[Tagging] new access value

Richard Fairhurst richard at systemed.net
Fri Oct 9 11:39:44 UTC 2015

Friedrich Volkmann wrote:
> I don't care how many countries are affected. It's a distinctive meaning, 
> so it deserves a distinctive tag. I get really angry whenever people 
> write "I oppose that tag because I don't need it in my country." 


However, localised meaning does not always have to be parsed into universal

Here in the UK we have very specific access legislation for paths. On a
bridleway, for example, cycling is permitted, but cycle racing is forbidden,
and cannot be authorised (whereas it can be authorised on other rights of
way). Then we have "restricted byways". And "byways open to all traffic".
And "unclassified county roads". And so on.

It's madly complex. It would be inappropriate to ask the rest of the world
to accept special tag values just for this specific use, but on the other
hand, it's not realistic for UK mappers to break this down into 30 'atomic'
tags per path. (Especially because the permissions for each path type do
occasionally get redefined, as per

So we use the standard OSM broad-brush duck tagging (highway=track,
highway=footway, highway=cycleway etc.) and add a UK-specific value to
record the legal status of the path (designation=public_bridleway,
designation=restricted_byway, designation=byway_open_to_all_traffic etc.).
That way, it's easy to map, easy to parse in outline, possible to parse in
detail, and doesn't impose a burden on the 95% of non-UK mappers or the 99%
of data consumers who don't care. It's the same approach as the
'motorroad=yes' tag used by German mappers.

I would encourage you to follow this approach, rather than trying to
overload the solution for a localised problem onto a universal tag.


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