[Talk-GB] Quiet lanes and "one car per minute"

Richard Fairhurst richard at systemeD.net
Thu Jan 20 12:48:16 GMT 2011

Hi all,

Sending this to talk-gb@ first (rather than tagging@ or talk@) as I'm  
just floating an idea...

I've long wanted to get motor traffic levels on rural roads into OSM.  
Traffic levels make a huge difference to the enjoyability of rural  
cycling, and would enable really fun rendering and routing  
possibilities. OpenCycleMap could highlight quiet minor lanes even if  
they weren't in the NCN. CycleStreets could prefer them. I could do a  
lovely cycle touring map in the style of the old quarter-inch OS maps.  
And so on.

Traffic levels are, also, a real pain in the saddle to record.

OSM's iterative; always has been. We start as a broad-brush survey and  
get more detailed as time goes on. So it doesn't matter if we don't  
get detailed hour-by-hour traffic averages to begin with - it'll get  
better once people are used to recording it. But how to do that?

Looking at some Sustrans and Countryside Agency design documents, it  
turns out that they share a criterion for quiet lanes: 1000 vehicles  
per day. Let's say (remember, we're talking really broad-brush here)  
that traffic is reasonably even between 6am and 10pm, i.e. 16 hours,  
and absent at other times. That's 1000/16=62.5 vehicles per hour.

One car per minute.

So, how about it? Find a country lane. If you're standing there at a  
typical time of day, and there's less than one car per minute, that's  
a quiet lane. Tag it traffic=quiet, or if you'd like to be precise,  
traffic:hourly=<60 (or whatever). Really simple.

We could do great things with this. As time went on, no doubt people  
would get into surveying it with more and more detail. Comments welcome!


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