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Canada/Road Types

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Road Types

Within Metropolitan Areas

In the US, the DOT has a Functional Classification system which had been adopted by Waze Champs as the method for classifying different road types. Overall, this has resulted in use of the highway types for arterial roads in the metropolitan areas, with the Primary Street type being available for collector-type roads.

Unfortunately, we don't have the same standardized government-published maps to adopt here, but we can consider many of the same principles. This was first looked at in Edmonton, and seems to have been met with great success.

With that in mind, we'd like to consider the following criteria for use within metropolitan areas and any city with a population exceeding ~40,000. In the event that the infrastructure of a smaller city has been designed with arterial routes, this may be adopted there, but will typically be less obvious.

If the local government has published maps that define arterial and collector routes, please use those to set the street types.

Changing of Types

As a highway enters a city/town, it often becomes a named street, and sometimes would no longer fit the usual criteria for a "highway".

Due to a number of reasons, including long-distance routing issues, as well as appearance, the highway should remain as the same type it entered the city/town (except if it's a Freeway -- if it no longer fits the Freeway criteria, it may be downgraded to Major Highway until it is again a Freeway).

The road type designation should follow the entire numbered route.

Freeways

   

In general, Freeways will have:

  • Multi-Lane, divided road
  • No cross traffic
  • No stop lights (except for ramp meters)
  • No stop signs
  • No parking
  • No stopping (except for toll booths, freeway access metering, movable bridges, and traffic congestion)
  • Highest speed limits (relative to region)
  • Some have minimum speed limits
  • Limited access:
    • Access restrictions vary by region but some typical restrictions are:
      • No pedestrians
      • No bicycles
      • No mopeds
      • No Animal-Drawn Vehicles
    • Entrance ramps are typically designed with an acceleration zone so that cars can accelerate up to freeway speeds before merging into freeway traffic
    • Exit ramps are typically designed with a deceleration zone so that traffic can exit the freeway at freeway speeds without obstructing traffic, then have sufficient distance to slow down before any turns

When considering the road type, use the above noted Freeway classification as a guideline, with the idea that a Canadian "Freeway" may lack one of the criteria (e.g. Whitemud Freeway in Edmonton is 80 km/h, but meets all other criteria; Hwy 16 W of Edmonton doesn't have ramps for every junction, but meets all other criteria)

Major Highway

   

Use for major arterial roads. Often these have 2-3 lanes (or more) in each direction, and may be structured to be turned into freeways eventually. Usually this means relatively few intersections, higher speed limit, and higher capacity.

Additionally, if a road enters an area as a Freeway, but then loses its limited-access situation, it will generally continue on as a Major Highway.

If only one type of arterial is used by the municipality on their maps, the decision between a "major" and a "minor" will be that of relative importance and capacity. Generally, a "major" will have 2+ lanes, whereas a minor may only have one. Local knowledge is also especially useful in determining this.

Minor Highway

   

Use for arterial roads. They are more direct than using collector roads and sometimes have slightly increased speed limits.

Primary Street

   

Suitable for collector roads through neighbourhoods and thoroughfares that aren't arterial.

Outside Metropolitan Areas

Trans-Canada Highway

   

Road type: Freeway
Primary name: Hwy ## (e.g. Hwy 1)
Alternate: Trans-Canada Hwy

There are parts of the TCH that travel through National/Provincial parks with frequent stops, reduced speed and undivided portions. These segments should be reduced to a Major Highway until the speed increases, stops are minimized or the highway is divided again.

Quebec Roads

   

Autoroutes, or limited access highways, such as the 20/40/55 or any *40 are considered freeways

The big exception to this rule is Autoroute 50 which is still a freeway, even though some small parts of it are not limited access and some are only two lane with no divider.

The official road map of Quebec should be consulted to determine the status of provincial routes. The map is available in French and English.

   

Major highways on the map are in depicted in blue and should be blue in Waze.

   

Minor highways in green on the map should be in green.

A very general rule of thumb is that 100-series highways are in red while 200 and 300-series highways are in yellow. This is not completely accurate, however, so please consult the official map.

Ontario Roads

   

All 400 series highways are in purple, as they are limited access freeways. Also other highways, for example the 174 just east of Ottawa, are in blue as they are limited access.

   

Certain Major highways are two lane but are still in red because they collect the minor highways, and many county roads and we need to distinguish them, examples are the 174 east of Ottawa/Orleans, the 17, the 138, 38 the 7 in eastern Ontario.

   

County roads may be in yellow if they have higher speed limits than most main roads around them. Not all county roads should be designated "Minor Highway" -- grid roads should be addressed like Alberta's Range / Township Roads.

Manitoba Roads

Freeway

   

Currently in Manitoba, only Hwy 1 (including the highways Hwy 1 splits into), like Hwy 100 and 101 (perimeter Hwy in Winnipeg) are listed as Freeway.

Major Highway

   

Major Highway is used for Highways designated as Provincial Trunk Highways, that are not considered a Freeway. These Provincial Trunk Highways are numbered from 1 to 99 for mainline routes and 100 to 199 for loop/spur routes (only four currently exist).

Minor Highway

   

These Provincial Roads are numbered from 200 to 632. Some of these routes are gravel for part or all of their length. As Waze lacks a road type for all-weather gravel roads, the consensus is to use "Dirt road / 4X4 Trail" for gravel highways in regions where paved alternative routes are available for many destinations, but to use "Minor Highway" in regions where there are no paved alternatives.

