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Standard widthEdit

standard width of carriageway???

who know? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 05:35, 8 September 2008

Standard modern lane width is 1.6 metres (5.2 ft). Shoulders are generally 1.2 to 1.6 metres each. The width of the carriageway depends on how many lanes or whether there are shoulders. - ʄɭoʏɗiaɲ τ ¢ 17:37, 24 October 2011 (UTC)

Use of term "carriageway" in North AmericaEdit

US English doesn't seem to have a good equivalent for "carriageway"; the term isn't well-known outside of its use by roadgeeks. "Roadway" seems to be used mostly by transportation agencies & organizations. (The public uses the term "roadway", just not in the specific sense of "carriageway".) Google searches yielded the following terms: "lanes" (used by state transportation departments and the general public), "side" & "direction" (used by the public), and the singular "lane" (which seems wrong, but which is often used by media outlets.)

Thus, you will hear "the northbound lanes", "the westbound side of the Interstate", "traffic going in the opposite direction on the highway", and, as in my included reference, "both lanes of the six-lane expressway", or "the accident blocked the southbound lane of the freeway, so traffic was stopped."

I'm not certain about the usage in Canadian English, but from what I can find, Canadians don't commonly use "carriageway" either, and I found examples at least of "lanes".

This might seem like original research, but these usages are commonly known by most Americans. I couldn't find any straightforward dictionary-type references for them, but I think the folks at alt.usage.english provided a fairly definitive discussion of the topic. --Chaswmsday (talk) 20:05, 22 October 2011 (UTC)

