[Tagging] highway=track access

SomeoneElse lists at mail.atownsend.org.uk
Mon May 19 19:01:37 UTC 2014

Richard Fairhurst wrote:
> Hi all,
> There are almost 8m highway=track objects in the database (thanks 
> taginfo!), third only to =residential and =service (thanks TIGER!).
> I'm interested to know what level of access people believe this 
> implies in their home countries.
> Here in the UK, for example, highway=track is often used for private 
> farm tracks, so you can't safely route over it unless access tags have 
> been added. But evidently that's not always the case elsewhere.

Here's how I'd interpret a "highway=track" with no access tabs in 
England or Wales (or at least the bits that I tend to frequent), 
particularly with regard to foot access:

1) If it's got no other tags on it (e.g. no surface or tracktype tags), 
then there's a risk been added from imagery alone, and I wouldn't assume 
that I could route over it (especially not to "get me home before dark" 
on a circular route).

2) If it's got any sort of other tags on it (surface, tracktype, 
designation, width, mtb_scale) I'd assume that someone's been down 
there, so access is at least "not physically prevented".  I also find 
background GPS layer that iD uses for this useful (though I doubt that 
you could do much with that?).  It doesn't mean that access is legal 
though, so I wouldn't assume that I could use it.

3) If I was recommending to someone else whether or not to take a route 
over a highway=track in England or Wales, I wouldn't suggest it unless 
it had either explicit access tags (or a designation tag that suggests 
that it ought to have an access tag).



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