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Deadpan Snarker
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
If anyone has a better idea for a thread title, feel free.

Inspired by a series of posts on the Sweden thread:

I find it interesting that many Swedish interchange (trafikplatser) have names different from the exit destinations. In most of Europe, exits are named after a destination on the signs.

There is Trafikplats Brunnby, but then Brunnby is absent from the directional signage.
Yes, its interesting. The names are not so good. They are comming from the time when the motorways were built, and this part is built in 1972.

Sometimes they are called "Trafikplats" but some other are called "Mot" instead.

This interchange should have the namn "Trafikplats Knivsta" and not "Brunnby".

They find the names from small places around the interchange when they building the motorways. In this case "Brunnby" is a very small place near the interchange, look here:

https://www.google.se/maps/place/Br...5cacc091c!8m2!3d59.7431128!4d17.8267997?hl=sv

And here:

https://www.google.se/maps/@59.7430...EgmiAEYjn-EAlky5RmRg!2e0!7i13312!8i6656?hl=sv

Thats "Brunnby". Its just a little farm. Very often the names of the interchange on the motorways have names from a farm, a little cottage, an old stone or something like that. Nobody know what it is, except some people in the place were you can find the interchange.

So the names of interchange in Sweden are very often just useless. So the numbers are important instead. Because everyone can use the number, like this one with the number 184.
^^ The Netherlands also uses vague local names for motorway-to-motorway interchanges. Some are named after features that don't exist anymore. But you can't leave the motorway system there, so it's less of an issue. Regular exits are generally named according to the first destination on the signs.
In Belgium, they seem to be named after the municipality they're in...or more precisely in the former (before a merger of municipalities in the 70s) municipality they're in. But what about Dutch interchange names like Watergraafsmeer?

Different countries' different systems for naming motorway/freeway interchanges (junctions between motorways/freeways) and exits (junctions with the underlying road network) may be worth discussing.

Some random thoughts to start us off:

Some European countries have official names for both interchanges and exits. If memory serves, road maps of West Germany in the 80s showed names for all of these, and they weren't numbered yet; they're numbered now, but names are still in use. The Netherlands names its interchanges - I didn't know about exit names - and that seems to have spread to Belgium, first Flanders and then Wallonia, relatively recently. France does not, as far as I can tell, name OR number its interchanges...you just have the "A1/A29 junction"...numbers its exits.

Most European countries use sequential numbering; some do weird things (well, weird to me) like having one road's numbering carry onto another road...the lowest-numbered exit on the French A2 is not exit 1, but is one number higher than the last one on the A1 before you turn off it for the A2.

Official interchange names are more or less non-existent in the U.S.; there are some names, like "Kew Gardens interchange" in Queens, New York, that are known to locals and come up in traffic reports; on the other hand some toll roads (notably the Pennsylvania Turnpike) name not only their interchanges but all their exits...Bedford, Breezewood, Willow Hill.... Mileage-based numbering predominates, and the Feds are encouraging the last sequential-numbering states in the Northeast to switch....
 

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The Road and Map Geek
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Finland followed earlier the Swedish system: The exits had a name but no number, and the naming was done based on where the exit was located.

The system was not fully consistent: Sometimes, the name of the exit was the destination of some of the branches. Close to cities having several access roads, a notation referring to compass points was used, like "Heinola P". P is North.

This approach has some issues:

1) How to name an interchange in the middle of nothing?
2) What is the value of a name if it refers to a tiny place known to nobody?
3) How to name multiple interconnected interchanges?
4) Compass points P, I, E, L (North, East, South, West) do not say anything to foreigners. E is misleading, because it is South not East.

In addition, in some cases, the naming promoted not the best route. The exit 3/E12/25 has the name "Hyvinkää E", but taking it does not give the best way to Hyvinkää.

The decision to drop the names from the signage, and to show numbers only was made about 10 years ago.
 

