Australian Road Types & Naming

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Revision as of 00:52, 31 August 2020 by Age4670 (talk | contribs) (Reminder on blank segment names being intentional.)

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This page covers road names and attributes for Australia.


This forms part of Australian Editing Best Practice. Editors are encouraged to follow these guidelines.

Road Naming

Waze uses the main street name (as shown in the editor) in spoken and visible driving directions, for generation of road shields (if the name includes a route number), for some routing decisions, and for some address lookups. Waze will also use alternative street names for some routing decisions and some address lookups. To achieve the best result for all these purposes, the main and alternative names should be chosen as follows:

  1. If there is a route number, it should be included in the main name as described in Route Numbering (below). For example: “A1 – Pacific Hwy”
  2. The main name should be whatever is displayed on the majority of street signs. If a driver can match what they see on a sign with the instructions they hear, they will be less distracted. (The “Principle of Least Surprise”.)
  3. If the main name has a route number, the name without the route number should be added as an alternative name. For example, "A1 - Pacific Hwy" should have an alternative name: “Pacific Hwy”.
  4. If the road has other names, they should be added as alternative names. For example, alternative name: George St, where George St in a township has become part of the Pacific Highway, but is still used in local street addresses. This might also apply where a road name has been officially changed, but the old name is still widely used in addresses.

The order of alternative names is not significant. The use of a route number in isolation (e.g. “A1”) as an alternative name for route continuity is currently under discussion.

City Names

All navigable (not rail) segments should have the City name filled in, where it is known. See City Names on Highways.

Route Numbering

As the first country in Waze, Australia has a complete set of automatically generated road shields. They are generated by the system, if a certain pattern in applying the Road Name & Number is observed. Please note that this is a special process: it is only running once a week and has to be implemented in the tile build too. So it may take up to two weeks, before a new edited shield appears in the client.

Shields in the Client. Picture showing the test area created during the implementation
Shields in the Client. Picture showing the test area created during the implementation

To get a road shield displayed in the app, the form of the shield and the number (numeric or alphanumeric) have to be coded in the street name in a predefined pattern. Please use the patterns exactly as stated here, otherwise the display in the app will not work properly.

Traditional route numbering
Road Shield Example
(App Screenshot)
Pattern Example streetname in WME
National Highway
Picture of National Highway Shield
NHx - Name
NHxx - Name
NH1 - Stuart Hwy
National Route
Picture of National Route Shield
NRx - Name
NRxx - Name
NR1 - Pacific Hwy
Alternate National Route
Picture of Alternate National Route Shield
ALTNRx - Name
ALTNRxx - Name
ALTNR1 - Dandenong Rd
State Route
Picture of State Route Shield
SRx - Name
SRxx - Name
SRxxx - Name
SR8 - Anything Hwy
Metro Road
Picture of Metro Road Shield
MRx - Name
MRxx - Name
MR5 - Centenary Hwy
Rural Road/Route
Picture of Rural Road Shield
RRx - Name
RRxx - Name
RR99 – Dontknowit Rd
Tourist Road/Route
Picture of Tourist Road/Route Shield
TRx - Name
TRxx - Name
TR7 – NoIdea Rte
Alphanumerical route numbering
Road Shield Example
(App Screenshot)
Pattern Example streetname in WME
National M
Picture of National M Shield
NMx - Name
NMxx - Name
NM39 - Goulburn Valley Fwy
Picture of M Shield
Mx - Name
Mxx - Name
Mxxx - Name
M3 - Eastern Fwy
National A
Picture of National A Shield
NAx - Name
NAxx - Name
NA8 - Barton Hwy
Picture of A Shield
Ax - Name
Axx - Name
Axxx - Name
A4 - Capricorn Hwy
Alternate A
Picture of Alternate A Shield
ALTAx - Name
ALTAxx - Name
ALTA2 - Warrego
Picture of B Shield
Bx - Name
Bxx - Name
Bxxx - Name
B12 - Road Name
Picture of C Shield
Cx - Name
Cxx - Name
Cxxx - Name
C234 - Example Rd

In cases where two routes share the same road, the through route should be the Primary Name with the second route added as an Alternate. If neither is the clear through route then the primary should be the higher type of the two, or the longer route shared if they are of the same type.

