[Tagging] highway=service major type sub-classification - mini vote

John Willis johnw at mac.com
Fri May 6 12:59:07 UTC 2016

> On Apr 18, 2016, at 2:39 AM, Martin Koppenhoefer <dieterdreist at gmail.com> wrote:
> in Italy there are many alleys in historical village and urban centers, sometimes they are footways (legally) but often they are just narrow streets, so narrow that a car often won't pass, but a motorcycle can take it. I bet this situation is not so rare in other countries with a significant amount of 2-wheeled traffic and old urban structures (and not so much regulation).

In Japan (and other Asian countries) the rural farming land has been heavily divided, almost as heavily as urban plots  in US cities. As farms mechanized (but are still small, private owners), farmers increasingly used "Kei trucks" - very small narrow trucks that can fit through the narrowest of openings, as they are about 130 (?) cm wide. They dominate farming life and rural roads now. This has led to the creation of many rural "alley" roads that are paved (or concrete) and maintained, often public routable roads, but are a) purposefully narrow enough to make normal routing of traffic impossibly dangerous - a large sedan would force a walker or bicyclist off the road into the knee deep mud or into bamboo,  b) provide inconvenient/valueless access, though their length is much greater than a driveway (similar to an alley in urban settings) - as they route long circuitous routes branching from more direct roads, and c) are a step above farming gravel/mud/grass tracks that are actually used to access groups/individual fields. 

Since they are "routable public roads" - major map makers show these on par with residential or unclassified roads - which leads to routing disasters. Trying to follow google's routing advice has taken me down side-mirror scraping and panic inducing narrow roads in order to save 200m of driving distance because farming tucks are able to squeeze through the opening. 

Having highway=service be used for roads that are impracticality narrow, but not a normal "alley" removes them from being considered for routing and for display at lower zoom levels - but still shows them as roads that can and should be used for local access and for pedestrian/cycling access - choosing a route to avoid a narrow primary road while also avoiding a muddy access track or a maze of overloaded residential roads is a big bonus. 

Width and access and barrier are still needed to deny access to cars or access restrictions for vehicle types, but removing them from routing consideration and and rendering them to show their stature is a big plus. 

I hope that highway=service can find new uses by slightly expanding the idea of "alley" - and the "main" subtag is also highly useful - as even a large shopping mall (let alone a major theme park or airport) will have large designated collector "service" roads. 


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