[OSM-talk] Tagging urban streets

Richard Fairhurst richard at systemed.net
Mon Mar 5 13:37:13 GMT 2007

Francisco R. Santos wrote:

> Ok, we are getting to the point. Among the 3 above (primary,  
> secondary, unclassified), which one should I choose for  
> **streets**, not *roads*? Am I confusing the terms? Sorry if I  
> misunderstund these two terms, I'm not native english. What I mean  
> for street is something [1], compared to a road [2]. Streets are  
> not classified by any highway authority, as far as I know.

In Britain, as far as I know, a street is a road, maintained by the  
local council's highways department like any other. They'll often  
have a classification (a 'D', 'E' or 'U') but not one that's published!

If a lot of traffic is routed along a street as part of an important  
route, it might be highway=trunk, and the road number will be (say)  
A43. Often it'll just be highway=unclassified, especially now that  
many town centres have been bypassed, or highway=pedestrian. _But_  
where the difference comes is in the rest of the tagging. You might  
have abutters=retail, for example, to indicate there are shops on  
either side. The highway tag doesn't seek to tell you everything  
about a road.

In short: if you don't have any evidence that it's a classified road,  
use highway=tertiary (for the biggest streets), highway=unclassified  
(for everything else), or highway=pedestrian (for pedestrianised road).

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