Shields will only appear on road types of minor highway, major highway, and motorway. i.e. They will not appear on primary streets or lower. Be aware of this when adding tourist routes, etc.

Abbreviations and acronyms

We decided long ago to use abbreviations (Rd instead of Road) and made an extra page for it, because all abbreviations have to be introduced to text to speech (TTS) for proper pronunciation. For place, feature, roadway & traversable path naming, please see:

Abbreviations and acronyms (Australia)

Unfortunately this has not been observed in the past, so we have to do a lot of fixing.

Road Types

Unfortunately there is no nationwide consistent system (i.e. NR8 is according to official WA governmental documents a freeway, even if it would be a Minor Hwy by its shield according to Qld or Vic standards). So use judgement and discretion in combining the shields with the proper road type.


Waze Road Type Description
Freeway Freeway, motorway, expressway and tollway. Designated by an alphanumeric road number that begins with the letter "M", usually in a gold-on-green symbol. Generally major roadways with a divided carriageway of two or more traffic lanes in each direction, where opposing traffic is separated by a median strip with controlled entries and exits. In the case of tollways, the sign is presented in a gold-on-blue style, but toll roads are handled in another way (we don't cover it with the road shields).
  • Also known as Motorway if using English (UK)


Waze Road Type Description
Ramp Typically the entry and exit roads for Freeways or Freeway-styled roads. This road type has several unique properties that allow it to be useful in a variety of scenarios. These special road types are never pruned in long-distance routing checks, have unique TTS properties, suitable for use as wayfinders and other special case scenarios. Please do not use this road type in standard connecting roads, as a standard road type may be sufficient. Always discuss the use of ramps before application to the map.

Major Highway

Waze Road Type Description
Major Highway National highways. Usually designated by gold-on-green shields with the word "National" written at the top. May contain alphanumeric numbering with the letter "A" at the start of the number, or may just use a number. Also referred to as primary routes. In rural areas a long way from the nearest National or A route, some B routes have been promoted to Major Highways to aid long-distance routing. See note below on "promoting" road classification to a higher level for routing purposes.

Minor Highway

Waze Road Type Description
Minor Highway State highways or State Roads. Usually designated by a numbered white-on-blue bullet sign, or by a gold-on-green alphanumeric designation starting with the letter "B" or "C". Also referred to as secondary and tertiary routes. In rural areas a long way from the nearest B or C route or State Road, some of the longer primary routes between towns have been promoted to Minor Highway to aid long-distance routing. See note below on "promoting" road classification to a higher level for routing purposes.

Primary Street

Waze Road Type Description
Primary Street Main Roads, Regional Roads, Tourist Drives, Scenic Drives, etc that are not classified as highways. They connect suburbs and towns. May also include roads designated as "D" roads in some states. Also referred to as tertiary routes. In rural areas where there is no more major road present, the main route connecting two towns should be marked as a Primary Street. See note below on "promoting" road classification to a higher level for routing purposes.


Waze Road Type Description
Street Urban streets and rural roads not identified above. Use also when in doubt of proper street type.
  • Street name may be blank (None selected) if not known or a special purpose (e.g. slip lane).

Private Road

Waze Road Type Description
Private Road A road not intended for use by through traffic. Waze will only use a private road segment when routing to a destination on that private road or an attached private or parking lot road. Do not mark a public dead-end street as a private road.
  • Street name should usually have None selected, unless it is signposted or it is necessary to identify the right place to turn where there are several turns close together.

