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Author Topic: Referring to mile markers  (Read 2207 times)

1995hoo

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Referring to mile markers
« on: March 31, 2017, 05:11:11 PM »

One of our local radio stations' traffic reporters refer to mile markers denoting tenths of a mile as though they were fractions. An example might be calling marker 143.2 "mile 143 over 2" instead of "143 point 2." I found this weird and asked them why and they replied, quote, "it's always dispatched in that manner for clarity." Their reply made me wonder whether VDOT uses that terminology or whether they're simply saying it's their own protocol, but I didn't bother to follow up with them.

So my question is, is that normal usage anywhere or everywhere?
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Re: Referring to mile markers
« Reply #1 on: March 31, 2017, 05:46:38 PM »

I also have heard, and consider weird, that formulation. Sounds a little like West Virginia fractional route numbers.

I haven't heard that formulation elsewhere, though I don't often travel in areas with tenth-mile posts, and when I do I usually get traffic reports from Sirius satellite radio (which I think never uses the "mile XXX over Y" formulation) rather than local radio stations.
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Re: Referring to mile markers
« Reply #2 on: March 31, 2017, 06:00:35 PM »

When I used to have a CB radio, truckers would often refer to mile markers with the "Mile XXX over X" formula.  Of course, living in New England, we don't refer to mile markers that often.
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Re: Referring to mile markers
« Reply #3 on: April 01, 2017, 02:11:21 AM »

That station isn't WTOP, is it?
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1995hoo

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Re: Referring to mile markers
« Reply #4 on: April 01, 2017, 10:50:51 AM »

That station isn't WTOP, is it?

It is. I didn't bother to name the station before because I didn't think it mattered.

As to what Oscar mentions, I do have XM radio in the car I drive most often, but I don't listen to their traffic reports for local travel because (a) since they changed the traffic channels' lineup I have to wait through the Atlanta and Baltimore reports first and (b) I don't have much confidence in their accuracy based on past experience. When I travel out of the area, though, I use the XM reports because it's easier than trying to find a local station.
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"You know, you never have a guaranteed spot until you have a spot guaranteed."
—Olaf Kolzig, as quoted in the Washington Times on March 28, 2003,
commenting on the Capitals clinching a playoff spot.

"That sounded stupid, didn't it?"—Kolzig, to the same reporter a few seconds later.

cpzilliacus

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Re: Referring to mile markers
« Reply #5 on: April 03, 2017, 10:02:17 AM »

That station isn't WTOP, is it?

It is. I didn't bother to name the station before because I didn't think it mattered.

As to what Oscar mentions, I do have XM radio in the car I drive most often, but I don't listen to their traffic reports for local travel because (a) since they changed the traffic channels' lineup I have to wait through the Atlanta and Baltimore reports first and (b) I don't have much confidence in their accuracy based on past experience. When I travel out of the area, though, I use the XM reports because it's easier than trying to find a local station.

I like SiriusXM. 

I do not like their traffic reports, as compared to local terrestrial radio stations like WTOP, WCBS, WINS, KNX and so on. 
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cpzilliacus

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Re: Referring to mile markers
« Reply #6 on: April 03, 2017, 10:37:27 AM »

One of our local radio stations' traffic reporters refer to mile markers denoting tenths of a mile as though they were fractions. An example might be calling marker 143.2 "mile 143 over 2" instead of "143 point 2." I found this weird and asked them why and they replied, quote, "it's always dispatched in that manner for clarity." Their reply made me wonder whether VDOT uses that terminology or whether they're simply saying it's their own protocol, but I didn't bother to follow up with them.

So my question is, is that normal usage anywhere or everywhere?

Across the creek in Maryland and D.C., mileposts are usually in whole numbers and not much more, the only reliable exception being in Maryland where the road is maintained by MDTA, and MUTCD mile markers are nearly always shown by the 1/10th of a mile. 
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jeffandnicole

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Re: Referring to mile markers
« Reply #7 on: April 03, 2017, 10:46:01 AM »

When I listen to NJDOT radio transmissions from their Service Patrol drivers, a few of them report the MP as XX over X.  Others just say XX point X.  Internally for them, it doesn't matter how it's pronounced.

On radio and XM traffic reports, when MPs are used, I've never heard XX over X.
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cpzilliacus

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Re: Referring to mile markers
« Reply #8 on: April 03, 2017, 10:52:48 AM »

When I listen to NJDOT radio transmissions from their Service Patrol drivers, a few of them report the MP as XX over X.  Others just say XX point X.  Internally for them, it doesn't matter how it's pronounced.

On radio and XM traffic reports, when MPs are used, I've never heard XX over X.

