[Tagging] Dispute prevention: meaning of lanes tag

Ronnie Soak chaoschaos0909 at googlemail.com
Sat Apr 21 09:19:38 BST 2012

In my opinion, lanes=1.5 is a very bad choice. We have a tag for this
> situation: width . According to taginfo, lanes=1.5 is used, but not too
> often. What should we do? I would recommend not to use it and advise to
> specify a width (which is also objective rather than subjective as 1.5 is).


The width-tag is widely used, is more general and part of the standard set
of fields for many highway-categories in JOSM and Potlatch.
It may be harder to estimate a width in meters instead of a lanes count,
but I think it's possible within +/- 1m, especially for narrow ways.
(I personally only use it with either rather narrow or rather wide ways out
of the norm.)

The lanes tag is used with integral numbers, most tools won't recognize
fractions. And even if they do, it's still highly subjective if it's
lanes=1 or lanes=1.5 or lanes=2 if there are no road markings. (If you have
to slow down to pass depends on your type of car, the road (and
weather/sight) conditions and your bravery/insanity.)

I would only use a lanes value other than 2 if there are clear road
markings, signs or it is otherwise very clear that two cars are supposed to
go in one direction at a time (>=3) or there is no way for two cars to pass
without a special (signed) passing place (1).

my two cents,

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