[Tagging] Problems in the English wiki page Highway=footway

Andy Townsend ajt1047 at gmail.com
Mon Apr 19 11:15:20 UTC 2021

On 19/04/2021 11:09, Ture Pålsson via Tagging wrote:
>> 19 apr. 2021 kl. 11:47 skrev nathan case <nathancase at outlook.com>:
>>> foot=designated on highway=footway is redundant (compare with the statement in the side box "implies foot=designated"
>> Just to note that in England and Wales, foot=designated has a very specific meaning. It is used for public rights of way which have an explicit legal provision for access (higher than simply foot=yes). See https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Access_provisions_in_the_United_Kingdom#Public_Rights_of_Way
> But if highway=footway implies foot=designated (as the side box of the Wiki entry at https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Tag:highway%3Dfootway) currently states, then adding foot=designated is redundant by definition!
> At least one of the following statements must be wrong:
> 1. highway=footway implies foot=designated.
> 2. foot=designated is used in England and Wales to indicate a public right of way.
> 3. highway=footway can be used to map things in England and Wales which are not public rights of way.
> Which one is it?

I think that 
is at the very least misleading.

(as mentioned above it's not a UK-wide thing but instead applies to 
England and Wales)

It implies three tags on all "public footpaths".  Of those, 
"designation=public_footpath" I hope we can all agree on. 
suggests ~300k in England. 
is great to have if you know it; ~150k in England.

"foot=designated" was used to indicate "this is a public footpath" prior 
to be widespread adoption of "designation=public_footpath".  I can think 
of plenty of rights of way across the countryside that are designated 
"public footpath" where "foot=designated" would be at very least 
misleading.  For example, a farm track might have an ancient legal right 
of foot access over it, or similarly a path over open moorland.  
Arguably that fits the "by a law" part of "by a law or by the rules of 
traffic" on https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Tag:access%3Ddesignated 
, but if that's the case, what's the difference between foot=yes and 
foot-designated?  As https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Key:access 
makes clear, "Access values describe legal permissions/restrictions".

To directly address the points at the top:

 > 1. highway=footway implies foot=designated.

No.  Some highway=footway do not correspond to a legal right of access, 
and foot=yes (and by extension =designated) would be inappropriate 
there.  The access might be permissive, no, private, or something else.  
https://taginfo.geofabrik.de/europe/great-britain/england/keys/foot#values .

 > 2. foot=designated is used in England and Wales to indicate a public 
right of way.

There is some usage of this in England and Wales, but it's mostly 
historic.  I certainly don't rely on it for anything more than meaning 
suggests ~300k "yes" vs ~200k "designated".

 > 3. highway=footway can be used to map things in England and Wales 
which are not public rights of way.

Yes (permissive, no, private etc., as noted above)

Just to throw another complication into the mix, there are also places 
where there _is_ legal access on foot that don't correspond to one of 
the legally enshrined rights-of-way types "public footpath", "public 
bridleway", "restricted byway" or "byway open to all traffic".  The CRoW 
act https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Countryside_and_Rights_of_Way_Act_2000 
means that some areas legally allow foot access anywhere across them, 
and this obviously includes footpaths that cross them too, like for 
example https://www.openstreetmap.org/way/859817345 . Where things get 
tricky is that mapping the entire area of CRoW act land is difficult 
because there are usually few signposts around.  In that area there are 
some "access land" signs on the main road and around to the west, but 
not nearly enough to add the whole area.

However it does mean that it's really important to leave "foot=yes" (or 
=designated) on highway=footway etc. as that does convey extra 
information that isn't implicit in the "highway=footway" tag.  Recently 
some mappers have sort to "tidy up" these tags, not realising that they 
are removing useful information from OSM.

More about this at 
https://www.openstreetmap.org/user/SomeoneElse/diary/391053 .



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