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Road types/USA

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The contents of this page were completely revamped starting 19 April 2014, to incorporate an entirely new set of guidelines for map editing. All US editors should familiarize themselves with the contents of this page. Please see this topic for details.
This page was last revamped on 14 January 2015. See discussion for possible links to related forum discussions.

Road types in the United States can be divided into three categories: public roads, other drivable roads, and non-drivable roads.

Public road types in Waze are determined by the FHWA functional classification of the road and, where applicable, by the highway system to which the road belongs.

Some of the guidance for Road types/USA may have specific localized adjustments for your local area. Be sure to familiarize yourself with these differences through the Mapping resources/USA/States page.

Overview link to this section

A hybrid system link to this section

Road types in the United States are determined through a hybrid system of FHWA functional classification and U.S., state, and sometimes county highway systems. These systems work together to create a harmonious Waze map with excellent routing characteristics. Neither of these two facets of the road type system should be considered sufficient on its own, without the other. The road type guidance has been carefully crafted to join these two systems into one single contiguous Waze road type system.

Functional classification link to this section

Functional classifications (FC) are determined using a set of criteria selected by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). These criteria include not only the physical attributes of the road but also efficiency of travel, number of access points, speed limits, route spacing, actual usage, and continuity. This can lead to quite different classifications for roads that appear similar. For example, a six-lane divided road in an urbanized area may be a Collector (Primary Street); a two-lane road through the middle of a town may be a principal arterial (Major Highway).

Functional classification is a national standard, but functional classification maps are published by state departments of transportation. Links to functional classification maps for each state can be found on the USA functional classification page.

Highway systems link to this section

The Interstate Highway System (formally, the Dwight D. Eisenhower National System of Interstate and Defense Highways) is a nationwide network of freeways designated by Congress and administered by the FHWA and AASHTO, a nationwide organization of state departments of transportation with governmental support. The system facilitates high-speed travel throughout the nation.

The United States Numbered Highways, or U.S. Highways, system is a nationwide integrated network of roads also designated by Congress and administered by the FHWA and AASHTO. While many of the routes in this system have been superseded by the Interstate Highway System, they remain important as direct links between regions not served by the new system, and as alternatives to Interstate travel in the case of heavy traffic or incident.

Each of the fifty states (along with the District of Columbia and some of the United States's overseas territories) has a numbered state highway system. These systems are designated and administered by their respective state legislatures and departments of transportation as statewide networks of important travel links between cities and communities of those states. The roads in these systems, while of lesser national importance, are nevertheless essential for travel within the state.

In addition to their state highway systems, some states designate county routes which are important for travel within a county. These routes serve important functions in a short-distance capacity.

Importance of road types link to this section

Road types are important for both routing and map display:

  1. When planning a route, major roads will sometimes get priority over smaller roads.
    • For longer routes, some lower road types will often be ignored outright in favor of higher-type roads.
    • Since freeways are given the highest priority of all, having other high-type roads is necessary to provide viable alternatives to the routing server in case freeways are clogged with traffic.
  2. When viewing the map, more important roads should appear at the far zoom levels. Without proper types, the zoomed out display can be misleading.

The  Freeway  and  Ramp  road types each have their own special rules. The  Major Highway ,  Minor Highway , and  Primary Street  types are designated using a set of minimum criteria, as explained below.


Occasionally, if deemed necessary for proper routing, a particular road's type may be set higher than as prescribed in these rules. If a road has a higher type than set forth in these rules, there may be a reason for it.

Because the freeway exit is signed to the state route at the bottom of the image, and exiting traffic must use the road on the left to reach it, this road has been given the Major Highway type.

