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Why does the Nuvi keep trying to take me on back roads?

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  • I just turned off the carpool lane avoidance, and it actually helped a little. Before, it was avoiding the interstate like the plague (even with highway avoidance turned off). Now it uses the interstate a little more. It's still not perfect, though.

    They really need an option for people who want to take the interstate as much as possible.


    There is: Faster time
    I've never had it on anything but Faster time. The thing is, it doesn't seem to take normal traffic, lights, and signs into consideration. If we went the back roads at midnight when there is no traffic and all the lights are yellow flashers, then we might save one minute. But at most times of the day, under realistic driving conditions, we would save a lot of time going the interstate. But since it thinks we would save one minute the other way, it never routes us the interstate, which would obviously be the best way in our situation. That's why I wish there was an option for using the interstate as much as possible, instead of what it thinks is the fastest time.

    It's no big deal on this particular route because we can just go the way we know is best. But it makes me wonder about how well it would do in unfamiliar places.
  • Marc 301 Points
    What the algorithm does is assume an average speed for a road as far as I can figure out. That should include time stopped at lights. Unfortunately for many secondary roads I find the speed assumed is optimistic. If you want to see what speeds it is assuming for your routes reset your unit so it doesn't have any history of your travel and then simulate a route and watch the speed on the GPS as it simulates the route.
  • Ozme52 0 Points
    Two things to consider... you may well be right about the traffic lights... I've not seen any commentary about average speeds being used in the basic "fastes" calculations. Just posted limits. A large number of stop signs and signals could offset the otherwise quicker route.

    It is pretty much commonly accepted that over the course of usage, the Nuvis "learn" your own average speed along roads. So if you tend to drive slower (than posted) on the interstate and faster (than posted) on surface streets, that may also sway the unit into choosing the surface route.
  • Tim 1481 Points
    Just a few points...

    1) Yes, I have said that Navteq data does have traffic light data. However I have no idea (a) if Garmin is using it, (b) if they are using it if they are under-destimating it, or (c) if this actually has anything to do with the issue. All I think we can say with certainty is that this issue appears to come up more often with surface streets that often have traffic lights.

    2) While it is known that the Nuvi will adjust ETAs based on prior driving history, I haven't seen any reproducible cases where the route is adjusted. Only the ETA is adjusted after route computation.

    3) One hypothesis is that the routing algorithms are relying more on speed limit data as more speed limit data becomes available. Remember it wasn't too long ago that virtually no speed limit data was available in the map data and every road was assigned one of several road classifications. Each road classification is then assigned an estimated speed. So the hypothesis basically gives the following scenario... A road that perhaps had a road classification that gave a 20 mph estimate subsequently gained speed limit data of say 35mph that wasn't available before. Thus if the routing algorithm is using speed limit data when available and reverting to road classification when speed limit data is not available then it could result in the results we see.

    This hypothesis seems plausible, but we haven't yet confirmed an example of it by taking one model/software version and comparing routes picked across older map versions on a road where speed limit data was not available in the older map and was available in the newer map.

    All of this has been discussed to death earlier in this thread, but I certainly don't fault people for not having read all ~600 replies. I'm only mentioning it because someone mailed me today asking why I'm "ignoring" this thread-- I'm not ignoring it, I just don't have anything new to add that I haven't already said before. :)
  • Marc 301 Points
    Just to add to what Tim says, I have seen my ETAs become more accurate as it learns the average speed on some roads, but it has never changed the routing. My drive to work has many routes that are all within a few minutes of each other. I use my GPS on a daily basis, mostly because I am a geek and I like to see the traffic reports. The only time it has ever changed the routing is when it detected a traffic incident. When I update a map I often do see a route change, so obviously they are updating something in the database with map upgrades. Maybe we need to turn this into some kind of FAQ or history will be doomed to repeat itself over and over.
  • I found this thread while searching for information as to why my Garmin Nuvi 205 suddenly started insisting on avoiding the highway.

    I live in Baltimore near I-83. I love driving on highways. So I had found it quite annoying that all of a sudden the Garmin went from being quite accurate when I tried to go places I hadn't been around here before to routing me through very slow back roads. But the capper was a few days ago.

