[Talk-us] "highway" tags in the US

Alex Mauer hawke at hawkesnest.net
Tue Mar 4 06:09:42 GMT 2008

Karl Newman wrote:
> Agreed. The criteria listed on the Wiki page promote too many highways
> to "motorways". It's too hard to distinguish between them; in dense
> urban areas you could end up with a lot of "motorways". It seems to me
> the "motorway" tag should be reserved for interstates, with some
> exceptions for major US highways. You left out "tertiary" from your
> descriptions. I would see "tertiary" as an important thoroughfare road
> through a town--higher speeds and less traffic controls than
> "unclassified". How about these guidelines, based on speed limits and
> lanes:
>     * motorway: Interstate, 2+ travel lanes, ramp access only, speed
>       limit 65 MPH+
>     * trunk: US highway, 2+ travel lanes, ramp access only, speed limit
>       60-70 MPH
>     * primary: US highway, 1-2 travel lanes, or State highway, 2 travel
>       lanes, speed limit 55-65 MPH, can have occasional
>       stoplights/traffic controls
>     * secondary: State highway, 1-2 travel lanes, or larger county
>       highway, speed limit 45-55 MPH
>     * tertiary: County highway, other unnumbered thoroughfare, speed
>       limit 40-50 MPH
>     * unclassified: urban commercial district or rural low-density
>       housing, normally no direct driveway access to housing in urban or
>       suburban areas, speed limit 30-40 MPH
>     * missing_tag: It seems like there needs to be another
>       classification for residential branch roads which are main roads
>       through subdivisions but still have direct driveway access to
>       housing.
>     * residential: urban or suburban roads primarily for providing
>       access to housing, speed limit 15-25 MPH

I agree, with the modification that trunk doesn't need to be ramp access 
only, and that county highways are secondary.

I've used tertiary for the missing_tag you describe, as this seems to be 
in line with the European tertiary roads.  (these comments are also on 
the wiki, I believe.

-Alex Mauer "hawke"

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