[Talk-GB] Should highway=byway be deprecated?

Robert Whittaker (OSM) robert.whittaker+osm at gmail.com
Wed Aug 22 15:33:08 BST 2012

On 22 August 2012 14:21, SomeoneElse <lists at mail.atownsend.org.uk> wrote:
> There are two issues here.  One is whether "highway=byway" actually helps
> describe what sort of highway it is.  I'd argue that it doesn't, and that
> "highway=service/track/something else as appropriate" + some descriptive
> tags would be better, along with "designation=byway_open_to_all_traffic".


> The other is whether it makes sense to map something that's labelled "byway"
> as " "designation=byway_open_to_all_traffic" or "designation=byway".  I've
> never yet found* something labelled "byway" that isn't actually a BOAT, so I
> haven't complained when people have come along and tried to standardise
> "designation=byway" to "designation=byway_open_to_all_traffic".

"Restricted Byways" (RBs) are a fairly recent invention, as a
replacement for many former "Road Used as a Public Path" routes.
Previously the only official byway was a "Byway Open to All Traffic"

Prior to the introduction of RBs, a simple sign of "Byway" wouldn't
have been unambiguous. Once the new type of byway was created, Local
Authorities will have had to be more careful with their signage.
Because of this, I would guess that any true "Restricted Byways" that
have had new signs put up would be signed as a "Restricted Byway", and
any that haven't would still be signed as a "Road Used as a Public
Path". Thus anything that is signed with just "Byway" can safely be
taken as a BOAT.

As an aside, note that it is not uncommon for a "Byway Open to All
Traffic" to be subject to a Traffic Regulation Order banning motor
vehicles during all or part of the year. The signs you'll typically
see in this case is a "Byway" fingerpost, and a "No Motor Vehicles"
traffic sign (a white circle with a red border, and a car and
motorcycle inside). While this downgrades the access rights to those
of a "Restricted Byway", it doesn't alter the fact that the route is
technically still a "Byway Open to All Traffic". In this case, I would
suggest tagging with designation=byway_open_to_all_traffic (since
that's what it is), adding appropriate access tags (eg
motor_vehicle=no) to give the access rights, and adding a note tag (eg
note=BOAT subject to Traffic Regulation Order) to explain the

If cases arise where the mapper isn't sure what sort of byway a route
is, then I'd recommend designation=unknown_byway as a place-holder
tag, until the correct designation is determined.


Robert Whittaker

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