

So, yes, the road is open to the public.  But there's wayyyyyyyyy more to it than that, which most people fail to see or care about.
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kalvado

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And that's definitely a fault of programs like Waze.  Transportation departments design roads, lanes, signal timings, etc., based on excepted flows of traffic.  In a case like this, the expectation is that traffic will stay on the multi-lane road.  Even though it may be a little longer in terms of mileage, it's quicker because the main road tends to have priority, more lanes, more signals, more turning lanes, etc.  When Waze comes along and says "hey, use this 30 feet wide road with parking on both sides", it sees the road is available, but doesn't take into account the many other features, or lack thereof, of the road.  The signal timing may be short for that road.  Or maybe the signal can allow for more traffic, but at the expense of the main road's cycle, reducing the green time for them, causing congestion there too.  And that's if there is a signal.  Maybe it's only a stop sign, and traffic needs to find limited gaps to cut out into traffic.     

It's also a problem for the town, the state, or whoever is in charge of road maintance.  If a road is expected to see 500 trips per day, mostly cars, the roadbed, layers of asphalt, and underlying stone and gravel isn't going to be as robust as a road expected to see 30,000 vehicles per day, and thus will need additional maintenance at an earlier than expected date in time, increasing costs and delaying other roadwork.

So, yes, the road is open to the public.  But there's wayyyyyyyyy more to it than that, which most people fail to see or care about.
It was explained more than once on this thread: there should be a major backup on the main road for Wase to go all the way down to such bypasses. Which means that major road is clogged at all times. Which means that
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Transportation departments design roads, lanes, signal timings, etc., based on excepted flows of traffic. 
and were unable to do their job.

To make things worse... If you look at the map, road in question in not parallel to arterial or such. these must be drivers who are trying to make it to main road from a local residence. Meaning they are paying taxes to same - or very nearby - municipality. And denying them use of road which is billed to their taxes is even more interesting proposition than limiting general public use...
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jeffandnicole

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And that's definitely a fault of programs like Waze.  Transportation departments design roads, lanes, signal timings, etc., based on excepted flows of traffic.  In a case like this, the expectation is that traffic will stay on the multi-lane road.  Even though it may be a little longer in terms of mileage, it's quicker because the main road tends to have priority, more lanes, more signals, more turning lanes, etc.  When Waze comes along and says "hey, use this 30 feet wide road with parking on both sides", it sees the road is available, but doesn't take into account the many other features, or lack thereof, of the road.  The signal timing may be short for that road.  Or maybe the signal can allow for more traffic, but at the expense of the main road's cycle, reducing the green time for them, causing congestion there too.  And that's if there is a signal.  Maybe it's only a stop sign, and traffic needs to find limited gaps to cut out into traffic.     

It's also a problem for the town, the state, or whoever is in charge of road maintance.  If a road is expected to see 500 trips per day, mostly cars, the roadbed, layers of asphalt, and underlying stone and gravel isn't going to be as robust as a road expected to see 30,000 vehicles per day, and thus will need additional maintenance at an earlier than expected date in time, increasing costs and delaying other roadwork.

So, yes, the road is open to the public.  But there's wayyyyyyyyy more to it than that, which most people fail to see or care about.
It was explained more than once on this thread: there should be a major backup on the main road for Wase to go all the way down to such bypasses. Which means that major road is clogged at all times. Which means that
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Transportation departments design roads, lanes, signal timings, etc., based on excepted flows of traffic. 
and were unable to do their job.

There was construction on the main road.  Thus, a temporary condition which is causing permanent issues.

If those transportation people weren't able to do their jobs, this issue would've been a problem for years.
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kalvado

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And that's definitely a fault of programs like Waze.  Transportation departments design roads, lanes, signal timings, etc., based on excepted flows of traffic.  In a case like this, the expectation is that traffic will stay on the multi-lane road.  Even though it may be a little longer in terms of mileage, it's quicker because the main road tends to have priority, more lanes, more signals, more turning lanes, etc.  When Waze comes along and says "hey, use this 30 feet wide road with parking on both sides", it sees the road is available, but doesn't take into account the many other features, or lack thereof, of the road.  The signal timing may be short for that road.  Or maybe the signal can allow for more traffic, but at the expense of the main road's cycle, reducing the green time for them, causing congestion there too.  And that's if there is a signal.  Maybe it's only a stop sign, and traffic needs to find limited gaps to cut out into traffic.     

It's also a problem for the town, the state, or whoever is in charge of road maintance.  If a road is expected to see 500 trips per day, mostly cars, the roadbed, layers of asphalt, and underlying stone and gravel isn't going to be as robust as a road expected to see 30,000 vehicles per day, and thus will need additional maintenance at an earlier than expected date in time, increasing costs and delaying other roadwork.

So, yes, the road is open to the public.  But there's wayyyyyyyyy more to it than that, which most people fail to see or care about.
It was explained more than once on this thread: there should be a major backup on the main road for Wase to go all the way down to such bypasses. Which means that major road is clogged at all times. Which means that
Quote
Transportation departments design roads, lanes, signal timings, etc., based on excepted flows of traffic. 
and were unable to do their job.

There was construction on the main road.  Thus, a temporary condition which is causing permanent issues.

If those transportation people weren't able to do their jobs, this issue would've been a problem for years.

So if the issue is temporary - why bother? With real time data, Waze will start sending people to main road once work is done.

Or, thinking broadly... If there is a major accident on a main road, police will send people around on whatever roads are available. Including - and not limited to - parking lots and any paved areas. DO you think they should not use certain type of roads for such situations as well?
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tckma

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It shouldn't be hard to fix the problem.  Simply record the function class of the road in the map data, and set the routing priority based on the function class.  Default to arterials, route to collectors as applicable, and don't use locals except to get to the destination.