When reporting an incident on the  Turnpike, the NJTA staff people seem to appreciate the use of the tenth of a mile.
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jeffandnicole

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Re: Referring to mile markers
« Reply #9 on: April 03, 2017, 11:54:48 AM »

When I listen to NJDOT radio transmissions from their Service Patrol drivers, a few of them report the MP as XX over X.  Others just say XX point X.  Internally for them, it doesn't matter how it's pronounced.

On radio and XM traffic reports, when MPs are used, I've never heard XX over X.

When reporting an incident on the  Turnpike, the NJTA staff people seem to appreciate the use of the tenth of a mile.

When reporting an incident *anywhere*, it's always good to be as specific as possible.  Especially near an interchange (and using examples here) MP 40 could be prior to the interchange, MP 40.9 could be after the interchange.  That makes a huge difference in how emergency responders will travel to respond to an incident.  It could entail entirely different responders as well.
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bzakharin

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Re: Referring to mile markers
« Reply #10 on: April 03, 2017, 12:59:58 PM »

I don't recall ever hearing fractional mile markers of any sort in traffic reports, but it makes sense if you are literally reading a mile marker without knowing what it represents, although I've seen versions with explicit decimal points in some places.
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Brandon

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Re: Referring to mile markers
« Reply #11 on: April 03, 2017, 01:03:25 PM »

I've never heard mile markers used at all in any of the local traffic reports around Chicago.  The traffic reporters prefer to give the nearest crossroad, i.e. "the delay starts at Route 53 and goes to Lemont Road on I-55", or "police and fire are responding to a car fire just before Kedzie on the inbound Ike".
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bzakharin

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Re: Referring to mile markers
« Reply #12 on: April 03, 2017, 01:47:24 PM »

I've never heard mile markers used at all in any of the local traffic reports around Chicago.  The traffic reporters prefer to give the nearest crossroad, i.e. "the delay starts at Route 53 and goes to Lemont Road on I-55", or "police and fire are responding to a car fire just before Kedzie on the inbound Ike".
The mentions of mile markers I hear on Philadelphia traffic reports are for the PA Turnpike where cross roads would mean nothing to most people unless there is an interchange there, and the distance between interchanges is often considerable. Not to mention they are traditionally known by their names and not numbers (which are now mile-based anyway).
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WillWeaverRVA

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Re: Referring to mile markers
« Reply #13 on: April 03, 2017, 01:59:51 PM »

One of our local radio stations' traffic reporters refer to mile markers denoting tenths of a mile as though they were fractions. An example might be calling marker 143.2 "mile 143 over 2" instead of "143 point 2." I found this weird and asked them why and they replied, quote, "it's always dispatched in that manner for clarity." Their reply made me wonder whether VDOT uses that terminology or whether they're simply saying it's their own protocol, but I didn't bother to follow up with them.

So my question is, is that normal usage anywhere or everywhere?

That station isn't WTOP, is it?

It is. I didn't bother to name the station before because I didn't think it mattered.

As to what Oscar mentions, I do have XM radio in the car I drive most often, but I don't listen to their traffic reports for local travel because (a) since they changed the traffic channels' lineup I have to wait through the Atlanta and Baltimore reports first and (b) I don't have much confidence in their accuracy based on past experience. When I travel out of the area, though, I use the XM reports because it's easier than trying to find a local station.

Yeah, I've heard WTOP do this and thought it was weird. The stations down in the Richmond and Charlottesville areas seem to round to the nearest whole number, which can be a little awkward at times.
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1995hoo

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Re: Referring to mile markers
« Reply #14 on: April 04, 2017, 04:23:50 PM »

Regarding WTOP oddities.....last night Bob Marbourg referred to I-695 during one of his reports and he felt the need to editorialize that he meant "the real 695, The one around Baltimore."

Made me want to tweet them to point out that DC's has had that number for over 50 years, even though it wasn't posted, but (a) I was driving the car at the time and (b) it wouldn't have done any good anyway.
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—Olaf Kolzig, as quoted in the Washington Times on March 28, 2003,
commenting on the Capitals clinching a playoff spot.

"That sounded stupid, didn't it?"—Kolzig, to the same reporter a few seconds later.

roadman

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Re: Referring to mile markers
« Reply #15 on: April 04, 2017, 05:01:01 PM »

In almost 40 years of regularly listening to Boston traffic reporters, I have never heard any of them once reference a mile marker in reporting a crash or other problem.  Always exit names or landmarks.
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cpzilliacus

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Re: Referring to mile markers
« Reply #16 on: April 04, 2017, 05:13:31 PM »

Regarding WTOP oddities.....last night Bob Marbourg referred to I-695 during one of his reports and he felt the need to editorialize that he meant "the real 695, The one around Baltimore."

I agree with Bob calling Maryland's I-695 the "real" 695, which he has been doing since DDOT signed it some years ago.