    I-83 south from the Baltimore Beltway runs parallel to Falls Rd, which is a local road, twisty, with traffic lights. I was heading south from the Beltway and my daughter had turned the Garmin on. It insisted I take Falls Rd. instead of I-83. Then when it recalculated after it realized I hadn't done it... it demanded I make a u-turn! I had "u-turn" as my only avoidance checked.

    Everytime that it realized I was not taking the route it had chosen, it recalculated and reported a much quicker arrival time. In the end, once we had gotten off the highway in our usual place, it was accurate as to when we were likely to arrive. But it was insisting that we take much longer to get to our destination in order to avoid the highway... and it's not the only time it's done this. I had to use my cell phone to look up mapquest's routes when I was on a very long trip into Virginia, because the Garmin's insistence on avoiding highways was taking me very far out of my way.

    I drive on highways as much as possible, so this problem has made the Garmin almost useless to me...
  • bugeyed 41 Points
    I am experiencing the "highway avoidance syndrom" on my Nuvi 1350. Is there going to be a fix for this? Is there any way to show a preference for highways, other than "fastest way". Although highways are not always the fastest route, it is preferable to city streets in most cases. If this has been an issue with Garmin for some time, why aren't people making a big deal out of it. That is a major reason NOT to buy a Garmin IMO. Is this defect the reason I read people saying that TT has superior routing algorithms? Without evidence of an imminent fix I will retire this 2 week old unit for something else. I know the MIO allows you to choose a preference for highways or not.
    Cheers,
    kev
  • Marc 301 Points
    Unless Garmin does something like Magellan and offers a most highways option I wouldn't hold my breath. That being said, in the routes I am familiar with, Garmin has corrected some of the obvious errors in the latest ( I believe 2011.1) map release. So I think you may see a gradual change as map info is updated.
  • bugeyed 41 Points
    Unless Garmin does something like Magellan and offers a most highways option I wouldn't hold my breath. That being said, in the routes I am familiar with, Garmin has corrected some of the obvious errors in the latest ( I believe 2011.1) map release. So I think you may see a gradual change as map info is updated.
    Sorry, not an option for me. I will not pay for map updates to "fix" a dysfunctional unit. I have read some old posts of people complaining about this from years ago! Does Garmin not perceive this as an issue? I had the impression that moving from a MIO to a Nuvi was an upgrade & Garmin had always been touted as the gold standard of GPS units. Well, I don't see the attraction. The bright screen is not enough if the unit doesn't work well.
  • Marc 301 Points
    The simple answer is no they do not perceive it as a problem. I brought up a problem with a route I am familiar with and got the answer from tech support that as long as it gets you there the GPS is doing its job. So if this is your overriding concern, take a look else where. However, be warned, all GPS I know of give you screwy routing on occasion. I personally prefer Magellans but there are too many other issues other than routing that prevent me from buying another Roadmate.
  • telemike 5 Points
    I did like the Magellan's abiltiy to actually switch routing methods on a route. You could leave home on "Mostly Freeways" and when getting close to desitination switch to "Shortest" on the fly.

    However, I did not always like the routes the Magellan chose using Navteq maps and went with a Tomtom XL335TM and the IQ routes seems to navigate better.