This is already in the Waze map database.  Each segment of a road is assigned what us map editors call a "functional class" (FC) as follows:

Highway types: Freeway (FW), Ramp, Major Highway (MH), Minor Highway (mH)
Street types: Primary Street (PS), Street (S)
Other Driveable types: Dirt Road or 4x4 Trail, Private Road, Parking Lot Road, Ferry
Non-Driveable types: Walking Trail, Pedestrian Boardwalk, Stairway (I've never seen this used), Railroad, Runway or Taxiway (at airports)

Waze routing algorithms are written to route using, in order of preference -- FW, MH, mH, PS, S, Dirt Road/4x4, Private Road, Parking Lot Road.  The non-driveable types only exist so that they show up on the screen when navigating.

My issue is that the routing algorithm so strongly prefers FW when routing that it will send me through bad traffic on MH and FW roads (MD-140, I-795, I-695) rather than my preferred route on an mH road (MD-97).

Here in Maryland, the FC of a segment is based directly on SHA route logs for state-maintained highways and county and local route logs (where they exist) for other roads, with editors allowed some discretion.  For example, I classed MD-800 as PS as opposed to mH, which it would be if SHA route logs were strictly followed.  Reason being is that MD-75 is mH and runs parallel, and is also a "better" road in terms of design capacity and speed.

I'm sure other states follow similar guidelines for setting the FC of road segments.

vdeane

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So if the issue is temporary - why bother? With real time data, Waze will start sending people to main road once work is done.
That doesn't help if people continue following the local road after the project is done, like they were doing here.

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Or, thinking broadly... If there is a major accident on a main road, police will send people around on whatever roads are available. Including - and not limited to - parking lots and any paved areas. DO you think they should not use certain type of roads for such situations as well?
Accidents are usually shorter duration than construction (and, honestly, it seems like they take their sweet time "investigating" open and shut cases, such as a pedestrian who got killed because she didn't bother to look before darting into the middle of Central Ave far from the nearest intersection).
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kalvado

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So if the issue is temporary - why bother? With real time data, Waze will start sending people to main road once work is done.
That doesn't help if people continue following the local road after the project is done, like they were doing here.
So problem is that commuters discovered a hidden road? Hardly a reason to blame the app...
Quote
Quote
Or, thinking broadly... If there is a major accident on a main road, police will send people around on whatever roads are available. Including - and not limited to - parking lots and any paved areas. DO you think they should not use certain type of roads for such situations as well?
Accidents are usually shorter duration than construction (and, honestly, it seems like they take their sweet time "investigating" open and shut cases, such as a pedestrian who got killed because she didn't bother to look before darting into the middle of Central Ave far from the nearest intersection).

And? It is still same type of situation - main road lost most/all of its capacity...
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vdeane

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They wouldn't have discovered the "hidden" road if not for the app.
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Another problem: If it's raining/snowing so much that you can't go the normal speed on any road, Waze will think that every road that has been tracked has traffic... but those that nobody has been on yet will be shown as normal, even though they're just as bad as all the other roads.
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kalvado

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They wouldn't have discovered the "hidden" road if not for the app.
Welcome to First Ammendment
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Reminds me of the issue years ago with the Hollywood Sign, theres a decent viewing point on the 6100 block of Mulholland Highway and the residents were complaining at GPS companies to remove it and force people to a more distant location

https://www.google.com/maps/@34.1297887,-118.321576,3a,37.8y,349.98h,84.57t/data=!3m7!1e1!3m5!1sMoQ-__H68ddWncFxqrfT6Q!2e0!6s%2F%2Fgeo2.ggpht.com%2Fcbk%3Fpanoid%3DMoQ-__H68ddWncFxqrfT6Q%26output%3Dthumbnail%26cb_client%3Dmaps_sv.tactile.gps%26thumb%3D2%26w%3D203%26h%3D100%26yaw%3D263.34027%26pitch%3D0!7i13312!8i6656

theyve taken to practically barricading this street now since i was last there in 2012.
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It seems to me that if the residents don't want their residential street used as a through route then they should take it up with the municipality to install appropriate traffic calming measures; a few speed tables and chicanes should solve the problem.
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jeffandnicole

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Reminds me of the issue years ago with the Hollywood Sign, theres a decent viewing point on the 6100 block of Mulholland Highway and the residents were complaining at GPS companies to remove it and force people to a more distant location

https://www.google.com/maps/@34.1297887,-118.321576,3a,37.8y,349.98h,84.57t/data=!3m7!1e1!3m5!1sMoQ-__H68ddWncFxqrfT6Q!2e0!6s%2F%2Fgeo2.ggpht.com%2Fcbk%3Fpanoid%3DMoQ-__H68ddWncFxqrfT6Q%26output%3Dthumbnail%26cb_client%3Dmaps_sv.tactile.gps%26thumb%3D2%26w%3D203%26h%3D100%26yaw%3D263.34027%26pitch%3D0!7i13312!8i6656

theyve taken to practically barricading this street now since i was last there in 2012.

Take a look at the street.  That's exactly what I referred to a while back: The street's not prepared to handle the flow of traffic, thus it becomes cracked and in need of replacement probably much earlier than normally expected.
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How is making it impossible for people to get out of their driveway equitable?

I keep hearing this same rhetoric; "impossible for people to get out of their driveway".

Is it really? Or are you just saying that?

In parts of Los Angeles during rush hour this is a real thing. It's not technically impossible, but finding a break in the traffic (on a narrow residential street) can take several minutes.
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