One common reason for a road to be set to a higher type is if that road is a connecting road between two roads with higher types. Promotion of a connecting road is only warranted if the road is signed from one road to the other. For example, a freeway exit may be signed as to a particular highway, but the only way to get to that highway from the exit ramps is over a lesser road. Where such connections are supported by signage, the road type of the connecting road should match the lower of the two roads that it connects, up to major highway (In the USA a road may only ever be set to freeway if it meets the criteria of the Freeway section). Promotion of connecting roads preserves routing continuity and prevents Waze from pruning out valid routes.

In rare cases, a particular road may require a lower type than as prescribed in these rules. Contact your regional coordinator before lowering the type of any road past the bounds of the rules.

Special rules are used to determine the road types of roundabouts and at-grade connectors.

Road types do not affect naming. See Road Naming (USA).

Before editing link to this section

Be sure that you are completely familiar with the articles on:

Public roads link to this section

Public roads are those who can be driven by anyone. Naturally, they are by far the most important roads on the Waze map.

Public roads are designated by a series of minimum criteria.

If a road meets any one criterion for a type, the road must be at least that type.

For example,

  • a county highway (Waze: at least primary street) that is classified as a principal arterial (Waze: at least major highway) would be classified in Waze as a  Major Highway .
  • a state highway (Waze: at least minor highway) that is classified as a major collector (Waze: at least primary street) would be classified in Waze as a  Minor Highway .
  • a locally maintained road (Waze: at least street) that is classified as an other arterial (Waze: at least minor highway) would be classified in Waze as a  Minor Highway .
If a road meets the criteria for multiple types, the highest of those types must be used, to satisfy every "at least" rule.

Highways link to this section

A highway is an arterial road.

Highways roads are the backbone of the traffic network. They serve a dual purpose:

  • to carry traffic over long distances, from one city to another, and
  • to carry traffic from collector roads to freeways, where applicable.

Several systems of numbered highways exist in the United States:

  • the Interstate Highway System
  • the United States Numbered Highways
  • various State Highway systems
  • various County (or Parish) Highway systems, in some states

Waze's definition of "highways" includes Interstate, US and state highways, but it also includes all other roads that are classified as arterial roads under the FHWA functional classification lists maintained by state governments, even though they may not be part of any numbered highway system.

Functional classification of roads is determined more by how the roads are used than by how they are constructed, and the criteria are slightly different between urban and rural areas. Because of this, some urban roads may be classified as arterials and have highway types in Waze, even though they appear very similar to other non-highway roads. In using functional classification and numbered highway systems, the decision on which roads should be classified as highways rests ultimately with the governments that build and maintain the roads.

Waze distinguishes three classes of highway:  Freeway ,  Major Highway , and  Minor Highway .

Freeway            link to this section


A freeway is a highway designed for high speed traffic, with fully controlled access over entrance to, and exit from, the highway.

Freeway is the highest functional class of road.

The following roads shall be classified as  Freeway :

  • All Interstate Highways.
    • This includes all roads classified in FHWA's functional classification as Interstates.
    • This includes three-digit Interstate spurs and loops (e.g., I-610; I-585).
    • This includes the few grade-intersected, undivided, and/or narrow portions of the Interstate Highway System.
    • This does not include Interstate Business Loops and Business Spurs (e.g., I-69 Business Loop), unless they meet the standards for Other Freeways and Expressways defined below.
  • Roads classified in FHWA's functional classification as Other Freeways and Expressways which meet the criteria of a controlled-access highway:
    • No at-grade crossings.
    • No at-grade intersections.
    • No direct property access.
    • No stop lights (except sometimes on ramps).
    • No stop signs.
    • Except at the beginning or end of the controlled-access roadway, connected to other roads exclusively by interchanges:
      • Entrance via ramps only, typically with acceleration zones.
      • Exit via ramps only, typically with deceleration zones.
      • Note: Many freeways continue as non-controlled-access roadways; the road should be set as Freeway until the point at which access becomes non-controlled.
    • Note: Some states refer to this class as Other Freeways. In these states, every road in this class is a Freeway.