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1) How to name an interchange in the middle of nothing?
Spain uses "vía de servicio" (service road) for interchanges that lead to no particular destination. The question may also be why these interchanges exist as they lead to nowhere.

Though Spanish exits are typically not named like the examples in the Netherlands and Germany where the exit name is announced on the first sign. The first sign is just one out of three signs with the same information.


A-23-243 by European Roads, on Flickr


A-23-244 by European Roads, on Flickr


A-23-245 by European Roads, on Flickr
 

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The Road and Map Geek
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Spain uses "vía de servicio" (service road) for interchanges that lead to no particular destination. The question may also be why these interchanges exist as they lead to nowhere.
An exit located in the middle of nowhere is not the same thing as a road leading to nowhere.

Case:



The exit 29 (roads 3/E12 and 130 Finland) is located in a sparsely populated forest and agriculture area, and there is no place in the proximity to give a name to the exit. Initially, the exit was named to Jutikkala.



The exit is the south access point to the industrial town of Valkeakoski. Naming the exit to Valkeakoski (or Valkeakoski South) would have created ambiguity, because there are five exits on the road 3 with a road to Valkeakoski.



Finland has followed a policy to limit the number of destinations in the motorway signage, especially on the 120 km/h roads. This is mainly for the sake of readibility. (One can argue if this policy is valid or not.) Dropping the exit name from the signs allowed adding one extra relevant destination name without increasing the total number of names in the sign.

The image above shows how the exit looks at the motorway. Simple, clear and no irrelevant information.
 

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Spain uses "vía de servicio" (service road) for interchanges that lead to no particular destination. The question may also be why these interchanges exist as they lead to nowhere.

Though Spanish exits are typically not named like the examples in the Netherlands and Germany where the exit name is announced on the first sign. The first sign is just one out of three signs with the same information.


A-23-243 by European Roads, on Flickr
In Sweden its working more and more like Spain. Look here:

Some motorways, for exemple from Uppsala to Gävle only have sign with the number. Like this one.


But this extra sign with the name is not exist there.


I think thats a result of how useless the names are in Sweden. They are too vague local names and nobody understand them. Like a name after a small unknown cottage for example.

And in Spain they dont sign the names, only the numbers. So maybe in Sweden they are looking at Spain and they see it is posible to have no names and only numbers at the exits/junctions. So maybe thats why many exits in Sweden now only have number and no name.

And only local people are talking about the names. And they are not many now. More and more are talking about the numbers.

And the names are to strange for tourist. One of them are called "Trafikplats Åttabro" and another is called "Rödbomotet". Tourists can't use all of that strange names. Sometimes that names are to strange even for Swedish people.

But the numbers are quite easy. And the symbol of exitnumber in Sweden is international so for example people from Germany or France can see thats an exitnumber.
 

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Norway follows the Swedish system, with the name of the junction being the name of the exact place it is located. Also note this exit is between cities, doesn't lead to anything important - so there is only destination being a church.

 

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Deadpan Snarker
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
The Netherlands has introduced a new style of motorway signage in 2008, which for the first time, officially announced the name of an exit, similar to Germany. Exit names were long in use, typically after the first destination on the exit signs.


NBA A7 Oudeschans-1 by European Roads, on Flickr


NBA A7 Oudeschans-2 by European Roads, on Flickr


NBA A7 Oudeschans-3 by European Roads, on Flickr


One thing I’d criticize there (if I may be so bold); if you’re looking for the other two destinations - the ones other than Oudeschans - you’ve only got 600 meters’ notice. I think it would be preferable to put all three destinations on the first sign.
 

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Lord Kelvin
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In Italy basically no motorway has numbered exits, with some exceptions, mostly cities tangenziali (Rome and Milan come to mind).

Exits are named after the closest town of a certain importance, not necessarily the territory the exit lies in: for instance, exit "Ancona Nord - Jesi" is in the territory of Chiaravalle, actually west of Ancona, not north.

