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Road types/Australia

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This page is focused on roads in Australia. For information on roads in other regions, see Road types.


Road type designations in Waze should be determined by the physical layout and use of the road, not by the name of a road.

Road types do not affect naming. Some highways in remote areas of Australia are not sealed. A dirt road that is an Australian Highway would still be named as a highway. See Road names/Australia

Some road type classifications are influenced by city size, traffic density, and regional conventions. For example, in a very large city a primary street may have three or more lanes in each direction on a divided road. While in a town of dirt roads, the only paved single lane street could be a primary street.

While editing the maps, you may notice that some of the roads are not labeled properly. This means, the road type might be wrong (a highway is marked as a street) or that one road has a few road types (a highway is marked as Freeway, highway and primary at different segments).

The importance of proper labeling is in two aspects:

  1. When viewing the map, the 'bigger' roads should appear at the far zoom levels. Without proper labels, the 'zoomed out' display can be very confusing.
  2. When planning a route, major roads will get priority over smaller roads.
  3. Due to routing heuristics used in Waze, and the ability of users to choose to "Avoid major highways", consider the affect on the user and how the road is seen in the client.

Starting Point

Naming, numbering and shield marking conventions can be useful as starting point when determining a road type. However, be aware that each state has its own classification system for Identifying and numbering routes. Remember that this is only guide on where to start when determining a road type.

Road Type Classifications By State:


Due to various factors waze “road type” classification across Australia has been historically ad hoc.

To try and get a more coordinated approach for Australia a table below has suggested road types for each state.

The question will come up ”The table is wrong, my state lists this road as type “X”……………..”.

In most cases we can’t directly copy information from other map sources so we need to create our own Waze Map.

Note: It must be remembered that in most cases we can’t copy other sources for information. Most sources of map information, Google Maps, Bing Maps, Local State Maps and other have copyright.

Classifications By State Table


Freeway = M or any road with entry and exit ramps

Major Highway = A

Minor Highway = B

Primary Street = any other significant road

Northern Territory

Freeway = Motorway, or any road with entry and exit ramps 

Major Highway = Green Shield

Minor Highway = White and Blue Shields

Primary Street = any other significant road


Freeway = M or  any road with entry and exit ramps

Major Highway = A

Minor Highway = B

Primary Street = any other significant road


Freeway = M or any road with entry and exit ramps

Major Highway = A, NR and NH roads

Minor Highway = SR and MR roads

Primary Street = TR and any other significant road

South Australia

Freeway = M or any road with entry and exit ramps

Major Highway = A

Minor Highway = B

Primary Street = C and any other significant road


Freeway = M or any road with entry and exit ramps

Major Highway = A

Minor Highway = B

Primary Street = C and any other significant road


Rural Victoria

Freeway = M or any road with entry and exit ramps

Major Highway = A and B

Minor Highway = C

Primary Street = any other significant road

Urban Victoria - Melbourne

Urban Melbourne has Blue and Brown Shields. These are not used in determining road type. Instead use Vicroads

Freeway = (Green) Freeway

Major Highway = (Red) Arterial-Highway

Minor Highway = (Black) Arterial-Other

Primary Street = any other significant road

Western Australia

Freeway = Motorway, or any road with entry and exit ramps

Major Highway = White and Green Shields. Blue Shields for the following routes only 2, 3, 4, 7, 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, 51, 60, 107, 115, 116, 120, 123, 136 and 138

Minor Highway = Blue Shields except the ones listed under the "Major Highway" list

Primary Street = Brown Shields and any other significant road

Road Type Classifications Guide:

Freeway RoadBlue.png


Freeways are major roads with more than one lane of traffic in each direction designed for higher speed operation. They have barriers or wide median strips separating traffic travelling in opposite directions, and grade-separated intersections without roundabouts or traffic lights in the main route. Some Toll roads are called motorways or tollways to avoid perceived difficulties with charging people to use a freeway. Most Australian capital cities have one or more freeways across, past, or leading to them.

