[Talk-us] highway=trunk for NHS routes?

Kerry Irons irons54vortex at gmail.com
Sat Dec 31 21:19:24 UTC 2016

Not to cloud this discussion, but be aware that at least some states refer to “county trunk” roads at the county level.  Near as I can tell that simply means “major” vs. “minor” roads at the county level without rigid criteria to define them.  Looking at the US NHS roads for my area, it seems that the choices to include a given highway in the NHS is fairly arbitrary.  There may have been traffic counts included in the decision but that would have been only part of the criteria – highways in low-population areas are part of the NHS while much heavier traffic highways in more densely populated areas are not.



Kerry Irons


From: Bill Ricker [mailto:bill.n1vux at gmail.com] 
Sent: Saturday, December 31, 2016 12:22 PM
To: Volker Schmidt <voschix at gmail.com>
Cc: talk-us at openstreetmap.org Openstreetmap <talk-us at openstreetmap.org>
Subject: Re: [Talk-us] highway=trunk for NHS routes?



On Sat, Dec 31, 2016 at 4:21 AM, Volker Schmidt <voschix at gmail.com <mailto:voschix at gmail.com> > wrote:

You can find detailed PDF maps of all NHS Routes, state-by-state at a web page of the Federal Highway Administration 

​[...]. On these maps you will find plenty of NHS roads that are definitively not trunk roads.

Just two examples in Arizona:


I will agree isn't what could handle 'trunk' volume in a densely settled area in EU or NY.
If we follow the physical description checklist rigidly, we'd conclude there are few trunk roads outside of metropolises. 

Both appear to be well maintained in the photos; the width of paving greatly exceeds the two marked lanes. Out where "50 Miles to Next Gas" signs still live, this is a major road. 

US160 is the most significant road for literally miles. ​
US180 is the tourist main feeder to the Grand Canyon . . 

Wikipedia says [0]

The National Highway System (NHS) is a network of strategic  <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Highway> highways within the  <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States> United States, including the  <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interstate_Highway_System> Interstate Highway System and other roads serving major airports, ports, rail or truck terminals, railway stations,  <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pipeline_transport> pipeline terminals and other strategic transport facilities. Altogether, it constitutes the largest highway system in the world.

Individual  <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/U.S._state> states are encouraged to focus federal funds on improving the efficiency and safety of this network. The roads within the system were identified by the  <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Department_of_Transportation> United States Department of Transportation in cooperation with the states, local officials, and  <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metropolitan_planning_organization> metropolitan planning organizations and approved by the  <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Congress> United States Congress in 1995.


So being on this list should assure the road is among the best maintained.

Oh, because we don't have green A signage on the NHS designated routes, and we only map what is physically there ? 
The Mapillary photos show modern video billboards. If the advertisers recognize it as a trunk worth their time, we can too.

Being better maintained or wider than other in the greater area is physical.


Richard's comment 

   "(FWIW, the current distinction between highway=trunk and highway=primary in
the US seems so arbitrary that I actually render them both the same for cycle.travel <http://cycle.travel> )" 

suggests forcefully that our current  rule for US is NOT working. 

Looking at states i'm more familiar with than AZ, Massachusetts [1] and Maine [2] , these NHS roads are pretty much what the locals think of as the main connections between cities/regions, which is a reasonable "human" translation of "trunk".  

I do see some "MAP-21 NHS Principal Arterials" that are feeders to the presumed trunks, unclear if they deserve trunk status. I also see some interesting omissions, US20, MA30, MA9 are not included end to end, but only selectively.  But if that means federal funding is concentrated on portions of US20 that are in NHS at expense of those not, then they will be physically different despite same signage.

This proposal is better than what we have now -- in rural areas at least .


( ​I love that FHWA has these maps posted publicly. 35 years ago i produced a similar state-and-city atlas for a DOT rail safety office ​... with a plotter and color Xerox[tm] copier.  Lost to history.
personal to Volker - thanks for pointing these out to me ! )

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Highway_System_(United_States) 
​[1] http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/planning/national_highway_system/nhs_maps/massachusetts/ma_massachusetts.pdf​

​[2] http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/planning/national_highway_system/nhs_maps/maine/me_Maine.pdf 



Bill Ricker
bill.n1vux at gmail.com <mailto:bill.n1vux at gmail.com> 


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