Parking Lot Road

Waze Road Type Description
Parking Lot Road A road not intended for use by through traffic. A parking lot road is used to map publicly accessible parking roads to access businesses or otherwise. Waze will not use PLR's for through routing, but will use them where the origin or destination is on such a road type. Only map the parking-lot roads necessary to ensure proper routing to and from destinations, and the perimeter lane when necessary so that parking lot traffic will not be detected as slow traffic on an adjacent road.
  • Street name should usually have None selected, unless it is necessary to identify the right place to turn where there are several turns close together.
  • Also known as Parking Road if using English (UK).

Off-road / Not maintained

Waze Road Type Description
Off-road / Not Maintained A road which is not suitable for normal vehicles. This road type was originally the only way to indicate that a road was unpaved. Current practice is to use the "unpaved" flag for such roads, in combination with a road type such as "Private" or "Street". There are many roads in rural areas which haven't yet been updated in this way.

Narrow Street

Waze Road Type Description
Narrow Street This is a rarely-needed special road type. It applies a significant penalty of around 5-8 minutes for unbroken segment transition normally, but no penalty for motorbikes. If someone has to back out when you meet an oncoming car, it's a narrow street

Promoting a road to a higher type

It is strongly recommended that you do not downgrade a road to a lower type because you feel that it doesn't meet the requirements for a Highway or Primary Street. You may cause long-distance routing to fail in unexpected ways.

The current Waze routing algorithm prunes from consideration roads of lower type when they are far from the route origin or destination. Because of the characteristics of the Australian road network, this sometimes results in routes which are much longer than expected. Experienced editors can sometimes overcome this by setting a road type higher than suggested in the above table, for selected segments along the preferred route. This should only be done after confirming that there is no other map problem preventing the preferred route, and only after consultation with a State or Country Manager.

It is recommended that you leave a map comment at each end of a road that has been promoted like this, and at major intersections along the route. The comment should include the word "promoted" and should include a note about which route was fixed by promoting the road. Example comment: "Promoted to Major Highway to fix routing between Coffs Harbour and Quirindi". This makes it possible to find such roads using, and check whether the road classification is still appropriate after changes to the Waze routing algorithm or our techniques.

Freeway carriageway naming convention

This policy was changed in February 2014.

Due to changes that have been made to the Waze App in recent times which has helped improve reporting of incidents on freeways (motorways), compass directions in addition to the road name are no longer required when mapping any road in Waze.

This does not apply to roads which have a compass direction in their actual name.

If there are existing roads with compass directions on them, please remove them.

All that is required is the route number (if applicable) and the name.

Example: "M1 - Monash Fwy" (and the appropriate alternative names as described earlier)

On and Off ramps

Ramps lock level (revised procedure from Nov 2015): L3

Ramps are a connection of the high level road grid to the local travel road system they serve as a kind of gateway - between Streets and Primary Streets (usually lock level 1 to 2) and Highways and Freeways (lock level 3 to 5). To have them under control of the appointed AM they are to be locked as L3, regardless of the lock level of the connected segments.

Exit Signage along M1 - West Gate Fwy
Exit signage along M1 - Monash Fwy

For the best balance between information and screen real estate, the following conventions are used. As a general rule ramp names should match exactly the Big Green Sign (BGS) which is at or immediately before the exit or entry. All ramps will be set as the 'ramp' type in the Waze Map Editor. The route number(s) (if applicable), the name of the road and destination(s) should all be added for clear guidance to be given when using the Waze app.


Naming is only to be used for freeway style on and off ramps. Please do not add names to forks, splits or slip lanes on other types of roads, as this is unnecessary for directions to work.

