[Tagging] Proposed rewrite Of highway=track wiki page

Bert -Araali- Van Opstal bert.araali.afritastic at gmail.com
Mon Mar 8 17:39:12 UTC 2021

Every road is a track, every modification of a natural environment by 
living creatures to move from one place to another is a track.
So start your mental journey with highway=track.

Now you identified a track. First question: Can I add a social or 
economic importance to it (for humans but might as well work for animals).
If yes, find a suitable socio-economic tag, you end up with 
highway=trunk(= all strategic tracks), primary(strategic bt not crossing 
international borders), secondary (=collector), tertiary(=feeder), 
residential (=local, any local importance, can be industrial) ,service 
or unclassified if you do mean it has a socio-economic importance but 
you couldn't determine which specifically or a single key, then 
highway=unclassified (room for considering combining multiple values).
You can't or don't want to add a socio-economic importance, you remain 
with highway=track.

Can I use a tag to specify if it is modified by humans to improve the 
throughput of the road. (by access restrictions, physical modifications 
like solting it from crossing roads, making it wider or narrower).  If 
yes, use highway=motorway, path. Possible additional tags like express 
can be used.
Ask yourself the same question if you used one of the socio-economic 
keys, so any highway from the above socio-economic classes can be a 
motorway or a path. (also room for improvement, our current tagging 
guidelines don't allow multiple values in the highway key), but as far 
as I am concerned might be highway=primary;motorway or might as well be 
Possible additional values: alley etc...
No clear answer ? You still are with highway=track.

You remain with highway=track.

Missing in OSM: highway top level values to indicate how it is managed, 
however these should not be on the top level, because the tracks from 
the above can be managed by humans, taking in consideration values for 
names given worldwide.
So we need a subkey for the highway tagging to describe it's management, 
often reflected in specific names.
This could be highway:name_managed=highway, interstate, freeway, 
motorway, trunk, bypass, ringway... with additional tags for the 
operator=* and or translation so it can be understood worldwide: f.i. 
highway:name_managed:nl= snelweg, express weg, ringweg ... or 
highway:name_managed:de= Autobahn or highway:name_managed:fr= 
route_nationale, autoroute ... or highway:name_managed:hi=हाईवे... or 
highway:name_managed:zh-hant= 高速公路... or 
highway:name_managed:ru=автомагистраль... ) etc...? Add an admin_level.

Finally, ask yourself if you would like to add tagging to describe 
physical restrictions or improvements that support one of the above 
classifications, like paved/unpaved or specific surface, smoothness, 
seasonal or weather condition aspects ?
But it remains a highway=track or one of the highway=* tags above.  This 
doesn't change the top-level highway key.

In the end it remains a track, like all roads do, like all highway=* do. 
You remain with highway=track through the elimination process described 
Works everywhere, globally, in every language, simple and shows how the 
mess is actually not a mess if we all think in the same way.... which we 
do, we are all living beings.