As for junctions between motorways, they have no official name: in signs they are designated by the numbers of the motorways connected (i.e. A21-A7). Some have unofficial names which come up seldom in VMS, confusing drivers who aren't familiar with local names. For instance, junction between Turin Tangenziale and A32 is called "Bruere", by the name of the nearest village: sometimes you can find a VMS "queue at Bruere" and you wonder, because there are no signs explaining what and where Bruere is.
 

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The Road and Map Geek
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I think thats a result of how useless the names are in Sweden. They are too vague local names and nobody understand them. Like a name after a small unknown cottage for example.
There is one more issue related to names: They may change by time, especially in the outskirts of growing cities.

Two cases close to Helsinki:

1) The exit at the west end of the Ring I has been known by at least five names: Otaniemi exit (road to the Otaniemi university campus), Ring I exit, Keilaniemi exit (according to the business area next to the exit), Karhusaari exit (by the location), and Karhusaarensolmu (the current official one).

2) The exit at the west end of the first motorway section of the road 1 dating back to 1962: Initially, Espoo exit (the Espoo church nearby), Bemböle exit (village nearby), Lehtimäki exit (old village nearby), and Lommilansolmu (official).

Nobody is using those official names. They are for bureaucrats only. The latter exit is most widely known simply as "the Ikea exit".

(Another story is about names of bridges. The bridges are given a name as they are built, and that name is kept in the register seeminly forever. After 40-60 years, it is time to repair the bridge. The road admin send out a news about the roadworks, and refers to that name, which might have disappeared for decades ago. Some of those news are pretty difficult to decrypt.)
 

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This is a sign in Serbia. They have the same idea like Germany, but the signs are green like Sweden. The signs in Croatia are almost identical to the Serbian signs. They have a very logic name on it and they have the number and the name on the same sign.

 

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UK signage does not typically use interchange names, and interchanges are numbered sequentially rather than according to KM/mileage. Here are a couple of examples:

https://www.google.co.uk/maps/@54.2...4!1sxm_05TrRemq6GBd9bCikZw!2e0!7i13312!8i6656
https://www.google.co.uk/maps/@53.1...4!1sm11NQ4tYlpCmryTeD4yB1w!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

Although interchange names are generally not used on signs, they are frequently used in other contexts, including government publications. The name is usually from a village chosen for proximity rather than importance, and there is often no way to access the named village from the interchange. Some well known examples are Almondsbury Interchange (M4/M5), Lofthouse Interchange (M1/M62), Catthorpe Interchange (M1/M6/A14), and Simister Island (M60/M62/M66).

Naming of at-grade junctions on signage is reasonably common, however.
 

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UK signage does not typically use interchange names, and interchanges are numbered sequentially rather than according to KM/mileage. Here are a couple of examples:

https://www.google.co.uk/maps/@54.2...4!1sxm_05TrRemq6GBd9bCikZw!2e0!7i13312!8i6656
https://www.google.co.uk/maps/@53.1...4!1sm11NQ4tYlpCmryTeD4yB1w!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

Although interchange names are generally not used on signs, they are frequently used in other contexts, including government publications. The name is usually from a village chosen for proximity rather than importance, and there is often no way to access the named village from the interchange. Some well known examples are Almondsbury Interchange (M4/M5), Lofthouse Interchange (M1/M62), Catthorpe Interchange (M1/M6/A14), and Simister Island (M60/M62/M66).

Naming of at-grade junctions on signage is reasonably common, however.


I think the UK was first in Europe with exitnumbers. They had exitnumbers even before Germany. When did they started with exitnumbers in the UK?
 

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I believe they started in the late 1960s, by that time the motorway construction began to pick up steam.

Spain was also one of the first in Europe in the 1970s when they built the first autopistas. These had sequential exit numbering, while the later autovías had distance-based exit numbering.
 
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