Off ramps to non-freeway style roads and freeway to freeway ramps

  • If the ramp exit sign shows a number as well as a street or highway name, it should be named "Exit 15: SR16 - Police Rd". See examples 1, 2 & 3.
  • If a ramp exit number contains one or more letters, include it exactly as displayed on the sign: See Example 3a.
    • A colon has been added because it adds a pause, which makes the Text-to-Speech directions easier to understand.
  • If the ramp exit is not numbered, "to C722 - Donnybrook Rd" will do. The colon is not necessary when there is no exit number. See Example 3.
  • If a single ramp serves multiple roads / localities, use a slash with leading and trailing spaces: See Examples 4, 5, 6 & 7.
  • If the ramp does not have a road name on it, but does have a route number with or without destinations, then follow the sign that is nearest to the exit, as closely as possible. See Examples 8 & 9.
    • This is often the case on country or regional roads where a C-route number is displayed on the exit sign, but the road name is not shown.
  • If the ramp has destinations but no road name or route number, include "Exit to" and the destinations. See Example 10.
    • This is because voice navigation precedes the ramp name with "Exit left onto", meaning "Exit left onto Goulburn" would not make sense. "Exit left onto Exit to Goulburn" would be less confusing to the driver.
Table of Exit ramp naming standards
^ Exit Num? Route Number? Street Name? Locality? Example of NAme
1 Yes Yes Yes Yes Exit 15: SR16 - Police Rd to Madeupville
2 Yes Yes Yes No Exit 15: SR16 - Police Rd
3 Multiple Multiple Multiple No Exits 15 / 16: SR16 - Police Rd / M3 - EastLink
3a Yes Yes Yes No Exit W2: ALTNR1 - Kings Way
4 No Yes Yes No to C722 - Donnybrook Rd
5 No Yes Multiple No to SR56 - Valley Way / Princeton Rd
6 No Yes Multiple Yes to SR56 - Valley Way / Princeton Rd to Brusselton
7 No Yes Multiple Multiple to SR56 - Valley Way / Princeton Rd to Brusselton / Rosebud
8 No Yes No Yes to C789 to Rosebud
9 No Yes No Multiple to C789 to Rosebud / Dromana
10 No No No Yes Exit to Goulburn
11 No No Yes Yes to Princes Hwy to Sutherland

Where the ramp connects two roads that have route numbers, the ramp should have one alternative name with the route number (None for city) for each of the routes. For example, a ramp that connects "M31 - Hume Hwy" to "A23 - Barton Hwy" should have two alternative names, "M31" and "A23".

Ramps should also have city names added, as it may assist with cities in regional or remote areas and Residential Point Places. Avoid splitting a Ramp segment in order to apply two different cities - just use 1 city name for the whole segment.

Editors should also be aware that blank segment names (particularly on ramp types) may be intentional. See inheritance for more information.

Off ramps that don't have a fork along them

If there is no fork along the off ramp, then place the destination(s) on the off ramp itself. Example: "to C422 - Koo Wee Rup Rd to Pakenham / Koo Wee Rup".

Off ramps that do have a fork along them

For these ramps, some minor additions need to be made to the segment positioning to enable correct text to speech (TTS) instructions from the app.

  • Small 15-25 degree angles are to made to the 2 fork segments which come out of the fork node. This is so that the spoken instructions say "keep left" or "keep right" as appropriate.
  • The ramps which join the non-freeway style road need to have a turn instruction if appropriate. This can be done using geometry measures or a Turn Instruction Override (TIO).
For the segment before the fork:

Follow the ramp naming conventions listed above, for example "to A1 - Princes Hwy to Rockdale / Hurstville".

For the segments after the fork:
  • "to A1 - Princes Hwy to Hurstville". (e.g. for one fork)
  • "to A1 - Princes Hwy to Rockdale". (e.g. for the other fork)

On ramps from non-freeway style roads

For on ramps, use this format. For example:

  • "to M1 - Monash Fwy to Chadstone / City"

The word "Entry" may be used to precede this format in Service Stations and inter-freeway roads to prevent confusion when turning back onto ramps.

Unique scenarios

If you encounter a uniquely designed interchange or ramp system, and not sure of the best way to name the ramps, then ask for help from Country Management over on the Australian Discord Server or Australian Waze Forum.