For information on how to best layout freeways and their junctions, please review the section on freeways in the Junction Style Guide. For specific guidelines in other countries refer to this page for more information.

Major Highway            link to this section

A partially-limited-access roadway, or "expressway". Note the interchange to the left and the at-grade intersection to the right.

Principal arterials are the primary routes for traveling throughout the country, from one city to another, over long distances. Many principal arterials are freeways or expressways, but many others are not.

As a nationwide system, the United States Numbered Highways, or U.S. Highways, system provides a direct links between regions not served by the Interstate Highway System, and as alternatives to Interstate travel in the case of heavy traffic or incident.

The following roads are to be classified, at minimum, as  Major Highway :

  • Roads classified in FHWA's functional classification as Principal Arterials or Other Principal Arterials.
  • Roads classified in FHWA's functional classifications as Other Freeways and Expressways which do not meet the criteria for Freeway.
    • This includes partially-limited-access roadways (or "expressways"). These are roads that have a lot of the characteristics of freeways, but also have occasional at-grade intersections with other roads.
    • Note: Every partially-limited-access roadway is a Major Highway; this does not mean that every Major Highway must be partially-limited-access.
    • Note: "Expressway" is used as a shorthand term for partially-limited-access roads. This does not mean every road named "Expressway" is a Major Highway.
    • Note: Some states refer to this class as Other Freeways. In these states, every road in this class is a Freeway.
  • Roads in the United States Numbered Highways system (US Highways).
    • This includes Alternate (ALT), Bypass (BYP), Connector (CONN), Truck, and Scenic US Highways.
    • This does not include Business, Spur, and Loop US Highways.
  • Business routes (Spurs and Loops) in the Interstate Highway System (e.g., I-69 Business Loop).

Minor Highway            link to this section

Minor arterials (or other arterials) are secondary routes for traveling between cities over moderately long distances. Minor or other arterials are classified in Waze as Minor Highways.

Each of the fifty states (along with the District of Columbia and some of the United States's overseas territories) has a numbered state highway system. Roads in these systems are designated and selected by their respective State Departments of Transportation as part of statewide networks of important travel links between cities and communities of those states. These roads, while of lesser national importance, are nevertheless essential for travel within the state.

The following roads are to be classified, at minimum, as  Minor Highway :

  • Roads classified in FHWA's functional classification as Minor Arterials or Other Arterials.
  • Signed, numbered routes in state, D.C., and territorial highway systems.
    • This includes Alternate (ALT), Bypass (BYP), Connector (CONN), Truck, and Scenic state highways.
    • This includes Spur state highways when they are used to connect state highways with other state highways, US Highways, or Interstates; i.e., Spur highways which are used like Connector (CONN) highways.
    • This does not include Business (BUS), Loop, and other Spur state highways.
  • Business (BUS), Loop, and Spur US Highways.

Note: Not every state highway system is the same. Some state systems may be overinclusive, whether because of differing standards or because of political corruption and pork barrel spending; as such, your state may make exceptions where some lesser state highways are better represented by the Primary Street type. Contact your regional coordinator before making these decisions.

Ramps            link to this section


The following are to be classified as  Ramp .

  • Roads which connect roadways to other roadways as part of an interchange. This includes all freeway exits and entrances.
  • Roads connecting freeways and highways with Rest areas, parking areas, and service plazas (e.g., "to Service Area").
  • Jughandles.
  • Median U-turn Intersection (MUTI) and "Michigan left" segments.
  • J-turn (RCUT/"Superstreet") segments.
  • Displaced Left Turn (DLT) left turn segments.

The following are not to be classified as  Ramp .

Ramp names do not appear on the client application map, but do appear in the text for routing directions. Entrance and exit ramps often contain a lot of text which is duplicative of roads already in the area, so this text is suppressed until the user actually needs it. This is also the reason for using the ramp type for named MUTI and jughandle segments—the text is needed for effective navigation instructions but would needlessly clutter the ramp.