The Southern Expressway in southern Adelaide is a single carriageway of a freeway, and operates in one direction at a time, carrying traffic in the direction most in demand. It is closed to change direction twelve times per week (not Friday or Sunday nights). This is the only road in Australia which operates like this. When limited-access highways began to be built in Sydney in the 1950s, beginning with the Cahill Expressway, they were provisionally named expressways, but in the 1960s Australian transport ministers agreed that they be called freeways. The Cahill Expressway has kept its original name, possibly because some of it is substandard.

Freeways have strict classification rules.

  • Multi-Lane, divided road (with rare exceptions Wikipedia link)
  • No cross traffic (except in some regional areas).
  • No stop lights (except for ramp meters).
  • No stop signs.
  • No parking.
  • No stopping (except for toll booths, freeway access metering, movable bridges Wikipedia link, and traffic congestion.)
  • Highest speed limits. (relative to region)
  • Some have minimum speed limits.
  • Limited access
    • Access restrictions vary by state but some typical restrictions are
      • No pedestrians
      • No bicycles
      • No mopeds
    • 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.


There is an Australian national highway network linking the capital cities of each state and other major cities and towns. The national highway network is part financed by the Australian Federal Government with the bulk of funding coming from the individual states.

Each Australian state government maintains their own network of state highways connecting most of the towns in the state. Highways and major roads include Metroads, National Routes, State Routes and routes numbered according to the Alphanumeric Route Numbering System. Some highways in remote areas of Australia are not sealed for high traffic volumes and are not suitable for the whole range of weather conditions. Following heavy rains they may be closed to traffic.

  • Australian Highways should typically have a Major Highway or Minor Highway road type.
  • Highways differ by region.

Major HighwayMajorhighwayseg.png

Purposely built as a major throughway.
  • National Highways
  • Higher speeds. Speed limits should be near or equal to Interstate or Freeway speed limits in the same area. (typically within 5-10mph)
  • Multiple lanes in each direction.
  • Separated directions of travel.
  • Turning traffic is typically limited to specified turn lanes or freeway style ramps to minimize obstructions to thru traffic.
  • Partially limited access with few minor streets intersecting with this road. Intersections are most often with primary roads or other highways.
  • Can have stoplights or freeway style interchanges.
  • No stop signs
  • Pedestrian crossings may be limited.
  • Local business access is often restricted to frontage roads or other streets.

Typically roads with numerous side streets, parking lot accesses, residential driveways, low speed limits, undivided, or shared center turn lanes (suicide lanes) are not Major Highways.

Minor HighwayRoadYell.png

  • State Highways

While still a labeled route that can be followed to get from one city/town/neighborhood to another, routing of thru traffic is not always a priority in the street design. Some minor highways are built with a higher priority on through traffic, while other minor highways are nothing more than a label dropped onto existing residential streets.

Minor Highways vary widely from large multi-lane roads with stoplights and higher speed limits, to small residential streets with stops signs.

Some minor highways may zigzag thru an area with many turns on local streets.

A Minor Highway thru the main street of a small town often retains focus on local access with pedestrian traffic and on street parking.


  • All entrance or exits to freeways.
  • A proper freeway style ramp onto or off of a Highway.
  • A change of grade connector for any street type.
  • Not for at grade street connectors.
  • Not for turn lanes.
  • Roads connecting a highway with a rest/service/parking area should be treated as ramps as well and named accordingly (e.g. "Exit to Service Area").

StreetsPrimary street.pngStreet.pngService road.png

Primary StreetPrimary street.png

Major roads or boulevards used to get across a neighborhood or city.
  • Usually given higher priority for right of way with traffic controls.
  • Primary streets may have less residential driveways.
  • A town’s “Main Street,” if it is not a highway, is typically a primary street.
  • In some regions “County Roads” are typically primary streets.

A primary designation is very relative to population and traffic densities. In the smallest rural town, a primary street may barely be wide enough for two cars heading opposite directions to pass each other. In dense urban areas primary streets may need to be a divided road with multiple lanes of traffic in each direction having traffic controls at every intersection.


  • Any road that traffic will be routed onto.
  • At grade connectors & turn lanes when separated by enough distance from the streets that one is needed for proper GPS tracking.

