Routing penalties/Controlling U-turn penalties

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Forum topic unread.gif [Page Update] Intersections / U-turns under 15m.
U-turn Roads.png
Note: The road types displayed in the images might not match the standards for where you edit. Please check your local wiki and with local experts to learn the correct road type to use for median segments in your area.

The Waze routing algorithm has a method of penalizing some double-left and double-right turns. This can prevent U-turns at H or # style intersections on divided and parallel roads.

It is useful for preventing the sequence of two turns that would make up the U-turn, while still allowing the individual turns. However, if either of the two turns making up the U-turn is illegal or impossible, disallow that turn instead. The U-turn will then not be routed, and the following penalty does not matter.


Preventing median U-turns link to this section

An extremely large U-turn penalty is set for a double-left or double-right turn when all three of the conditions below are met:

  1. Three segments: The U-turn is a reversal of driving direction through three segments:
    an incoming segment (A), a single median segment (B) and an outgoing segment (C).
  2. Short median: The median segment (B) is shorter than 15 meters (49.21 feet).
    As a safety margin, leave a 1 m buffer zone by using Expression error: Unexpected < operator. meters (Expression error: Unexpected < operator. feet) or less.
  3. In/out parallelism: The in and out segments (A and C) are within ±5° of parallel to each other.


It is possible for this method to fail to prevent a U-turn when it is the first segment of a route, or it immediately follows a reroute. If you observe this method to fail in other situations when it is implemented properly, please report it in this forum thread


Allowing median U-turns link to this section

To allow a double-left or double-right turn through the median segment, break any one of the above conditions. For example:

  • To allow median U-turns in both directions, break condition #2 by making the median segment (B) Expression error: Unexpected < operator. meters (Expression error: Unexpected < operator. feet) or longer
  • To allow a U-turn from only one direction, first set up U-turn prevention for both directions. Break condition #3 on the side where U-turns are allowed. Increase or decrease the angles so that the in and out segments (A and C) are not parallel. A micro-dogleg can be used to change the angle without changing the appearance of the segment.
U-turn selective Uturn prevention.png


Checking for parallel incoming and outgoing segments link to this section

Condition #3 for U-turn prevention requires that the in and out segments (A and C) are within ±5º of parallel to each other. This is checked by using a straight median segment as the reference and the Junction Angle Info (JAI) browser extension to measure angles. JAI may be set for absolute or turn angles; using either is OK.

Straight median segments link to this section

If the median segment is straight, sum the two angles making up the U-turn:

  1. The angle between the incoming and median segments (between A and B)
  2. The angle between the median and outgoing segments (between B and C)

The in and out segments (A and C) are considered parallel if the sum is between 175º and 185º.

U-turn Parallel Check Straight.png
The short 14m median segment in the above examples satisfies condition #2 for U-turn prevention.
Curved median segments link to this section

If the median segment (B) has been shaped with geometry nodes, it is not straight and cannot be used for determining parallelism. Instead, draw a straight segment connected at the same in and out junctions (where in-segment (A) junctions with the median segment (B) and where the median segment (B) junctions with the out-segment (C)). Check the angles using this new straight segment, and delete the new segment afterwards.
U-turn Parallel Check Curved.png

Be sure the junctions are not locked above your rank. Otherwise, drawing a new temporary segment connected to locked junctions may produce a save error even if it is deleted prior to saving.

Click Expand for details on workaround options when any segments connected to either junction node cannot be edited.

  1. Disable the WME setting "Draw new roads with all turns allowed" before drawing the new segment.
  2. Draw the new segment disconnected from any other segment, then drag the end nodes to connect to the junctions.


Additional examples link to this section

Example Tip Details
U-turn example 2mediansegs-bdp.png Cutting a median segment into two may have unintended consequences U-turns are legal at this intersection. Even though U-turn prevention will not be triggered here, Waze will rarely route a U-turn at this intersection. When the railroad was junctioned with the median segment, it cut a single median into two. The two-segment discontinuity between divided roads of Major Blvd can trigger a lower penalty mechanism designed to discourage detours off the main road (see Big Detour Prevention, BDP).
U-turn example 2mediansegs-allowed.png Cutting a median segment into two may have unintended consequences U-turns are not legal at this intersection, but Waze may route a U-turn here anyway. Cutting the median breaks condition #1, so U-turn prevention will not trigger. Furthermore, BDP might not trigger here if all of its criteria are not met.
U-turn example curvedU.png A median segment Expression error: Unexpected < operator. meters (Expression error: Unexpected < operator. feet) or longer will always allow a U-turn While condition #3 requires a straight segment for determining parallel in and out segments, condition #2 is the measure of the length of the median segment itself. Be careful when the space between the divided road is small. Ensure the U-turn segment is Expression error: Unexpected < operator. meters (Expression error: Unexpected < operator. feet) or longer by adjusting geometry. A median segment of any shape can trigger a U-turn penalty between parallel roads if it is not long enough.
U-turn example parkinglot.png To ensure proper routing between two closely spaced parallel roads, connect the two with a segment Expression error: Unexpected < operator. meters (Expression error: Unexpected < operator. feet) or longer U-turn prevention triggers for both double-left and double-right turns over any road type. If the three conditions for median U-turn prevention are met, a large penalty will be applied, irrespective of whether the turn is onto the same road in the opposite direction or onto a completely different road. Both double-left and double-right turns can be penalized, regardless of country, and can occur for one way or two way segments.