[Tagging] highway=track access

Frank Little frankosm at xs4all.nl
Thu May 22 11:17:25 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.

On the Dutch Forum we’ve been discussing expectations regarding 
highway=track: http://forum.openstreetmap.org/viewtopic.php?id=25527.

In the Netherlands, there is no legal distinction between roads tagged in 
OSM as highway=track and any other roads. So unless there are tags 
representing access restrictions, the default on highway=track should not 
block any form of access.

Some people feel that private tracks should not be routable. However, the 
law only prevents access if there is a traffic sign and/or a notice 
forbidding access completely i.e. =private (or allowing certain categories 
access as =permissive while forbidding others). Tracks in woods/forest also 
often have a barrier to prevent certain types of traffic.  It is up to local 
mappers to tag a track and/or a barrier with appropriate access tags based 
on field survey.

Since tracks can have any kind of surface or level of maintenance, there is 
some discussion about the advisability of routing cyclists over tracks as a 
general rule. But, given the wide variety of surface characteristics of 
tracks, routing decisions will have to be based on tagging with surface=* or 

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