[Talk-us] highway=trunk for NHS routes?

Richard Fairhurst richard at systemed.net
Sat Dec 31 10:34:38 UTC 2016

voschix wrote:
> The answer is definitely NO.
> You can find detailed PDF maps of all NHS Routes, state-by-state at a 
> web page of the Federal Highway Administration [1]. On these maps 
> you will find plenty of NHS roads that are definitively not trunk roads.
> Just two examples in Arizona: [2] [3]

That's not too outlandish. The UK usage of highway=trunk, which historically
is the original usage (as Map Features was devised in the UK by Andy
Robinson and first applied in the UK), includes plenty of roads like that or
worse. There is no implication in the UK that highway=trunk means a dual
carriageway (divided highway), limited access, grade-separated junctions or
anything like that - it's just the network of the most important roads
between cities and towns, which are A roads signposted with green signs.
We're a small, dense and often hilly country, so these roads can sometimes
be narrow and winding.

Since then other countries have adopted their own local definitions, which
often include minimum infrastructure requirements. That's absolutely fine,
and that's their right, but it's also fine for the US to adopt a definition
which might be closer to (say) the original UK one than to the German one.
Albert's suggestion of equating it to the National Highway System would be
very close to the UK definition.

(FWIW, the current distinction between highway=trunk and highway=primary in
the US seems so arbitrary that I actually render them both the same for


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