  • We need to be careful not to confuse the thing with the name of the thing because Wikipedia is about things as distinct from a dictionary. The 'thing' in question is that part of the highway consisting of one or more lanes used by vehicles but not including the sidewalks and and grass areas. It is an important concept for anyone involved in transport professionally or in the law and it isn't really helpful to muddle it with a traffic lane even if there is no well used word in common usage for it in the USA. I will have another go at that article to incorporate your contribution about US terms. PeterEastern (talk) 07:57, 23 October 2011 (UTC)
  • I have does some work on the article, but what I think would be most helpful would be a new diagram which shows the different arrangements of road elements with their British English and North American English terms within it. I will have a got at that some time soon. PeterEastern (talk) 08:52, 23 October 2011 (UTC)
PeterEastern, I agree with how you handled the US terminology. I also like your addition of related terms. I'm not certain, though, about the validity of the other edits, or of the grammar. I'm going to change those back to the last edit before mine, yours(!) of 28 July 2011, and make a few other changes. Then we can step back and think it all through. I'm not sure how you would want to change the existing diagrams. I can read them fine, just substituting in my mind the US terms for the British terms. Later! --Chaswmsday (talk) 12:25, 24 October 2011 (UTC)
Fine. Grammar was never my strong point! I am going to add a new image for people to comment on. PeterEastern (talk) 13:08, 24 October 2011 (UTC)
New image added. Still needs work and should probably be in SVG but would appreciate some feedback in the mean time. PeterEastern (talk) 13:31, 24 October 2011 (UTC)
The image looks good!! I'm not completely certain if the dividers in the local-express diagram would be called "medians" in North America; that term might be reserved for the central divider. Off the top of my head, I'm picturing concrete "Jersey barrier", but that's just one specific type of divider. I'll have to cogitate a bit on that... --Chaswmsday (talk) 17:17, 24 October 2011 (UTC)
Median is generally the term in North America. Jersey Barriers and Ontario Tall Walls are a type of median using slightly angled concrete walls. However, grass, rocks, railways and many other things can divide the opposing directions of travel. The Tree Lawns in the image isn't a term I'm familiar with in Canada at least. We use the term "boulevard" to refer to the strip of grass or pavement between the curbs (edge of the road) and the sidewalks. However, a boulevard is also a type of street, usually in the downtown core of major cities where there is a median with parkland, statues, fountains, flags, etc. Otherwise it looks great! - ʄɭoʏɗiaɲ τ ¢ 17:27, 24 October 2011 (UTC)
Thanks for the encouragement. I have never ever heard the term 'tree lawn' until I found it in in the Wikipedia article. I noted one source that said it was a 'mid-western US' term for what we in the UK call a verge. The article tree lawn also lists the following names "verge, sidewalk buffer, nature strip, tree belt, utility strip, planting strip, parking strip, devil's strip, city grass". I will add a discussion to the talk page of that article. PeterEastern (talk) 17:58, 24 October 2011 (UTC)
"Tree lawn" is the term we use here in "Murica", not that it's a term one has occasion to use on a regular basis. Back to the other subtopic: Between opposing lanes, I'm sure the separation is called a "median". I was just wondering if the same term is used when lanes in the same direction are separated. "Barrier" also sounds plausible, but that would preclude separation by a lawn-covered island, for example. And BTW, what would you call the grass area between an exit ramp and the mainline lanes? Gore only seems to apply to the paved area, not beyond. I so enjoy overthinking easy topics... :) --Chaswmsday (talk) 18:05, 24 October 2011 (UTC)
I've personally never seen a term applied to that area. It's just the greenspace of the interchange. Barrier is used when there is a barrier, otherwise I'm not certain what it would be called.... But a highway set up in such a fashion is typically a collector-express or local-express. - ʄɭoʏɗiaɲ τ ¢ 20:33, 24 October 2011 (UTC)
Hi Peter, I think the third one would be known as a 3-lane dual-carriageway or 3-lane motorway in the UK. The word 'highway' isn't in general use for such roads. -- de Facto (talk). 18:01, 24 October 2011 (UTC)
I have reworked the diagram to simplify it and take into account the above comments. In particular I have been vaguer about the North American terms for some elements. PeterEastern (talk) 19:20, 24 October 2011 (UTC)
The layout of your latest diagram is really nice... But... 1) I propose that you include the "single carriageway with 4 lanes" example. Since lay Americans, at least, are unfamiliar with the word "carriageway", the current diagram might give them the mis-impression that any 4 lane "highway" has at least two carriageways. Explicitly showing otherwise should reasonably forestall any confusion. :) 2) Instead of stating that North American terms are in "brackets", you should say they are in "parentheses". To appeal to British and North American readers, you alternately could say, "they're in brackets (parentheses)", but I find that way too recursive! :) 3) I'm not sure if your lane counts are merely meant to be examples or if they're British road network-specific. *Somewhere* in Wikipedia I think I read that "all" British motorways are 3 through-lanes per carriageway. In that example, your picture matches your text. But in the local/express example, the picture shows 3 lanes per express, 2 lanes per local - but the text says "2 to 4 lanes per carriageway". If you were trying to set upper limits on number of lanes per British standards, please remember that in the US (and Canada), some of the "controlled-access highways" in our biggest "metropolitan areas" can have *many* lanes - at least 6, per carriageway. And yes, the congestion on these roads does seem to be directly proportional to the number of lanes... :) --Chaswmsday (talk) 22:05, 24 October 2011 (UTC)
Done, and I have tried to accommodate all of the above very sensible suggestions. For the last one I have indicated that it is 'one or more lanes' per carriageway (roadway). Re motorways and dual carriageways in the UK, we have both motorways with two lanes (ie the M45 motorway) and also dual carriageways with 3 lanes (part of the A14 road to the east of Cambridge for example. For people interested they might like to check out the 'highway lanes' mapping data from OpenStreetMap which can be seen on this slippy map. Almost 100% coverage of major roads in the USA and good coverage for southern England and other countries. All maps are cc-by-sa and therefore Wikipedia compatible. PeterEastern (talk) 11:21, 25 October 2011 (UTC)
These are good diagrams. May I suggest showing the verge between the travel lanes and the sidewalk/pavement? That's the preferred design for several reasons (snow storage, splash/spray, pedestrian comfort, etc.), and also, if the verge is outside of the sidewalk, how do you differentiate if from the lawn of the adjacent property? --Triskele Jim (talk) 16:31, 25 October 2011 (UTC)
That's dependent on municipal bylaws in Canada. Usually the first 2 or 3 metres in from the curb or the travel lanes is government property, after which it is private. If the sidewalk is attached to the curb of the road and not separated by a width grass or pavement, it is known as a monolithic sidewalk. However, all this stuff is somewhat outside of the scope of this article but is suitable for trying to reorganize the mess of geographically specific topics we have. - ʄɭoʏɗiaɲ τ ¢ 17:12, 25 October 2011 (UTC)
That is a great table, well done. A picture is worth a thousand words.Beefcake6412 (talk) 17:28, 25 October 2011 (UTC)
Thanks. I do think that this image could be useful in other articles as well - having said that footways do indeed often occur next to the carriageway on UK roads as indicated in my diagram, possibly that is because we have less snow than you guys? On rural roads in particular the grass area is to the edge of the highway up to the hedge and boundary not required by the paved road. Personally I think it would clutter the diagram too much to introduce another variant, purely for this point. The road verge article could however mention it in the text. PeterEastern (talk) 03:13, 26 October 2011 (UTC)
It occurred to me that I could move one of the footways in the first diagram away from the carriageway to show the variety of positions without introducing another element. I have now done that. PeterEastern (talk) 07:13, 26 October 2011 (UTC)
I read all the comments here, up and down, and will weigh in as an American living in Germany... "carriageway" is never used in the US, and much to my chagrin "carriageway" is often the unofficial official translation of German words regarding any roadway, but willy nilly and confusingly in the English translations for the German Führerschein tests. It even replaces regularly Autobahn, which in the shortlist of German words an English speaker knows while not knowing they are German, Autobahn is one of them and there is no confusion as to what the Autobahn actually is. As a side note, almost all were in agreement that "carriageway" is a distinctly British word, but in the attempt to legitimize this article, all the examples are from America, where the word is utterly unknown... and often if we wanted to go back to antiquated terminology still in use, one may say "Turnpike" and predominantly in the NE US coast is where "Turnpike" is still used but nowhere else. Reading further on the "double carriageway" page... further attempts to legitimize a distinctly British word on a global scale. I personally cannot see any reason why, without specific evidence to the contrary, any other country is included if "carriageway" doesn't even make the top 5 name for highways, roadways, motorways, expressways, interstates, limited access highways, etc., especially as this is wrongly used for translations that (of limited benefit thanks to the confusion it introduces) only benefits one portion of the English speaking world. Hanshyde (talk) 17:13, 25 March 2018 (UTC)

