AASHTO's USBRS Proposals, Autumn 2023 Round (new national bicycle route proposals)

Hello fellow cyclists and mappers, it is that time again! (Each year, AASHTO has Spring and Autumn Rounds for USBRs).

State Departments of Transportation (state DOTs) have proposed to AASHTO the following new United States Bicycle Routes (USBRs) or realignments to USBRs for the USBRS Autumn 2023 Round:

USBR 1 in Florida (Palm Beach, Riviera Beach realignments)
USBR 1 in Maine (in the towns of Kennebunk, Arundel, Biddeford, Saco, Old Orchard Beach, and Scarborough to more closely realign with East Coast Greenway and Eastern Trail)
USBR 25 in Ohio (minor to moderate realignments designated on spreadsheet in blue and yellow, peach tinting for Cincinnati SE deletions)
USBR 30 in Ohio (minor realignments due to local route preferences in Genoa and Eastlake)
USBR 76 in Virginia (Palmyra realignment)
USBR 187 in Alaska (new route: Beaver Falls to Settlers Cove)
USBR 387 in Alaska (new route: Prince of Wales island spur)
USBR 587 in Alaska (new route: Craig to Klawock)
USBR 787 in Alaska (new route: Thane to Echo Cove)

The Proposed section of our USBRS wiki [1] has a “Round Link” to the DOTs collateral (map graphics, turn-by-turn spreadsheets…), along with AASHTO’s permission link and instructions on the tagging [type=route, route=bicycle, network=ncn…] to correctly enter these routes into OSM. In the past, these routes were “seeded” so their relation number could be immediately linked in the table. This Round, no such seeds have been built, so please create a state’s bicycle route relation as described in that section, then link its relation number in the correct wiki table row with a BrowseRelation directive. Don’t worry, it’s straightforward to copy-paste the many other examples and follow the instructions there. If not, or you need help building a bicycle route relation in OSM, ask for help in the Talk page (or here), and we’ll get you started with a seed relation (and link) or whatever assistance you need. These can be fun, and the easiest ones tend to get entered the quickest, so grab one soon!

Let’s complete these routes by the end of 2023. And thank you in advance for volunteering in OSM.

(Edit: I forgot USBR 387 and 587 in Alaska, now properly linked and included in “RWGPS links”).

[1] United States Bicycle Route System - OpenStreetMap Wiki

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Thanks as always for stewarding these. The proposed routes are the ones in the Dropbox folder linked on the wiki, correct?

Hi Elliott, you and the (mapping, biking, OSM…) communities are most welcome! It is a distinct pleasure and honor of mine to steward these into OSM.

Yes, in the Dropbox folder are all the “ballot” materials state DOTs have submitted to AASHTO this Round, except for 387 and 587, which have route data as RWGPS routes, linked in the text file noted above. Kerry Irons of Adventure Cycling Association (the “architect” of the System) has created these last two routes…the source data undoubtedly came from Alaska’s DOT&PF Department, but apparently Kerry didn’t send me the “official” AASHTO ballot items. Though, if Kerry says 387 and 587 are “routes enough” to enter RWGPS routes as USBR proposals, I take him at his word! For those two, it can be convenient to use the “three dots” and Export functions of the RWGPS website to create GPX files, then those can be used (in JOSM, for example) to overlay OSM data, making it straightforward to stitch the routes together. Note that many routes in and to Alaska include ferry segments (new this year in the USBRS), I believe 387 at least will have to, as it is to Prince of Wales Island. Update: 387’s ferry link is private, so the ferry route will not be included in USBR 387, differing from other state-sponsored ferries in the USBRS.

The AASHTO applications for a USBR require a map, a spreadsheet with turn-by-turns and if possible (it usually isn’t included, but sometimes is), a shapefile or GPX data of the route. That last is great for OSM editors, but a PDF / .png / .gif map (if close-scale and detailed enough, usually with several sections for longer routes) along with the turn-by-turn spreadsheet are sufficient (if a bit more tedious) when used together to enter the route into OSM.

Again, these can be a lot of fun to enter, so, happy mapping!

Edit: To be clear, EACH proposed USBR already has its route data in digital format. See the “RWGPS links” file in the DropBox folder (linked in our wiki, noted above) and it’s easy to export from the RWGPS website into a format that makes it easy to create the route in an editor. For example, you could export to GPX, then use JOSM to open that file, creating a new route relation (tagged as described in our wiki) from the underlying infrastructure already in OSM as elements of that relation. And…done! I wouldn’t say “easy as pie,” but maybe “easy as pie following a well-written recipe,” especially if you’re already familiar with entering route relations into OSM.