Due to the variety of different styles of naming and destination mentioning which is on signs across the country, and due to differences in the way the text to speech in the Waze App works as well as the limited space for ramp names to display until they are cut off; slashes should be used to separate the various names. The word "to" may be used in the ramp name when there is only one destination (as shown in the examples above)

Suburb and road names should not be shortened unless it's part of a standard Waze text to speech abbreviation. Otherwise, road names and destinations will sound incorrect when they are read out aloud.


Roundabouts are special road segments created using the "roundabout" tool under "Road" in WME. Roundabouts need to be configured correctly to aid navigation instructions. Any roundabout with a radius much less than 10 metres will not be visible on the client, so make the roundabout at least this size, even if it appears to overlap the curbs on the aerial photography. (It has also been reported that, if the radius is less than 10 metres, Waze will avoid directing users to make a u-turn using the roundabout.) The radius is displayed in the editor while you're drawing the roundabout.

In Australia, roundabouts are configured as follows:

  • Naming roundabouts
    • Street: Tick "None"
    • City: enter suburb/locality
    • Rationale: Waze does not support street names on roundabouts and therefore adding one does not assist drivers to navigate with the app. Further, where the app comes across a segment with no street name it will use the street name from the next named segment in the route whilst retaining any turn indications (called inheriting). If the roundabout does have a proper, signposted name, then this can be labelled using a 'Junction/Intersection' type landmark that fills the centre of the roundabout.
  • Speed: Blank
    • Rationale: Speeds on roundabouts serve no purpose and risk distracting the driver with an excessive speed warning tone while executing a complicated driving manoeuvre. Roundabouts with speed should be configured as per above.
  • Road Type: Highest connecting road type
    • Rationale: The purpose of this configuration is to assist with routing through a roundabout by the routing server. The routing server no longer uses road type when making routes more "attractive" other than long-distance routing. Long distance routing also needs to be considered, as lowering the road type can cause a break in long-distance routes. There are also many edge-case scenarios that a too-low road type can cause.
  • Lock Level: Highest connecting road lock level
    • Rationale: Lock levels are used to protect roads and therefore, the roundabout lock level should be set to the highest lock level of the roads connecting to it. For example, if the roundabout connects a street (lock level 1), primary road (lock level 2) and a minor highway (lock level 3), all segments on the roundabout should be set to lock level 3.
  • Use unique connection points
    • Entry and exit segments should always be connected via separate junctions.
    • Rationale: If multiple entry and exit segments share the same junction node on the roundabout, Waze may give misleading navigation instructions.
  • Do not add 'Y' or 'V' necks to roundabouts
    • Do not split the road into two one-way segments just before the roundabout unless the road meets the requirements for a divided road. The majority of roundabouts do not need these splits.
    • Rationale: Adding extra and unnecessary segments to does not meet the Waze Editing Philosophy requirements of "usability and simplicity". Extra small segments might look "pretty" but do not serve the purpose of aiding navigation.
    • Example 'Y' or 'V' necks and instead, how a roundabout should be correctly configured:
A demonstration of the poor practice of adding 'V' necks connections to roundabouts.
Contrast this image with the previous and note the simple connections meet the Waze Editing Philosophy requirements of "usability and simplicity".

Below are some facts and considerations applicable to roundabouts:

  • Oval Roundabouts
    • If an oval or elliptical roundabout is required, hold down the Shift key while creating the roundabout.
  • "Roundabouts" in cul-de-sacs

Freeway Service Centres

Freeway Service Centres should be mapped according to the following convention:

  • Use "Parking Lot Road" for all roads inside the Freeway Service Centres.
    This is necessary to avoid the creation of traffic reports.
  • You may use "Private Road" for limited access roads (with no public right of way). Ensure appropriate restrictions are set on the segment.
  • Do not add a Street name to any road with the exception of the ramps.