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Junction Box

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Junction boxes are currently able to be created and edited in the normal editor by Rank 5+ editors.

Junction Box 7.png
Junction boxes (JBs) are used to improve ETA calculations and routing through complicated intersections, and interchanges. Junction boxes are basically a hint editors can give the Waze routing services that “although these few segments are cut in a few places, they generally should be treated as a single point which connects traffic from several sources”. This hint helps the routing service get better ETA calculations and hence select better routes for Wazers.


The junction box enables a complex intersection, or interchange composed and displayed as multiple segments to be treated by the routing server as a single junction node with multiple inputs and outputs. Considering a complex intersection as a single point has several beneficial properties:

  • Traffic speed data for each path through the junction box can be collected separately.
  • Turn restrictions can also be separately controlled for each path through the junction box.
  • Additional beneficial features of a junction box will be listed here as they become available.

For ETA purposes, the routing server does not consider segments wholly within the junction box, but rather treats the junction box as if all the segments which enter or exit the the junction box are connected to at a single junction node.

Junction boxes are considered only by the routing server. As of October 2015, junction boxes have no effect on navigational prompts. Junction boxes have no visibility in the client or on the live map. Junction boxes do not effect the search engine; the origin or destination of route may be contained in a junction box.

Improving data collection

Junction Box 3.png

Let's look at how a complex intersection can skew turn delay transition speed data. Take the following intersection for example. It seems at first glance like a pretty simple intersection, but if it usually experiences heavy traffic this intersection could be collecting bad data.

Junction Box 4.png

Assume that all the roads are two-way and all turns are enabled. Consider the drivers going from A to E, and from A to F, when there is a traffic jam for the left turn (at point D), but traffic going straight through D is flowing fine.

Without the junction box, the traffic from point A to point C is considered to be the same for both the red and the blue cars. The same statistical data is gathered and the average speed skews the ETA for everyone. The turn delay data is only different for the red and blue cars on the one segment before the turn at D, from C to D.

Junction Box 5.png

The junction box solves this problem.

With the junction box, historical and real time data are collected separately for each one of the possible routes through the intersection - all 12 of them.

  • A ➡ B
  • A ➡ E
  • A ➡ F
  • B ➡ A
  • B ➡ E
  • B ➡ F
  • E ➡ A
  • E ➡ B
  • E ➡ F
  • F ➡ A
  • F ➡ B
  • F ➡ E

Now that the paths of A to F, and A to E are being measured separately, the traffic jam for the red cars turning at D does not have a negative effect on the blue cars going straight through D. Their ETAs are being recorded separately.

Thus, URs resulting from the inability to distinguish left turn delays from straight through traffic can be dealt with using the junction box. JBRoutingExample1.png

Understanding inside a junction box

There are many types of scenarios where a junction box may be indicated, this sample is used just to explain the function of a junction box, and not meant as guidance on where to use them.
Junction Box A.png

To illustrate this concept, let's take a look at this intersection. There are five segments entering/exiting the junction box (segments which are only partially inside the junction box). There are another four segments which are wholly inside the junction box. If there were no junction box at this intersection the individual turn delay AKA the time it takes to turn from one segment to the next data for the outer five segments would be merged together at the inner four segments, and be distorted. The junction box here alleviates the problems with collecting accurate turn delay transition timing caused by the short segments in the middle.


If a junction box is drawn around these intersections (below left), then when considering a route that would traverse a segment within the box, the routing server treats the intersection like one large junction for the purpose of calculation transition timing AKA turn delays (below right).

A route path from segment C to segment E is treated as a single transition, even though in actuality it traverses four segments (3 transitions).

Junction Box C.png Junction Box B.png

Navigation instructions

However, junction boxes have no effect on navigational prompts until phase 3 will be released. As of October 2015 Junction boxes currently only have Phase 1 (transition / ETA timing), & Phase 2 (path restrictions) active.

When Phase 3 (controlling navigation instructions) is released it will likely only affect paths which are specially marked for a custom prompt.

