Rest areas

From Wazeopedia

This article is a US-based set of guidelines. It includes the community recommended guidelines for mapping rest areas.


In Waze, the following terms are defined as follows:

Rest Area

A convenient stopping place located directly off of a highway, which typically provides, at minimum, parking and restroom facilities. Some may have information kiosks, vending machines, picnic areas or "dump" facilities for RVs.

Welcome Center or Visitor Center

A special type of rest area, often located near state borders or near major airports.

Service Area or Service Plaza

In some states may also include private commercial businesses such as fuel stations, and restaurants. These rest areas are typically found along the East Coast.

Other related terms

A rest area or Rest Stop with limited or no public facility is a Parking Area, Scenic Area, Wayside Park, Roadside Park, or Picnic Area. These also have navigational value, and provide drivers a safe place to pull off the highway to rest, or do other tasks. These should be included as a rest area when editing the map (with special guidelines below).

Mapping guidelines

Exiting the highway

Alabama Welcome 1.jpg

Road type

In general follow the standard guidelines for road types leaving the highway as can be seen along the highway nearby the rest area.

If the exit from the highway is a one-way road that can be taken at speed, it should be a ramp.

If the main entrance is a two-way road, just use a parking lot type.

As with all newly created roads, be sure to confirm the roads so they route properly on the client map.


Follow the guidelines for your area when naming the exits from the highway. In the US follow these guidelines. For example a typical exit ramp would be named "Exit ##: Rest Area" (if numbered), or simply "to Rest Area" if not numbered. If the Rest Area has a unique name or additional information, posted on signs at or approaching the area, common to plazas, and welcome centers, that should be included in the ramp name.

Basically Entrance ramps should be named matching their signs, according the Road Names wiki guidance.

A few examples
Sign Says Ramp Name
Rest Area => to Rest Area
Parking Area => to Parking Area
Rest Area
Louisiana Welcome Center
to Rest Area / Louisiana Welcome Center
Rest Area
Tourist Information Center
to Rest Area / Tourist Information Center
Exit 34
Beckley Travel Plaza
Exit 34: Beckley Travel Plaza
Rest Area
Trucks Only
to Rest Area / Trucks Only
Truck Haven to Truck Haven

The main parking area

Alabama Welcome 3.jpg

Road type

Inside the parking area there should be at least one segment using the parking lot road type that links between the exit from and return to the highway. Follow the general guidelines for mapping a parking lot meaning only the main roads of the rest area should be mapped.

Using only the parking lot road type will prevent the Waze server from sending cars off and on the highway through the rest area to avoid traffic.


Generally the parking lot roads are not named, but if inside the city limits be sure to include the city name.

Returning to the highway

Alabama Welcome 4.jpg

Road type

When selecting the road type, generally follow the same guidelines as was done for the exit from the highway unless it is significantly different from the exit and would not make sense to match the exit type.


Also follow the standard convention as was used for the exit. For interstates the typical convention would be "to I-5 N" (to Highway_Name Cardinal) and if a control city is shown on the local signs use "to I-5 N / Sacramento". If other information is displayed on the signs at the entrance back to the highway, add those to the name as appropriate according to the guidelines.

Adding a Place

Alabama Welcome 2.jpg

The Rest Area Place area should be covered by an Area Place, drawn to the borders, and along right-of-way of the adjacent highway, but not snapped to the highway. Use two separate Places if there are two separate rest areas which are not connected by driveable roads on opposite sides of a single highway.

Place categories

  • Transportation (with no subcategory selected) should be set as the primary category.
This will facilitate search results for Wazers who search for transportation related results. It is logically the best match category for these venues.
  • Scenic Outlook / Viewpoint (under Outdoors) should be set as the second category.
This category result is triggered anytime a Wazer searches for the words Rest stop, or Rest area, therefore to ensure the rest areas will appear in the search results for these search terms, this category needs to be included.
  • Any other appropriate categories for the venue based on other services available there, i.e. ATM, Food, Shopping, etc., except for Gas station. Gas stations should be mapped as a separate place area following the Gas Station place guidance, and mapped to the boundaries of the gas station area.