Made me want to tweet them to point out that DC's has had that number for over 50 years, even though it wasn't posted, but (a) I was driving the car at the time and (b) it wouldn't have done any good anyway.

You are correct, but it is a short road compared to Maryland's I-695 (and 695 is relevant to some of the WTOP audience).  I could see it being signed as I-295, but if that happened, it would create confusion with DC-295.  For years before the D.C. I-695 was signed, Bob used to just call it the Southeast Freeway and leave it at that.
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1995hoo

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Re: Referring to mile markers
« Reply #17 on: April 04, 2017, 05:23:49 PM »

I think he should just report the traffic and spend less time editorializing!
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"You know, you never have a guaranteed spot until you have a spot guaranteed."
—Olaf Kolzig, as quoted in the Washington Times on March 28, 2003,
commenting on the Capitals clinching a playoff spot.

"That sounded stupid, didn't it?"—Kolzig, to the same reporter a few seconds later.

cpzilliacus

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Re: Referring to mile markers
« Reply #18 on: April 05, 2017, 01:59:47 AM »

I think he should just report the traffic and spend less time editorializing!

I do not consider his referring to the two 695's as editorializing. 

Editorializing is describing crashes and other incidents (almost always in D.C.) as "long-standing" or "no help from D.C. on the scene," or "VDOT is out with it, but D.C. authorities are not to be found" (like the crash last week on I-66 westbound near the D.C./Virginia border on the T. Roosevelt Bridge that took hours to resolve as having "major impact" or "severely impacting" traffic in the west end of downtown D.C.).



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1995hoo

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Re: Referring to mile markers
« Reply #19 on: April 05, 2017, 07:35:14 AM »

A couple of weeks ago he wasted the better part of a full minute complaining about the way the HO/T lane tolls on the Beltway were being determined that night. While I agreed with his opinion, I felt the time would be better used reporting other traffic incidents instead of ranting. Stuff like that, combined with his sometimes extremely convoluted sentences, causes me to dislike his overall style, even if his information is usually more accurate than most other sources.

That Roosevelt Bridge crash you mention was a bad one. Because of it, we headed out K Street to Key Bridge. Took 43 minutes to go 1.7 miles from Ms1995hoo's office to the bridge.

You know, it's funny, to tie this back to the original topic, Marbourg is the one WTOP traffic reporter I've never heard use mile markers as reference points. He mostly uses landmarks instead (I've heard odd things like "abeam the Capital One building").
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"You know, you never have a guaranteed spot until you have a spot guaranteed."
—Olaf Kolzig, as quoted in the Washington Times on March 28, 2003,
commenting on the Capitals clinching a playoff spot.

"That sounded stupid, didn't it?"—Kolzig, to the same reporter a few seconds later.

cpzilliacus

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Re: Referring to mile markers
« Reply #20 on: April 05, 2017, 08:47:52 AM »

A couple of weeks ago he wasted the better part of a full minute complaining about the way the HO/T lane tolls on the Beltway were being determined that night. While I agreed with his opinion, I felt the time would be better used reporting other traffic incidents instead of ranting. Stuff like that, combined with his sometimes extremely convoluted sentences, causes me to dislike his overall style, even if his information is usually more accurate than most other sources.

I did not hear that.  As best as I can tell, Transurban uses a proprietary computer program to set those tolls.

That Roosevelt Bridge crash you mention was a bad one. Because of it, we headed out K Street to Key Bridge. Took 43 minutes to go 1.7 miles from Ms1995hoo's office to the bridge.

It was certainly bad in terms of traffic impact.  I did not see any images of it, so I do not know how bad it was in terms of personal injury or damage to property, but the way Bob described it, it took MPD-DC many hours to investigate it, and get the damaged cars towed away. Unless it was a fatal crash, VSP would likely have resolved it in one or more orders of magnitude faster.

You know, it's funny, to tie this back to the original topic, Marbourg is the one WTOP traffic reporter I've never heard use mile markers as reference points. He mostly uses landmarks instead (I've heard odd things like "abeam the Capital One building").

In early March 2017, I "found" an injury crash (one overturned) on MD-200 (ICC) on the eastbound side at milepost 10.7.  A few other drivers had stopped, but nobody had called the MDTA Police (it's a 410 number) to get their officers and roadside assistance units dispatched that way.  After informing MDTAP, I called Bob and told him what I had seen and the milepost.  He reported it as about mile marker 10 (between MD-182 and MD-650) on the air, which is reasonable, since the mileposts "count up" eastbound, as they do on most roads.
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Re: Referring to mile markers
« Reply #21 on: April 05, 2017, 11:27:33 PM »

A decidedly non-roadgeeky relative once brought up the fact that he has heard New Hampshire DOT people referring to milemarkers with the "over" terminology, which he found odd.  (He used to have a job where he had a radio that would get talk like that.)
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