Dividing roads

From Wazeopedia

In line with our Revised Waze Editing Philosophy, our mapping standards have changed in 2020. For more information, see new technology, new mapping standards.


There are significant changes to the way Waze would like us to map, but one of the biggest changes is how we approach dividing roads in Australia.

Dividing roads can be a tricky skill for the inexperienced. Please work with senior editors if you have any questions or concerns, or ask them to check your work afterwards. Reach out on the Australian forums or Waze Australia Discord server.

Pros and cons

Advantages Disadvantages
  • Stops premature arrival notification when a u-turn across a median is required to reach the address.
  • Improves start of route behaviour with the car pointed the correct direction.
  • Improved utilisation of the snapper thus improving the driver experience.
  • Potentially longer driving when a driver could easily u-turn or walk across a road.
  • Poor start of route behaviour from the opposite side of the driver’s intended initial direction of travel.
  • Significant increase in the number of segments, junction boxes, turns and turn instructions to manage.
  • Increased learning curve for inexperienced editors.
  • Increased points of failure for an intersection to be broken.

When to divide a road

When there is a physical divider between the road (e.g. a small wall, grass, trees) and it cannot be crossed in a car, then map it as two separate roads to more accurately represent reality.

You do not need to divide if there is only a painted line or painted traffic island, regardless of local laws.

Divide roads where there is a physical barrier separating two-way traffic.

When not to divide a road

Where a physical barrier ends and a painted island or line returns, the divided road should conclude and return to a two-way segment.

Roads with painted turning medians at the centre, despite having separated GPS arrows, should still never be divided.

Do not divide in response to complaints that a u-turn was required to reach addresses on the other side of the road where the two-way segment does not meet the above guidelines.

How to divide a road

Dividing a road comes with a certain minimum destruction of data. Let’s reflect on one of the goals of our Editing Philosophy:

The map stores an average time / speed it takes a driver to traverse a segment and junction node, for every 30 min block in a day, for seven days a week. This data is used for route optimisation and selection. When a segment is deleted, this data is lost. Given a choice between deleting or reusing a segment, it is better to "recycle" it.

We also need to consider the destruction of other map elements such as house numbers, turn restrictions, lanes, u-turn points, and road attributes (e.g. speeds, elevation, street name, city and more) along the road to be divided. Temporary map comments set to expire in a few may help to mark points that need attention.

To minimise the destruction of data, the following process is recommended when dividing roads and working with complex intersections:

Remember to follow the guidance about mapping exits, forks and splits in intersections.

A newer and shorter video will be record and included here in the future. Until then, we thanks Sketch for his video. :)

Important considerations

With newly created H and # (hash) intersections, you must consider that the automatic u-turn prevention mechanism may be turned off if the median segments are greater than 14 metres long. Do not artificially reduce the size of the median segment to avoid this - map the road to the guidelines explained in Road alignment and angles. Instead, employ a junction box to control the u-turns which can be requested in the unlock forums or Waze Australia Discord server.

When H and # (hash) junctions have slip/turn lanes that meet the requirement for mapping, consider them a “complex intersection” and employ the use of a junction box.

Remember, junction boxes should be the last edit on the intersection as they, at the time of writing, lock the connected segments preventing edits.

Simple intersections will now become more complicated H and # (hash) junctions which require more skill.