Update: only two left! Remaining to enter this Round are realignments for USBRs 25 and 30 in Ohio.

About USBR realignments: it is correct to create a new relation, just as if a new route were being created. Leave alone the existing same-numbered USBR relation for the route being realigned, so the new relation contains only the changes being proposed; the new relation becomes a “delta relation.” Then, upon AASHTO’s Approval of the USBR (and you learn this via AASHTO publishing this on their website, a DOT announcement, a press release by Adventure Cycling Association…), merge the delta relation into the existing relation (which undergoes deletions of the deprecated route data) and delete the delta relation. What results is the original route with the delta relation’s realignments seamlessly stitched into it. Finally, delete the USBR’s realignment proposal from the wiki’s Proposed table.

With new (non-realignment) USBRs, upon Approval, remove the state=proposed tag, and promote the USBR in the wiki from the Proposed table to the Approved table.

It’s all pretty straightforward and self-explanatory, but if not, ask questions either on the Talk page or here and any help needed will be offered.

With the exception of waiting for some final rendering to double-check USBR 25 in Ohio and a few km of cycleway around Lemon Creek, Alaska, the USBRs for the Autumn Round have been entered.

These happened quickly this Round — at least the 99% of them now done. Although if you know well Lemon Creek, Alaska, Glacier Highway has some new highway=cycleway parallel side path infrastructure near the power plant / landfill. I’d be delighted if you enter these into OSM!

See you after Autumn Approvals (expected near end-of-calendar-year), where we delete state=proposed on new routes, realignments get stitched into existing USBRs and delta relations get deleted. Then it is awaiting what there may be for Spring Round next year!

AASHTO has approved all the proposals:

Though they asked ODOT to furnish “more detailed mapping” in the future. :smirk:

Older files are now linked from AARoads Wiki’s AASHTO minute index.

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Thank you for the update, Minh. On November 21, the Director of Routes of Adventure Cycling Association (for the uninitiated, ACA is a national-scope bicycle advocacy group that helps states’ DOTs bring USBR applications before AASHTO), sent me an email telling me that AASHTO approved (on November 20) all routes that were on ballot for the Autumn 2023 round. Subsequently, I did what I note above and is listed as “standard operating procedure” in our USBRS wiki: for the new routes, I removed the state=proposed tag and for the realignments, I “stitched in” the “delta relations’” data into the existing USBRs, deleting the now-obsolete parallel sections, deleted the (now redundant) delta relations, updated the wiki (mileage numbers are not yet final until I hear back from ACA and they hear back from AASHTO whether ferry mileage will be included, excluded, separate, and if included whether in statute miles like the rest of the System or nautical miles as ferries often are) and called it a day.

ODOT’s applications (I speak from first-hand experience of interpreting them as a direct consumer so their data can faithfully be entered into OSM) were “a bit spotty” (you may quote me on that), and there was somebody who entered “somewhat correct, somewhat incorrect” USBR 25 data into OSM this summer that needed some fairly major surgery, but it’s all healed now. Also, Alaska’s numerous submissions also left a bit to be desired, as our wiki notes with USBR 787 remaining in “status yellow,” tinging the entire Approved table a bit chartreuse (though the lightest yellow-ish shade thereof). We’re fine: the USBRS grows nicely, the processes/workflow, documentation, etc. we use to build it in OSM have strengthened to where they are now for over a decade and “banging on all eight cylinders” (as people from Michigan are known to say).

So, “nice Round, everybody.” It’s good we have several people “looking over each other’s shoulders” to make sure all the details are correct. That sort of redundancy is one of the best things OSM has going for us to make / assure high quality map data.

As long as I’m thanking other OSM Contributors, I’d like to thank profusely several OSM Contributors (you know who you are, @clay_c is a standout!) who seriously updated the ferries (some of them quite long-distance) in and around Washington and Alaska during the course of about the last year or so. If these route=ferry relations were not as slam-dunk delightfully-complete as I discovered them, just-in-time to include them in the many Washington- and Alaska-based long-distance bicycle routes OSM has just completed adding, the USBRs that included them this Round would have been much more substantially tedious to enter. Instead, crowdsourcing is awesome, as “many hands make light work.”

Go, OSM!