Some thoughtsEdit

Now perhaps I have an overly Canadian perspective, so I am inviting Americans to correct me if I'm speaking out of turn, but there is not really a North American term that is equivalent to carriageway. It just isn't something that is referenced in driving rules the same way as it is in Britain, and I imagine that the term takes on less of a meaning in other countries where the law doesn't name them explicitly as in the British driving system (again, people from other countries, correct me if I'm wrong).

This is simply because there is rarely a need to reference a carriageway in such a generic fashion in North America. Traffic reports refer to the carriageways by cardinal direction (and express or collectors/local for multi-carriageway highways). Example: "Traffic moving slow on the northbound DVP", "on the eastbound collectors you'll find backups...". The general public uses direction in the same sense. "Take the I-90" "Which direction?" "east". Nonetheless, I think the term remains carriageway, even in North America (roadway can refer to the entire width of a road, even with a median).

I think we should take a lesson from the trains wikiproject, or have a rfc to figure out what to do with the fact that every piece of terminology regarding roads has a different term in North America as in Europe or Britain. - ʄɭoʏɗiaɲ τ ¢ 18:24, 25 October 2011 (UTC)

But there is a clear Federal definition of roadway and it is already cited as a reference in this article. The text is "The portion of a highway, including shoulders, for vehicular use. A divided highway has two or more roadways" which is an exact equivalent of the UK definition of carriageway as far as I can see? Clearly this is a professional term, and not one used so often on radio traffic reports, but that doesn't stop it being a valid and appropriate term. PeterEastern (talk) 03:07, 26 October 2011 (UTC)
Ahhhh... didn't notice that gem there. Good enough for me! (Still think we should take a lesson with the glossary of terminology though) - ʄɭoʏɗiaɲ τ ¢ 14:00, 26 October 2011 (UTC)

Medians and separatorsEdit

A bit of technical stuff. I have been reading some US Federal documents today as part of my day-job and came across these useful definitions[1] which needed to be embedded into various Wikipedia articles:

