Proposed features/virtual highway

From OpenStreetMap Wiki
Jump to: navigation, search
Virtual Highway
Status: Draft (under way)
Proposed by: realadry
Tagging: highway=virtual
Applies to: ways
Definition: A way that doesn't exist as visible feature in the world.
Rendered as: none or line
Drafted on: 2012-12-23


A virtual highway is a way that doesn't exist as a visible feature in the world but is or can be used by people.


  • Routers can rely on a possible route that a human has manually created and approved thus areas could be ignored for routing purposes.
  • The linear (highway) graph isn't disturbed by two dimensional elements like area=yes
  • Creating a separate highway tag instead of using existing ones has the advantage that it can be rendered or routed independently.


  • Visualize an area with additional ways so that it is easier to spot a possible way to walk or cross a square or area.
  • Mark ways that have to be used although they aren't visually present in the real world.
  • Help for blind routing for crossing areas (squares) when there are no guiding lines available. (Routing with voice direction).
  • How people commonly walk on a square or area.
  • Walking suggestion or shortest way to cross or access an area.
  • Mandatory virtual paths in religious or cultural context.
    • Squares that can't be walked on freely although there is no visual distinction.
    • Sacral buildings that are approached in a certain way for religious reasons, although it would be possible to move freely.



can be refined with the existing access=* or any other related highway tag.


M!dgard suggested using highway:virtual=pedestrian/cycleway/unclassified/... instead of defining access restrictions for each way. See the talk page.

Applies to

Way ways


A separate highway tag will enable an own rendering style if desired. Default it will not be rendered.