I grabbed the Alabama road files from the TIGER 2015 data set and
started hacking out a dbfawk for it.

For a "random" sample (first county in AL, probably Atauga) about 20%
of the records have "(NULL)" as the name. There seem to be many
driveways, unnamed alleys, maybe some farm trails between fields, etc
in there, so maybe that explains them.  unfortunately some stuff like
interstate ramps seem to be NULL named records, too.

but there seem to be some duplicates, too - e.g. a state route also
has records for a historical name.  these are mildly annoying as it
clutters the map names and messes up the display of colors/widths as
they stack up.

has anyone else looked at this data?  I really don't see a way to make
a nice looking map.

The record types for AL (haven't checked other states yet) are single letters:

C (county routes ?)
M (city / "metro" roads)
S (state roads)
I (Interstates)

haven't chased the last 3 down yet.

On the positive side, the raspberry pi seems to be pretty quick at
drawing the map.

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