    For instance, getting the freeway from my home. Mio Moov200 took one way, Magellan 1440 took another (more stoplights but shorter), and tomtom takes another that seems to be 1 minute faster and shorter than Mio route. Magellan route was probably 2-3 minutes off the tomtom.
  • bugeyed 41 Points
    I have tested the Nuvi 1350 for the last couple weeks & am now convinced that Garmin has included an "Interstate avoidance" routine in the routing algorithm. It makes every attempt to leave the expressway in favor of the surface roads. Even if the time or distance difference is minimal. It is absurd & huge annoyance. This unit needs a user setting to indicate a preference for freeways to be of any use to me. I am now searching for an alternative GPS even though this unit is still new. I had always thought that Garmin was king, but this 1350 is a joke! It seems to be acceptable when navigating city streets, but when traveling on freeways & interstates, the 1350 has me getting off the "convenient" freeway & traveling on the side roads. It hates freeways!! It seems to select an as-the-crow-flies route without regard for the size of the road or how many stop lights are on the route.
    Cheers,
    kev
  • Marc 301 Points
    I am not disputing what you are observing bug, but I think it is more a reflection of the maps than the GPS. Some of the get off the freeway here and get on there around Boston were not in my wife's 2010.1 maps,nor in my 2011.1 maps, but were in all the maps in between.
  • SergZak 340 Points
    This unit needs a user setting to indicate a preference for freeways to be of any use to me.
    Past Garmin autonav units (Street Pilot, GPS V, etc) included just that. I was really sorry to see that option (along with many, many others) axed to make the nuvi more popular to the masses.
  • bugeyed 41 Points
    I am not disputing what you are observing bug, but I think it is more a reflection of the maps than the GPS. Some of the get off the freeway here and get on there around Boston were not in my wife's 2010.1 maps,nor in my 2011.1 maps, but were in all the maps in between.
    I hope you are right. That the maps are the reason for the routing I am experiencing. Unfortunately, to fix it, I would have to spend money to find out, with no way to tell if a new release would help in my area. It would be a leap of faith & I don't have much of that with Garmin right now. Too bad you can't preview the routing choices when you preview a map at Garmin's web site.
  • Marc 301 Points
    edited May 2010
    My guess this is a gradual process. Just because one route is fixed does not mean all are. But that is just speculation. Things seem pretty consistent across the newer GPS, so you can ask somebody with the latest maps to check a specific route. We have done that in the past to compare various combinations of devices and maps.
  • gatorguy 326 Points
    Bugeyed, did you update to the latest map? It's free for you within the first 60 days of ownership. That would give you an opportunity to check for yourself whether there's any routing changes.
  • bugeyed 41 Points
    Bugeyed, did you update to the latest map? It's free for you within the first 60 days of ownership. That would give you an opportunity to check for yourself whether there's any routing changes.
    Yes, latest map & software. I may pick up a new TT soon just to satisfy my curiosity. I had one for a couple of days, but exchanged it for the better screen on the Garmin. Unfortunately, I didn't test the TT on these routes. Doh! If only TT would improve their screen. It was markedly harder to read in bright light than the 1350.

    Thanks for the suggestion Marc. I will check with someone here when the maps are updated.
    Cheers,
    kev
  • Ozme52 0 Points
    Dear bugeyed,

    Beware your GPS. It reads your mind. You want Interstate routing so it takes you off of them as often as possible.

    I want to avoid the Interstate and it keeps putting me on it.

    :roll:

    It's :twisted:
  • Ozme52 0 Points
    D'oh, one "obvious" thing to double check... your mode of travel. Automobile, not bicycle...

    Maybe set it to something else, cycle it off and on, then change it back to automobile... just in case there was a display glitch and it thinks bike and displays auto.
  • mortfe 0 Points
    I have the same problem, always back roads. These maps are horrible. Shouldn't have to constantly add via points. I have a $3 GPS app on my iPhone and it runs rings around the $300 Garmin 855. Maps are right on the money, every time & very quick to re-calculate if I go off the route.
  • bugeyed 41 Points
    D'oh, one "obvious" thing to double check... your mode of travel. Automobile, not bicycle...

    Maybe set it to something else, cycle it off and on, then change it back to automobile... just in case there was a display glitch and it thinks bike and displays auto.
    Well, I'll be dipped in ....... something icky! I had it set for pedestrian mode!





    NOT REALLY!
    Cheers,
    kev
  • JJL203 0 Points
    Nloticed this issue when travelling from Waterbury CT. to Milford, CT. Garmin took me on as many back roads as I think were possible. All settings were correct. Total distance/time 56 miles 1 hour 22 minutes. On the way down I crossed a highway that I was familiar with. Total time home 38 miles / 37 minutes. Called Garmin and they had me reset the unit. I tested it on my way to work, 13 miles. Garmin route 18 miles 32 minutes. The way I always go, 13 miles, 18 minutes. What is wrong???? Garmin has no answers for me..... Has anyone found a solution?
  • gatorguy 326 Points
    Hmm. I get 26 miles and 34 minutes, city centre to city centre. That is far removed from your results. I know you feel all the settings are correct, but confirm your avoidances, If there is a checkbox next to the item, you're avoiding it. Also confirm fastest rather than shortest and that your routing is set for automobile. You have something set incorrectly is my bet. The only avoidances I have checkmarked are U-turns, and Ferries.
  • Upacreek 0 Points
    I saw this today, although without being able to drive both routes simultaneously it is hard to say for certain that the way I was directed was not faster. However, intuitively it was not.