Looking back at our example path, going from C to E, let's analyze how the junction box works with navigation prompts. Our path is considered for routing as one transition, and judging by the angles it would be a straight transition making it a best continuation with no navigation prompt. But as we just said 'junction boxes have no effect on navigational prompts', therefore the actual navigation prompt given for this path (C to E) will consider the three junctions and produce:

  • Big direction left.png Turn Left onto Idlewild Rd, and then
  • Big direction right.png Turn right onto Indian Trail Fairview Rd".

This is to say that the navigational prompts are still controlled by the actual names, types, and angles of the segments within a junction box.

For more details on how to control navigation instructions, see How Waze determines turn / keep / exit maneuvers.

Controlling turns

JB turn control.png

Junction boxes permit disabling multi-segment turns that are difficult to control in complex intersections. Without a junction box, controlling complex turns may require adding artificial segments and/or reducing the intersection to a single point using a bow-tie configuration.

Take this example of a junction between two streets with all turns allowed, but at the next junction with the highway some turns are not allowed depending on which street you originally approached from.

When leaving  E Briarwood Cir  here you may turn right or left onto  S Havanah St , but if you turn right your options are limited at the next junction. However if you were already on  S Havanah St  from before E Briarwood, at the junction with  E Arapahoe RD  you are allowed to make either turn or go straight.

Without a junction box here our options to reflect these restrictions on the map would require creating an artificial AGC connecting north from  E Briarwood Cir  to the junction of the  E Arapahoe RD  layered over  S Havanah St  (which is discouraged by waze as layered segments can cause data collection problems), or creating an artificial bypass AGC on  S Havanah St  which started from south of  E Briarwood Cir  (which can look bad on the map). These options separate the traffic flow of those vehicles approaching on  S Havanah St , from those vehicles approaching from  E Briarwood Cir . In either case we are adding artificial segments which are unnecessary and difficult to maintain on the map.

JB turn control 1.png          JB turn control 2.png

JB turn control C.png

With a junction box in place, we don't need any extra segments, we don't need to artificially alter any geometry of the segments, or to create a bow-tie. We use just the one segment of S Havanah St, and draw the junction box to include the intersection with the major highway and both approaches. We can then use the connections list in the left panel to select which paths through the junction box should be allowed, and which should be disallowed.

In our scenario we want to restrict the two paths starting on  E Briarwood Cir , going north on  S Havanah St  and then straight or left at the  E Arapahoe RD .

With the junction box selected, in the left panel there will be check boxes for each of the possible paths between the segment pairs. clicking on any of these paths on the left will highlight the path in purple on the map. We then uncheck the paths we want to disallow JB turn control C1.png.

JB turn control 3.png          JB turn control 4.png

Effects In Editor

Junction boxes can only be edited by editors of at least rank 5. Junction boxes appear in the Waze Map Editor when the Junctions layer
add layer description to Map_editor_interface#Layers
is turned on. Junction boxes appear as a polygon around all the junction nodes of an intersection.
Junction Box 1.jpg

All segments that enter the junction box are locked. Selecting a segment that is part of a junction box results in a message: "You cannot edit this segment. This segment is part of a junction and cannot be edited. Delete the junction to edit it."

Selecting the junction box causes the left pane to display the junction box properties. The properties show the editor that created the junction box and the date and editor of the last update to the junction box. If changes are needed to the junction box or segments associated with the junction box contact the identified editor or other rank 5 editor in your area.

Junction Box 2.jpg

Each entry to the junction box is labeled with a letter in a green circle. Each exit from the junction box is labeled with a letter in yellow circle. Hovering the cursor over the letter circle will show the routes through the junction box that use the selected entry or exit. The left pane shows potential entry/exit pairs with a check box ticked for each pair enabled for routing. Note that only entry/exit pair paths which are fully visible on screen are displayed. So make sure you can see the whole boundary of the JB to be sure you're getting a full list of entry/exit pair connections in the left pane.

Routes through the junction box that pass through a single junction node are not considered. Such routes are controlled by turn restrictions in place when the junction box is created. Thus the route from A to G is controlled by a turn restriction and does not show in the list of entry/exit pairs.

Routes through the junction box that are prohibited by turn restrictions in place when the junction box is created are not considered. In the above example, the left turns from the southbound  Major Highway  use the dedicated turn lane. The left turn from the main lanes of the southbound  Major Highway  to the  Minor Highway  is restricted by an existing turn restriction. Thus, the junction box does not consider routes from the southbound  Major Highway  to exits G or H.

