On another navigation related topic; I was using Waze in a high-traffic city, where even the alternate routes have a lot of traffic. I was thinking, it surely would be possible for Waze to look back along my route and calculate which route would have been better for me.
E.g. if I drove from A via B, C, D, E towards Z, and there was an alternate route A-B-F-G-E-Z, and the route branches out at B (you can either take path B-C-D-E or path B-F-G-E), the app could find a car that was near me at point B, and went to F later on. It would then know the time I would have needed to drive from B to F. This ghost car doesn't need to go all the way to E, if it turned off at F, the app could find another car, one which at that point was at point F and later on drove to G (or better, E), and then see how much time they took. And so on for each segment of my alternate route...
what portion of all the other driver's around me also looking at google maps? Is Google Maps telling them to take the same alternate route as me? Are they all going to do it? If they all do it, does the alternate route (which likely can't handle as much traffic as the original route) just became as jammed as waiting in traffic? Or even worse, if they're all going to do what google maps says, would I in fact be much better off ignoring it and sticking to the original route?
It's hard to tell what's imagination/selection bias, but following google maps traffic-jam-avoidance suggestions has seemed disastrous enough to me enough times that I mostly just stick to the original route now. (Of course, one could also imagine using one's own route knowledge to pick an alternate route of one's own without google maps...)
I suppose google maps could be smart enough to tell half the people to go one way and half the other... I kind of doubt it is, but one could imagine a computerized route direction system which, if enough driver's had it, could actually maximize efficiency by sending different drivers different routes intentionally... I'm not holding my breath for it.
Now, let's say that the 200 car/min turns to a bottleneck of 100 car/min if it's overwhelmed 10 mins downstream of the turnoff. If google routes >200 car/min to the turnoff, there will eventually be a significant traffic jam: cars will pile up at the bottleneck, and even if waze stops routing to the turnoff at that point, the jam would still travel upwards like a pressure wave until it hits the turnoff.
I'd have a hard time believing it's possible for waze to know beforehand what those throughputs are, so some situations like this must occur.
Take the toy example illustrating that paradox ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Braess%27s_paradox#Mathematica... ) and an enlightened Google maps may do the altruistic thing of telling half of the drivers to stick on the upper route and half of the drivers to stick to the bottom route, but then some 3rd-party app will come along with the "shortcut" down the middle.
Is there any competitor I can check to confirm best routes?
Let's say enough cars take the suggestion to slow down that route by 10 minutes and speed up this one by 10 minutes. Even if you end up saving five minutes relative to the original estimate, you'd have saved ten minutes staying put.
Various cities round the world have different optimization goals as they try out different approaches.
I usually avoid Google maps for traveling in areas that I don’t know. It takes you off on stupid routes that save marginal time (if any) too much. Waze is good for interstate travel, but IMO Apple is better for giving you the “right”, low drama route.
It’s both dangerous and anxiety inducing and doesn’t save time either.
As I got further and further away the "turn left here" and "turn right here" directions got more and more frequent, until eventually he just started repeating "turn around where possible" until I was able to find somewhere reasonable to stop and turn it off.
In localities with few/no roundabouts, the vast majority of accidents still happen at intersections. Intersections of roads are the most prone to accidents (for fairly obvious reasons), with or without roundabouts.
I believe there is research showing roundabouts are actually quite a bit safer in general, but it's possible it depends on various things. But anyway, accidents happen mostly where two roads intersect, either way.
Roundabouts make my bicycle commute way faster. This in The Netherlands where we cycle a lot. Difficulty or death is entirely incorrect. Suggest to compare the designs across countries, maybe there's a huge difference in the design?
It certainly seems to be a people problem rather than a roundabout deign issue from my experience?
People trying to "beat" people out onto the roundabout rather than giving way, people not using proper lane discipline and squeezing/cutting into other lanes etc..
Research shows the opposite. They can handle more traffic within a given timeframe. The bit about accidents seems strange. Not sure why you'd think that. I'm wondering if your roundabouts have some kind of design flaw.
Out in the countryside roundabouts in France operate in the "normal" way : approaching traffic yields to traffic already in the system, with the usual triangular "yield" sign making priority clear.
It's possible that your experience of French roundabouts is related to driver confusion between these two systems.
Strangely enough though it's one of the few things I miss about the city I grew up in (Jeddah, Saudi Arabia) - lots of outdoor art and sculptures because they had lots of very large roundabouts (check Google images to see what I mean about the outdoor art).
I haven't experienced that for the many roundabouts we have in The Netherlands. Throughput is higher (can easily be measured), plus waiting time is lower thanks to roundabouts.
