Proposed Features/Validity of Route Relations

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Validity of Route Relations
Status: Draft (under way)
Proposed by: Nakaner
Tagging: timetable:start=*
Applies to: relation
Definition: the period of the timetable a public transport route is based on
Drafted on: 2017-09-10


This proposal introduces the two new keys timetable:start=* and timetable:end=* for public transport route relations (route=train/light_rail/tram/bus/trolleybus/ferry/aerialway. They indicate the beginning and end of the period of the timetable the route is based on. The value is a date whose format is YYYY-MM-DD.

If mappers add or modify a route relation they can indicate when the next check is necessary (usually when the next annual timetable is published). Data users are able to determine if a route relation at OSM is still maintained.

What this proposal does not want to

This proposal is no replacement for any tagging scheme for temporary features. Don't use timetable:start=* and timetable:end=* to map routes which where served in history (e.g. last year), will exist in future or are only served for a short time (e.g. detours due to construction works).


When public transport agencies publish new timetables, mappers want to mark which route relations have been updated yet and which not. Because large parts of Europe change their timetable on the second Sunday in December every year, it is difficult to update all route relations at the day when a new timetable becomes valid. In addition, manpower is limited and some route relations are already outdated. Data consumers should be able to distinguish old and new, outdated and up-to-date route relations. The last_modified timestamp provided by the OSM API cannot serve this job because splitting one member way creates a new version of the route. That happens quite often.

Tags like last_checked=* and check_date=* are suboptimal because you usually know the end of the period of the current timetable when you add or modify a route.

valid_from=* is already in use but it is used for protected areas. It is not proposed by this proposal to avoid confusion.


If you add or modify a train route and the current timetable is valid from 2016-12-11 to 2017-12-09, you should add timetable:start=2016-12-11 and timetable:end=2017-12-09.


see above

Applies to

This proposal applies route relations of public transport routes. It applies to all tagging schemes.


This is a tagging proposal and no rendering proposal.

Features/Pages affected

External discussions

  • The idea of such a tag was raised on "OSM-Samstag" (OSM Saturday) at FOSSGIS conference 2017 in Passau, Germany.
  • Tagging mailing list


Please comment on the discussion page or on the Tagging mailing list.