[Talk-us] Current Texas State Highway ref is incorrect

Paul Johnson baloo at ursamundi.org
Fri Nov 6 08:34:21 UTC 2015

On Thu, Nov 5, 2015 at 10:52 PM, Shawn K. Quinn <skquinn at rushpost.com>
> Consider this opposition. The majority of states seem to be using the
> postal abbreviation for state highways. There are only a few that don't
> or that only use a single letter (Kansas and Michigan come to mind).

Kansas has been moving to KS (even though K is unambiguous) for consistency
reasons.  Michigan should probably get on board as well (and I've seen
hints that it's starting to).

> More meaning is evident in "LA 8 becomes TX 63" (oh, we're crossing into
> Texas) as opposed to "SH 8 becomes SH 63" (what, the highway department
> can't make up their mind?). Also, seeing "TX 63" or "LA 8" makes it a
> bit easier to figure out exactly what state highway shields I should be
> looking for. (A pet peeve of mine are directions that just treat highway
> numbers as one and the same. When I give directions, I always specify
> I-10, Texas 288, US 59, FM 1960, LA 12, etc. so there is no ambiguity.
> Maybe I am the odd one out though...)

Well, there's also state routes that belong to a different state than they
belong to.  Honestly the way Texas is handling state highways is a hot mess
in the real world, but it's made even hotter by systematic OSM
inconsistency with both OSM and TxDOT, what with way tagging ref=* with
"Loop 395" instead of "TX Loop 395", and splitting the Farm/Ranch to Market
network into two networks (when they're only one; the "ranch road" and
"farm road" signs are TxDOT's own internal foibles and used inconsistently
and interchangeable even along the same road somewhat often).  Even better,
there *is* a Ranch Road network in Texas, of which there's only one member
(making it similar to the NASA Road network, which also only has one
member).  http://www.dot.state.tx.us/tpp/hwy/fmfacts.htm

My Texas fix would be to stop tagging routes on ways entirely (ie, ref=* on
a way shouldn't have anything to do with a route it's a member of, but
something that should actually have something to do with the way; Oregon
actually does make this distinction, for example) as this is the only thing
for which we tag qualities that belong to a completely different entity
than for which the one it belongs, stop tagging farm-to-market roads as
"ranch", leave that for Ranch Road 1 (and any of it's future peers
instead).  All in all, *it's long overdue that we retire ref=* on ways to
describe routes.*
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