[Tagging] Formally informal sidewalks

Svavar Kjarrval svavar at kjarrval.is
Thu Jul 13 13:28:22 UTC 2017


A few months ago the local public transport authority started utilising
OSM data to offer a service where people can type in two addresses and
receive an interactive map with suggested bus routes, including the path
between the addresses and the suggested bus stops. The estimated walking
distance, based on the path to and from the bus stops, are used in the

However, there are some issues regarding tagging I have yet to resolve
and would like your advice:

1. Sometimes streets don't have formal sidewalks (no markings on the
street nor signs) but there is an "common sense expectation" that
pedestrians are allowed to traverse on the edge of that street, and also
cross it anywhere using caution. The maximum speed is considered low
enough, but they are not technically living streets. This can cause
problems for routing software since it generally doesn't have a basis to
assume this behaviour is alright.

2. Same as #1, but there can be sidewalks along the street and no
crossings, including unmarked ones. People are expected to cross the
street wherever they need, using caution. This can cause some long
walking routes if the two addresses are directly opposite each other on
such a street, when the "common sense" approach would be to "just go
across the street".

3. Same type of street as #2, except the sidewalk just stops a few
meters before the street ends. There are no clear markings on location
but there's the unwritten expectation that they are supposed to continue
on the street. This is common when there's a small cul-de-sac space at
the end of a residential street in which they don't widen the street at
the end to allow cars to turn around, but instead they let the sidewalks
end prematurely.

I do agree that we shouldn't tag purely for the router so I'm not
suggesting that. What I am considering is if there are already commonly
accepted OSM solutions already available to tackle these issues. Or,
alternatively, tags or other methods which would aid routers in making
such decisions and also conform with the OSM tagging norms at the same time.

With regards,
Svavar Kjarrval

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