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For America, the best way to mark roads seems to be motorway for freeways and trunk for surface expressways, but I'd like some clarification on this: does importance or design of the road determine trunk status?

For instance, a stretch of US 22 in Pennsylvania from I-83 to I-78 was demoted from trunk to primary. Most of it is four-lane and divided, even with the occasional interchange, and newly reconstructed segments have a concrete Jersey barrier. Sounds a lot like a surface expressway to me, even though businesses and houses have direct access to it. (Farther to the west, it becomes more built-up and less expressway-like, but gets more heavily traveled and thus "important," which would still seem to let it qualify for trunk.)

Then you have US 422 in Hershey, PA, from its end at US 322 east to Old Chocolate Avenue in town. It is fully access-controlled and four-lane, divided. In other words, it's a surface expressway. However, it too was recently demoted, while US 322 to its south, a two-lane, undivided road, is still trunk.

So, as a general rule, should trunk be used based on road design (i.e. US 22 and 422 examples should be trunk) or just importance and traffic volume (like most of US 322 in the eastern half of PA and all of NJ), or both? I would think that it makes more sense as both, but apparently not everyone agrees.

asked 20 Oct '14, 15:57

Roadsguy's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%

edited 20 Oct '14, 15:58


@Hendrikklaas Please stop suggesting that people ask questions in forums that no-one actually uses. There have been exactly two topics commented on in the last two months on that sub-forum, and one of those was misplaced.

(20 Oct '14, 16:41) SomeoneElse ♦

@someoneElse, have a nice day.

(21 Oct '14, 00:03) Hendrikklaas

I assume you have read

If you have a four lane divided and access controlled road it should be either motorway or trunk by my reading of the wiki.

When you state these were "recently demoted" I assume that a mapper made the change based on their opinion. Have you contacted the person who made the change and asked why? It could be that they are new and are unaware of the consensus on how roads in the US should be classified.

You may also want to bring this up on the talk-us mailing list, which has a lot more traffic than the US forum on this site:

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answered 20 Oct '14, 19:24

n76's gravatar image

accept rate: 17%

As for US 22 between I 83 and I 78, that looks like someone was being arbitrary. I don't have the imagery in front of me right now, but based on the characteristics I can see on OpenStreetMap, I would lean towards Trunk.

In North America, motorways should be grade separated and limited access (that is, driveways and at-grade intersections, railroad grade crossings and drawbridges are extremely rare, one-off or non-existent, examples being US 412 near Keystone Lake for a lone intersection on a motorway, or Interstate 5 at Columbia River between Oregon and Washington for a drawbridge).

Trunks should meet the same requirements as motorways, but may include more driveways and at-grade intersections, possibly even railroad crossings. US 75 leading through northern Tulsa County, and OR 22 leading east out of Salem, Oregon; Riverside Parkway in Tulsa; and the Milwaukie Expressway between Milwaukie (not a typo) and Oregon City, Oregon are good examples of trunk quality roads off the top of my head.

As far as I'm aware, in the absence of exact examples, all Interstates in the US either conform or closely conform to Interstate standards, and should therefore be motorway, with the exception of most Interstate A, and some Interstate H and Interstate PR* routes.

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answered 20 Oct '14, 23:43

Baloo%20Uriza's gravatar image

Baloo Uriza
accept rate: 9%

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question asked: 20 Oct '14, 15:57

question was seen: 2,781 times

last updated: 21 Oct '14, 00:03

NOTICE: is being shutdown on 1st March 2024. Please use the OpenStreetMap Community Forum