[Tagging] Describe explicitly that values of highway tag do not imply anything about road quality (except highway=motorway and highway=motorway_link)

Mateusz Konieczny matkoniecz at gmail.com
Tue Aug 18 22:19:42 UTC 2015

I am planning on adding this information to wiki in near future.

Note that it afffects also highway=path - in that case some/many
people are convinced that there is some kind of difference of implied
quality between highway=path and highway=footway.

highway=path wiki page already contains information that
highway=path "may have any type of surface"

2015-08-12 10:56 GMT+02:00 Mateusz Konieczny <matkoniecz at gmail.com>:

> What is below is supposed to document existing consensus rather than
> introduce new rule. I am aware that there is significant majority
> convinced that some road types universally guarantee or imply certain
> values (like widespread usage of highway=track to mark all unpaved
> roads and only unpaved roads, popular in some regions).
> I am also aware that in some regions "dual carriageways are usually at
> least highway=tertiary", "paved roads are at least
> highway=unclassified", "highway=primary has at least 2 lanes in each
> direction" or "paved roads passable for the entire year are
> highway=trunk" are good approximations - but it does not make it
> universally true or necessary requirement to use these tags.
> proposed description to be added on
> http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Key:highway - maybe also on pages
> about individual road types.
> Only highway=motorway/motorway_link implies anything about quality.
> Other road types, from highway=trunk through highway=tertiary to
> highway=residential=residential/service or
> highway=path/footway/cycleway/track do not imply anything about road
> quality. In area with poor infrastructure road forming main road
> network, of the highest importance in region should be tagged
> highway=trunk - no matter whatever is is high-quality asphalt road or
> unsurfaced tract unusable after major rains.
> In absence of surface, tracktype and other tags describing quality of
> road one may try to extrapolate this information from
> value of highway tag. Note that this needs tuning for every region.
> Typical highway=primary may be drastically different in various places
> across the planet.
> It is highly recommended to add and use tags describing road quality
> like surface. In one region it may be obvious that all highway=tertiary
> are paved and highway=track unpaved but no assumption like that will
> work worldwide.
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