Place naming

The standardized name format has been optimized for both instant and regular search results.

  • The name begins with "Rest Area" to facilitate the instant search results, which area based on the first words of the search term.
  • If the rest area only allows certain types of vehicles, or has no facilities (restrooms), that information should be made immediately apparent to Wazers in the search results. this information comes next in lowercase in parenthesis e.g "(trucks only)", "(no facilities)", or "(trucks only, no facilities)". The term no facilities has been chosen to be polite, based on character width to keep the names as short as possible.
    • Rest areas with no facilities should also specify that as the first line of the description saying "No restrooms" to accommodate those who are not familiar with the term facilities.
  • The name of the highway comes next in the place in the places' name following a hyphen (-). If the rest area is only accessible from one direction of the highway, then include the direction cardinal in with the highway name. Rest areas which can be accessed from either side of the highway should just have the highway name, with no direction cardinal, e.g. " - I-75 N", or " - I-10".
  • The mile location is the next component of the name, however MP, and MM are used in different regions to mean the same thing, and using either one exclusively nationwide could lead to confusion. It has therefore been decided to use "mile" exclusively for this purpose. The word "mile" only uses 2 more pixels width than "MM" when displayed in the client.
    • Welcome centers which will typically already have long names, and be very close to a states border, should not include the mile in the place name. The mile should be entered as the first line of the description instead so it is still readily displayed to those who want to see it.
  • Unique information comes last, starting with the official unique name of the rest area, if there is one visible on signage at or leading up to the rest area. e.g. "Atchafalaya Welcome Center"
    • Colloquial, official given, and common names should be entered as alternate names, and as the first line of the description. This ensures the names are both searchable, and apparent to Wazers who view the place details.
  • Finally any special rest area type is placed at the very end of the name using lowercase in parenthesis. e.g. "(scenic view)", "(lookout point)".
    • Parking areas don't need to specifically identified as such at the end of the name, because it should be apparent from the "(no facilities)" statement earlier, that the area is only for parking.

Name the Place using the highway name, cardinal direction, mile marker, and unique name in the following format: (Items in curly brackets {} are only used if applicable)

Rest Area {([vehicle type] only, no facilities)} - [highway] {direction} mile [mile] {Rest Area unique name} {([special type])}.

Rest area place names examples
Place name
Rest Area - I-59 N mile 152
Rest Area - I-77 mile 45 Beckley Travel Plaza
Rest Area (no facilities) - I-75 S mile 15 (Scenic View)
Rest Area - I-65 S Alabama Welcome Center
Rest Area - I-10 Atchafalaya Welcome Center
Rest Area - I-10 mile 96
Rest Area (trucks only, no facilities) - I-65 N mile 24
Rest Area (trucks only) - I-23 S mile 76

Setting the stop point

Rest area stop point.png

The stop point should be placed just before the first split inside the area (usually at the end of the entrance ramp).

This is to ensure proper routing through the individual PLRs in the area to the correct location, the stop point has to be placed in a generic location, which is traversed by all vehicles entering the area. Otherwise in areas which divert certain vehicle types to specific sets of road segments, the stop point would force routing all vehicles through one set of segments (the closest to the stop point).

Routing passed that point can be handled with partial restrictions on the segments set for vehicle type. If the users add the rest stop as a stop along their navigated route to their destination, the navigation will continue past the stop point towards their destination, forcing it to try to find a route back to the highway, thereby giving directions past the stop point only along the unrestricted segments for that vehicle type.

Additional places

Some Rest Areas, particularly Service Plazas, will house individual businesses in them (e.g. a coffee shop, fast food restaurant, convenience store, information kiosk, etc.). These can be mapped as additional Place points with all their unique details, and positioned over the building they reside in.

If fuel is offered, add a Gas Station using a Place Area over that location in the service plaza.