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Wikitravel:Routebox navigation

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Routebox navigation is a supplement to the Get out section of an article which allows the user to browse directly from article to article along a given route or combination of routes, and gives the user a quick way to see what destination articles are nearby at a glance. The box contains a logo for each route in the center. To the left and right of the logo are 1) the direction the route follows, 2) the next minor destination, i.e. the next destination for which we have an article, and 3) the next major destination or major thoroughfare junction. More detailed descriptions of how to choose these follows in the sections below.


The Mediawiki template {{routebox}} is used to create the boxes. The template is placed at the end of the Get out section, just before the Wikipedia and language links, and looks like this:

Routes through Routebox navigation
AltusLawton  N noframe S  PaducahLubbock
ShamrockWellington  N noframe S  PaducahAbilene
AmarilloMemphis  N noframe S  QuanahWichita Falls

The above box is produced by the following code:

| image1=US-62.png
| imagesize1=22
| directionl1=N
| majorl1=[[Altus (Oklahoma)|Altus]]
| minorl1=[[Lawton (Oklahoma)|Lawton]]
| directionr1=S
| majorr1=[[Lubbock]]
| minorr1=[[Paducah (Texas)|Paducah]]

| image2=US-83.png
| imagesize2=22
| directionl2=N
| majorl2=[[Shamrock]]
| minorl2=[[Wellington]]
| directionr2=S
| majorr2=[[Abilene]]
| minorr2=[[Paducah (Texas)|Paducah]]

| image3=US-287.png
| imagesize3=22
| directionl3=N
| majorl3=[[Amarillo]]
| minorl3=[[Memphis (Texas)|Memphis]]
| directionr3=S
| majorr3=[[Wichita Falls]]
| minorr3=[[Quanah]]

Criteria for route inclusion[edit]

Preference should be given to routes which are most often used by travellers in the given area. For example, listing a passenger train route through the western US is considered too much detail since 99% of travellers go by car in the region, and trains in the region don't have regular service which allows for hop-on hop-off use. Similarly, listing roads in a Central African country doesn't make much sense either, since the vast majority of travellers see the area by bus or hired car. Disagreements about whether a given route should be included should be addressed on the discussion page of the region or country for which the route applies.

In general, to be included, a route should have at least 4 destinations for which we have articles. Smaller routes such as state highways should be omitted if they duplicate the same access path as another route. Like other sections of our articles, the number of listings should never exceed nine. Destinations under 1 million people should generally not exceed 5 listings.

Listing order[edit]

Preference should be given in the following order:

  • Famous historical routes (the Silk Road, Route 66, Santiago da Compstela)
  • High speed train lines
  • Regular train lines
  • Major national highways, in numerical order
  • Minor national highways, in numerical order
  • State highways, private toll roads, or scenic routes, in numerical order

Obtaining an icon[edit]

For numbered highways, official route shields are preferred when available. For many routes, an appropriate image can be found on the Route icon list or at WikiCommons. If you import or create a new icon for a route, please add it to the appropriate part of the list, so that other users can find it.

If no legally-usable official symbol can be found, you can create a .png file by modifying the following .svg files with a program like Inkscape. The recommended font is the free version of Blue Highway by Ray Larabie. The recommended image size for the typical highway shield is 22 pixels.

Blank national shield.png
For national routes, use white text on this shield: Image:blank national shield.svg

Blank subnational shield.png
For subnational routes, use black text over this shield: Image:Blank subnational shield.svg

Other types of icons may be custom-created as needed. The preferred icon size is 100 by 25 pixels. Some examples:

Joetsu Shinkansen icon.png

JR Kansai icon.png

Assigning directions[edit]

Directions should be assigned according to official signage when available. In general, the two directions indicated by the routebox should be consistent for the length of the route when possible. Exceptions can be made when official signage indicates, or for loop lines such as a highway which circumnavigates an island or, for example, Tokyo's Yamanote line.

  • For consistency's sake, the direction to the left of the icon should always be the westernmost or northernmost direction.

