User:Tonestertm/Detour Thoughts

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Big Detours link to this section

Waze routing includes a mechanism to prevent routing off, and right back on to, the same highway or freeway. In the case of freeways, this is known as a (ramp jump). The assumption is that drivers will prefer to remain on the highway/freeway even if Waze calculates that taking a series of ramps or other collector/distributor roads is slightly faster or shorter. <Insert image of off and on routing>

NOTE: The continuation path we wish Waze to use must not also meet the below criteria, or it will be equally penalized, cancelling the BDP effect.

The simplified version is that if a road is continuously named and typed, Waze should not detour from it, according to the criteria below. There are a number of details which must be met, in order for Big Detour Prevention (BDP) to function properly.

Criteria link to this section

A "name-discontinuity" is defined as a series of segments in middle of a route which do not contain the same name as segments on either side of them in the same route.
Conversely a "uninterrupted name" is defined as a series of segments in middle of a route which do have an identical name on all the segments (with the exception of a single isolated segment among them).
A "possible detour" is a series of segments in the middle of a route which meet the minimum criteria to trigger an evaluation.
A "detour" is defined as a portion of a route which meets all the criteria listed below.

Possible detours are evaluated to determine if they meet ALL the following criteria, and are avoided if they do.

To be considered as a possible detour there must be a Freeway / Highway segment of the same 'Road Type Group', which share any name, both before and after a series of segments which contain a name-discontinuity, and are in a different 'Road Type Group'. Road type groups are listed in the chart below.

  1. The highway / freeway segments both before and after the possible detour need to have the same (primary, alternate, or any combination of both) street name, which is not present on the name-discontinuity segments. As of June 2015 city names do not affect this algorithm. While they used to in the past, the algorithm has been updated.
    • The name-discontinuity segments must not have any other uninterrupted name which appears on both the Fwy/Hwy segments before and after the name-discontinuity.
  2. There must be an alternate route connecting the Fwy/Hwy segments immediately before and after the possible detour which bypasses the segments of the possible detour.
    • This alternative route may also be a detour itself, as long as it is a different route and doesn't use the same segments as the original possible detour being evaluated.
  3. The first segment after the possible detour must be accessible from another segment of the same road type group.
    • If the first segment after the possible detour is the beginning of the Fwy/Hwy and can only be accessed from ramps, or segments of a different road type group, it will not be considered a part of a Fwy/Hwy continuation - thereby cancelling BDP.
  4. The possible detour is not composed of the same 'Road Type Group' as the continuation after the possible detour.
  5. The name-discontinuity is more than one segment long, and
  6. The possible detour is shorter than the threshold length as defined in the chart below.

Road Type Group Threshold
 Major Highway 
 Minor Highway  500m

It is important to understand that Waze uses a penalty-based routing system. It computes the total penalties for a route and selects the one with the least cumulative penalty. Therefore it is possible for big detour routes to occur when the primary route is extremely slow.

Notes link to this section

  • For divided roadways that have the same name on both carriageways, the big detour prevention mechanism will prevent U-turns that traverse more than one segment. Thus in the intersection below, the configuration on the left will be used to route a U-turn because it uses a single segment between the two parallel roadways with the same name. In contrast, the configuration on the right will not use the U-Turn road because it branches from another segment causing multiple segments between the two parallel roads with the same name, and the U-turn is not in the same Road Type Group.

  • Be careful of "false positives!" For example, where route number concurrencies begin and end, the big detour mechanism may be unexpectedly triggered as follows (see diagram):
    • In a concurrency, two highways share the same road, and both names will appear on the concurrent segments, using Alternate names. Where the concurrency ends, the two highways split into separate roadways again.
    • Often, there are ramp segments connecting the last concurrent segment to one or both of the non-concurrent continuations. If the concurrency was of I-1234 and I-4567, for example, there might be a ramp named "to I-1234 / Sometown" - a name which contains "I-1234" but is not identical to the highway name.
    • If the ramp does not also carry a simple alternate name of "I-1234", then there is a discontinuity of the highway name between the concurrency and the continuation highway. If there are two ramp segments like this, it will trigger Big Detour Prevention unexpectedly, and Waze will create an unneeded penalty for continuing on I-1234.
    • To prevent this, just assign I-1234 as an alternate name to all ramps between the two sections (concurrency and continuation). Note that if there is only a single ramp segment connecting the highways, there will not be a "false positive." Nevertheless, it is a good practice to do this even for a single ramp segment, in case the ramp is cut into two segments later, either by accident or because later construction or map improvements connect another feeder ramp in the middle.
  • Another example of a false positive could occur where a highway has multiple wayfinders connected one to another (for example, if there are several multi-lane exits in a row).

Small Detours link to this section

Waze has a small detour prevention mechanism to deal with instances where Waze calculates that that a left turn can be "optimized" by using U-turns and right turns (either continue straight, U-turn, right turn; or alternatively, immediate right turn, U-turn, continue straight). While this may save a few seconds over waiting for a long average left turn, it is undesirable. Waze will prevent such detours if there is not a measurable difference in the route times. The exact difference in time required to trigger this prevention is proprietary, and subject to change as needed.