  • Median is defined as that area of a divided trafficway between parallel roads separating the travel in opposite directions. The principal functions of a median are to provide the desired freedom from interference of opposing traffic, to provide a recovery area for out-of-control vehicles, to provide a stopping area in case of emergencies, to provide for speed change and storage of left-turning and U- turning vehicles, and to minimize headlight glare.
  • Separator is the area of a trafficway between parallel roads separating travel in the same direction or separating a frontage road from other roads (see Trafficway Diagram in this section). A Separator may be a physical barrier or a depressed, raised, flush or vegetated area between roads.
  • Gore is an area of land where two roadways diverge or converge. The area is bounded on two sides by the edges of the roadways, which join at the point of divergence or convergence. The direction of traffic must be the same on both of these roadways. The area includes SHOULDERS or marked pavement if any, between the roadways.

Do not confuse carriageway with directionEdit

I have removed this from the lede as it is Just Plain Wrong:

informally direction, side and lanes, improperly the singular lane[1])
  1. ^ "alt.usage.english "Both lanes of the six-lane expressway"". Retrieved October 22, 2011.

As the article goes on to say, a carriageway may have one lane or more than one; it may be have one direction or two. "Side" may be accurate in the case of dual carriageways, but not in general. jnestorius(talk) 13:28, 3 February 2015 (UTC)

Jnestorius, I understand your point about "carriageway" not being equivalent to "direction". However, in US and, from what I can tell, North American usage, the term "carriageway" is wholly unfamiliar, as discussed elsewhere in this Talk page. Likewise, the listed North American "synonym" of "roadway", while officially recognized by the US Federal Highway Administration, would probably not be recognized as such by most North American English-speakers. The word "roadway", in unofficial and media usage, as nearly as I can tell, carries more of a general sense of the construction, weather treatment or condition of the road surface. E.g. "the roadway surface is asphalt", "the highway department spread salt on the roadway in anticipation of the ice storm", "a truck jackknifed, blocking the roadway" (in the last, we would more likely just say "blocking the road").
US/North American usage of the other terms is somewhat analogous to our discussions at road verge a while back. British English has a single, readily identifiable term, while North American English uses circumlocutions or rather obscure dialectical terms, often not overly familiar even to those who speak the dialect in question. In the case at hand, for a "single carriageway" two-way road, we North Americans would refer to the "northbound side", the "westbound lanes" and in the media, might rather ambiguously refer to the "southbound LANE" (where there are in fact multiple southbound lanes). Perhaps British/Hiberno/Commonwealth usage is the same or similar for a single carriageway. North Americans would also have the same usages for "double" or multiple carriageways. As discussed in the cited alt.usage.english entry, upon hearing about the "eastbound lanes" of an Interstate/freeway/expressway, we would picture in our minds the same thing a British reader would picture upon hearing of an "eastbound carriageway". Looking at the diagram in this article, for a multiple-carriageway road, we would likely use qualifiers, such as "the eastbound express lanes were recently repaved".
Still, no direct equivalence between, say, a road construction word such as "carriageway" and a more directional word like "side", or "X-bound lane". But as I pondered where such North American usages could be placed in Wikipedia instead of in this article, I kept circling back to the belief that these terms do belong here.
I welcome any opinions or comments. Meanwhile, I'll mull over alternative placements for these terms, still within the article. Thanks. --Chaswmsday (talk) 00:21, 10 February 2015 (UTC)
If something has a common name in one dialect or language and no name, or no common name, in another dialect or language, that's not a problem that needs fixing. Listing a circumlocution that might plausibly be used in some situations gives the misleading impression that it's a synonym with full equivalence. Wikipedia is not a dictionary or thesaurus. Even in British English, "carriageway" is familiar only in "dual carriageway", and general-dictionary definitions don't exactly match this article's technical definition (CALD, ODE). If you can find a reliable source (not an alt.usage.english thread) that says "there is no common US equivalent of carriageway", that would suffice (one might infer such from (the Merriam-Webster definition; cf its definitions of draughts or jumble sale). Common sense tells us that if you don't have an exact word for something you use an approximation or circumlocution; I don't see any point in giving examples of such, and it would be hard to do without original research. jnestorius(talk) 12:41, 11 February 2015 (UTC)