Assigning major destinations[edit]

Criteria for what is assigned as a major destination in each direction depends on the relative importance of the route.

  • Disagreements about whether a given city should be considered a major destination should be resolved on the talk page of the city in question.

For highways[edit]

For highways, the goal is to have the routebox match the signage the traveller will see along a given road.

  • If the route goes for 2 hours' travel time or more without a major city, the next biggest city in the region should be used to break it up.
  • If the route passes near a major city, that city should still be included as a major city if signage along the route indicates it. For example, Pittsburgh could be included along I-79 because signage for Pittsburgh via Spur I-279 is placed along I-79 in the region.
  • If a major junction point occurs at a place which is not a control city, that place may be used as a major
  • For routes away from large cities, preference for major destinations is given to places which have junctions with more important routes. For example if a less important US Route intersects an Interstate at a smaller city, that city should still be used as a control. Thus, for US-83 in the Texas Panhandle, Shamrock is used as a control city because it has a major junction with I-40.
  • Some routes may pass through many destinations of roughly the same size or importance without passing through any major city at all. Other routes may pass for more than two hours through dozens of smaller places before reaching a place for which we have an article. In these cases, the next destination may be used as the control.

For train lines[edit]

Most train lines have designated major destinations which often appear in a larger bold font or with a larger bullet on train route maps.

Assigning minor destinations[edit]

The minor destination in each direction should always be the next place along the route for which we have an article. This should include any national parks or state parks unless the next city is within the park. Care should be taken in assuring that nothing is skipped. Running names from a map into our search engine is generally a good way to ensure complete coverage.

Termini, merging, and rural junctions[edit]

  • When a route ends at the next destination, the next destination is listed as minor, and the field for major destination should read "END" (without quotes).
  • When a route ends at the current destination, the minor field is left blank, and the major field should read "END" (without quotes).
  • When a road route ends at a perpendicular route at a place for which we have no article, "Ends at" plus a reduced-size icon of the highway in question is used in place of "END".
  • When a route ends very near a major city, in a suburb for example, and the traveller could reasonably find their way into that city, that city may be used as a major destination.
  • When a route ends at a named destination for which we have no article, the destination name should be left unlinked.
  • When a road route merges with another route going in the same direction, "Merges with" plus a reduced-size icon of the highway in question is used in place of "END".
  • When a route changes name at a city or border in a way that no exit need be taken, "Becomes" plus a reduced-size icon of the highway in question should be inserted in the routeboxes of the adjacent destination articles.
  • When a road route crosses another route of equal or higher importance at a place for which we have no article, an unlinked text note reading "Junction" plus a reduced-size icon of the highway in question should be inserted, along with an arrow (use {{rtarrow}} or {{lfarrow}}) and space on the appropriate side.

A fictitious box below illustrates how the above points should look when utilized:

Routes through Routebox navigation
MidlandWeatherford  W noframe E  ArlingtonDallas
Merges into I-20.png  W noframe E  ArlingtonDallas
ENDDenton  N noframe S  → Junction I-35.pngWaco
Ends at I-40.pngDecatur  N noframe S  CorsicanaBeaumont

Rest areas, travel information centers, and picnic areas[edit]

Rest areas, travel information centers, and picnic areas can be inserted in addition to the two destinations in each direction. They should only be inserted when they fall between the current article and the next destination and should be spaced with a single space and an arrow on the appropriate side in the field of the minor destination. Extra arrows can be produced by using the templates {{rtarrow}} and {{lfarrow}} for right and left arrows respectively. The fictitious box below provides an example:

Routes through Routebox navigation
SayreAltus  N noframe S  London → Junction I-20.pngBrady
AmarilloQuanah  N noframe S  → Rest area → Wichita FallsFort Worth

Inserting a new article in a pre-existing route[edit]

When inserting a new article along a route for which routeboxes are already implemented, don't forget to visit the article for the adjacent minor destinations and adjust the links to include the new article.