The Worldwide Transportation Library FAQ (Version 1.10, 1-Nov-2009):
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Sections 1-4



(1) Index


General Site Questions







(2)  General Site Questions:




(2.1) What is the Worldwide Transportation Library?


The Worldwide Transportation Library (WWTL) is an online collection of media that classifies, defines, and provides trivia for transportation mediums. It is an organic project that owes its existence to independent contributors from three continents.




(2.2) How did the WWTL come to be?


Click here for the site's history.




(2.3) What country is your specialty?


No country is.  Our mission is to provide objective information that's fun and relevant to the region you're looking up -- no specific country gets our preferential treatment.




(2.4) Does the WWTL have any affiliations with official transportation ministries?


No, we do not.  The goal of our site is to be an independent source of information that often transcends strict interpretations of government code.  In other words, we do not officially support nor endorse any governing body.  At the same time, we have received helpful feedback from ministries like the Ohio Department of Transportation, an American entity whose trivia has complemented this site.




(2.5)  How can I contact the WWTL?  I'd like to offer help or insight based on my personal experience.


We provide a contact form here. All forms must be filled completely for a submission to occur.




(2.6) I see several flags on the top lefthand corner of the page.  What are these?


The WWTL is proud to support four official languages:  English, French, German, and Italian.  Click on the corresponding flag for the language of your choice!




(2.7) Do you officially support Spanish?


We do not officially support Spanish, however we're close to meeting this goal!  Today, highways are classified by Spanish title, while videos are spoken in Spanish natively.  We do not yet provide text descriptions for photographs "en español".  Once this has been done, Spanish will be an officially supported language.




(2.8) To what extent will you list countries in their native script and/or tongue?


The WWTL lists all country names in their native script and tongue, with the exceptions of the Republic of Ireland (English) and Poland (German) where secondary languages are used in small pockets, if not substantial areas of the country.  If a country does not use the Roman Alphabet natively, we provide that country’s native script out of worldly respect, e.g., The Republic of China (华人民共和国),  Japan (日本,), the United Arab Emirates (دولة الإمارات العربية المتحدة), and Israel (יִשְׂרָאֵל).   We do not, however, provide local translations for city names and landmarks in countries whose native tongue isn’t listed as one of the WWTL’s officially-supported languages. 



(2.9) It seems insensitive that Poland and its highways are classified in the German language, considering the hideous acts of the 20th century and the Second World War.  Why on earth are Polish road photos shown in German by default?


Our coverage of Poland is presently limited to Zgorzelec, which is a border town of German influence.  As we do not speak Polish officially, and since German is considered a second language in Zgorzelec, it seemed more appropriate to classify Zgorzelec's highways in something localised as compared to something non-localised, e.g., English.  We do provide English translations too.



(2.10) Sometimes it takes too long for a Virtual 360 image to load. Why is that?

In order for a Virtual 360 to load, your computer needs to load the Apple Quicktime software. On slower computers, this may take a few seconds.  The Virtual 360 will instantly display once the software has been loaded.  Performance will improve tremendously when you open another Virtual 360 during your visit, since Quicktime has already been loaded into your computer's memory.


(2.11) Do your photographs support geo-tagging?

Yes.  If you see geographic coordinates listed under a photograph (e.g., 43.793119, 7.605), just click on them.  You'll then been forwarded to Google Maps* where you can see exactly where the photographer was at the time of the shoot! 


(2.11a) Why don't all of your photographs support map location?

We're proud to boast 66% coverage for our road photos, and a growing, yet significant amount, of railroad photographs.  That said, some photographs were originally taken in rural areas (several years ago).  Current mapping technologies blur accuracy, so it's difficult for us to (post-hoc) come w/in a 20 metre radius the actual location.  As technology improves, more rural photos will support map location.  Also, if we happen to revisit the original location of the photograph, we'll make GPS notation of it.


(2.12) Can I resize your photographs? I would like to zoom onto a particular detail.

Yes.  To resize the photographs, first hold down the SHIFT key on your keyboard. While you're doing this, click on the photograph and drag it to resize.  To make the photo larger, move your mouse to the right.


(2.13) Can I link to your photographs from my website (or blog)?

