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Old 03-13-2015, 09:48 AM
 
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Road classification is a difficult thing in a GIS, which is one big reason why Google sends cars out everywhere to do their own data acquisition. People care about limited access vs. not, paved vs. not, winter maintained vs. not. Public agencies that develop wide area available GIS data have generally only cared about who maintained the roads, often not even the actual posted name of the road.

Most US states have county maintained roads, which often are but sometimes are not marked with the pentagon signs in the MUTCD. Iowa marks the county roads with a statewide letter and number system. The weak-county states such as New England would tend not to have county roads.

In PA generally, what are county roads elsewhere are actually state roads. (PA is more of a weak-county state in the New England mode than people from outside generally realize.) The roads that do not have "traffic route" markers of the type shown in post #2 above, are referred to as "state routes" (formerly, and still sometimes, "legislative routes") and still have four digit numbers - shown on low white signs more useful for maintenance segmentation than motorist navigation. Some PA counties have county maintained bridges, but their approach roads are not county maintained. Some counties have turned all their bridges over to the state, even ones along what would otherwise be township roads, except for their covered bridges. Like names of townships, state route numbers can repeat in the next county even though both are actually state maintained.

In the Harrisburg area, two fully divided access controlled highways have no human perceivable numbers, even though they lead to the State Capitol complex and to the airport. The first of these is paralleled by a two lane surface street that carries not one but two US numbered traffic routes. That's just odd.

Allegheny County (Pittsburgh) is a prime exception to PA not having county roads. The county maintains many bridges (such as Andy Warhol Bridge - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia ) and has almost as many beltways as Beijing, albeit of different classification Allegheny County belt system - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Old 03-13-2015, 11:52 AM
 
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Here's a blast from the past, that might be an idea to coming up with some kind of a solution.

The picture I linked below shows a highway marker for Interstate 71 in the mid-1960's, also signed as Ohio Route 1, which was originally planned in the 1950s as a second Ohio Turnpike extending southwest to northeast across the state. As the highway was being planned, the Federal Aid Highway Act of 1956 was enacted, and the project was converted from a toll road to a freeway. It was designated as State Route 1, since the Interstate Highway numbering system had not yet been implemented.

Portions of the freeway began to be completed and opened in 1959 with the new Interstate Highway funding, and they were marked as Ohio Route 1 as well as with their new Interstate Highway number. Since large gaps existed along the corridor where no freeway had yet been completed, existing two-lane or four-lane highways were also designated as Ohio Route 1 in order to complete the route. The Ohio Route 1 signage was removed in 1966 as the Interstate Highway numbers adequately marked the route by then and the state highway numbering was superfluous.

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?f...type=3&theater

I think that might be something that could be done to segregate the freeway sections of these routes. Maintain "US 20", but maybe add a second marker that designates the road as a freeway?
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Old 03-17-2015, 07:26 AM
 
Location: Philaburbia
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WheresTheBeef View Post
I was traveling out to Iowa over the Christmas holidays by car and as I was trying to plan my trip one thing stood out for me: How difficult it is to determine what kind of road you will be traveling on.
Maps have these really cool things called "legends", which tell you what all those red, blue, yellow and black squiggly lines on the map mean. The little dots on the map, with the names of cities and towns beside them, vary in size depending on the size of the city or town.

What good would it do for planning purposes to have various signs designating what type of road you're on once you're on it? Do you really need a sign to tell you that you're on a freeway?
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Old 03-17-2015, 02:10 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ohiogirl81 View Post
Maps have these really cool things called "legends", which tell you what all those red, blue, yellow and black squiggly lines on the map mean. The little dots on the map, with the names of cities and towns beside them, vary in size depending on the size of the city or town.

What good would it do for planning purposes to have various signs designating what type of road you're on once you're on it? Do you really need a sign to tell you that you're on a freeway?
The interstate symbol is like the "Good Housekeeping" seal of approval. It tells you to expect a controlled access freeway. What does the State or US sign marker tell you?
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Old 03-17-2015, 06:51 PM
 
Location: Philaburbia
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It's designing custom highway signs for every different type of road surface, use, and purpose that is "making things that should be simle [sic] overly complicated".

If your eyesight isn't good enough to distinguish the difference between a two-lane state highway, a four-lane divided state highway with surface intersections, and a six-lane controlled-access state highway, you have no business being behind the wheel.
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Old 03-17-2015, 06:55 PM
 
Location: Phoenix, AZ
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Ohiogirl81: to be fair, I think OP's original thought was the symbols used on maps -- so if you use a map to plan your route ahead of time, you know if the route you're planning has at-grade intersections or is controlled access.