Not exactly sure what you mean with "burbs" though it doesn't matter as they're heavily used in cities here.
The avoiding tolls thing is absolutely terrible that way. Thankfully, they finally put in a new feature where it shows you alternate routes, with and without tolls, and tells you if they do or don't have tolls. It took years for this to come about even though I had requested it many times, and it's plainly obviously needed. But before this, it was all-or-nothing, and it wasn't easy to change on the fly, and having it on was bad because it would frequently try to route me onto an expensive toll lane even though there was zero time savings, but for other routes a toll road was absolutely necessary.
They should have it weight left turns higher (as in worse) so that routes tend to avoid them. When I drive to work, I can take my normal exit, and only take right turns, or if I miss it, I can take the next exit, but there's a terrible left turn there with a very long light. Google Maps consistently says "1 minute longer" for this route: BS. It might be about the same if you happen to catch the light, otherwise it's 5 minutes longer. I feel like their algorithm really doesn't take this into account well.
I often use Navigon I keep in a (very old) iPhone, it has a fantastic feature that you can download the maps for countries. I like it better for long distance driving than Google Maps.
It's my impression that Google Maps does the latter; Waze is known for taking wild routes that are nominally faster. I'm not sure that I see a basis for complaint, as they're just offering a choice of different route objectives to optimize for (I know people who explicitly use Waze because they prefer its aggressive optimization to Maps). I suppose a toggle would be nice though.
The backroads also has a 25% or so chance of getting stopped by a train. Big massive transcontinental train connecting the biggest port complex in the US to the rest of the country. Takes about ten minutes. Last time I hit the train, as it was almost done, a train came the other way.
Haven't taken that route since, despite the fact that it saves two minutes, sometimes more if there's traffic on the freeway. It's not a good value proposition.
These map apps make a conscious decision to deliver this user experience.
Now I live in Europe, presumably you live in the US (sorry if that's wrong). Is there any particular difficulties with doing left turns compared to right turns where you live?
gMaps took us to the restaurant on the shortest path - straight through the heart of Tenderloin. My girlfriend was sketched out as heck and almost made us take an Uber.
On our way back from the restaurant, we used Apple Maps. It took us on what looked like a longer route but lo and behold, it took a wiiiide berth around the Tenderloin. We saw not a single sketchy thing on our entire night time walk.
Don’t know if it was a coincidence or Apple Maps really has an “avoid seedy areas” model. The route was way simpler at least. 2 or 3 turns compared to gMaps’s 15
And grid geometry means Apple Maps was only 2min slower. But way nicer and easier to navigate.
Microsoft patented such an "avoid ghetto" idea year ago, but people got mad and called it racist:
Because, as we all know, trying to avoid getting mugged or carjacked is racist.
It's a diverse place of seed and rich. It's a very future feeling place. The experience made me think this is a slice of what the future will look like. It's kinda has this dystopian gothic novel feel. The mini subways (barts) are automated and cool and look like they are in the future but look like they are falling apart too. You get this weird post apocalyptic feeling of a future that has come and gone but hasn't reached you yet
Yeah, no. BART doesn't have station agents watching the doors, and human drivers are a common occurrence on pretty much every subway system in the world.
Next thing you know, (SF) City politicians are up in arms about why Apple is "blackballing" Tenderloin, and rake up past issues such as red-lining, ghettos, etc.
We relied on GMaps on a recent (my first ever) visit to Malta, and it took us through some pretty dodgy, steep and narrow, local roads on our way in.
We didn't know of this GMaps' preference of, erm, interesting routes, so we figured that's just how Malta is. A few days later and, of course, we learn there's a perfectly normal, pleasant route that took us there in as little time as the dodgy one...
Which feels like a lot of what people complain Google Maps does...
I have a route I take, and let's say I split it up with A-B-C. now Google Maps tells me that AB-BC takes an hour, but AB'-BC' is 15 minutes faster.
It usually turns out that the time delay is on the later leg. So I could take AB or AB', it doesn't matter, and then BC' is the faster choice later on.
I wish Google Maps wouldn't show me AB', because it's misleading. At best it should say AB' is the same ETA. But clicking on it means that some route near the end of my drive is now different, it doesn't actually save me time for my current divergence. It's misleading.
As for express vs. regular lanes, express-lane cars will have much different distributions than regular-lane cars. Use something like KNN where the distance metric is a weighted sum of Kolmogorov-Smirnov distance between speed distributions and K-S between acceleration distributions (each vehicle is one unit with a distribution of speeds and accelerations).
