BE WARY: Map Updates often Slow to Conform to RIGHT-HAND-EXIT Standard of New Construction

 

Everybody has probably seen this sort of thing happening now: There is new construction going on in an area, and that new construction changed the layout of exit(s) or fork(s) in such a way that, previously, exiting was counter-intuitive, so that, say, if travelling on Route Y, in order to:

Change to Route X --> bear (or exit) Left
Continue on Rte Y --> bear (or exit, or stay) Right

But now, with much of the new highway construction since the recent stiumli acts, we're seeing an attempt to, wherever possible, STANDARDIZE exits in this way:

To CONTINUE on the same (named/numbered) route, drivers should simply continue straight, or bear left, with as little curve as possible.

To CHANGE to a different (named/numbered) route, REGARDLESS OF DIRECTION of the alternate (named) route, where financially possible, construction upgrades should always place this path on the RIGHT, and label it an EXIT, preferable with at least a moderate curve to indicate that this is a DEVIATION from the main route.

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This is a very desirable standard and an aid to drivers when they can be assured that virtually every EXIT from a route will be rightward, and to simply stay on the same route, whenever there is a choice, to stay straight (or remain left, or bear left).

I found that, driving in France, a much older country than the US, with much less space to deal with such things, when I was on the major routes with exits, I can never, ever remember seeing an exit on the left-hand side. They are simply always on the right hand side. Often this meant that the exit was an incline up a mountain, through a tunnel, and then across an overpass, but apparently the French seemed to feel it was worthwhile to give drivers a secure feeling that staying (or bearing) LEFT meant staying on the same route, and choosing the rightward path meant exiting and changing route.

It's actually a good idea -- but here in the US we got away from it as development sprawled in the '70s and highway designers made decisions based cost to adhere to available space and right-of-way and topography, and simply get a new exit added.

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But now we're returning to sensibility on these projects, and the cost is likely a bit higher, but there are other efficiencies being built in, and the materials used are those which grant much better wear and longer life, helping offset the costs.

Also NOTE: There are also similar, specific preferences for design of flyovers at intersections, which have become a very successful solution for congestion in communities where there is sufficient space (route width for the required length) to build one.

That said, we should all be aware of this as drivers, and you've probably noticed this already. It won't always be this way, since terrain and right-of-way can impede, sometimes this kind of situation simply cannot be created without enormous expenditures. Alas, sometimes the new route will simply be an exit on the LEFT side.

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AS THIS REGARDS MAP UPDATES:

Sometimes the map updates are not clear to pick up on these changes until MONTHS after they are final, and perhaps even (a) YEAR(s) after traffic is routing in new pattern.

For example, when I updated my Garmin nuvi 1490LMT units over a year ago, the map didn't yet show the correction for the massive re-construction at 417 and 408 on the east side of Orlando. This, even though the construction was virtually complete at that time, and the traffic was routing now according to preferred RIGHT-EXIT standard.

Specifically, when you are headed Southbound on 417 Tollway and approach the 408 Tollway, in the PAST, you had to EXIT RIGHT in order to STAY on your same route of 417 Southbound. You then went into a loop and turned eastward over an overpass, then into another rightward loop to return you to heading Southward. It was a wide-enough path, but VERY CONFUSING for non-residents, or even for daydreamers, or for someone busily scolding rear-seat children... Counter-intuitively, you had to EXIT RIGHT to stay on path going straight. (THAT WAS IN THE PAST.)

Whereas, in order to get onto 408 headed westward across the belt of Orlando, back then you would have just continued straight (slight bear-left) -- and after traveling beneath under an underpass (417 above), going past (ignoring) a right-exit specifically dedicated to a community-college campus, then you'd swoop around westward and be merged into 408 Westward. Thus, without making ANY EXIT, you ended up OFF of the route you thought you were on, and were pointed into the heart of the city, often in traffic, and with a few miles to the first (busy-traffic) turnaround opportunity. (THAT WAS IN THE PAST)

And don't even get me started on what you had to do if you wanted 408 East in the opposite direction (toward Titusville)... for that you continued on the 417 "exit" rightward, i.e., took the OPPOSITE of a 408 choice, and LATER, at/after the overpass, made another non-intuitive exit to get yourself pointed Eastward.