From the southbound  Major Highway , routes to exits E and F pass through only a single junction node and routes to exits G and H are prevented by a turn restriction. The junction box thus considers no routes for the traffic entering from the main lanes of the southbound  Major Highway . For this reason, this entry is not lettered.


Junction boxes are created by selecting Junction box from the draw segments menu (Shortcut key J). Click at one vertex of the junction box. Continue click to at each vertex of the box until the box surrounds all the junctions nodes of the intersection. Double click to complete the box. The boundaries of the box cannot be changed once created.

Before creating a junction box at an intersection, make sure that there are no incorrect turn restrictions. Routes through the junction box that are prevented by existing turn restrictions cannot be enabled in the junction box.

When a junction box is selected it can be edited. To select a Junction Box click on it.

When the junction box is selected, the left pane will show the potential contention paths through the junction box as illustrated above. Clicking the check box next to each connection path toggles between enabling or disabling routing between the indicated entry/exit pair.

The left pane includes a button to "Select included segments." Clicking this button will select all the segments with both ends in the junction box (these are the segments that are not considered for ETA routing purposes).

The left pane includes a name box and an address. A name can be added to the name box and the address may be edited. However, currently the name and address of a junction box has no effect.

To delete a junction box, select the junction box and click the delete button Wme button delete.png (Shortcut key Del).

Changes to junction boxes (and adding new junction boxes) require a tile update to affect routing.

Errors When Editing

  • No roundabouts - Junction boxes do not support roundabouts. Do not create junction boxes over roundabouts.
  • Max size - The size of a junction box cannot exceed 1 kilometer. This is a linear 1 km limit north-south or east-west. If you draw an imaginary 1 km² box around the junction box, if the junction box pokes out at any point, then it's too big.
  • Two junction node minimum - A junction box must include at least two junction nodes. Two junction nodes within the junction box must be connected by a segment. A junction box with only one junction node cannot be saved.
  • No overlapping - A junction node cannot be included in multiple junction boxes.
  • One connection per pair - A junction box must have only one connection for every entry/exit pair. If there are multiple routes available over the segments within the junction box between an entry/exit pair, the box is invalid and cannot be saved.
  • Sixteen paths max - No more than 16 controllable entry/exit paths can pass through a single node within a junction box. A save error stating "The highlighted node cannot have more than 16 connections" occurs if a node has more than 16 connections.

Eliminating entry/exit pair connections

Entry/exit pairs may be unchecked as appropriate so that there is only one connection between an entry and an exit.



For the above junction box there are two paths from entry A to exit H. In this case to save the junction box the longer path shown in the upper illustration has been unchecked.

Unchecking entry/pairs will also reduce the number of paths that pass through a node within the junction box. In this case, there are fourteen entry/exit pairs that pass through the upper left junction node:

  • A ➡ F
  • A ➡ H
  • A ➡ I
  • A ➡ J
  • B ➡ F
  • B ➡ H
  • B ➡ I
  • B ➡ J
  • C ➡ F
  • C ➡ G
  • C ➡ J
  • D ➡ G
  • E ➡ G
  • E ➡ J

The direct u-turns from B to G and C to H are disabled.


Thus, the internal routes from B to G and C to H are available. In this example these u-turns through the junction box are unchecked. If these paths were checked there would be 16 paths through the upper left junction node and the junction box would not save.

Adding complexity

Adding segments or junction nodes to an intersection to workaround the "one connection for every entry/exit pair" and "no more than 16 connections per node" limitations is not recommended. If such a workaround is required please consult with your country or regional coordinator.

When To Use

Junction boxes are suitable only for specific locations where the above listed functions of junctions boxes are required. If problems with data collection or turn restrictions are experienced then a junction box may be use to solve the problem. If problems are easily solved with other features such as turn restrictions or U-turn penalties, then a junction box should not be used.

Junction boxes require more space to store all the data involved. The routing server takes longer to analyse junction boxes and thus to provide routes through junction boxes. For these reasons, junction boxes should not be used for every intersection.