The press calls it the “Forgotten America” because of a shortage of everything from doctors to jobs. In 2006 OpenStreetMap imported TIGER roads from the Census Bureau. That single import changed the landscape of the US. The US went from a map desert to one with roads from coast to coast. Since that time roads in urban areas and major roads have gone through an amazing improvement process. In Washington State, one section of Highway 101 is on version 98. Yet in rural America, many roads haven’t been touched since they were imported. OSM’s rural America looks like we imported the data and then forgot about improving it. Which for many areas, that’s exactly what happened.
We will look at the state of roads in rural America, especially the risks they pose, and suggest ways to improve the data.