[Talk-us] access=destination vs access=private

PJ Houser stephanie.jean.houser at gmail.com
Sat Sep 10 00:36:21 BST 2011

Hi all,

I have a question regarding access=private vs access=destination. In the
Portland area, we have some apartment complex roadways that have been tagged
as access=private. Paul makes the point that routers should be able to route
on access=private as a last resort. However, in my opinion, there is a
problem with adding access=private - most routers will not permit anyone to
use those streets. In OpenTripPlanner's case (http://opentripplanner.com/),
if it is given a starting destination within an apartment complex tagged
with access=private, the router will try to snap that location to the
nearest permitted road, which in some cases, may be an irrelevant or
disconnected road to the origin. Paul suggests this might be a flaw in the
code and maybe he is right.

Do you think it makes more sense to tag the apartment complexes as
access=destination or access=private? The complexes are not usually private.
I can drive into them without a key card (usually); I shouldn't be using
them as a through street, but they are permitted for use if my destination
is on that complex street. For OpenTripPlanner, access=destination is
permitted. Should we permit routing on access=private or change the tags?

OpenTripPlanner tries to base its implementation off of OSM documentation,
but I could see how apartment complex parking lots is a cross between a
private driveway and a customer parking lot.

>From the key:access wiki page (http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Access)

> destination: Only when traveling to this element, e.g. *customer parking
> lots. *
> private: Only with permission of the owner on an individual basis ]

>From the access=private wiki page (

> The access=private tag is generally used in combination with the road
> network tags, with the purpose of indicating that the road is not to be used
> by the general public.
> Usually used for Private driveways (in the city) and country lane ways,
> where the road just leads to a private home. *Routing programs would be
> able to detect this tag, and knows to avoid these roads when routing. *
Could y'all give some input so as to help us make an informed decision?
PJ Houser
GIS intern
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