[Tagging] RFC: service=? for all highway=service (service=parking needed, primarily, I think)

Tobias Zwick osm at westnordost.de
Tue Aug 4 17:28:55 UTC 2020

Two more types came to my mind:

1. Courtyard area (Дворовая территория)

Another type of service road that is currently probably not tagged with
any subtag came to my mind right now: Something like a multi-use
courtyard area bounded by buildings around the perimeter with
playgrounds, recreation and green spaces, driveways etc. It may
additionally be tagged with living_street=yes.

I recently read up on the default speed limits (if no sign is posted) of
the Russian road regulations. It mentioned "20 km/h in courtyard areas"
(Дворовая территория). I asked about what can be understood by that in
the Russian forum:

I have no clear picture of it, maybe someone from Russia can post an
example Google StreetView picture or something.
But if the description given in the Russian forum fits, then these
service roads would be neither alley, nor driveway, nor parking.

2. Medieval alleys (Gasse) / South-East-Asian very-small residentials

Usually and/or in English, service=alley is defined as a road that
provides access to the rear or back of a building or home, alternatively
as a narrow road between properties.

However, (at least) in the German Wiki, it is also documented as a "very
small medieval (residential) road, often broad enough for a car but no
space for sidewalks or parking", see the pictures in

Whether the wiki entry there is in the wrong or not is quite irrelevant
at this point because it has been documented like that a long time, so
many such roads will be tagged like that and we are dealing with a
status quo.

When looking at the map internationally, one can see that oftentimes for
very small residential roads, the highway=service tag is used (sometimes
with service=alley, sometimes not), sometimes highway=living_street
(even though it is documented that living street should only be used if
it is explicitly signed) and sometimes highway=residential.

Example of such a very small residential in Thailand:
https://goo.gl/maps/aSNb38BNiqDJ3t8Q7 where one can't be sure whether it
is tagged as highway=service, highway=living_street or highway=residential.

Which tag is used and which tag should be used is somewhat subject to
continued disagreement amongst mappers, I consider it an open problem.

So if we are about to define the subtags for highway=service through and
through, then we come to the point where we'd need to decide if this is
a legitimate usage of the highway=service tag and if not, what should be
used instead.


On 02/08/2020 02:40, David Dean wrote:
> Hi everyone,
> I'm interested in proposing and/or documenting existing tagging
> approaches of the wiki to ensure that all highway=service ways can have
> a service=? associated tag. Having done, so I'm planning on
> resurrecting https://github.com/westnordost/StreetComplete/issues/808 to
> help people get all service roads appropriately tagged in their area.
> At the moment, service=? can be (according to the wiki
> at https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Key:service):
> * service=parking_aisle
> * service=driveway
> * service=alley
> * service=emergency_access
> * service=drive-through
> But service roads are also used for the 'main ways on a parking lot',
> and there is also an indication of access to multiple businesses (like
> in an industrial estate etc), and it looks like the documented way is to
> not to provide a service=? tag in this case.
> This seems problematic to me from a map maintenance purpose, as how do
> we know if a highway=service just hasn't had a service=? tag applied
> yet, or if it is one of the exceptions that does not get a service=? tag
> (and which one is it?)
> I would like to try to understand the highway=service usages that don't
> have a current documented service=? tag and either propose an
> appropriate tag or find examples of existing tagging to document.
> At this stage I think appropriate tagging for some of the missing
> service=? tagging indicated in the documentation would be:
>     service=parking -> main way in a parking lot, for connecting
>     service=parking_isles (used almost 2K times
>     already: https://taginfo.openstreetmap.org/keys/service#values)
>     service=driveway -> also used for access to multiple businesses
>     (like in an industrial estate, etc)
>     service=driveway/drive-through -> Service way for access to a fuel
>     station
> Are there any other main understood uses of no service=? tag that would
> need an appropriate service=? tag to fill this gap?
> Once I've got some good starting feedback from this forum, I plan on
> revising https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Proposed_features/service%3Dparking to
> include any new appropriate service=? (not just service=parking) tagging
> and start the formal RFC process.
> Thanks for your feedback, everyone.
> - David
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