[Tagging] service=rural (Was Rural Alley?)

johnw johnw at mac.com
Mon Jul 13 08:51:56 UTC 2015

> In Japan and Korea, do you tend to have isolated farmhouses, each on its own farm (the most common pattern in the USA), or do the farmers tend to settle in villages, from which they travel out to their farms (the traditional European format)? 

TL;DR:  Japan once followed the European model (AFAIK), but as housing demand & land price increased over the last 100 years, People stared building houses in their fields, so there are single residences everywhere in rural settings (USA model). Changing ideas and customs about road building also led to overlapping styles of roads (old primary and modern trunk), which made more “service roads” than you’d expect.  Japan also had a land crunch, so “Rural Japan" is more populated than the rural lands of other countries [peaked in the 1980’s]- leading to more roads as well.   Japan’s rural land is more subdivided with higher grade roads than any other country mentioned so far (examples below). This greater subdivision warrants using highway=service in a role similar to service=alley, as the “grid” of roads in the countryside have as much variation as the city does.  

Long Answer:

I know this is long, but I wanted to explain it throughly.  

The model of rural roads I am familiar with is the US is the California "old ranch/wilderness areas” found all over most of the western United States. Old cow ranches and wilderness areas were split up into large plots for mostly rural residential use - a major road with branching private driveways every 200m or so [https://goo.gl/maps/u01L0 <https://goo.gl/maps/u01L0> ], or a long unclassified road branching off of a main (primary/trunk) road that then lead to these driveways. 90% of all farms are seemingly vast fields of a single crop, accessed from the main (primary/trunk) road that everyone uses to navigate the area, then further subdivided via (private) dirt farming roads. [ https://goo.gl/maps/3VYtK ] . This is really easy to map in OSM.

Overall - there are very few types of roads needed in a rural US environ, as the smaller access roads are obviously private or behind locked gates (fire roads, power line access, farming roads, other private roads), and the lack of roads in the wilderness makes every road very important.  I randomly zoomed into somewhere in Mississippi, and the random farm field access roads are definitely tracks branching off of an unclassified road. Same with a random spot in northern Italy, though it is a bit more complicated - but still, a lot of tracks. 

California https://goo.gl/maps/gu3nV <https://goo.gl/maps/gu3nV> 
Mississippi https://goo.gl/maps/M07sE <https://goo.gl/maps/M07sE> 
Northern Italy https://goo.gl/maps/lRMlK <https://goo.gl/maps/lRMlK> 

Japan is quite different.

Japan https://goo.gl/maps/EsRoq <https://goo.gl/maps/EsRoq> 

These are at the same zoom level (very minor difference). Rural Japan is a nightmare of little, short, "parallel" roads. (google does make it a bit worse with white traces on some tracks).

In Japan, except in the major rice valleys [https://goo.gl/maps/3MGwA <https://goo.gl/maps/3MGwA> ], land use is chopped up into very small irregular segments that follow the terrain - usually about 20x60m (?) rectangles [ https://goo.gl/maps/pY7y1 <https://goo.gl/maps/pY7y1> ] . It is hard to state how throughly the land is cut up here. Unless you drive into the mountains where it is too steep to do anything (landslides), Japan has throughly divided all of the available land on every gentle slope and stream valley [ https://goo.gl/maps/1HOyB <https://goo.gl/maps/1HOyB> ], and all of it is individually owned by different people - and has been split, sold off, and turned into houses, factories, green houses, tree lots, and other things. It is throughly mixed. Some of the remaining suburban agriculture land is greenhouse ag [ https://goo.gl/maps/vEljB <https://goo.gl/maps/vEljB> ], some is pigs and chickens [ https://goo.gl/maps/nmDRJ <https://goo.gl/maps/nmDRJ> ],  some is cedar trees for mushrooms to grow on  [ https://goo.gl/maps/8cXf2 <https://goo.gl/maps/8cXf2> ] , but the vast majority is family run rice fields, with some corn and vegetable farming as well [https://goo.gl/maps/4uhej <https://goo.gl/maps/4uhej> ] And it is all mixed together - so “agriculture tracks” occur only in field divisions. Over time, this rural-suburban mix that extended out to the edge of the wilderness - as there is absolutely no landuse rules here. And they build factories in rural areas on the sides of mountains too [ https://goo.gl/maps/zwAHj <https://goo.gl/maps/zwAHj> ], because the land is cheap out in the middle of nowhere.

Almost all of this irregular land is still planted and harvested by local old people now. Originally, it was farmed by the people who lived in very tiny clusters of houses, usually along the valley edge or near or small hills. Roads went around the outside of the fields, next to the hills. Major roads went from hamlet center to hamlet center (usually from the temple in the center to the temple in the next village). These roads are usually labeled “primary” now in Japan, regardless of their actual usage and stature (per Japan OSM wiki), because of their legal standing.

Many of the older primary/trunk roads and almost all of the unclassified and “farm” roads still follow these alignments, as they weave their way around small hills and large mountains, which are left wild. 

