[OSM-talk] Deprecation/move of incorrect tags

Stephen Gower socks-openstreetmap.org at earth.li
Mon Jul 16 16:51:37 BST 2007

On Fri, Jul 13, 2007 at 08:11:33PM -0500, Alex Mauer wrote:
> This is a lot to respond to, but:

  Agreed - I hope you'll forgive me for snipping lots and trying just
  to respond on the general points.
> I understand highway to be synonymous with right of way, yes. If
> something is a "highway" that says nothing about what standard it is
> built and maintained to: how and to what extent that highway is built
> and maintained is a function of what *kind* of highway it is. So yes,
> primary and secondary would each be maintained to a certain standard.

  OK. I'm arguing for a distinction between (what I currently tag as)
  "highway=cycleway; foot=yes" and "highway=footway; cycle=yes".  I'm
  also arguing for, in general, keeping the status quo, unless
  there's a good reason for changing.  For me, most good reasons for
  change could be grouped into "it doesn't work", "it breaks
  something at the moment" or "it prevents some important new feature
  being implemented".  As far as I can tell, there is no good reason
  for going through the pain of changing, and there is no current
  proposal that maintains the distinction of what *kind* of path this

> Everyone I've talked to from the UK (other OSMers), as well as the
> wikipedia page I linked to suggested that there is no such thing as
> a "cycleway" classification of highway.  [...] Perhaps they were
> wrong and a "cycle track" has the same legal status as a bridleway
> (only substituting bicycle for horse)

  Not quite, and I suspect it's a misunderstanding due to the
  "esoteric aspects of English law"!  It's not really relevant, but
  for the record a better summary of the UK situation is:

  'There is a "cycle track" classification of highway, and "cycle
  track" has the same legal status as a road (only restricting the
  class of vehicle allowed on it)'
> When I said that "highway" implies automotive traffic, I meant that in
> the context of OSM: the tag is very much oriented towards motor vehicle
> traffic. [...]

  It is?  Not the way I look at it!

> Understood.  The reason I'm trying to deprecate those tags is because
> their use is very unclear to me, and I do not see a benefit in having so
> many ways to tag a route that mean so nearly the same thing.  That is,
> as far as I can see, the difference between highway=footway, horse=yes;
> and highway=bridleway horse=yes (and route=path, horse=yes,foot=yes) is,
> as Ian Sergeant put it, "some esoteric aspects of English law"

  OK, you've possibly got a point with bridleway (I'm not a horse
  rider), but certainly not with cycleway.  Cyclepaths in the UK *and
  other parts of Europe* (at least) are different from
  footpaths-with-permission-to-cycle and there needs to be a way of
  showing what kind of path it is.
> >   route=path certainly has some merit, and after appropriate
> >   discussion, I'll probably support it. Personally, I'd prefer
> >   highway=path,
> Please note that "route" is not a new key; "path" is a new value for the
> existing key.

  Oh, I hadn't looked at the detail of this before and now I do, I
  see "route" is not the place for this!  "route" is, as Map_Features
  currently says, non-physical.  It represents a journey - it's a
  collection of highways (and parts of highways) that make up the
  course travelled.  A numbered bus or cycle route does not sit well
  with a single anonymous passageway.  If I saw route=path, I's
  assume it was a long(ish) distance walk, like The Thames Path or
  The E9 European Coastal Path - probably what in the US is called a

  Best wishes

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