Information on how to lay out ramps and set the proper angles from the main road can be found in the Junction Style Guide.

Streets link to this section

The Street types are for local and short-distance travel. Street types are used at the beginning and end of long routes as well.

Primary Street            link to this section

Collectors are roads used with medium-low traffic densities which are used to bring traffic from local streets to arterials and vice versa. Collectors are classified in Waze as Primary Streets.

Some states designate county routes which are important for travel within a county. These routes serve important functions in a short-distance capacity.

The following roads are to be classified, at minimum, as  Primary Street :

  • Roads classified in FHWA's functional classification as Major Collectors or Minor Collectors and paved with a hard surface.
  • Signed, numbered county routes (and, in Louisiana, parish routes) paved with a hard surface.
  • Business (BUS) and Loop state highways, and Spur state highways which are not used as connectors, paved with a hard surface.
  • Frontage roads which serve as the means of access between freeways/expressways and surface streets, if not otherwise classified.
    • Some functional classification maps are not produced in high enough detail to determine the class of frontage roads. On maps that are produced in high detail, frontage roads are almost universally classified as Major Collectors or higher.

Unpaved roads – including gravel, macadam, and dirt roads – are considered on a regional basis. Check your state page or contact your regional coordinator.

Note: Some states or counties may designate county routes differently than others. Check your state's page for possible exceptions to this rule.

As stated above, frontage roads should generally be set to at least  Primary Street , if not marked as a higher type on a functional class map.

Many frontage roads are used as "feeder roads" or "access roads", often the primary or only means of entering and exiting a freeway. Setting these to the "street" type, as has been done in the past, has the potential to invalidate good routes which use freeways and major/minor highways. To ensure that routing works, always use at least "primary street" for frontage roads that are used in this way. It may be desirable to set the entire frontage road to the same type to achieve a more contiguous map appearance.

Street            link to this section


Any road for public travel which does not meet the criteria for any other type shall be classified as a  Street . Shown as "local roads" in some functional classification maps; not shown at all in others.

Service Road link to this section

The Service Road type is no longer available. Use other road types for service roads.

Quick reference chart link to this section

Refer to this chart to determine the road type of a given paved public road based on the functional class.

To use this chart, first determine the functional class of a road, and whether it is a signed, numbered highway in a particular highway system.

Where the column for the road's highway system and the row for the road's functional class meet, you will find the proper road type for that particular road.

A number of examples are given below the chart.

Highway Systems
Interstate Interstate Business Loop/Spur US Hwy (incl. some special routes) US Hwy BUS, SPUR, LOOP State Hwy (incl. some special routes) State Hwy BUS, SPUR[a], LOOP County Route Locally-maintained
example I-10 E I-94 Business US-190 US-460 Business SR-23 SR-400 Loop CR-15 Robertson St

Interstate[b]  Fw  n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a
Other Freeway[c] n/a  Fw   Fw   Fw   Fw   Fw   Fw   Fw 
Other Expressway[d] n/a  Major   Major   Major   Major   Major   Major   Major 
Other Principal Arterial[e] n/a  Major   Major   Major   Major   Major   Major   Major 
Minor Arterial[f] n/a  Major   Major   Minor   Minor   Minor   Minor   Minor 
Major Collector n/a  Major   Major   Minor   Minor   PS   PS   PS 
Minor Collector n/a  Major   Major   Minor   Minor   PS   PS   PS 
Local/not mapped n/a  Major   Major   Minor   Minor   PS   PS   Street 

^a When a state highway "SPUR" route is used to connect a state highway with another state highway, a US highway, or an Interstate (i.e., when it is used as a connector/CONN route), use the first state highway column.

^b Also known as Principal Arterial - Interstate.

^c Also known as Principal Arterial - Freeway.

^d Also known as Principal Arterial - Expressway.

^e Also known as Principal Arterial.

^f Also known as Other Arterial.