    My route was from Stafford, VA to Bowling Green, VA (if anyone is familiar with that area) Stafford is right on I-95, and it started out that way. However, it then directed me off of the Interstate onto Route 2, a two-lane road for about 15-20 miles of the trip. Granted Bowling Green is not right on the Interstate, so maybe there is that to consider, but I am dubious of the fact that Route 2 was faster. I did confirm that I had it set to calculate a faster route and the only two avoidances selected were U-Turns and Traffic. Maybe there was traffic further down the Interstate that I was not alerted to, but I'm not even sure I was in a covered area to receive it, if there was.
  • nutcase 91 Points
    Going from Stafford to Bowling Green, Mapquest, Google, Bing, Yahoo, and Garmin's MapSource all believe it's faster (by anywhere from five to 20 minutes) to take 95, 17, and 2 than to take 95 and 605 or 95 and 207.
  • Upacreek 0 Points
    Going from Stafford to Bowling Green, Mapquest, Google, Bing, Yahoo, and Garmin's MapSource all believe it's faster (by anywhere from five to 20 minutes) to take 95, 17, and 2 than to take 95 and 605 or 95 and 207.
    Thanks for checking it out. I've traveled 2 a lot because it is a more pleasant drive, but because of the number of variables affecting speed, some of which the GPS wouldn't know about, I don't think I considered it faster, unless there was a problem on the Interstate. I'm curious now.
  • D'oh, one "obvious" thing to double check... your mode of travel. Automobile, not bicycle...

    Maybe set it to something else, cycle it off and on, then change it back to automobile... just in case there was a display glitch and it thinks bike and displays auto.
    Hey, I wish I'd checked back on this forum sooner -- my husband just found out that this in fact was the problem with my nuvi.

    We had somehow gotten it accidentally set to bicycle mode, but it was still displaying an automobile, so we never knew. I came back to this forum to report that we'd solved the problem and found that you had actually posted about it four days after I reported my problem on this site. :-)
  • jreuschl 0 Points
    Anyone check out the routing of the new Nuvi 37xx series?
  • SergZak 340 Points
    Anyone check out the routing of the new Nuvi 37xx series?
    IMO, that's opening up a whole new can of worms since the routing will vary due to myTrends and trafficTrends although the user can disable these.
  • drew1021 0 Points
    I'm the owner of an outdated Nuvi 350 and yes it too has routing issues. I purchased it in 2006 and quickly realized it has the infamous routing problems as are being described in this thread. I am in the market for a replacement and at this time I think I will be looking at other brands such as the Motorolla gps. I dont care about all the bells and whistles I just want the most accurate routing possible.
  • navxguy 0 Points
    having owned a 350 as well, i updated back in December w/ a 1690 and am pleased with overall performance ... i also have an iPhone with both TomTom and Navigon apps w/ traffic

    from my experience, the 1690 solid performer but the traffic data understates the actual delays (sometimes significantly)

    Navigon app on iPhone has incrementally better traffic data (INRIX is pretty good), but also tends to understate delay times as well

    by far, i am finding the TomTom traffic to be most accurate in both precision of start/stop of traffic incidents and delay times ... and is updated frequently ...

    last weekend, there was a 60 min delay on 94 eastbound (aka southbound in this cooridor) between Milwaukee and Chicago ... the 1690 had me going thru it w/ a 10 min delay time ... TomTom forced me off an exit (two exists early since the 2nd exit was closed for repairs, and it knew it) ... it proceeded to route me on a frontage road for 8 miles ... traffic was at a stand still on highway w/o an exit for miles ... we travelled at 55 and re-entered highway immediately after incident which was a combination of construction and an accident ... saved us 60 min delay on our 4hr drive and we were attending a 50yr anniversary party ... paid for the $20/yr in that single experience.

    we also have a 1260T in the family (free traffic), and find it to be least accurate

    that's my personal experience w/ traffic data

    as it relates to routing ... while no app seems to have perfected routing, i must admit that i'm finding TomTom's IQRoutes pretty good ... especially when it needs to dynamically route around traffic (or a lot of surface road routing) ... the travel times and ETA are fairly accurate ... better than my experience with Garmin (expect that when i do a lot of highway travel, TomTom doesn't adjust ETA calc to my driving style - seems to always calc based on actual speed limit - if ya know what i mean). I'm becoming a believer in IQ Routes.

    anyway, if i had to purchase my 1690 all over again, i'd take a close look at the TomTom models that have connected services (cellular data) and the best traffic data, even if it cost a bit more or annual fee. Whatever traffic data they're providing the iPhone app is very good for $20/yr.

    i mention all this because i believe "most accurate routing" requires good traffic insight as well as routing logic.

