[Talk-us] Trunk

Paul Johnson baloo at ursamundi.org
Sat Oct 14 02:24:20 UTC 2017

On Fri, Oct 13, 2017 at 9:10 PM, Bradley White <theangrytomato at gmail.com>
> This situation is NOT the case for the majority of the US, and trying
> to use this definition is what has been leading to unresolved
> confusion about the purpose of the trunk tag. MUTCD gives a definition
> of "divided highway with partial control of access". This is rather
> vague, and as stated above, means countless unimportant suburban
> arteries would now be considered the second most important roads in
> the country. Many states haven't even adopted usage of this term at
> all. I have seen planning documents of some counties that have
> multiple grades of "expressways" depending on intersection distance,
> speed limits, etc. Outside of bona-fide urban expressway systems like
> the Santa Clara Expressway system, I think it's a nearly meaningless
> term.

I would tend to give AASHTO, NACTO and especially USDOT documents to be
authoritative when it comes to defining documents for US transportation,
however, this may be coming from getting into civil engineering in Oregon
where expressways and freeways are using the MUTCD definitions quite
strictly, making the trunk situation more obvious.  Also, hence my
frustration with how WA 500 is being handled in Vancouver; every time
someone updates it to be trunk from I 5 to Fourth Plain, someone updates it
to being a checkerboard of motorway again.  Idiots...

> ------------------------------
> Trunk roads are the most important non-motorway roads in the country.
> These roads connect major population centers and are crucial to the
> transportation network as a whole, acting as a supplement to the
> interstate system for cross-country travel. They are usually US
> highways, but may be of other designation as well.
> In rural areas, these roads often - but not always - are built with
> expressway features (divided carriageway, access control,
> grade-separated interchanges) at some or all portions of the road.
> Often, these roads will circumvent towns along the route, but they may
> also penetrate towns as an important road ("Main Street"s), in which
> case it is to remain trunk.
> In urban areas, most expressway systems should be tagged trunk,
> especially if they serve as an important artery through the city not
> already served by a freeway. If a trunk road enters from rural into
> urban, in general it should remain trunk until it connects with a more
> important road (motorway), or passes through the city completely (as
> an exception, cases where the city IS the important destination may
> end the trunk designation at the city). Very minor expressway systems
> that serve small population centers or destinations should NOT be
> tagged as trunk; instead consider using a lower classification of road
> along with "motorroad=".
> ------------------------------

I reject this because it will lead to an overemphasis of relatively smaller
roads.  Including primary at lower zooms might help what you're referring
to as being splotchiness with trunks in rural areas.
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