That said, most maps I've used are fairly good at distinguishing that. Limited / controlled access freeways are easy to spot, as you'll see on / off ramps. Well-scaled maps distinguish between divided and non-divided highways with, obviously, a division. Some even use different colors for limited access freeways (see: Google Maps, orange vs yellow vs white roads).
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Old 03-17-2015, 06:58 PM
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Location: Long Island / NYC
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In England highways/arterials that aren't controlled access, are labelled with the prefix A. Those that are entirely controlled-access have the prefix M. If an A road has a controlled access section it gets a suffix (M). So A1 becomes A1(M). How is that making things overly complicated? A quick read of the label tells you what type of road it is. Some divided highways with surface intersections can appear to be a controlled access highway near a highway junction (no lights nearby to see). Connecticut 15 is an ambiguous example I've had issues with and my eyesight is fine.

Labelling by an extra suffix doesn't sound like that much extra work, and it's more meaningful to the driver than the interstate / state highway symbol distinction.
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Old 03-18-2015, 12:46 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cab591 View Post
Ohiogirl81: to be fair, I think OP's original thought was the symbols used on maps -- so if you use a map to plan your route ahead of time, you know if the route you're planning has at-grade intersections or is controlled access.

That said, most maps I've used are fairly good at distinguishing that. Limited / controlled access freeways are easy to spot, as you'll see on / off ramps. Well-scaled maps distinguish between divided and non-divided highways with, obviously, a division. Some even use different colors for limited access freeways (see: Google Maps, orange vs yellow vs white roads).
So instead of being able to see a symbol and be able to make a determination instantly, you two think people should scour through map legends to figure out which stretches of road are controlled access highways? Talk about doing things the hard way.

And most maps on the computer are actually not very good at distinguishing between regular roads and those that are interstate-like.
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Old 03-18-2015, 08:59 AM
 
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I don't see that US roads have enough distinctions for any kind of additional markers to be useful. The US process of running interstates right through the middle of cities changes them (preventing us from using the UK model) - and limited access is not a really useful determination - when in a city there is an exit every mile or more. Access and flyovers and the like for highways is really dependent upon state (and federal) funding, not highway type.

There is no definition for number of lanes or anything like 'true limited access' or not being 'at grade' for any type of road. Plenty of interstates across the US even have traffic lights. The interstate designation itself is more about funding and maintenance than anything else.

So it might be a good idea, but I don't think you could truly look at any stretch of road even in 25-50 miles increments and singularly define it. At least not in the west. Maybe in the north east - I've driven there less, but I don't really think so.

Last edited by TheOverdog; 03-18-2015 at 09:08 AM..
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Old 03-18-2015, 09:23 AM
 
Location: Philaburbia
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cab591 View Post
Ohiogirl81: to be fair, I think OP's original thought was the symbols used on maps -- so if you use a map to plan your route ahead of time, you know if the route you're planning has at-grade intersections or is controlled access.

That said, most maps I've used are fairly good at distinguishing that. Limited / controlled access freeways are easy to spot, as you'll see on / off ramps. Well-scaled maps distinguish between divided and non-divided highways with, obviously, a division. Some even use different colors for limited access freeways (see: Google Maps, orange vs yellow vs white roads).
Exactly. AAA maps, for instance, aren't the greatest for various reasons, but they do make an easily recognizable (if one takes the time to read the legend, that is ... ), color-coded distinction among two-lane local roads, two-lane state and U.S. highways, two-lane roads that are major highways, four-lane roads, controlled-access roads with four or more lanes, and interstate highways.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nei View Post
In England highways/arterials that aren't controlled access, are labelled with the prefix A. Those that are entirely controlled-access have the prefix M. If an A road has a controlled access section it gets a suffix (M). So A1 becomes A1(M). How is that making things overly complicated?
That covers just controlled access roads. The OP wants every little detail to have a different type of sign.

But why is it even necessary? If you read the map, you'll see what kind of road it is. If you are actually driving on the road, you'll see what kind of road it is.

A lot of hooey for people who don't have the common sense of an ant! [/grumpy middle-aged lady post]

Quote:
Originally Posted by WheresTheBeef View Post
So instead of being able to see a symbol and be able to make a determination instantly, you two think people should scour through map legends to figure out which stretches of road are controlled access highways? Talk about doing things the hard way.

And most maps on the computer are actually not very good at distinguishing between regular roads and those that are interstate-like.
Map reading is a valuable life skill. Anyone who drives should know how to read a map and how to read a map's legend.

I agree that computer maps may not be as helpful as a good paper map. The maps published by the individual state departments of transportation seem to be the best; AAA maps drive me nuts. But even the Google map I'm looking at right now is making it very plain to me that U.S. 422 is a controlled access highway between King of Prussia and Pottstown. I can see the little entrance and exit ramps right on the computer screen. West of Pottstown, where the highway becomes a four-lane divided highway with at-grade intersections, the color changes. Intersecting, two-lane state highways are yet a different color.

And if you don't like computer maps, find a paper map that you can follow. Easy peasy!

Last edited by Ohiogirl81; 03-18-2015 at 09:35 AM..
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