[Tagging] Highway=rest_area on bicycle or foot routes ?

Matthew Woehlke mwoehlke.floss at gmail.com
Tue Jan 5 15:12:19 UTC 2021

On 05/01/2021 09.04, Paul Allen wrote:
> On Tue, 5 Jan 2021 at 05:04, Stefan Tauner <stefan.tauner at gmx.at> wrote:
> I have the feeling people discuss their own experiences with US/western
>> motorway restaurants and service areas where truckers often have a
>> dedicated parking space to sleep rather than rest areas as they are
>> documented in the wiki.
> I think that is what has happened.  Especially as we have a tag
> for service areas (known as "rest areas" in the US).  We have a
> cultural/language problem in that USAians wanted to map their
> service areas, which they know as rest areas, and found a tag
> for rest areas.
>> Maybe I am confused but I think everybody else is! :D
> Not everybody else.  I agree with your interpretation.  We can
> be confused together.
> Of course, even if everyone else becomes as confused as
> we are, that leads us to a lot of mistagged service areas
> in the US.  Or we decide that rest area tagging outside
> the US has to be replaced with a new tag to mean "just
> a place for resting without services and probably no toilet."
> Either way, a lot of re-tagging.

In the US, a "rest area" is a parking area set off of a freeway where 
you can stop to... rest. Rest areas often, but *NOT ALWAYS*, have 
associated services such as toilets, vending, and sometimes tourist 
information. (Yes, I have definitely seen "no services" rest areas, 
although I think even these may have picnic tables and maybe trash 
bins.) To make things even more confusing, ones with restaurants and gas 
stations may be called "service areas", or anyway something with 
"service" in the name.

IIRC, the sat-nav in my previous vehicle referred to all of these as 
"rest areas", but it also knew what services were available, which would 
suggest using subtags for said purpose. OTOH, I think it's also 
perfectly reasonable to insist that a rest area with at least toilets 
should be tagged as a "service area" instead. OTGH, I'd also say it's 
reasonably to tag any place where long-term stopping is permitted as a 
"rest area", *regardless* of available services, and reserve "service 
area" for somewhere that does *not* permit long-term stopping.

The cold reality is that "rest area" and "service area" denote two 
different things that frequently coexist.

FWIW, service areas that include fuel and/or restaurants are almost 
necessarily large enough that said amenities ought to be individually 


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