I’m pretty sure this is rarely enforced in most states in the US. My father frequently drives across the US and always takes his calls with earbuds because the speakers aren’t very good.
I do it with one earbud in because I find the quality of speaker audio terrible, forcing me to concentrate harder on it to discern what’s being said.
I tend to use the car speakers or simply refuse all incoming calls while driving.
Definitely the best course of action. Even just talking on the phone is very distracting. No way someone can have a full conversation going and still be giving the same attention to driving.
Bonus points if those clients all connect from the same IP address (range). That would be the train WiFi.
You can also do it with a PID approach
It's easier with historical data since you know the full trip, but even real-time should be doable.
I did one project in school (albeit a simple SVM based model) to classify walking vs running (and so on) and ambiguity was still there. Stationary vs. Walking was easy to draw a hyper plane in between, not Running.
I still find it a difficult problem to get into, after 5 years. Perhaps ANN models might work better? Although my heart is still at Hidden MM states...
(Its not pretty though...)
I have proper project reports I’d submitted somewhere for sure, as well. I’ll add it there in repo. I never bothered earlier.
Edit 2: this was the paper i finally submitted at school.
I was trying to navigate to a hotel because I knew we couldn't make it back in this weather, but all the closest hotels weren't on main roads. I was desperately trying to figure out a way to tell Google "prefer main roads" so we could find a hotel that was several miles further away if that meant sticking to safer roads.
I thought a lot about how a feature like that could save lives in an emergency. Does this already exist anywhere?
Of course, any basic offline routing application that doesn't have live traffic feed. Something like Osmand for example.
It's an interesting example of over-optimisation causing unforeseen effects. Perhaps better to rely on naive basic routing combined with external traffic condition prompts instead.
Guessing maybe it outpaces what is downloaded when it starts having problems?
Yeah it was less busy -- because the locals knew damn well to avoid the crazy slick small roads. At some point, I lost control of the car and skidded off the road. Thankfully I didn't end in the ditch.
* I can't compare multiple modes of transportation on the same map. E.g. driving vs. walking vs. transit.
* There's no way to optimize for minimizing left turns, especially onto busy streets.
* Multi-destination route optimization is not available. E.g. I need to go to the mall, the grocery store, and the bank, what's the sequence of destinations and route that minimizes travel time.
 I realize this is describing the travelling salesman problem, but for small (<=4) n it should not be too difficult while still being useful in practice.
Woah, I've never heard anyone else mention this problem. It sounds strange having it said "out loud" because I thought it was just a weird personal quirk/irritation of mine.
I have always wished there was a route option of "easy mode driving," or "no pressure route."
Often the "quickest" route google maps shows me is one that has some sort of difficult turn across multiple lanes going the other direction into a "suicide lane" or what have you.
Either that, of some sort of merging is necessary where you're basically at the mercy of other drivers letting you in (especially tough if you're not an aggressive driver like myself).
Honestly, some maneuvers give me a lot of anxiety, like when I'm on a very busy two lane road (no middle lane) and google is telling me to turn left, so I have to sit there with my blinker on feeling terrible for pissing off all the drivers that are now pilling up behind me, while I anxiously wait for an opening.
Unless Im late for something important, I'd gladly go 5 minutes or more out of my way not to experience that kind of driving pressure/social anxiety. I have a moderate anxiety disorder so I know this might not be normal.
But you're absolutely right! I suppose it does in fact boil down to just having a route option with "no left turns" -- I had never thought of it that way. That's such a simple way to solve 95% of the problem.
Edit: a left turn lane, with a green left turn light is totally fine.
For the handful of caring but misguided people scrutinizing my aversion for left turns:
>Federal data have shown that 53.1 percent of crossing-path crashes involve left turns, but only 5.7 percent involve right turns.
sauce: 2001 - Analysis of Crossing Path Crashes - NHTSA
I'd rather turn right and then take the next U-turn to get back to where I want to go.
It reduces my social anxiety of people piling up behind me as I want to turn left, and it reduces my perception (right or wrong) of risk. When I turn left, I need to alternate looking left and right. When I turn right, I mostly only need to look to my left (unless there is a biker going opposite traffic, which has happened to me!).
This is a behavior we normalize in a driving society. Being assertive as you turn left does nothing to reduce the impact of another car hitting you at 45 miles an hour (or even faster in more rural places).
>A study from the National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA) shows that turning left is one of the primary causes of automobile collisions. 61 percent of crashes that occur while turning or crossing an intersection involve left turns, as opposed to just 3.1 percent that involve right turns.
