Project of the week/2010/Nov 24

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Wheelchair sign limited.svg

Wheelchair accessibility

The Project of the Month for December 2010 is mapping for wheelchair accessibility.

Wheelchair accessibility in large areas


In large public areas like streets, parks and shopping areas that are mapped as ways and areas, include barriers to accessibility as mapped objects. In the image above, roads are mapped as well as footways and steps.

Include barriers like highway=steps as well as mobility alternatives like ramp=*. is an OSM-based map displaying wheelchair accessibility for a set of points of interest. It also allows easy tagging of wheelchair accesibility.

Further tag proposals that are relevant for routing wheelchairs can be found at Rollstuhl-Routing. These are then used at

Wheelchair accessibility for Points of Interest

Some objects in OpenStreetMap are mapped only as a single point of interest rather than an area or linear feature. For these a wheelchair=* tag exists to indicate the degree of wheelchair accessibility within the facility.

Tagging suggestions

For larger objects tag the barriers to accessibility. For points of interest add an appropriate wheelchair=yes/limited/no. Suggestions included below from the wheelchair=* page.


Wheelchairs have full unrestricted access.

  • entry: stepless
  • rooms: stepless
  • toilet (if any): accessible and cabin is wide enough to fit a wheelchair next to the toilet


Wheelchairs have partial access (e.g some areas can be accessed and others not, areas requiring assistance by someone pushing up a steep gradient).

  • entry: has a step but not higher than 7 cm / 3 inch ('width of a hand')
  • rooms: the most important rooms are stepless
  • toilet (if any): not accessible


Wheelchairs have no unrestricted access (e.g. stair only access).

  • entry: has a step higher than 7 cm / 3 inch
  • rooms: the important rooms are not accessible
  • toilet (if any): not accessible


The way or area is designated or purpose built for wheelchairs (e.g. elevators designed for wheelchair access only). This is rarely used.

Note: There is currently no default value for wheelchair access. wheelchair=no shall be tagged explicitly if discovered.

Hanover tram system with (non-)wheelchair-symbols


if there are stairs and there is no ramp.

(Hint: Always think of heavy electric wheelchairs that can not pass any steps.)


Bus stop


You might want to provide the website=* of the operator=* if it has more detailed information.


if you have to ask for help or a key, or if not all theaters are reachable without steps. Give more information in the description key.

You might want to provide the website=* of the operator=* if it has more detailed information.



  • amenity=toilets
  • wheelchair=yes (if these are fully equipped with handrail, no steps, wide door etc. Also use yes if you only need to ask for a key)
  • wheelchair=limited (if the doors are wide and no steps)
  • wheelchair=no (if doors are not at least 60cm wide, if there are steps, if there are narrow curves or other barriers)
  • wheelchair:description:en=describe limits here
  • Tag centralkey=* (proposed) for key-type (e.g. RADAR, in the UK)

Found typos?