For example,

  • An Interstate Business Loop classified as a Minor Arterial is a  Major Highway .
  • A US Highway classified as a Minor Arterial is a  Major Highway .
  • A US Highway Spur route classified as a Minor Arterial is a  Minor Highway .
  • A State Highway classified as an Other Freeway is a  Freeway .
  • A State Highway classified as a Collector is a  Minor Highway .
  • A County Route classified as a Minor Arterial is a  Minor Highway .
  • A County Route classified as a Collector is a  Primary Street 
  • A locally-maintained road classified as an Other Principal Arterial is a  Major Highway .
  • A locally-maintained road classified as a Collector is a  Primary Street .

 Fw   Freeway 
 Major   Major Highway 
 Minor   Minor Highway 
 PS   Primary Street 
 Street   Street 

Other drivable roads link to this section

Dirt Road / 4X4 Trail            link to this section


The  Dirt Road / 4X4 Trail  type has the unique property that Waze users may ask not to be routed over it. Users may ask to avoid it for all through routing with the settings option "Dirt roads - Don't allow", or to avoid it for through routing longer than 300 m (984 ft) with the option "Dirt roads - Avoid long ones".

Because of this property, this type typically represents public side roads that some fraction of local drivers habitually avoid due to surface quality. In metropolitan or other urbanized regions, this generally means unpaved (dirt, gravel, crushed rock) roads, or roads in uncommonly poor condition by local standards. In other areas, roads with unpaved surfaces may be essential routes and thus necessarily set to other types such as Street, Primary Street, or even higher, as if they were paved.

Check your state page for details on whether your state follows unique guidelines for dirt roads, or contact your regional coordinator for further guidance.

Parking Lot Road            link to this section

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.
This section was updated as of January 14, 2015 (2015-01-14) to clarify when to use  PLR  vs  Private Roads .
  • Use  Parking Lot Road  type for all necessary segments in the Parking Lot.
  •  Parking Lot Road  type should be used inside Apartment Complexes, Trailer Parks, Schools, and Universities unless it meets the criteria for Private Road found in the next section below.
  •  Parking Lot Roads  have a transition penalty when exiting the Parking Lot road segment. This should prevent Waze from routing you through a Parking Lot or an alley as a shortcut.
  •  Parking Lot Roads  can be used to avoid "missing road" automated Map Problem reports.
  •  Parking Lot Roads  can be used to prevent Waze from assuming drivers driving slowly or parked in the parking lot are in a traffic jam on the main road -- draw in the drivable portions of the parking lot that are near outside roadways.
  • Waze will not highlight slow speeds (automatically detected traffic jams) on  Parking Lot Roads 
Additional information on this topic can be reviewed in the forums.

Information on mapping a parking lot landmark "place" is covered here.

Private Road            link to this section

Pi gated-community1.jpg
 Private roads  are useful for the following situations:
  • Gated communities with controlled access
  • Schools and Universities (gates / guard)
  • Businesses with controlled access (gates / guard)

However, using private roads in some of these situations may require more complex mapping as covered in the article Private Installations. Be sure to read through that article before setting a whole neighborhood to all private roads.

As with  Parking Lot Roads , a route over a  Private Road  will incur a transition penalty upon leaving it for another road type. This transition penalty keeps Waze from routing Wazers through a private area as a shortcut. Unlike  Parking Lot Roads , however,  Private Roads  do not suppress automated traffic-jam detection.

  • Never use the  Private Road  type for unrestricted public roads
  • Do not use the  Private Road  type to try to force waze to route around slow (damaged or under construction) public roads. Talk to a routing expert to find out if there are any good solutions.
  •  Private Road  may be used for a public street that has a legally enforceable sign for local traffic only.
  • Waze handles  Private Roads  similarly to how it handles  Parking Lot Roads , but not exactly the same.
    • Similarity: Waze routing adds a penalty to a route that goes from a  Private Road  segment to a segment of a different type.
    • Difference: Waze will highlight traffic slowdowns on  Private Roads .

