[Tagging] Feature Proposal - RFC - Pedestrian lane

Markus selfishseahorse at gmail.com
Mon Nov 11 22:00:58 UTC 2019

Hi Nick,

Please excuse my late reply. :(

On Wed, 6 Nov 2019 at 00:53, Nick Bolten <nbolten at gmail.com> wrote:
> ## Similarities to shoulders and an opportunity to figure out how to tag them.
> Would it be fair to say that the only differences between this feature and a shoulder are (A) it has paint designating where pedestrians should go and (B) it has some right-of-way implications? Because it's often the only pedestrian option in rural areas near me, I'd appreciate having a way to tag shoulders and then enhancing them with a subtag. e.g., something like shoulder=left/right/both + shoulder:right=pedestrian_lane.

Another difference is the width: in Switzerland, pedestrian lanes are
about 1.5 m wide and shoulders about 4.5 m. But in my opinion their
different purpose is reason enough to use different tags. Besides,
cycle lanes already have a separate tag. (Even though cyclists are
also allowed to use shoulders in the USA afaik.) And finally,
shoulder:right=pedestrian_lane doesn't make much sense semantically.

> ## Challenges of mapping pedestrian paths as street attributes
> As proposed, this tag would apply to streets. I understand the appeal - it's a minimal change from current maps and the feature is basically just paint on a street - but I think there are also some potential risks to describing the pedestrian path this way that would be valuable to discuss. Examples:
> (1) Intersections, particularly ones with marked crossings. sidewalk=left/right/no/both has difficulties with this as well. Put yourself in the shoes of someone trying to analyze the paths a pedestrian could take using this tag to determine that there is a path using pedestrian lanes and a crosswalk. There is a street way (way 1) with pedestrian_lane=right that continues through an intersection. There is a crosswalk tagged as highway=crossing, crossing=uncontrolled on another way that shares a node with another street way (way 2). How do you proceed and associate these path data so that you can reliably say that a pedestrian path exists that uses that crosswalk? I believe it will require some fairly nerdy graph analysis I think it could be a significant hurdle for using this data.

You mean a situation like this?:


I add a sidewalk=both tag to the road section up to the crosswalk,
then sidewalk=no to the rest of the road that doesn't have a sidewalk.
This may look a bit strange in this example, but usually the sidewalks
are more curved at crossroads, like for example here:


(The "Stadt Bern 10cm/25cm (2012)" imagery has the highest resolution
at this place.)

I suggest the same mapping for pedestrian lanes.

> (2) Transitions to other pedestrian paths, such as sidewalks. Pedestrian lanes are sometimes used as a means to have a "temporary" sidewalk-like feature, pending some future construction of actual sidewalks. There will be sidewalks that are half-built, then transition into a pedestrian lane. How do we tag that situation, given a separately-mapped sidewalk?

I would simply connect the sidewalk way with the road where the
sidewalk ends (and map a barrier=kerb + kerb=* node) and add
pedestrian_lane=* to the road starting from where the pedestrian lane

> With the above issues in mind, what would you think about allowing highway=footway, footway=pedestrian_lane as a possibly redundant tagging option?

Consider this example:


There is a pedestrian lane along the the south-eastern part of the
road Reichenbachstrasse. On the opposite side there are public steps
as well as many (currently unmapped) driveways and private footpaths.
Mapping the pedestrian lane as a separate way would either make it
disconnected from the steps, driveways and footpaths on the opposite
side of the road or you would need to add many highway=footway
connections from the pedestrian lane to the steps, driveways and
footpaths, which would make the map very confusing.

Therefore i strongly advise against mapping pedestrian lanes as separate ways.

By the way, the same problem occurs with sidewalks mapped as separate ways.

> ## Usefulness / data consumption
> Knowing where pedestrian lanes are would be very useful, in my opinion, but the devil is always in the details. Do you have any examples of how this data could be consumed downstream? Not saying there always has to be a data consumer, but the exercise could reveal advantages between different approaches.

I'm not a programmer and therefore don't have concrete plans to use
this data, but i imagine (and hope) that pedestrian routers could use
this data to prioritise roads with pedestrian lanes and to tell blind
people on which side of the road they should walk.

> ## Other sources
> A potentially helpful resource during these international comparisons: https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/environment/bicycle_pedestrian/publications/small_towns/page05.cfm. The FHWA defines standards in the United States.

Thanks. The content of this page seems to be identical to this PDF
document by the FHWA i mentioned in some of my earlier messages:


Best regards


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