Rural Municipal Roads

Township and range roads are maintained and signed by the local rural municipality. These roads should use locally signed names where available as the primary name. Names such as Rd 74 N can be used as an alternate name, or as the primary name when a specific road name is not known, or the road does not have a name. Unless specifically in a city, town or village, these roads should have "No City" selected at this time.

Township and Range roads are not highways and should be (at highest) Primary Street.

Saskatchewan Roads

Freeway

   

Highway 1, Highway 16 (where twinned), Highway 11, Circle Drive in Saskatoon, Ring Rd in Regina.

Major Highway

   

Highways 1 - 99 when not at Freeway standards. These highways connect major areas of the province.

Minor Highway

   

Highways 100 - 399, and 900 - 999. These highways connect cities and towns to other highways.

Primary Street

   

Highways 600 - 799. These are grid roads (6xx run North/South, 7xx run East/West). While not as sturdy as other Highways, these roads will stand up to truck traffic and should be preferred over other rural roads.

Other Rural Roads

Other Rural roads should be entered as Dirt road / 4X4 Trail, as these should only be used for routing if no other option is easily available.

Alberta Roads

   

Freeways in Canada need to follow a different standard than in the US.

Currently in Alberta, only ring roads (perimeter roads around a city), Hwy 1 (including the highways Hwy 1 splits into), Hwy 2, Hwy 16, and any highways with limited access (e.g. highways with no traffic lights, and access is exclusive to ramps entrances).

When considering the road type, use the above noted Freeway classification as a guideline, with the idea that a Canadian "Freeway" may lack one of the criteria (e.g. Whitemud Freeway in Edmonton is 80 km/h, but meets all other criteria; Hwy 16 W of Edmonton doesn't have ramps for every junction, but meets all other criteria)

   

   

Generally highways in the 1–216 series are major highways (except when they are freeways), and highways in the 500–999 series are minor highways. However, a highway with a letter suffix in its number should generally be one type lower than the corresponding highway without the letter suffix. For example Hwy 2A is major highway, one type lower than Hwy 2 (freeway), and Hwy 13A in Camrose is minor highway, one type lower than Hwy 13 (major highway).

Some highways in the 500–999 series are gravel, and this raises a dilemma for Waze editors because Waze lacks a road type for all-weather gravel roads. The consensus is to use "Dirt road / 4X4 Trail" for gravel highways in regions where paved alternative routes are available for many destinations, but to use "Minor Highway" in regions where there are no paved alternatives.

Township and Range Roads

Township and range roads are maintained and signed by the local municipal district (MD). Some MDs have chosen a numbering format with a hyphen before the last digit (e.g. “Township Rd 38-4”) but most have chosen a hyphenless format (e.g. “Range Rd 15”). In WME, the road names should follow the local format as used on the signs. Abbreviate “Rd” but leave “Township” and “Range” unabbreviated.

Township and Range roads are not highways and should be (at highest) Primary Street.

List (incomplete) of MDs that use hyphens: Clearwater County, Lacombe County, Mountain View County, Stettler County

British Columbia Roads

   

Freeways in Canada need to follow a different standard than in the US.

When considering the road type, use the above noted Freeway classification as a guideline, with the idea that a Canadian "Freeway" may lack one of the criteria (e.g. Whitemud Freeway in Edmonton is 80 km/h, but meets all other criteria; Hwy 16 W of Edmonton doesn't have ramps for every junction, but meets all other criteria)

   

   

Highways are defined by the provincial numbering scheme.  Any numbered route will be either a Freeway, Major Highway or Minor Highway, regardless of the use of stop lights or the path it takes through a city/town.

Additionally, streets that are named "Highway" (e.g. Barnet Highway in Burnaby) may also receive a highway classification.

Differentiation between a major and minor highway is largely based on its destination and importance of the route.  Also, a highway with a letter suffix in its number should generally be one type lower than the corresponding highway without the letter suffix. For example Hwy 19A in Courtenay is major highway, one type lower than Hwy 19 (freeway), and Hwy 4A in Coombs is minor highway, one type lower than Hwy 4 (major highway).

Alleys

Alleys should not be added to the map. In some cases (e.g. Vancouver and Toronto areas), we have left the ones in place, but in most cases they should be removed.

This is particularly relevant to basemapped areas that included them -- e.g. Saskatchewan -- small towns should certainly have the alleyways removed.

In places where they are retained, they should have their city name set and the "None" box checked for Street Name. They should also be changed to Parking Lot street type.

Parking Lot Roads

Please read the Best Map Editing guidelines on parking lot roads and use parking lot roads sparingly.

Locking Standard

Canada has active "Traffic Locks", these locks are based on usage from users. They are limited to a max rank of 4, but can be any rank below.

Segments that have restricted turns must be locked to a minimum Level 3.

If the current lock or traffic lock is higher than the minimum standards listed below, please don't lower the lock.

Minimum Road Locking Rank Standard
Segment Type Minimum locks
 Freeway  4
 Ramp  highest rank of connected segment
Arrow Red-2.pngRestriction arrow yellow mouseover.gifPermitted green u-turn 3
 Major Highway  4
 Minor Highway  3
 Primary Street  2
 Street  1
 :|:|:|:|:Railroad:|:|:|:|:  4