Non-drivable roads link to this section

Your car should not be here!

  • As of April 2015 the Waze app is intended only for drivers of motor vehicles, and Waze has no plans ever to support any other application. In fact, cyclists and pedestrians who use Waze near drivable roads can damage Waze's speed and traffic database! Editors should not map any road type for the sole purpose of encouraging non-driving Wazers.
  • It may be useful to map certain non-drivable roads as navigational references if they are visually obvious to drivers, for example by showing where a turn lies in relation to a railroad crossing (use the Railroad type) or a major Rails-to-Trails right-of-way (use the Pedestrian Boardwalk type).
  • If the GPS Points layer clearly shows frequent improper Wazing on a non-vehicle route near drivable roads, marking this route with a non-drivable road type can prevent damage to Waze's speed and traffic database. Do not, however, use the Walking Trail type for this purpose.
  • The Walking Trail road type, although listed as non-drivable, is fully routable and should only be used by experts in very limited cases.
  • As of June 2015, the non-drivable road types of Pedestrian Boardwalk, Stairway and Runway/Taxiway should not have any type of junction with a drivable road. When crossing drivable roads, these non-drivable road types should be bridged across without a junction and set at a different elevation. Note: this guidance is subject to change.
  • It is OK to junction drivable roads with the Railroad type. See specific details in the Railroad section later on this page.
  • Walking Trails, and other non-drivable road type which are visible in the app, can cause significant routing issues. If a walking trail (even when not connected to any other drivable segment) is closest to the latitude and longitude of the search result, the routing server will route you to the spot on the segment closest to that walking trail.

    In the sketch below, if you assume the Place target is a latitude and longitude returned by a Google search result, you would think that the actual destination would be the parking lot segment because it is the closest reachable/connected segment to the target. But it won't be. The actual destination will be where the green spot is, because the closest segment to the latitude and longitude is the walking trail, and the closest Waze can route to the walking trail is to where the green spot is.
Walking trail dest.png

Emergency Vehicle and DOT Service Roads link to this section

"Emergency and Authorized Vehicles Only" and DOT Service Roads are to be treated as Non-drivable roads. These are found primarily through the median of divided highways to connect opposite direction lanes. If mapped, they should not be connected to any drivable road, with properties set to road type Private Road, and lock the segment at as high a rank as possible, up to rank 5.

Walking Trails link to this section

This section is new as of May 24, 2015 (2015-05-24). For details, please see the forum discussion.

Use Walking Trails only with assistance from an expert in Walking Trails. They should only be used in rare cases. Walking Trails may have strange side effects on nearby routing. Never use the Walking Trail road type for ordinary hiking paths or bike paths. Most hiking and bicycling paths should not be on the map at all.

The WME lists the Walking Trail road type as non-drivable. However, as of May 2015, Walking Trails are fully routable and even support Waze House Numbers. Waze treats them in some ways like "Dirt road / 4X4 Trail" but displays them differently. Historically, editors have disconnected Walking Trails to make sure Waze doesn't route drivers over them. This doesn't always work as desired. If a disconnected Walking Trail comes closer to a destination than any other road, Waze may route drivers to a location nearer to the Walking Trail than to the destination. This problem can be severe for Walking Trails passing close to many destinations in a dense neighborhood. Connected or not, the Walking Trail type should never be used where effects on local routing are not desired.

The name "Walking Trail" suggests that Waze wants to support pedestrians and cyclists. However, as of April 2015, Waze focuses on drivers of motor vehicles and has no plans to encourage or support any other application. In fact, pedestrians and cyclists using the Waze app may damage Waze. By Wazing at speeds different from nearby traffic, they can create false traffic indications and even influence Waze's records of average road and turn speeds.