Not today.  If you link the photograph to your website, you will get an non-viewable image.  This is intentionally done to protect the copyright of our photographs.  In the future, we plan to undo this protection!  To make our library more web-friendly, we're currently watermarking our highway and railroad photographs, one by one.  Once this watermarking project is complete in ~2010, we will lift the link restriction so you can share our photographs w/ the rest of the web.


(2.14) I'm looking for a specific video or photograph.  What happened to your menu-driven structure?  It's gone!

That's not true!  The menu-driven structure is still available -- it's no longer our default presentation method.  By default, our photographs are now featured in a random slideshow format.  Videos are also displayed at random too.  If you wish to instead use the menu-driven format, look for a hyperlink during random playback entitled "I want a menu instead!" . Now click on that link to begin your search for a specific highway using our well known continent-to-region format.  


(2.15) Some of your highway photographs are accompanied by a distance chart.  Neat!  But why don't all highway photographs have one?

It's a work in progress!  We are currently updating several highway photographs a week with distance charts.  When this project completes in 2011, all highway photographs will be accompanied by a distance chart prescribing distances between relative major cities and junctions.


(3) Roads:





(3.1) Why do highways have different numbering-systems than my country?  This makes no sense because my country's system has a logical order that lets me know where I am.


Many countries employ unique numbering systems based on their own logical criteria.  A classic example is the Irish motorway system.  Route numbers are classified by the number of the old national highway is has overtaken (e.g., "M7" vs. the original "N7").  The United States has a different scheme where its Interstate motorways ("highways") use odd numbers for north-south highways of an interregional nature, and even numbers for east-west highways.





(3.2) In some Canadian provinces, TransCanada highways have a number designation, e.g. "TransCanada 1".  In other provinces, there are no number designations.  What gives?


A number designation is decided on the provincial level.  That's why you'll see TransCanada 1 in Alberta, and a simple "TransCanada" highway in Ontario or Québec.




(3.3) Why do some countries list international cities by local spelling?  The real name of the city should be in the international country's language, as far as I'm concerned!  Why is there such a discrepancy  -- the road signage is wrong!


Simply put, language is the barrier -- not the border itself!  Due to linguistic traditions, it may not be possible to make a perfect pronunciation for a city that is in a different tongue.  That's why you'll see Ventimiglia called "Vintimille" along France's Autoroute 8, or find Montréal advertised as "Montreal" along Interstate 87 in the United States.




(3.4)  Do all German autobahns permit limitless speed?


No.  Only certain stretches of autobahn allow unlimited speed.  These designated stretches are usually in rural areas, where the leftmost lane gets the sole privilege.



(3.5)  Are foreign cars allowed onto Swiss motorways?

Yes.  Be prepared to pay a fee at the border.  In return, you will receive a temporary decal that allows unlimited usage of Switzerland's motorway network.


(3.6)  When will the Pan-American highway be completed?

The Pan-American Highway, part of an international effort to link Alaska with Argentina's Tierra del Fuego, remains incomplete. There is a small strip of land called the Darién Gap -- located in southern Panama-- that is the “missing link” between the north and south. The Worldwide Transportation Library does not condone the construction of the Darién Gap constituent, thereby fully supporting the Panamanian goverment that the constituent should NOT be completed until it is scientifically proven that local species and surrounding environment are not affected by the introduction of fresh pavement and moving vehicles.




(4) Rail:



(4.1) I have a Swiss Rail pass.  To get from Lugano to Brig, I must go travel through northern Italy.  Does that mean Swiss Rail owns track inside Italy?


No.  Swiss Rail has special agreements w/ Italy's Ferrovie dello Stato.  This agreements grants you the privilege of passing through Italy, by way of Domodossola, w/o having to pay extra for it.





(4.2) Historically, the Union Pacific Railroad did not pass through my American city.  Why are some of your photographs showing that the UPRR does?


Presently, the Union Pacific Railroad takes advantage of regional railroads through cross-company agreements.  Visit for more information.





(4.3)      How did the term "railroad" come to be?

The word "rail" comes from the Middle French term "raille", which means bar.  So a railroad is essentially a road consisted of bars. Though the Middle Frenchmen had never seen the like of railroads, they can be credited for the coinage of the term!