Anyway, I'd rather be this type of driver than an overly dense person who doesn't mind backing up traffic. The type of people that will go sideways blocking four lanes coming out of a gas station to get to the turn lane...
I learned to drive in a "defensive" manner. Yes, sometimes non-action can be more dangerous in a specific situation; but feeling bad about backing up traffic doesn't make me a bad driver. Just an socially anxious one.
I agree though, in the original comment, I probably made it sound worse than it actually is for me. I just wish google maps had this option. I would find driving more pleasant.
Edit: I made some edits, to clear up my response
When Ive been a passenger, Ive seen most other drivers feel this way--whether they say it or not, you can see on their face they are feeling anxious.
Any decent road routing engine does take into consideration a "turn penalty" and makes left turns more costly then right, among other things. E.g. see the Valhalla docs (Mapbox's routing engine):
> Turn type - whether the turn is a left turn, right turn, or is crossing another road. The cost applied to the turn type also needs to know if driving is done on the left side or right side of the road. While left turns are generally more costly in the US than right turns, the opposite holds in UK.
OSRM also does this, but slightly differently:
With routing applications there are many configurable parameters, rather than providing too many options and risking overwhelming the user some of these things are simply baked into the ETA calculation.
The Google Maps android and web apps also let you switch between transportation modes to compare driving, walking, cycling and public transit. You can even change it to "leave at" or "arrive by" for any time of day for any day of the week, and it'll give you a decent idea of trip time.
I agree with the other suggestions though, it would be handy to minimize (unprotected) left turns, and optimize travel time.
The last one is probably more nuanced than it seems though. For example, I will usually want to go to the grocery store last to minimize the time groceries are sitting in a hot/freezing car, depending on what I'm buying and the weather.
Apple Maps seems to do a better job on this specific issue.
Many a time I've need to navigate somewhere fast, so even if I could've found my own way there I'll use Gmaps to find the "quickest" router around traffic, etc. Sometimes it works great, others I find I'm having to make a difficult turn across 4 lanes of traffic on both sides of the road, and I'm stuck there in peak hour for 5 mins waiting for a break. Google only optimised for distance and traffic I was in. (I.e. The traffic on both the roads was fast moving, but entering the fast moving traffic took a long time). Optimising only for the speed of traveling in traffic as opposed to entering it (from a turn) can cause this.
Another pet peeve of mine, is if you're doing a long distance road trip, you sometimes want to see where the next stop could be. That is, you haven't planned it, but your destination is set to somewhere 7 hours away and you'd like to stop within the next hour. There's no easy way to see where a good place could be. I want a "road trip" mode where you can bring up something a bit like those road side signs that tell you the distance to the next 5 towns or whatever. So on your phone you tap an info button, and get distance and time to the next x townships that are on your route or a short detour away.
When my wife and I did more road trips, we used to make quite a lot of use of that one.
Not sure whatever happened to it, but I haven’t used it for years.
Yes, 1997, so you needed a laptop in your car and a person other than the driver to operate it, but it worked.
I've turned off voice navigation altogether. It's just not necessary in most cases. Just take a minute or two before departure to actually read the map and the route, if you are not pressed for time. It also gives you much better spatial awareness of where you are going and how you are going there.
I promise it's almost always the fastest (I knew someone who had corporate access to it for big clients).
In all driving apps you either take all tolls or none. It should be possible to optimize cost vs time saved, taking some tolls (which gain you enough time to justify their cost), but not all.
When you've set your start and destination scroll down and there's a section called "multimodal labs".
Apple Maps on CarPlay added this feature and I love it. It works great for routes where I pretty much know the way but want a heads up for traffic and such.
I guess, though, I would probably only want navigation to stop if I'm going to my house, not from it.
 It seems this has gotten better in recent years with less frequent nagging to "proceed straight for 50km" from the app.
The worst example I've had is that a road changed it's name 70m before it split into two. The app would only show "In XXXm, continue straight" then, with 70m warning, it told me which lane I needed. That was stressful.
Apple Maps in CarPlay has this option, and I only ever use it muted. It’s fine even when I don’t know where I’m going, since I just glance at the screen to see the next turn/distance and that’s all I need anyway.
I find it pretty boring to drive the same route over and over, and I'd gladly spend another 15 minutes if it means I get a more interesting route.
Apple Maps (at least in CarPlay) has a "tap for ETA" feature. It collapses the navigation block and only leaves the blue (yellow, red) line on the map and an estimated ETA at the bottom.
I use this daily during my commute where I passively want to know if there's some traffic up ahead, but don't need help to know where I am going.
