Microsoft Streets & Trips fails to route via major highways
Hi Laptop GPS folks,

I just joined this forum, and wanted to introduce myself and start right out with a request for advice.

I do real estate inspections in the Seattle and wider Puget Sound region. I've been in the business for 11-years and have been using MS Streets as a routing tool for about 7-years. I use an XP laptop in my car with a Delorme USB GPS puck mounted on the dashboard, and currently use Streets 2007 as the navigation interface.

I use Streets pretty much exclusively in my work for routing to multiple local waypoints imported as .CSVs from Excel files.

Route optimization has always been a source of frustration. The main problem has been trying to set the routing preferences to yield routes between waypoints that are logical and efficient.

I learned long ago which types of waypoint groups I can rely on Streets to optimize reasonably well, and which ones I need to force the waypoint ordering myself (a tedious process) before letting Streets deliver directions to the waypoints.

The problem is that as a route planner, Streets yields a lot of bizarre and highly inefficient results. It will often send me miles along surface streets,when a major highway is proximate to my starting and ending destinations.

Streets frequently sends me a mile or more on secondary residential streets, when a major arterial street runs parallel only a block or two away.

Streets sometimes diverts me off of an arterial road on to side streets for several blocks, then sends me back to rejoin the same arterial a block further along to continue in the same direction. Crazy!

Anyway, I'm not having luck finding useful info on this. Does anyone out there have any advice on setting the driving preferences in some sort of logical manner, or know of any FAQs or instructional sources covering driving option settings to yield routes that make sense?

Marvin Hlavac
Hi Carlinhos, and welcome to the forum. A lot has changed since your Streets & Trips 2007 released in the fall of 2006. You may want to consider downloading the trial version of the current product. If nothing else, at least you will have fresher map data. And if you find that the routing is still not to your liking, then you could experiment with the Route Options values for different road classes.
The other thing that might help is to fiddle with Route Option preferences for road types and average speeds. You may be able to skew the optimization logic away from shortest or whatever it is doing.
Hi Marvin & SpadesFlush,

Thanks for your replies, and I wish I'd found this forum years ago!

First thing, this thread title is misleading and doesn't reflect my concerns about ineffective route planning in MS Streets. It must have been auto-generated or added by someone else.

To respond to your suggestions:

Yes, I've done a lot of adjusting and fiddling with the various route option settings. I find them to be confusing and unpredictable. If I could view examples of a particular route plotted with the options set for different driving preferences then I could better figure out what setting combinations best reflect my requirements. I wonder if the developers tried this and have sample maps showing the effects of different options configurations? That would be awesome if material like that was available.

Some settings negate other optional settings, i.e. if I select the quickest option in the driving segments tab, I can't adjust the preferred road types to favor arterial streets.

And Streets repeatedly sent me many miles along a busy arterial street running parallel to a major interstate highway with access points near the two successive waypoints on my route, until I counter intuitively set the driving speeds for main and other highways to "slow". How can anyone predict that kind of outcome from implementing what seems to be the opposite solution??

As for upgrading from 2007 to a newer version of Streets, I'd be willing to try that if it solved most of the routing design deficits I see in all the versions of Streets I've used.

I read in another thread that 2010 (& 2011) removed the ability to adjust a route after it had been set, is that true? I assume this means that after setting a series of waypoints, then clicking to get directions, the route plan Streets creates can't be adjusted to follow different roads if better alternatives are known? This would be a drawback for me because I almost never follow the route Streets delivers without tweaking it at least a little bit.

Typically, I select a series of waypoints to create a route for a days work in Streets, after getting the route directions, I have several options:

If I'm working in a familiar area I'll just ignore Streets route and hit the waypoints using my own street preferences. Since I rarely use the driving guidance feature I don't have to listen to a lot of "off route" complaints etc.

If I'm working in a less familiar area I'll take the time to drag parts of the route on to roads that make the most sense, such as using a nearby highway to travel between widely separated waypoints, or moving the route over to an arterial rather than drive 35-blocks on residential streets between two waypoints. This is a cumbersome process and it loads the route with "phantom waypoints", but it works.

So, can tell me whether 2011 is "smarter" about routing, and has more logical and intuitive route preference settings? I'm not a tourist, trucker, or RV'er, and use Streets in a very specific and limited way in a local area, and if a new version doesn't route much better than 2007 why bother to upgrade?

And if there are any manuals, tutorials, or other guides out there you can point me to that specifically address how best to adjust routing options to fit my specific requirements that would great.

Marvin Hlavac
Carlinhos, I just edited the title. Hopefully it better represents the meaning of your thread.

I'd still suggest to at least try the current version. Several years have past since your 2007 version, and the newer map data may help to improve the routing in your area. Perhaps there have been some changes to the routing algorithm, too, over the years.

You are welcome to post here some samples of bad routing, and I'm sure some of us will gladly check it for you in a newer version.
It's a free trial for 60 days and you do not have to wipe out your 2007. However, if you do try it remember that files saved in 2011 cannot be read in 2007 so it would be wise to save with a new name.
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