Private roadService road.png

Any road not dedicated for drive-through-traffic
  • a smaller street found running alongside a limited access highway or other primary street.
  • roads that allow local traffic to enter and exit driveways
  • roads inside an industrial area, barracks
  • roads with limited access (i.e. residents only)


DirtService road.png

A road that is not paved

Parking Lot RoadService road.png

Parking lots, along with other publicly accessible roads such as alleys that should not be used for traffic routing unless directly at the start or end point of a route.
  • Do not map the rows within parking lots because it clutters the map.
  • With the current high penalty assigned to parking lot segments, Waze will do almost anything other than routing along a parking lot segment unless there is no other path at all. Using parking lot roads for ALL roads within a parking lot is not recommended as this will cause Waze to choose a route which has the least number of parking lot segments, which means it will also choose to go against turn restrictions from main roads.
  • The current recommendation is to use a single parking lot segment for every location which connects to external streets and then use street type segments for all main drive segments within the parking lot itself. This reduces the penalties and Waze will choose better routes within parking lots and not go against turn restrictions. But because that single parking lot segment is there, Waze should not route through the parking lot to get to other destinations.
  • Parking lot roads also provide the benefit of allowing turn restrictions to be properly set upon entry and exit of the parking lot. In addition, the proper use of parking lot roads can also help to avoid automated traffic jam reports as well as Papyrus Map Problems related to Wazers driving in unmapped parking lots.


Your car should not be here!

  • These may be useful for points of reference when navigating such as seeing on a map where a turn is in relation to a railroad crossing.
  • When Waze users travel on a non-vehicle route such as a bicyclist or mass-transit rider, marking these routes can be useful to explain the GPS traces that result.
  • If a base map scan has non-drivable routes on it, it is important to mark these to prevent traffic routing onto them.

Walking TrailsService road.png

Also bike trails, will be merged to Pedestrian Bordwalks

Pedestrian BoardwalksService road.png

Will represent all roads designated for non vehicular traffic (pedestrians, bikes,...)

=== StairwayService road.png ===


RailroadService road.png

The  |-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-| Railroad |-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|  road type serves three purposes in Waze.

  1. it provides drivers with visual orientation relative to railroad and light-rail tracks.
  2. in the common case where passenger-carrying tracks lie parallel with roads, mapping the tracks allows Waze to recognize spurious speed data from people Wazing on the train and prevent it from corrupting speed data for the adjacent road.
  3. adding railroad crossings enables the routing server to identify them and take them into account.
allowing junctioning of railroads to drivable segments is new as of October 28, 2015. There is no need to make mass railroad changes immediately, but if you happen to run into a not mapped crossing or a RR on an other elevation level than decribed here you might choose to fix it

Use the following guidelines when mapping railroad segments:

  • By default, enter "Railroad" or another useful descriptor (i.e. Goods line) for the street name of every railroad segment.
  • Always select "None" for the city name. This avoids city smudging.
  • Lock the segment at L2.
  • Do not map railroads below ground, as they do not serve any of the three purposes outlined above (their appearance on the map would be confusing to drivers and just clutter the map).
  • Set the elevation just as you would a drivable segment.
  • At level crossings create a junction node and connect railroads to drivable roads.
  • Set railroad to 2-way directionality
  • Restrict turns to and from the railroad segments (although Waze promised that there will never be a routing via a RR segment...just a bit of extra care, can't hurt).
  • When mapping railroad tracks, focus on those near drivable roads.
  • Map rail yards simply, with one railroad segment along either edge of the yard's tracks.
  • there is no reason to have multiple lines mapped. For a reference one line is sufficient.
  • Keep segment lengths under 10,000 meters – the longer the segment length, the more sluggish the editor is to respond to changes.
  • NEVER map railroads using a drivable road type (streets, primary streets, etc.); it could be a hazard to human life if drivers were routed to them.

Runway/TaxiwayService road.png

For aircraft at airports

Types of segments (Roundabouts) Round.png


Roundabouts have few principles:

The first one, each node on the roundabout can only be connected to no more than one segment.

Each connection has a spectrum that exists in order to notify the Client on how to define the message (Go straight, take the 2nd / 3rd / 4th exit).


The system will include the radius border from the center and notify the user accordingly.



See Also

Highways in Australia