[OSM-talk] Tagging urban streets

Mike Collinson mike at ayeltd.biz
Tue Mar 6 06:44:32 GMT 2007

At 08:57 PM 5/03/2007, Simon Hewison wrote:
>Having a different designation within towns than outside is a concept alien 
>to the United Kingdom, but is clearly an issue within Paris, and in Spain. 

The UK is the exception rather than the rule in carefully classifying each road/street, having the classification match closely actual usage (more important in my view when making a map!) and having systematic signage.

To answer the original question, here is the general rationale and schema I came up.  I suggest that it is a guideline for most countries without strict/useful administrative classification, but that individual country contributors should reach a consensus on local customization and then put that on the OSM country Wiki page.

Rationale:  Think of the person looking at the map in an unfamiliar city.  To get to a destination without knowing road conditions, they will want to take a "primary" road to get to the destination area, a "secondary" road to get across that area and then switch to unclassified roads to get to the actual building.  Map accordingly.

Urban road/street mapping Schema:

trunk - reserve for very big arterial ways for getting in and out of the city.

primary - lots of traffic outside rush hour.  Used for getting from one area of a city to another. Usually more traffic lights, turning traffic etc than a trunk road.

secondary - Used for getting to parts of a suburb.  If in a smaller town rather than a city, then suburb=town.

residential - local street with residences or used just for access to residences.

service - private roads used by the public in supermarkets, car parks, universities, hospitals, sports complexes etc.

unclassified - everything else!

Thus the "Champs Elysèe"  should probably be tagged "primary".


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