    (i guess that's based on where i live and do most of my routing)

    good luck.
  • drew1021 0 Points
    It would be interesting to do a side by side test between the 1690 and the 350. Seems like someone should have already done this. Chime in if so.
  • navxguy 0 Points
    i haven't seen, and can't do, since our 350 was stolen in Dec thus the need to update ... otherwise, our family vehicle would still have the 350 : )

    finding a 350 vs 1690 comparison may be a stretch since most avid users (who might actually do a comparisons) would have had 2-3 interim models
  • Miller 0 Points
    I solved this problem for myself, by buying a TomTom. It pains me to say that because I have owned four Garmin units and out of those I loved three of them. That love affair stopped after I bought the 765T. I hated that thing since day one. I still say it has an irrational fear and/or hatred of freeways. Even when set for fastest route, no avoidances turned on, and set for automobile mode, it would invariably take me off the freeway and onto a crowded surface street while a nice, fast flowing freeway was going in the very same direction. Often within line of site.

    I still say they changed the routing engine in the newer Nuvis. Never had this problem with any of my Street Pilots.
  • DavidZ 0 Points
    My 2004 Lexus ES330 navigation has an interesting feature. You can set the MPH on each of 3 types of streets -- highways, main streets and side streets.

    When I first got my car, I noticed that the time of arrival estimate was optimistic (early). Also, I noticed that the software would recommend me to get off the highway and use main streets more often than I thought it should.

    I noticed that the MPH setting for main streets was 35 MPH. That may be the speed limit for most main streets, but it doesn't take into account stops at traffic lights.

    When I lowered the MPH settings from 65, 35 and 25 for highways, main streets and side streets to 55, 30 and 20, the time estimates became very accurate and it didn't tell me to get off the highway anymore.

    So rather than the algorithm, it's probably the speed assumption for side streets that causing the GPS to recommend getting off the highway and using main streets. If I'm correct, it amazes me that Garmin would (a) make such a rookie mistake and (b) not correct it quickly.
  • Boyd 1985 Points
    Hopefully the new trafficTrends and myTrends components of nuRoute will help with this problem. It is now available on the 3700 series and coming soon to the 1695.
  • To Miller:

    Same here, I owned 3 Garmins before I switched. I gave up on mine (265WT) for the same reason. I refused to sell it because it is clearly a defective unit. Just did another long distance trip (3500 miles) and for fun I set up my 265 to see what it would do. (I did all the updates before the trip).

    Over and over again it wanted to take us off the highway. A couple of times when I had the time, I followed its directions to see what would happen and of course watched the destination time increase a we got routed through side streets and small towns to get to the next ramp to the freeway we were just directed off of. When my wife was driving I was able to compare the two units; the added time ranged from a few minutes to a max of 40 minutes.

    I noticed that this often occurred when the interstate made a loop, possibly to avoid a town or some other reason. I concluded that for my unit and for some unknown batch of others the software contains a flaw that makes it choose the "shortest" route even when the fastest is chosen.
  • DavidZ 0 Points
    Yup. That's what my new 265WT does to me.

    Fortunately, since I just bought it, I am returning it for a small restocking fee.
  • Yep, I'm throwing in the towel on the Nuvi's too. Just ordered a TOMTOM XXL 540M and look forward to using the IQ routing feature :)
  • I also have routing problems with my GPS. It is a Garmin Nuvi 1450, updated with the latest version of software - 4.60.
    As seen before in these forums, it seems to favor minor roads instead of major ones, whatever the avoidance settings in the Nuvi.
    And I don't think it's a problem of the map, but the algorithm used in the Nuvi.

