Pedestrian paths (US English) or walking trails (default English) are a set of non-drivable road types with unique properties. It is possible to connect them to other roads using a virtual node rather than a real junction node. The virtual node does not cut the segment that it is connected to but modifies it. It doesn't store turn data, nor does it allow routing into a non-drivable road connected to it. Because of the presence of virtual nodes, it is not possible to convert segments between pedestrian path types and other road types. Therefore, they must be created as a category separate from other roads.
Use of these types requires special care and caution. This is because 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 harm routing for drivers! 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. Therefore, editors should only map roads that increase usefulness to Wazers driving motor vehicles, and any road that only benefits non-driving Wazers should not be mapped. However, there are certain use cases for these paths, which are described under each section.
Note: As this is guidance for the USA, this page uses US English "translated" names for these road types. The default international English interface in Waze Map Editor uses different terms for these, which are given in parentheses.
The routable pedestrian path (default English: walking trail) is the only type among the three pedestrian paths that has an effect on routing, and it is only the only type that snaps users to it. This type should never be used where effects on routing are not desired.
Use routable pedestrian paths only with assistance from an expert in them. They should only be used in rare cases to improve routing to and from destinations located on them. Routable pedestrian paths may have strange side effects on nearby routing. Never use this type type for ordinary hiking or cycling paths. Most hiking and cycling paths should not be on the map at all.
Routable pedestrian paths can cause significant routing issues. If a routable pedestrian path is closest to the latitude and longitude of a destination, users will be routed to a junction of the trail with a drivable road, which can be far away from the destination they are hoping to reach.
In rare cases, connected routable paths 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 routable pedestrian path may be used to route drivers to such destinations. Lock the path 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 this type type. Use non-routable pedestrian paths, stairways or places as appropriate.
As of 2018-05[update] virtual nodes do not work correctly with routable pedestrian paths. For desired routing these paths must be connected to junction nodes rather than virtual nodes. This may require cutting the drivable road segment with a normal street and deleting the street before creating the routable path.
If destinations are addressed using house numbers on a routable pedestrian path, it is essential that the path's name and city fields be set accordingly so that routing to the addresses will work.
Non-routable pedestrian path
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 or destination lies in relation to a multi-use greenway trail. Also, 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. Remember to use one of the two non-routable types for this purpose.
Stairways appear and behave identically in the app to non-routable pedestrian paths. They appear at similar zoom levels to private roads and parking lot roads, and they have no effect on routing. Certain public stairways are visually obvious and useful as destinations for drivers. These can be mapped using the stairway type.