Bert Araali

On 08/03/2021 19:09, Kevin Broderick wrote:
> I think it's worth noting that, at least as currently tagged, there 
> are more than a few tracks in rural portions of the U.S. that, while 
> not maintained for travel by sedan, are more a part of the road 
> network than the dead-end agricultural/forestry access roads that have 
> been discussed thus far.
> In New England, a lot of them are old parts of the road network that 
> are not maintained to an auto-friendly level (if at all), yet may 
> remain travelable and in some cases are still public right-of-ways. 
> E.g. https://www.openstreetmap.org/way/19723462 
> <https://www.openstreetmap.org/way/19723462> — if you're on foot and 
> wearing muck boots, it's probably quicker to walk the track than to 
> follow the residential road out to the state highway and go all the 
> way around to the other side. Or 
> https://www.openstreetmap.org/way/19724346 
> <https://www.openstreetmap.org/way/19724346>, similar story, although 
> it's actually parallel to a well-maintained state highway. Both are 
> public right-of-ways, but neither is maintained at a level that is 
> going to make taking your rental car through a particularly great idea.
> https://www.openstreetmap.org/way/288861133 
> <https://www.openstreetmap.org/way/288861133> is another good example; 
> it's decidedly a shorter route (in distance, not time) between 
> Waitsfield Common and Northfield than any of the modern roads, but it 
> is no longer maintained for automotive traffic nor a public right of 
> way. I'm pretty sure that, historically, it was a higher-level member 
> of the road network.
> Out west, a couple of examples where tracks are decidedly part of the 
> road network, but don't easily fit into other classifications:
> https://www.openstreetmap.org/way/5424246 
> <https://www.openstreetmap.org/way/5424246> — largely a recreational 
> route for public-land access via ATV and 4x4 (or dirt bike), but a 
> through route nonetheless.
> https://www.openstreetmap.org/way/5425643 
> <https://www.openstreetmap.org/way/5425643> — roughly parallel to a 
> state highway, not particularly well-maintained (IIRC, this section 
> isn't sedan-friendly) but provides access to public (USFS) land as 
> well as some remote residential structures (possibly seasonal, not 
> 100% sure if that particular segment is plowed in winter or not, but I 
> don't think it is)
> The second (5425643 / Meeteetsee Trail) could arguably be a 
> residential road, but that doesn't seem to be its primary function in 
> the road network, plus the physical characteristics of a residential 
> road generally allow for UPS deliveries and such, which I don't think 
> happen there (I believe you *could* get a box van across it in the 
> summer, as long as it hadn't rained recently, but it wouldn't be quick).
> I'm not sure what the best answer is, but I thought that having some 
> more corner-case examples to look at might inform the discussion.
> On Mon, Mar 8, 2021 at 9:49 AM Zeke Farwell <ezekielf at gmail.com 
> <mailto:ezekielf at gmail.com>> wrote:
>     Interesting.  I am familiar with wide logging roads like the one
>     shown here:
>     https://puszcza-bialowieska.blogspot.com/2013/06/droga-browska-jak-autostrada.html
>     <https://puszcza-bialowieska.blogspot.com/2013/06/droga-browska-jak-autostrada.html>
>     I would not expect it to be tagged as 'track' though. I would
>     expect 'unclassified' because the wide logging roads I'm thinking
>     of connect from the general road network to the narrower logging
>     roads that I would expect to be tagged as 'track'.  In my mind the
>     classification 'track' is a combination of function/purpose and
>     physical characteristics.  A driveway to a house may match the
>     physical description by looking like this tracktype grade3 example
>     (https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/File:Tracktype_grade3.jpg
>     <https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/File:Tracktype_grade3.jpg>),
>     but it does not match the functional description because it
>     provides access to a full time residence.  A wide logging road
>     matches the functional description by being primarily for logging,
>     but does not meet the physical description because it is wide
>     enough for two large vehicles to pass.  Perhaps my mental model is
>     too narrow though.  I will be interested to here more feedback on
>     the subject.
>     On Mon, Mar 8, 2021 at 9:18 AM Mateusz Konieczny via Tagging
>     <tagging at openstreetmap.org <mailto:tagging at openstreetmap.org>> wrote:
>         Mar 8, 2021, 15:00 by dieterdreist at gmail.com
>         <mailto:dieterdreist at gmail.com>:
>             Am Mo., 8. März 2021 um 14:47 Uhr schrieb Mateusz
>             Konieczny via Tagging <tagging at openstreetmap.org
>             <mailto:tagging at openstreetmap.org>>:
>                 In this specific case it was clearly highway=track as
>                 it was
>                 - used by vehicles solely and only for logging forest
>                 (and by tourists as annoying connecting segment)
>             not accurate according to your description below (access
>             to sawmill)
>         It was not between general road network and sawmill, it was
>         between forest and sawmill, branching later into smaller and
>         more standard highway=track
>         that branched into even smaller ones and terminated in a forest.
>         And to clarify tourists parts - they were on foot, maybe some
>         using bicycles.
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> -- 
> Kevin Broderick
> ktb at kevinbroderick.com <mailto:ktb at kevinbroderick.com>
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