[Tagging] path vs footway

Richard Mann richard.mann.westoxford at gmail.com
Tue Nov 4 10:17:35 UTC 2014

Interesting interpretation of history. Slightly different version:

The path tag was introduced by people who couldn't deal with
highway=cycleway being shared with pedestrians, and wanted something less
mode-specific than highway=footway and highway=cycleway.

In practice, this use is fairly limited: highway=path has been used far
more for unmade paths in field and forest.

The footway/cycleway issue largely continues to be dealt with by the
meaning of cycleway being a bit country-specific; in some countries
highway=cycleway (in cities, alongside roads) means
probably-not-for-pedestrians, and in others it means

Personally I use highway=footway+bicycle=yes if it's low quality and legal
for cycling, and highway=cycleway (which implies foot=yes in the UK) if
it's halfway decent for cycling. And highway=path in field and forest.


On Tue, Nov 4, 2014 at 9:48 AM, Martin Koppenhoefer <dieterdreist at gmail.com>

> 2014-11-03 23:38 GMT+01:00 Mike Thompson <miketho16 at gmail.com>:
>> Nearly all trails in this area have been tagged
>> "highway=footway" although most of them are open equally to foot
>> traffic and horse traffic. Any reason to leave them as "footways"?
> You can (IMHO) change them to path.
> To give some historical background: initially there were only footways,
> cycleways and bridleways in OSM, and the suggestion then was to use the tag
> for the "higher"/"more important" means of transport and eventually add
> additional ones (e.g. cycleway and foot=yes). Then it was argued that there
> is no preferred/higher/more important means of transport on a general
> purpose way for single tracked vehicles (nor is there on a shared
> cycle-pedestrian way), so highway=path was introduced, allowing all means
> of unmotorized transport equally by default and allowing to override the
> exclusion of motorized vehicles (e.g. snowmobiles, motorcycles).
> This new path tag was designed so generically that it was in theory able
> to replace the well introduced tags footway, cycleway and bridleway by
> adding additional access tags to the path (e.g. path and foot=designated
> equals footway). In practise people continued to use in these cases (way
> dedicated to one means of transport) the well introduced simple tags like
> footway, while they adopted path for ways that can be generically used or
> that allow more than one means of transport equally (something like
> highway=footway, bicycle=yes still has its place, e.g. for spots where
> pedestrians have the right of way but bicycles are allowed when driving
> carefully).
> cheers,
> Martin
> _______________________________________________
> Tagging mailing list
> Tagging at openstreetmap.org
> https://lists.openstreetmap.org/listinfo/tagging
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://lists.openstreetmap.org/pipermail/tagging/attachments/20141104/68baf6c7/attachment.html>

More information about the Tagging mailing list