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

am12 at bolis.com am12 at bolis.com
Tue Mar 4 20:02:05 GMT 2008

>> If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, we
>> should call it a duck.  If it is high-speed multi-lane restricted access
>> way with cloverleaf entrances, we should call it a motorway.
> What about other types of interchange, e.g. diamond, parclo, etc.[2]?

Good clarification.  I only meant this one as an example of something that
should be included as a motorway, regardless of its signage.  I did not
mean to say that other interchange types should be excluded.

> IMHO the only thing that qualifies a road as a motorway (in the US) is
> the big red and blue signage identifying it as part of the interstate
> highway system.

I have to disagree.  Once some years back the major freeway between San
Jose and Oakland was called California state highway 17.  The next day it
was Interstate 880.  What changed?  Nothing, except funding.

> If we tag things based on what it looks like (subjective) instead of
> what it *is* (objective), the map will be a big mess of different
> colors, without any consistency.

Maps are always a big mess of colors; the question is what do we want to
be consistent and objective about?  The construction and driveability of
the San Jose to Oakland freeway did not change.  Lane width, overpass
clearances, curve angles, and grade elevation are all objective
measurements.  What changed was its simplistic labeling by the
bureaucrats, which had everything to do with who signs the checks, not how
well it was designed, paved or connected.  That is subjectively
classifying a road.

For the every driver who had to use the road, it was a major freeway when
it was CA 17, and it is a major freeway as I-880.  In either case, IMHO it
should be classed in OSM as a motorway.  So should the other major
freeways which haven't yet been renamed to an Interstate and may never be,
but are built to the same standards and are used identically.

I have three Oregon state highways that intersect near here: OR 217, OR 8,
and OR 10.  One is a high-speed freeway and two are urban boulevards. 
Classing them all the same, because they are designated as state highways,
would be just plain silly for these particular roads.

> I think we need an 'official' one-to-one mapping of tags to real
> road-types.  Maybe we should arrange some sort of a vote or something?

It sounds like we aren't all agreeing as to what the real road types are,
so I emphatically agree that a vote is an excellent idea.  Great

- Alan

More information about the Talk-us mailing list