Because of this effect, editors should not map Walking Trails, or any other road type, for the sole purpose of encouraging non-driving Wazers. See the descriptions of other non-drivable road types for recommended applications of those types.

If the GPS Points layer shows clearly that pedestrians and cyclists already use Waze on a path or trail that lies parallel to a drivable road, then, as of May 2015, the path may be mapped with a Pedestrian Boardwalk. Doing so will limit the damage these Wazers would otherwise cause to the road's speed data. Such paths should only be mapped once it is clear Wazers regularly use them.

Applications link to this section

In rare cases, connected Walking Trails can bring drivers to destinations where otherwise Waze might fail to offer the best route. For example:

  • A concert pavilion in an urban park accessed by a pedestrian path from a distant parking lot.
  • A train station reachable from either side of the tracks but with no drivable road across them.
  • A destination addressed on a non-drivable footpath.

A connected Walking Trail may be used to route drivers to such destinations. If the Walking Trail goes through from one drivable road to another, ensure that outgoing turn restrictions are red to disallow through routing via the Walking Trail. Lock the Walking Trail as this is uncommon usage that may puzzle other editors.

Orientation or destination applications involving foot or bicycle paths that do not require routing, such as marking where an obvious bicycle path crosses a road or where a trailhead is located, should not use the Walking Trail type. Use Pedestrian Boardwalks, Stairways, or Point Places as appropriate.

Naming link to this section

If destinations are addressed using House Numbers on a Walking Trail, it is essential that the Walking Trail's name and city fields be set accordingly so that routing to the addresses will work. For other routing situations, Walking Trails should be named to alert drivers that they must leave their car. For example, a Walking Trail connecting the two sides of a train station may be named "Station Access Footpath".

Pedestrian Boardwalks link to this section

 |  |  |  |  |          |  |  |  |  | 

Stairway link to this section

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Railroad link to this section

The guidelines below have been updated to reflect new standards on naming of railroads as of June 28th, 2016.
The  |-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-| Railroad |-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|  road type serves three purposes in Waze. First, it provides drivers with visual orientation relative to railroad and light-rail tracks. More importantly, 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. Finally, when a railroad crosses a drivable road segment at grade (same elevation) the routing server can better determine delays at that crossing.

Use the following guidelines when mapping railroad segments:

  • Do NOT enter a name for the railroad segment unless the tracks are historical in nature, a major landmark, or a routine destination for Wazers and your local state/regional wiki guidelines allow for such naming. The Waze app now renders railroad tracks as such so naming serves little purpose any longer. (See more below on Naming railroad segments.)
  • 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. This is especially true in urban areas where underground rail lines are common, and their appearance on the map would be confusing to drivers.
  • Set the elevation just as you would a drivable segment. When tracks junction a road on the ground, the Elevation should be set to Ground.
  • Create junctions between drivable roads and railroads.[rr]
  • Set railroad to 2-way directionality
  • 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.
  • Map industrial spurs only if they cross drivable roads.
  • Do not map every piece of parallel track, such as in sidings or yards, or industrial spurs that do not cross any roads. Your work may otherwise be seen as clutter, much like mapping every parking lot row.
  • Multiple parallel lines at crossings:
    • At most crossings, there should be only one railroad segment mapped and no more than two parallel railroads mapped at any crossing.
    • Parallel lines are to be at least 5m apart
    • In general, there is no reason to have multiple lines mapped. When not at a crossing, even four parallel lines can be easily mapped as a single railroad segment in Waze.
  • Keep segment lengths under 10,000 meters – the longer the segment length, the more sluggish the editor is to respond to changes.
  • Do not 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.

^rr Note: The routing server will properly account for delays at railroad crossings through a segment without a junction. However, with a junction, the historical data for the rail crossing will be more accurate.

