Travel Mapping

Tracking Cumulative Travels

Travel Mapping Manual: System Highway Lists


🔗 Purpose of the files

Each highway system needs to have two .csv files that list basic information about each route that is part of the system. The Chopped Routes File (e.g., usai.csv) tells our scripts which files to look for and to load into the web site. The Connected Routes File (e.g., usai_con.csv) lists how those chopped routes are connected across boundaries to make full-length routes.

🔗 Creating the files

Make a spreadsheet with all the needed info for each of these files. Then save the spreadsheet as a .csv file as explained below. The .csv file is the one we need. The spreadsheet is to help you get the .csv format correct.

🔗 Chopped Routes File (e.g., usai.csv) format

🔗 Order of the routes in the file

🔗 Connected Routes File (e.g., usai_con.csv) format

🔗 International characters

🔗 The .csv file (the file to submit!)

🔗 Example system: Takoma National H Routes (tach)

Takoma is the country, and it has 3 states:
NT - North Takoma
CT - Central Takoma
ST - South Takoma
(Or Takoma could be some large area with these as 3 countries. It does not matter.)

The national H route system spans the 3 states with routes H1 - H4.


H1 is in NT only.
H2 passes through ST, CT, and NT.
H3 has two parts, one spanning ST and CT, and the other in NT.
H3 has a bannered Alt route around Capital City, CT.
H4 has two parts, both in NT. The Springfield part is the main part, and the Shelbyville part is shorter.

The chopped routes file tach.xls looks like this*:

It lists each highway once per region. This is the same format we've been using since 2009*.

*This section of the manual was written before the AltRouteNames column was added to the Chopped Routes files. The AltRouteNames column should be included in these files, even though these examples don't show it.

The connected routes file tach_con.xls looks like this:

Each line represents one route in total rather than one in each region. The Roots column shows a list of the file root names that comprise that route, delimited by commas only and not also with spaces.

The Name column takes on a role similar to the City column of the chopped routes file. It is a short amount of text to distinguish between routes with identical Route and Banner fields.

The Region and Abbrev columns do not appear in the connected routes file because my scripts can look up this info from the chopped roots file by connecting the two files via the file roots. So this info is not repeated in the .csv files.

Since H1 and H2 are unique after being connected across the boundaries, no Name is necessary.

There are multiple H3's and H4's, so each piece gets a Name. The two-state H3 Name lists the states at its ends with a hyphen in between. If there were more states and it spanned more than two, only the two endpoint states would be the ones listed. The other H3 is within a single state, so that state is the Name.

The two H4s are in the same region, so the Name is the main city that each serves, and in fact it is the City from the chopped routes file.

The City for bannered routes like H3 Alt is mandatory in the chopped routes file, and the same city is used as the Name in the connected routes file.

Many of our highway systems do not have highways spanning more than one region. For example, the Pennsylvania State Highways are completely within Pennsylvania. This means that all the rows of the connected routes file will have a single file root. The bannered routes like PA 8 Truck and the duplicated routes like PA 29 and PA 97 will need Name fields.

In some other systems, there are only a small number of routes that cross a border without changing designation. For example, the New York State Highways, has only NY 17 running into PA and NY 120A dipping into CT. Most rows of the connected routes file will have a single file root, but the row for NY 17 and the row for NY 120A will have a few roots separated by commas.

In the major multi-region-spanning systems, like the I & US highways in the US, the TCH in Canada, the M and A routes in Great Britain, and the Int'l E Roads, the rows of the connected routes file will vary greatly in the number of file roots listed.

🔗 Concurrencies within which not all concurrent routes are signed

This section concerns typically well signed routes that whose numbers are signed with trailblazers or are not signed at all within a section of highway concurrent with other routes. For example, France's A4 and A26 merge and split, but along the merged section, A4 is signed and A26 is not, but both routes are signed beyond the concurrent section. Should the not-signed routes be chopped into its signed pieces or made continuous and concurrent with the signed route?

We have 4 cases that are treated differently. The descriptions refer to concurrencies of two routes, but the ideas generalize to concurrencies of more routes.

  1. 🔗 Unsigned but implied multiplexes: Treat as continuous routes.

    This is the case where only one route is signed where another one route merges onto the same road. Usually the unsigned route splits off at another point, then it's signed beyond the concurrency. Continuity is still implied by the way the routes are numbered even if the signs are simplified to show only one route, so we treat each route as a continuous one.


    USA MD 23/MD 165: MD 23 was continuously signed before a relocation that created the duplex. In the current state, MD 23 is signed as "TO MD 23" at its approaches to the duplex, and MD 165 is signed continuously. MD 23 should continue to be treated as continuous.

    ENG A414: Follow the length of A414 and you'll see several concurrent routes, sometimes shown as A414 and sometimes as the other route, at least as Google Maps shows it. A system of surface highways with a bypass here and there is bound to be full of concurrencies, and so chopping half the routes into pieces around the concurrent parts would create a zillion "extra" files for short pieces of routes.

    FRA A4/A26: The two freeways merge and split. The pieces of A26 could have been given different numbers, but instead they were given the same number, as if it should be one long route rather than two.

  2. 🔗 Bypassed, segmented routes: Discontinuous routes.

    Here some pieces of an old route were bypassed by a new route, but other pieces of the old route were upgraded into the new route. This makes a continuously signed new route with pieces of the old route beginning and ending at various places along the new route.


    Bannered highways, like Alternate and Business routes, in the US: Many US highways, for example, have many auxiliary routes with the same designation, like US 40 having many US 40 Business routes. The auxiliary routes are treated discontinuously, rather than having one long, continuous US 40 Business concurrent along sections of US 40.

    US 40/MD 144: There are several pieces of MD 144 along the old alignment of US 40. The pieces act like Business or Alternate routes and are never signed to suggest continuity.

  3. 🔗 Alternating designation: Discontinuous routes.

    A road changes designations back and forth without either route splitting off on its own.


    Ireland's M/N routes come to mind here. Part of N8 was upgraded to M8, but there is no alternative N8 along that section. However, N8 leads straight into M8 at each end of M8. So if the highway goes N8-M8-N8, we'll have three files for these three routes.
  4. 🔗 Like designations that aren't concurrent: Discontinuous routes.

    By whatever reasoning, two unrelated, distant highways were given the same designation.


    PA 97 (in NW Pennsylvania) and PA 97 (in southern PA), both part of the state highway system in Pennsylvania.