    For example:
    I use the latest map of Romania, ROAD 2008 version 3.02, NT, august 2009.
    In the Nuvi, I make a route between 2 cities, it compute the route to go mainly to minor roads and it's not the optimal route,
    because I know the route well.
    But doing the same route in MapSource 6.16.2 (latest, I think) and on the same ROAD 2008,
    with the default settings in routing, it goes to a much better route, in fact the one I normally use.
    The surprise come when I move the slider on the routing page of MapSource, towards "Favor minor roads".
    The new route looks the same as in my Nuvi.

    So I came to the conclusion that the algorithm used in the Nuvi prefers minor roads.
    Is there a setting I can change in the Nuvi (even by connecting it to my PC and editing configuration files)
    to not prefer minor roads so much?
  • We are currently on a driving trip from Arizona to the Midwest and have logged about 2500 miles so far. From SoAZ, we have driven through NM, CO, KS, MO, IL, IN and Michigan.

    We are using a nuvi 1450T which was updated with all the latest firmware and maps just prior to departure. It may be just dumb luck but the 1450T has been nearly flawless. The only mistake it made was not identifying the correct location of a Holiday Inn in Topeka.

    The nuvi was a life-saver driving through the Kansas City area, which required several freeway changes while navigating around the west and north ends of the city, and the Chicago area while skirting the south edge of town. I couldn't be happier with the nuvi 1450T's performance.

    Thought I'd add a positive comment about the nuvi. Tomorrow we leave for OH and PA. Hope we get the same great performance as we hit the road again.
  • It's not that I not appreciate Garmin. In fact I owned a Nuvi 250, with which I was very satisfied and used for more than 3 years.
    I wanted a bigger screen and more features, that's why I've chosen another Garmin, the 1450.

    I think the routes computed with my old Nuvi 250 didn't go so much on minor roads as much as 1450 (in some areas).

    Yesterday evening I tested more the 1450. On the route with problems I've added a via point, to force it to go on the "right" road. Now it goes on the right road and the time was even shorter as without via point (I didn't change the preference "Fastest route").

    I will try to test the old 250 to compute the same route and come with more conclusions.
  • just to make sure we can help.... asking the basics here

    on the avoidances screen, you did scroll up and down to check for settings you did not expect ?

    and you have routing set to fastest time or shortest route ?
    do u have traffic avoidances set ?

    Many times the shortest route is not the fastest or vice versa....

    my two garmins always get me there...
    and usually don't use it if I know the way unless it's a traffic issue...

    I, unlike others, may not be as concerned by how as to success :)
    and honestly, unless two of us travel the two routes at the same time at the same speeds to see the differences, we probably have to go with the Garmin's logic..

    after all, it's an unfeeling computer without an agenda :lol:
  • I've been using a 750 with the 2009 maps for a long time now, and today I just bought an 855 with the 2010 maps. And I noticed that it too has the "feature" of choosing bad routes. Does anyone know if this is map related? If I load the 2009 maps onto the new 855, will it choose good routes like my 750 does?

    (Sorry if this question has already been asked in one of the many pages of this discussion.)
  • I have the opposite question: How do I get my 755T to route me on the back roads rather than those darn high speed Bumper Car highways? Some of them charge big bucks to travel on them.
  • Boyd 1985 Points
    Tools > Settings > Navigation > Avoidances > Highways + Toll Roads
  • parmm 80 Points
    After reading this whole thread, makes me wish I had not purchased the "highly rated" 265wt! My cheap Mio C230 was so much better and gave me a choice of the type of road I wanted to avoid or be on.

    Anyone know if Garmin is looking at the problem.
  • I've complained about bad Garmin unit routing for over a year. Baffling why this still persists. TomTom for me now.
  • Thought I would add my own bad routing experience. On a trip from baton rouge to jenerette it takes me on back roads instead of 1-10 to lafayette (which is both faster and shorter distance). This should never happen since I believe the roads are dangerous. 20 miles a stretch with no civilization. I did not know this until I took the route. All mapping websites take you to lafayette except my GPS unit. I have no idea why it took my on a longer distance with more miles. I have no avoidances and in automobile mode. I was ready to take it back for a tomtom until I figured out how to add via points on the interstate. Seems like a person shouldnt have to do this. Oh its a garmin nuvi 1300lmt
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