It's not automatic (e.g. Geo-fence setting), but it is just one tap.
Google actually already has an api that does exactly this called Google OR-Tools. They could totally build this feature into google map if they want.
Still can't find any way to fix this issue. Its terribly annoying.
I want the instructions in English - but I want the place-names in the native language. This is the only sensible way, yet none of the Maps vendors seem to have understood this. Do they not use their products?
Almost all of the “major” popular apps are mediocre, with simple bugs and missing functionality or bad design for years, despite user complaints and requests. Maps, Translate, Skype, WhatsApp, Instagram, Instagram, Discord, Tinder, OKCupid, and even most of Apple’s own stuff. It’s like they fired all but one developer after they became popular.
It's NOT easy to time the release of such a feature.
In fact, since this is not easy, I see a big opportunity for a competitor to Waze.
I had a friend I helped move and we had to deal with google continually routing us towards low bridges.
Is it mathematically proven, that every bridge is always appearing in the dataset after it is possible to drive underneath it? Or over it?
No map data supplier warrants that their data is free from errors, and even if they did the data could be out-of-date within hours as roads are being built all the time.
There is no proof - mathematical or otherwise - a sat nav won't switch off if you fail to plug it in. Neither is there any proof a bridge won't be closed due to roadworks, an accident, or other reasons.
They gave reason: navigation system.
OsmAnd+ on F-Droid has this feature, although the UX isn't stellar. Add intermediate destinations to your itinerary then the Edit next to intermediate destinations > Sort > Door-to-door.
There are some hidden gems out there. I've been using Locus Map Pro (Android app) for all my cycling and geocaching needs for the last few years, and some of the things you mention do have solutions in it. The app is not at all beginner-friendly, there's like a million various options and functions, but if you're willing to spend time configuring it, usually you can have it do whatever you want.
> I know what I'm doing when I'm in this area
When planning a route, it's possible to choose whether to generate navigation instructions, and this can be chosen for any part of the route separately. It's also possible to delete individual nav instructions or manually add new ones.
> I can't compare multiple modes of transportation on the same map
The route can be saved and then shown/hidden on the map, and there's probably no limit on how many routes can be shown. Color and line width is configurable, too. But yeah, it will be quite a manual process, unfortunately.
> There's no way to optimize for minimizing left turns
I think that if the navigation engine is switched to BRouter, it's possible to assign different weights to left/right turns. But I have to admit that tweaking these parameters is too much even for me.
At this point it's also worth mentioning that it only uses OSM routing engines (GraphHopper, BRouter, YOURS), so it can't take traffic into account. Which is fine for my needs (cycling), as I'd rather see the Strava heatmap (and I can!) than live traffic data. :-)
(I'm not affiliated with the project but I do use it a lot and have built an add-on against their API, so I'm a huge fanboy.)
Yes, this is a very obvious feature that one encounters almost immediately when adopting direction tools like this and, like you, I am quite surprised this isn't fixed.
Related: an option, or even a default, to pause media playback for the duration of directions dictation, rather than just drown it out ... if you are listening to news, etc., you can miss 15+ seconds of content while a longer direction is dictated.
Again: these are not hyper-distilled, personal features that took man hours to discover - these are features that one discovers almost immediately, across a broad spectrum of use-cases. Very surprising that it hasn't been "fixed".
: I'm legally blind.
After many of my travel using Google Maps, I get a notification asking whether the route recommended was right. I never had a bad one (where they asked it at least) so I don't know what happens if I do answer no, but I guess it's to allow to optimize theses kinds of situation.
I don’t want to take a backstreet only to pop out at the freeway where I need to turn over 6 lanes with no lights....
I feel it’s getting worse, it’s like google maps is trying to get trickier about where it sends you but the outcome for me seems to be getting worse.
The number of times I’ve patiently entered multiple points to force a certain route, only to have it ‘optimise’ it for me, on route, without a clear notification, is incredibly frustrating.
It’s not always about the destination, sometimes it’s about the journey. And no, I don’t care that it’s 7 minutes slower!!
Waze has precisely this option.
I do this all the time. I click between car, public transport, and walking to see the difference in travel time.
I use Google Maps for cycling directions, and I get frustrated that I can't tell it to avoid big roads.
Presumably this is already factored into route timings?
* On busy streets, left turns through uncontrolled intersections can have high variability. So you might be unlucky and get stuck for several minutes waiting to turn. A slower, but more predictable route might be better if you need to arrive on time.
* Left turns are simply more stressful than right turns. Saving a minute might not be worth the pain.