[Talk-us] Trunk

Nathan Mills nathan at nwacg.net
Sun Oct 15 14:51:46 UTC 2017

Yes, on more than one occasion back in the mists of time before armchair mappers had spread the lanes and other condition tags widely I found some pretty shitty US highways labeled as trunk, not because they are better roads, but because they happen to be long distance through routes. US412 should not be trunk across most of the state of Arkansas. It's mostly a crappy winding route that is actively dangerous for trucks, who should be taking I-49 to I-40 or US71 north to 44 unless their destination is directly along the route.

By the network definition, it solidly deserves trunk, but by any other measure it does not, and calling it so drives traffic to places it shouldn't be and makes the map harder to use effectively at a glance.

Yesterday(ish) someone asked which maps differentiate expressway vs freeway vs everything else that is paved in their inking styles. I'll answer that with a question. Have you ever seen a US paper map? Until the digital road atlases with topo shading and/or overlays started becoming common in the late 90s basically every official state highway map, chamber of commerce map, gas station map, and road atlas differentiated divided, limited access, undivided paved, and unpaved with styles and paved/unpaved with weight. Sometimes you'd get numbered highways in red and other roads in black (with light grey or dashed lines to mean unpaved, depending on the map)

It's long been how US road maps are drawn, so map users here expect that differentiation to exist. Of course, we also expect toll roads to be colored green, but OSM doesn't do that either. (And I'm fine with that, TBH. I don't consider it as important as being able to differentiate between divided and undivided in a relatively simple way.)

If someone could explain why primary is insufficient to denote a paved rural road that connects minor population centers far from other routes. Why should US-71 south of Witcherville in Arkansas not be tagged as primary once the divided segment ends? There aren't many US highways of that size with more traffic, but it seems solidly primary to me. Some might make the whole thing a trunk since the route goes through several states and is important enough to be being replaced as money becomes available with I-49. Never mind the four plus hours of driving through little towns on a windy mountain road involved. I'd have gotten in an edit war over it if someone had tried to tag the part north of I-40 a trunk before the freeway was built to Fayetteville and beyond.


On October 15, 2017 1:27:42 AM EDT, Paul Johnson <baloo at ursamundi.org> wrote:
>On Sun, Oct 15, 2017 at 12:19 AM, Paul Johnson <baloo at ursamundi.org>
>> The US is pretty well known for overbuilding highways.  Are we trying
>> document how things are on the ground or how things are actually
>> connected?  If we're going for the former, then yeah, only Bend
>Parkway and
>> a brief streak through Klamath Falls is a trunk part of US 97.  If
>> going for the latter, then go ahead with NE2's idea and smash almost
>> everything into trunk.
>Keep hitting send too soon.  Personally, I find what's on the ground to
>more useful than the connections.  Game theory and any routing engine
>figure out the connections.  But knowing what's a stupid rural road
>with an
>overly generous speed limit and what's almost but not quite a freeway
>more useful.  If I'm driving a big rig going from southwestern Canada
>Alaska to somewhere in Nevada, I don't give two shakes what some
>things is the most prominent road.  I care more about what *actually is
>big road*.  Calling a two leg segment of US 97 30km outside of East
>Butthump, Oregon a trunk is a great disservice when it's basically on
>with County Road Number Who Even Cares tracing off to Outer
>Smalltownsville, other than the fact that it goes through.  Calling it
>trunk when it's not is going to set an unreasonably high expectation
>what is otherwise an overtravelled, glorified two digit National Forest
>route through the east Cascades frontier.  Primary is definitely ample
>that road, even if you're going a more obscure minor haul route like
>to Reno.

Sent from my Android device with K-9 Mail. Please excuse my brevity.
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