[Talk-us] Naming numbered roads as "State Route X", "Interstate X", etc.

Peter Dobratz peter at dobratz.us
Sat Sep 1 17:00:59 UTC 2018

On Sat, Sep 1, 2018 at 5:28 AM Greg Troxel <gdt at lexort.com> wrote:

>   From: Albert Pundt <roadsguy99 at gmail.com>
>   Subject: [Talk-us] Naming numbered roads as "State Route X", "Interstate
> X", etc.
>   To: "talk-us at openstreetmap.org Openstreetmap" <talk-us at openstreetmap.org
> >
>   Date: Fri, 31 Aug 2018 22:06:50 -0400 (10 hours, 17 minutes, 15 seconds
> ago)
>   Attachment: [3. text/html]...
>   I notice the user SSR_317 has been adding the route numbers of unnamed
>   roads to the name=* tag of roads around Indianapolis. For example,
>   name=Interstate
>   465, name=US 31, name=State Route 37, etc. Isn't this practice frowned
> upon
>   as being redundant and not reflecting the lack of a proper name to the
>   road? This seems to be the case around the country. All route numbers
> were
>   listed in alternate names of the roads in the original TIGER data, but
> the
>   vast majority of these have been removed in favor of route relations and
>   ref=* tags.
>   I removed these name tags from the affected roads, but the user has since
>   re-added them.
> Seconded or thirded: a route number is not an actual name and does not
> belong in the name tag, or even alt_name.
> This has come up (in discussion, not actual edits as far as I know)
> because there are some roads in Massachusetts that have actual names and
> route numbers (example: name="Grand Army of the Republic Highway"
> ref="US 6"), but for reasons unknown there are street addresses like
> "3570 Route 6".  Even though there is zero evidence that "Route 6" is is
> any way a street name.   As far as I know this is limited to on the
> order of a half dozen roads, 1 US highway and about 5 state highways,
> mainly in the southeast and cape.
> So beyond agreeing that sticking things in name (presumably on the
> notion that everything should have a name, even though that notion is
> confused as the real world does not have that property), I wanted to
> point out that just because a building near a road has an *address* with
> a name, doesn't mean that the road itself has that name.

As a counterpoint to this, consider that street names in OSM include
directional prefix, base name, suffix, and directional suffix.  The post
office breaks down the standard components of delivery address line here:


In this example of "101 W Main St S Apt 12" we would represent this address
OSM in the following tags on the POI Node or Area:
addr:street=West Main Street South

On the nearby Way for the street, there would be a "name=West Main Street
South" tag.

Values in addr:street do need to include numbered routes when the numbered
route is part of the actual address.  The post office shows some examples
of various variations on standard names for numbered routes here:


To cite a specific example of how we might map something, consider the town
of Waldport, Oregon.


As you can see, there is a US Route 101 running north-south through town.
Roads north of Northwest Hemlock Street include Northwest as part of their
names and roads south of Northwest Hemlock Street include Southwest as part
of their name.  US Route 101 is currently mapped in OSM with
"name=Northwest Highway 101" for the portions north of Northwest Hemlock
Street and "name="Southwest Highway 101" for the portions south of
Northwest Hemlock Street.  If we drop the name tag from this road in OSM,
then we lose the Northwest and Southwest directional prefix.  I think we
should retain the name tags on roads like this.

Here is an examples of a POI along this route:

Grand Central Pizza
245 SW Hwy 101
Waldport, OR 97394

USPS standard format of the address:
245 SW HIGHWAY 101
WALDPORT, OR 97394-3036

addr:street=Southwest Highway 101

I believe this is correct in OSM.  The value in addr:street matches the
name tag on the nearby road.  The fact that the road is a member of the
route 101 route relation and ref=US 101 tag on the Way does not capture the
directional prefix on portions of the road.

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