It was not as complicated as some things I've dealt with in Chicago, but it was really bad unless you knew it well, or were paying super-sharp attention. No matter how well it was marked, people were CONSTANTLY slamming on brakes, veering to one shoulder or the other, or stopping in the area of white sticks where the roads divided, knocking down a few, and dangerously getting out of their car to consult their maps and scratch their heads.

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BUT NOW... after what had to be $40 million plus, it's CORRECTED with the new construction...

NOW, you remain left (straight on) to stay on 417 South and to exit to 408 West you must go to the RIGHT at a clearly-marked exit. Later on, you can also exit RIGHT to get to 408 East [Titusville], and all is as it should be. It is corrected.

But, as of the maps I last downloaded and installed in my Garmin just over a year ago, even thought the physical roads were corrected, the Garmin map routing had NOT YET been updated.

Thus, my Garmin would tell me to KEEP RIGHT to stay on 417 South when that was long-changed. The only thing was that the project had not TECHNICALLY been completed.

It's amazing to me that this could have been missed. The Google satellite clearly showed traffic direction at that time, and had all the arrows correct on Google Maps. How does a company like GARMIN, which specializes in this, screw this up?

Perhaps they WAIT until they get back a report that construction is COMPLETED before they will post the update? BAD IDEA, if so, because some construction projects take 10 years. Some take 20 years. As a Chicago native, I know that SOME, like the Dan Ryan Expressway, NEVER, EVER END -- they just switch sides every 2 years. Miami's 836 seems about the same between the airport and 37th -- unending, just alternating lanes.

So, BE WARY of what you are told. Watch the signage and never rely completely on your GPS.

We all knew this, but this is a concrete example I wanted to post for feedback. Others in Orlando area will know of this.

Now I've just today updated maps again and I'll probably head out that way with one of my updated units just to see if Garmin FINALLY got it right.

But if not, I guess I won't be surprised...

Other guidance

Just curious, do you have a smart phone with Google Maps, Waze, or some other nav program? It would be interesting to know if they have the same issue.

Are you talking about

Are you talking about roundabouts or traffic circles or the cross over intersection?

http://www.virginiadot.org/info/resources/round/Differences_...

Modern roundabout: http://maps.google.com/?ll=42.552962,-83.448608&spn=0.007753...

Modern cross over intersection with freeway under pass.
http://maps.google.com/?ll=42.493729,-83.516157&spn=0.005488...

--
Nuvi 3790LMT, Nuvi 760 Lifetime map, Lifetime NavTraffic, Garmin E-Trex Legend Just because "Everyone" drives badly does not mean you have to.

You just today

kentsnelson wrote:

Now I've just today updated maps again and I'll probably head out that way with one of my updated units just to see if Garmin FINALLY got it right.

But if not, I guess I won't be surprised...

You just TODAY updated maps? There hasn't been a map update since last November, so are you saying that your using old maps and complaining that Garmin hasn't made a change on those? I'm confused.

Also, Garmin purchase their maps from Navteq and have little, or nothing, to do with how current they are for any particular location. That's Navteq's job, and one which you can help out by reporting your issue on the MapReporter section of Navteq.com, unless, of course, it's already been corrected on the latest map update or the new one which should be out next week.

--
Nuvi 350, 760, 1695LM, 3790LMT, 2460LMT, 3597LMTHD, DriveLuxe 50LMTHD, DriveSmart 61, Garmin Backup Camera 40 and TomTom XXL540s.

@kentsnelson

I somehow hate to tell you this, but it may be necessary before you will become one of "GPS made me do it" cases.

