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Why Interstate 35W is now a toll road on Apple’s app, but not Google or Waze

Screen shot of an iPhone Apple Map image showing Interstate 35W in Fort Worth as a toll road.
Screen shot of an iPhone Apple Map image showing Interstate 35W in Fort Worth as a toll road. gdickson@star-telegram.com

Traffic is confusing enough in North Texas. We don’t need traffic mobile apps to make it worse.

Some area residents have complained on the social media aggregator Reddit that Interstate 35W is now shown as a toll road on iPhone’s Apple Maps application.

A quick check of the Apple Maps app shows that when drivers are directed to navigational points in north Fort Worth, a prompt on I-35W warns them: “tolls required — fastest route.”

That’s not totally true. Motorists actually have a choice of using the toll lanes — known as TEXPress lanes — or staying on the toll-free main lanes. And because only certain sections of the TEXPress lanes have opened between Loop 820 and Heritage Trace Parkway, the toll lanes aren’t necessarily the fastest route.

The bottom line: Drivers will have their patience tested in the coming months as navigational apps scramble to update their software.

The $1 billion-plus I-35W makeover in Fort Worth is scheduled to be completed next year. But if history is an indicator, it could be a few months before navigational aides such as Apple Maps, Google Maps and Waze are fully updated.

Until then, there is no perfect fix. Drivers who are unsure about whether directions are accurate can go to their app settings and change features such as “avoid toll roads.” Try turning the features on and off, and comparing the results.

Gordon Dickson: 817-390-7796, @gdickson

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