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Soft and hard turns

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When using Waze in navigation mode, it controls routing of traffic using a penalty system. What this means is less desirable roads or turns for through-traffic would have a higher penalty when calculating the route from point A to B. The higher the combined penalty, the less likely the Waze system will want to route through those segments and turns. Therefore it takes the least penalized route combined with relative traffic and distance information.

A junction is created when one segment is connected to another segment. At this junction there are controls for how Waze will navigate through this junction between the segments. These controls appear in the Waze Map Editor (WME) as red and green arrows depending upon whether a particular direction of travel is allowed through that junction. These settings are called turn restrictions.

Before continuing to review the information below, be sure you are familiar with the basic information on setting turn restrictions. Then return here for this more detailed information on how different turn restrictions operate.

Key terms

Restricted Turn - Arrow Red-2.pngArrow Red-2-question2.png - Indicated with a red arrow and creates a high penalty for routing from one segment to another through that junction.

Enabled Turn - Arrow Green-2.pngArrow Green-2-question2.png - Indicated with a green arrow and creates a low penalty for routing from one segment to another through that junction.

Soft Turn - Arrow Red-2-question2.pngArrow Green-2-question2.png - The new Waze Map Editor now indicates a soft turn with a purple question mark next to the arrow. It is generated automatically by the Waze routing engine for turns from existing segments when they are added to current or new junctions. The already present segments in the junction will have hard restricted turns going to the newly joined segment(s). Also, original base map imported junctions not set manually by an editor will be soft restricted. However, newly drawn segments joined to other segments will have hard restricted turns. The turns from the existing segments will inherit the same type of soft or hard turn as the end of the segment that is split.

Hard Turn - Arrow Red-2.pngArrow Green-2.png - The new Waze Map Editor now distinguishes between hard and soft turns, by removing the question mark when a turn is manually set by an editor as either a restricted or enabled turn.

These conditions are combined to form four different states shown in the table below.

Soft and Hard Turn Combinations
Arrow Turn State Restriction Penalty How to Set More Information
Arrow Red-2.png Hard Restricted Very High When an editor clicks on an arrow to change it from green to red or from red to green to red again Waze will generally not route through this turn
Arrow Red-2-question2.png Soft Restricted High Newly created turns from joining existing segments to other segments

Picked up from existing segments when joined by new segments

Cannot return to this state except when the adjacent conditions are met
Arrow Green-2-question2.png Soft Enabled Low Automatically set by Waze when traffic flows through Soft restricted turns enough times Waze will not override a Hard restricted turn due to traffic flow against that direction
Arrow Green-2.png Hard Enabled Very Low When an editor clicks on an arrow to change it from red to green or from green to red to green again Also set when selecting a junction and pressing the Q then W shortcut keys

Related shortcuts

Allow-Disallow Turns.png
On the left side of the screen you will see action links for the selected node (or junction). Depending on the current state of the junction, one or both of the buttons Allow all turns or Disallow all turns will appear. For example, if all turns are currently allowed, then only the Disallow all turns link will appear.

Alternately you can use the keyboard shortcut W to Allow all turns and the shortcut Q to Disallow all turns.

Other helpful turn arrow keyboard shortcuts are:

  • Shift+z - Toggles between: 1) showing the enabled and restricted turn arrows for the selected segment, and 2) showing all restricted turns (red arrows only) for every junction on the visible map (up to zoom level 4 or 500 ft in the lower left map legend).
  • a - Toggles between making the turn restriction arrows directly selectable (opaque) or transparent. Transparency enables selecting objects below the arrow on the map.
  • s - Toggles between separating turn arrows so they don't overlap or leaving them overlapping. This can also be used to refresh the screen when you have toggled visibility for all restricted turns, and you are modifying turn restrictions.

To see all keyboard shortcuts, press the ? on the keyboard.

Best practices

After creating a new junction, first be sure to set the one-way and two-way traffic direction on all connected segments. Then it is best to initially Disable and Enable all turns through that junction by selecting it and pressing Q followed by W. Then manually set any necessary individual restricted turns by selecting each segment one at a time and set the needed arrow to red.

Note that once a segment is disconnected from a junction, returning that segment to the same (or a different segment) will reset the turns from that segment to soft turns again. Use the above steps to return it to hard turns. Note, however, that the procedure, using Q and W, will change all restrictions on the junction to alowed, so make sure to preserve whatever values were previously set for the parts that you did not disconnect. Because of this, you may wish instead, for simple junctions, to not employ the Q/W procedure, and only set hard restrictions on the turns to or from the newly reconnected piece.

Time restricted turns

The Waze Map Editor and routing engine supports scheduled restrictions (time of day, day of week, turns, traffic flow direction, vehicle type, etc.).

Please see the Partial restrictions page for full documentation on this feature.}

Route calculation

For those interested, there is an article covering How Waze calculates routes for more information on this topic.