The New Interstate 11: Signage and GPS Issue Solutions

I-11 Entry Sign Boulder City, Nevada

Ever since the opening of I-11 last week there have been comments about the signage on this new traffic route. Commentary that only intensified after the tragic fatality crash earlier this week that has left two people dead and two others hospitalized.

Solutions are needed – so we did some digging and have important info to share that we hope lends not only perspective, but most of all, solutions we can all be a part of!

Signage

The Nevada Department of Transportation (NDOT) is responsible for all signage on our highways and freeways. Yesterday we got to talk to two different people there, and were duly impressed both with their knowledge and awareness of this evolving situation – and they also both care very deeply about getting this right!

They mention that with all new traffic routes, the issue of signage is an evolutionary process. They say that there is always a learning curve as they get feedback from the public. They also mention there are Federal Regulations they have to abide by, with some ‘wiggle room’ for adaptations. Here also is a link to a Planning Document.

What Can You Do?

They want to hear from us! The Customer Service Representative at NDOT says to email them here: info@dot.nv.gov. She says all provided info and emails are read, and evaluated and will be responded to. Our recommendations:

  • Make a clear, concise description of the problem as you see it, and where it is located
  • Provide a recommended solution
  • Be respectful and professional – you’ll be treated the same

From the conversations I had, again I can’t emphasize enough from a personal point of view how involved and aware they are right now – so they do want to hear from us and make traffic routes clear for everyone!

Navigation Apps

This is the second side of the problem: some (many) navigation apps haven’t caught up yet to the new route. This means (according to one follower) some truckers aren’t even aware of the new route yet if they are relying on GPS systems. Sadly, it also appears that an incorrect GPS system played a role in the fatality crash from Tuesday.

Even more frustrating, when I spoke to folks at the NDOT, both said that Google Maps, arguably the biggest traffic app in the business, has been singularly unresponsive to their requests! The winner however, is the WAZE Traffic App – this app is completely up to date and showing I-11 as the preferred and clear route around Boulder City.

What Can You Do?

I found a link HERE where you can update a change in traffic to Google Maps. They are arguably one of the most prolifically used traffic GPS systems out there, feeding into dozens of other traffic app systems. Sadly, if the NDOT cannot get heard, it’s up to us, the users, to try to get this system up to date.

My Road Test

To verify all of the above, I took a drive this morning (August 17th) with 3 different GPS systems in use, and wanted to share the results.

I drove to the Kingman Wash turnaround and entered a Las Vegas address into three different GPS devices: a built-in auto traffic app in our vehicle, Google Maps on the iPhone, and Waze. We drove that length of I-11 North and then turned around in Henderson and went back the other way. Here’s what happened:

Auto Built-in GPS:
The app on our car never showed I-11, nor did it learn the route, even when we went back the other way. That traffic app constantly directed us to exit or turn around the entire 15 mile route.

Google Maps:
It does show I-11, but it still routed me through town, and I was half way around before it directed me to use I-11. (This might explain truckers still driving through town)

Waze:
This was the clear winner – it is an interactive map and thus has been fully updated to show I-11 as the preferred route with updated traffic info.

So, we know this will all change – and improve we hope – as more reports are made and systems get updated. The bottom line is to always remember that traffic apps are not always right, and if you’re lost, it’s best to safely pull over, take a breath and spend a few moments figuring out your route by confirming with other sources.

Observations: on the southbound trip, I observed one driver turn around on one of the emergency vehicle turnouts, but can only speculate why. I also saw a few highway patrol folks out monitoring, so mind your speeds out there. Lastly, my own comments to help improve signage will also be turned into the NDOT, just like I hope you will.

Sorry for the long post, but hope you’ll feel it was worth it to have something to do to help improve this roadway for the benefit of all!

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