[OSM-talk] Highway=trunk : harmonization between countries ?

Mark Wagner mark+osm at carnildo.com
Fri Feb 23 20:25:53 UTC 2018

On Thu, 15 Feb 2018 16:14:42 -0200
Fernando Trebien <fernando.trebien at gmail.com> wrote:

> Landing on this discussion several months late. I've just heard of it
> by reading a wiki talk page [1].
> Since 13 February 2009, the wiki [2] criticises highway classification
> as problematic/unverifiable. This has also been subject to a lot of
> controversy (and edit wars) in my local community (Brazil), especially
> regarding the effect of (lack of) pavement.
> In trying to achieve greater consensus some years ago, I decided to
> seek opinions elsewhere and finally I arrived at this scheme [3] which
> I think is very useful, if not perfect yet. It can be easily
> summarised like this:
> - trunk: best routes between large/important cities
> - primary: best routes between cities and above
> - secondary: best routes between towns/suburbs and above
> - tertiary: best routes between villages/neighbourhoods and above
> - unclassified: best routes between other place=* and above

"Best" and "large/important" are both rather subjective.  Further, this
proposed system gives rather questionable results at times.

For example, the fastest route between the cities of Fargo (largest city
in North Dakota, population 120,000) and Rapid City (second-largest
city in South Dakota, population 68,000) follows I-29 and I-90, while
the shortest follows I-94 for a ways, then cuts cross-country on a mix
of minor state highways to save 70 miles while taking about five minutes
longer (on a total trip time of 470 minutes).

Which one is the "best"?  If it's the fast route, there's no issue:
both roads are already "highway=motorway".

If it's the short route, how should it be classified?  Fargo and Rapid
City are both larger than any city within 200 miles, which would
seem to make them "large/important", but even by western American
standards, they're pretty small in an absolute sense.  Trunk, primary,
or secondary?


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