What you have is just a map. In nicer form, and it can talk, but it is still a map. It may have errors, and often doesn't have info about ongoing construction works or changes in traffic pattern. So it is still YOURS responsibility to compare what you can see on GPS's screen with situation on road and take actions that are in accordance with traffic rules and situation on road. Even if it means that you have to ignore what GPS tells you.

Agreed, my warning on more specific case: new constr R-H-Exit

grzesja wrote:

I somehow hate to tell you this, but it may be necessary before you will become one of "GPS made me do it" cases.

What you have is just a map. In nicer form, and it can talk, but it is still a map. It may have errors, and often doesn't have info about ongoing construction works or changes in traffic pattern. So it is still YOURS responsibility to compare what you can see on GPS's screen with situation on road and take actions that are in accordance with traffic rules and situation on road. Even if it means that you have to ignore what GPS tells you.

Yeah, your post summarizes but generalizes my warning. My point: Be wary, particularly in new construction, specifically watching for correction to right-hand-exit standard.

Google gets it right: has since a few weeks after reroute

nrbovee wrote:

Just curious, do you have a smart phone with Google Maps, Waze, or some other nav program? It would be interesting to know if they have the same issue.

I'm overloaded with devices and Google has gotten this one right since within a couple weeks of the corrected reroute during construction. In fact, I use a 7" T-Mobile tablet on windshield for more complicated routings since Google maps is much better. Garmin is just (sometimes) quicker to set and I can leave it in the windshield without fear of theft or damage as I would fear happening to the tablet.

Yeah, I sorta have a life UNinfluenced by map update releases

t923347 wrote:
kentsnelson wrote:

Now I've just today updated maps again and I'll probably head out that way with one of my updated units just to see if Garmin FINALLY got it right.

But if not, I guess I won't be surprised...

You just TODAY updated maps? There hasn't been a map update since last November, so are you saying that your using old maps and complaining that Garmin hasn't made a change on those? I'm confused.

Also, Garmin purchase their maps from Navteq and have little, or nothing, to do with how current they are for any particular location. That's Navteq's job, and one which you can help out by reporting your issue on the MapReporter section of Navteq.com...

Yeah, I update within a few (maybe 6 ot 7) MONTHS of when I'm notified. I'm not reliant on GPS since I still like to drive a city to learn it, and am good with a compass (or just the sun's position), general sense of direction, etc.

But I should have been clearer. My last update had a release date long after construction had RH-Exit-Preferenced the route. Garmin or Navteq or whomever blew it.

I know you Tomtom users love to be good, dutiful good-deeders and update stuff for everybody else. I was unaware I could do that, and might start if it's easy and fun. But the Tomtom units themselves are soooooo counterintuitive to use, I wouldn't take one for free. No thanks.

Also, since Google maps and Nav can stay updated using mostly satellite, Garmin, the biggest GPS seller, ought to be able to also afford to do so, or find a contractor who does.

Finally, I thought map releases were QUARTERLY for Garmin, even if I'm only entitled to annual... somebody can perhaps splain that...

Nomenclature of a freeway, tollway, interstate, or turnpike...

onestep wrote:

Are you talking about roundabouts or traffic circles or the cross over intersection?

http://www.virginiadot.org/info/resources/round/Differences_...

Modern roundabout: http://maps.google.com/?ll=42.552962,-83.448608&spn=0.007753...

Modern cross over intersection with freeway under pass.
http://maps.google.com/?ll=42.493729,-83.516157&spn=0.005488,0.006539&t=h&z=18

I'll find the codified new standards and post them. I'm talking about the myriad forms of exiting on a freeway or tollway or interstate or turnpike -- a multi-lane road without stop signs or roundabouts where speeds are typically 45-75MPH, pedestrians and bicycles and motorcycles under 250cc are banned, and the exits are ramps, either tightly in cloverleaf or meandering broadly, but always without a stop signal at point of egress to allow traffic to maintain higher speeds. If you have a general name for such roads, I'll happily use it in the future.