What's the difference between shape versions?

^ Shows that the shape ID’s (from the GTFS static shapes.txt file) come in the form: “OperatingBranch-RouteNumber-Instance-RouteVersion”
For example the 143 bus route has 5 route versions:

  • 28-143-sj2-1.1.R
  • 28-143-sj2-1.2.H
  • 28-143-sj2-1.3.R
  • 28-143-sj2-1.4.R
  • 28-143-sj2-1.5.H

When plotted, the paths are nigh-identical.
So what is the difference between versions usually and what warrants a new version?
Are 1.1 through 1.4 depreciated and only 1.5 is current?
Are they all used concurrently?
Bonus questions, what does the R and H stand for? Return and Home or something?

Clarity would be nice, thanks!

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For clarity :slight_smile: , there’s only one route version here: 28-143-sj2-1. But there are 5 different route options, two outbound “H” (route options 2 and 5), and three inbound “R” (route options 1, 3 and 4).

These shapes should actually be different. Occasionally shapes may well be the same, or so similar it’s hard to tell why. But the shape is only one aspect of a route option. The stops (and stop sequence) need to be considered as well.

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