As Towns grew bigger with more car traffic, the more modern primary went went straight through the fields. The old town centers are built up around the temple, with a small “main street" of local shops that are a warren of tiny roads and numerous narrow intersections no car wants to navigate, so now they build new bypass roads around old town centers [ https://goo.gl/maps/tX7kK <https://goo.gl/maps/tX7kK> Ogo town hall and Ogo bypass road ]. The modern “suburbs” of Japan and the businesses that go with them are on these more modern primary/trunk/bypass roads, leading to more modern business centers and housing development that look pretty “American" (strip malls, apartments, planned residences - with planned zoning!! [ https://goo.gl/maps/08nr2 <https://goo.gl/maps/08nr2> ]) -  with the rice fields and small housing clusters with their tiny, narrow roads off behind them against the trees:

Two Bypasses: https://goo.gl/maps/UvOfO <https://goo.gl/maps/UvOfO> The old “unclassified” road along a stream at the edge of the hill, connecting the residential roads.  This road could be 400 years old.  Then the land to the north on the hill was was cleared (probably as they cut all the wood off the hills for fuel during WWII), and new farming plots made.  Then RT39 cut through everything (as the winding path was bothersome for cars), and the New Kita-Kanto Motorway cut through that a few years ago.  This sight is common throughout all of Japan. the newer roads do not make the old ones get upgraded. 

As the rice farmers realized that the land near the cities was worth more than the rice, they would spit a larger rice field segments into 8 housing plots and sell them off one by one[ https://goo.gl/maps/3ArQf <https://goo.gl/maps/3ArQf> ]. so suburban land is still a mix of houses and agriculture.

 The new modern trunk roads [ https://goo.gl/maps/Mm3XT <https://goo.gl/maps/Mm3XT> ] and motorways [ https://goo.gl/maps/iPMdG <https://goo.gl/maps/iPMdG> ] specifically choose to go through the rice fields (cheaper and easier). The raised tollways (on a dirt elevated mound) and train lines (slightly raised beds or viaduct trestles for the Shinkansen) have numerous tunnels and bridges and adjacent frontage roads to allow farmers to go under /over/around them to gain access to their residences or fields on the existing small roads that were cut by the new construction [ https://goo.gl/maps/cIDph <https://goo.gl/maps/cIDph> ]. These small roads that run along side of the sets of fields end up intersecting Primary and trunk roads at horrible, unsigned places with no traffic control [ https://goo.gl/maps/2NxFw <https://goo.gl/maps/2NxFw> ] (as no one except the local farmers go down them with cars), or end up being service roads for train lines or motorways that run by them [ https://goo.gl/maps/29wvD <https://goo.gl/maps/29wvD> ] .

it would not be useful to label all these as unclassified (though a lot are), nor is redefining more of the unclassified ones as tertiary useful - there already is a full spectrum of motorway=Tertiary roads out here. It’s just that the land is as subdivided as much as the city is, and using service road in it’s traditional city, “Narrow, local access for residents” works quite well to help describe this absolute spiderweb of roads in concert with residential, unclassified, tertiary and track. There are a ton of tracks too! But there is a good use for highway=service as well. Beyond documenting this, I would like to have a subkey to tag it, so it isn’t confused with driveways, Industrial factory roads, or other uses of highway=service (that I tag a lot of), so I proposed service=rural, though whatever it’s actual name is up for debate. 


> On Jul 13, 2015, at 10:53 AM, John Eldredge <john at jfeldredge.com> wrote:
> In Japan and Korea, do you tend to have isolated farmhouses, each on its own farm (the most common pattern in the USA), or do the farmers tend to settle in villages, from which they travel out to their farms (the traditional European format)?  Another pattern in the US, among small communities that have grown up since the invention of automobiles, is settlements strung out along a highway, several miles long, but one-dimensional, with farmland behind both rows of houses. These patterns make the residential-vs.-tertiary-vs.-service roads a bit ambiguous.
> -- 
> John F. Eldredge -- john at jfeldredge.com
> "Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that." -- Martin Luther King, Jr.
> On July 12, 2015 8:24:18 PM Andrew Errington <erringtona at gmail.com> wrote:
>> This is the same in Korea.  Tagging the roads based on their physical characteristics (such as roadsign type, and with or without centre lines) is an excellent way to avoid subjective judgements.  Roads that go somewhere, but have no painted line, are unclassified.  These roads we are talking about in Japan (and Korea) are not highway=unclassified, and they are definitely not tracks.
>> Andrew
>> On 13 July 2015 at 08:08, John Willis <johnw at mac.com <mailto:johnw at mac.com>> wrote:
>> > On Jul 12, 2015, at 10:34 PM, Martin Koppenhoefer <dieterdreist at gmail.com <mailto:dieterdreist at gmail.com>> wrote:
>> >
>> > Maybe you have to raise your current unclassified roads to tertiary to make room for these roads in question?
>> Japan tagging rules (on the wiki) states only roads with a painted center line can be tagged tertiary. Japan has a more rigid and administrative definitions for all roads tertiary and up.
>> PS : where are alleys in your statement? They are clearly under unclassified.
>> Javbw
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