Use the following guidelines when naming railroad segments, only if allowed by your local wiki guidelines:

  • For urban rapid transit and light rail systems you may optionally use the name of the transit authority and the name of the line, separated by a hyphen (e.g., "MBTA - Green Line", "RTA - Riverfront Streetcar").
    • If a system has only one line, of course, use its name alone (e.g., "Detroit People Mover").
    • If multiple lines share the same track or run on parallel tracks, include all lines (e.g., "Metro Rail - Red/Purple Lines").
    • However, if a rapid transit system is so complex that including all line names would lead to an absurd result on some railroad segments, use the name of the system alone (e.g., "BART", "MTA") throughout the system.
  • Federal DOT Railroad GIS:

For specific recommendations in other countries outside the United States, please see the entry for the country in question here.

Runway/TaxiwayService road.png link to this section

Airport runways and private airstrips may be mapped using the Runway/Taxiway road type. The Runway/Taxiway type is for display only and must never connect to drivable road segments. If a drivable road and a runway cross, set the elevation of the road below that of the runway and ensure there is no connection. Draw each runway as a single segment and lock it to prevent lower-ranking editors from attaching a road. Do not form junctions where runways cross each other. Name each runway using the word Runway and the runway designations with the lower number first and a hyphen between runway numbers (e.g., "Runway 16R-34L".) For the "City" field of runway segments, check "None" to avoid any chance of city smudging.

Despite its title, the Runway/Taxiway road type should never be used for an aircraft taxiway because it would render the same as a runway and confuse the display. Taxiways not intended for frequent access by street vehicles should not be mapped at all with any road type. Taxiways that do commonly serve street vehicles as well as aircraft, for example at fly-in communities, may be mapped as Streets provided they remain disconnected from any runway.

Ferry link to this section

Prior to 2016 the Ferry Road type was not to be used. Since that time, there have been changes to the Routing server that allow the use of the Ferry Road type.

The Ferry road type should only be used where a road crosses a body of water through the use of an automotive ferry. For more on how to map ferries see Ferries/USA. The Ferry Road type is useful because it causes the Waze App to display a "ferry" symbol for routes that include a  • • • • Ferry • • • •   segment.

The Ferry road type is treated by the Routing server as a minor highway.The speed for the ferry road type is fixed at a very slow speed typical of watercraft, and not estimated from user speeds.

If the ferry you are working on crosses an area well covered with GPS traces, OR travels at higher than normal speeds, please notify your Regional Coordinator. Additionally, if you have issues with routes passing thru a ferry segment, please contact your Regional Coordinator.

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, exit through the 2nd / 3rd / 4th exit).


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

For more information on when to create a Roundabout or a loop instead, please review the Junction Style Guide.
For information on what type of road to set a Roundabout to, please review Creating and Editing a Roundabout

Special case roads not covered link to this section

There are a number of other types of roadways and lane types which are not directly covered with the current options above. In some cases there are plans to add some of these special cases, but in the mean time the following guidelines are the best that can be done with the current settings.

Bus or cab only lanes link to this section

When a road or lane is designated for bus or cab use only, mark that road segment(s) as a Private Road to prevent the Waze router from using that segment(s) for general traffic, since the majority of the users will not be able to use that lane. It is also advisable to set the turn restrictions to prevent turns into that segment(s), but permit turns exiting the segment.

If a road is one-way, but allows bus or cab traffic to flow the other direction, leave the road as one-way with the normal flow of traffic. There is no need to create a second road traveling the opposite direction for the bus and cab-only traffic.

Driveways link to this section

Many residents of urban communities have very short driveways between the named road that they live on and the garage or carport on their property. In general these very short segments should not be mapped, because they have no name, would clutter the map in the client app, take a lot of time to draw, and would greatly increase the overall size of the Waze mapping database with very little return.

In the case of very long driveways, it may helpful to a driver to see the driveway mapped on the client app or even necessary for Waze to determine how to reach the destination. In those cases it may be prudent to add a road. See the article on Driveways for more information.

See Also link to this section

Road names/USA
Junction Style Guide
United Kingdom/Roads