[OSM-talk] A new highway tagging scheme - thinking about tagging highways for cycling and walking as well

Peter Miller peter.miller at itoworld.com
Mon Aug 27 21:24:13 BST 2007

Comments in line

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Martijn van Oosterhout [mailto:kleptog at gmail.com]
> Sent: 27 August 2007 10:01
> To: Peter Miller
> Cc: talk at openstreetmap.org
> Subject: Re: [OSM-talk] A new highway tagging scheme - thinking about
> tagging highways for cycling and walking as well
> On 8/27/07, Peter Miller <peter.miller at itoworld.com> wrote:
> > I suspect that we are going to tease out national differences in road
> > classification and that our model should be able to accommodate this
> > differences. We also need to agree a way of classifying Ways for
> different
> > sorts of users.
> I disagree. There are too many countries to produce a model that
> covers them all. I think the model should be very abstract, being
> nothing more that motorway > trunk > primary etc, and within a country
> the mapping is better defined. Anything else is going to get stuck is
> useless detail.
> Just like people are looking into rendering maps differently depending
> on the country, so does the exact meaning of "motorway" differ between
> countries. Let each country work it out itself.

I think we are in agreement here. All I was saying was that the tags had a
ranking, in that for the car driver a motorway was likely to be faster than
a trunk etc. Individual countries can produce guidelines on how to map their
individual road types onto a linear scale of quality for a car driver since
it might be useful for mappers, renderers and routers to know that a Freeway
and a Motorway and an Autobahn were all the 'best' roads.

> > Note however that as a cyclist or as a walker the classification is
> > completely different. How about keeping the 'highway' tag for
> classification
> > of drivable routes for motor vehicles, and invent something else for
> > cyclists and other groups of road users?
> We have cycleway already...

I am unclear how the cycleway tag helps with a link that is also a road. How
is a router or a renderer going to be able to identify those roads that are
better and less good for cycling? Nearly all roads 'can' be cycled on but a
cycle map for a town and a cycle routing engine need more information than
that. What I was saying was that we need a scale of useability for cycling
and also for many other modes besides cars.

> > For cyclists a national cycle route would probably be given the highest
> > cycle classification, a regional cycle route the next one, and a local
> cycle
> > route the 3rd level. Other Ways recommended for cycling could also be
> tagged
> > with a cycle-classification and Ways can also be tagged with 'no' if
> they
> > should not be used.
> Now you're back to looking at the "administrative classification"
> which we're trying to avoid. I can't speak for the UK, but the cycle
> routes in NL are not always on actual cyclepaths. Sometimes they are
> roads, sometimes footpaths  though mostly cyclepaths. Whether it's
> part of a cycle-route has *nothing* to do with the quality of the
> track.

To be clear I am saying that it is 'likely' that a national cycle route will
be a good cycle route, but may not be. I cycled about 30 miles of a national
cycle route today and covered primary, secondary, tertiary, unclassified
roads and a track. The cycle-ability tagging is separate from the signing
and also from administrative classification. In the absence of a
cycle-ability tag on a link then the fact that it is a signed cycle routes
(national, regional, local) may be used to by a router to give the link

I would be interested in your thoughts on how to provide information for
cyclists and other users on the main road network.

Two examples; Firstly there is a sandy track some woods near here that 'can'
be cycled on, walked on and ridden on and even, I believe by driven on (it
is a by-way).

As a horserider I guess it would be the best. Wide, soft with good
As a walker it is fine (and is on a regional walking route), but not too
good with a buggy.
As a cyclist it is really hard going but possible.
For a vehicle it would need to be 4x4
As a wheelchair user it would be impossible.

Secondly; consider two normal paved roads with pavements; one of which is
busy, noisy and the pavements are narrow and often obstructed with bins etc.
The other is quieter and the pavements are more useable. What tagging
information can be used to allow a rendered and router to distinguish these
from each other for a walker?


> Have a nice day,
> --
> Martijn van Oosterhout <kleptog at gmail.com> http://svana.org/kleptog/

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