|Feature : Public transport|
|Railways, buses, trams, etc.|
An overview of current public_transport=* (or mass transit) related tagging.
The main role of street maps has generally been to help people navigate when walking, or when using private motor vehicles on the public highway system. Public transport provides an alternative which is often faster, more environmentally sustainable, and sometimes even more convenient.
Unlike with walking and driving, where it's enough for maps to simply describe the street and footpath layout, allowing people to decide their own route and schedule, with public transport, we need to describe the infrastructure (e.g., the train tracks) as well as the services which operate on them (e.g., express trains and local trains).
Whilst OpenStreetMap is probably not the place for full timetable information, adding information about public transport infrastructure and services to the map means that we can provide basic routing services. Very few other maps currently do this (although Google Transit is also making improvements in this area).
Discussion of public transport on OSM takes place on the talk-transit mailing list.
Types of public transport
Public transport comes in various different forms and types. Each type is usually distinguished by the technology and infrastructure it uses. For example, railways use trains running on metal rails, buses use the main road network, and airplanes use the sky…
Some types may blur the boundaries a little. For example, trams are a form of 'light rail' (using lighter-than-normal train vehicles) which typically run on metal rails embedded into public roads (although may also have sections of dedicated track).
The distinctions can be even more subtle. Buses and coaches, for example, both use motor vehicles on the public road network, however coaches tend to be bigger, and used for longer distances (with fewer stops).
Whilst it may be tempting to try and come up with definitions for these different types, ultimately, maps are most useful if they match with people's expectations. So, when choosing which type a particular public transport service falls into, it's generally best to go with whatever the users of that service general understanding of it would be.
Main article: Buses
Buses, coaches, guided-buses and trolleybuses all operate mainly on the highway (for Trams see the Train section below).
A more detailed and more complex Public_Transport schema got approved in April 2011 and may be used for new mappings. Mainly used are two tags: public_transport=stop_position describes the point on the street where the bus stops and public_transport=platform locates the place where the passengers are waiting for and can board the bus.
A route relation is used to describe both a logical identifiable section of infrastructure as well as a transit service offered to the public with a certain name or reference.
Main article: Railways
Railway services (mainline, metro, light rail, tram, subway, etc.) all generally operate on metal rails. The main railway infrastructure is defined using railway=*
A more detailed description about stations and halts is described in the approved feature Public Transport
Main article: Trams
Trams are a form of light rail which share their path with the road for some part of their route.
Tramways use the railway=tram tag, this being either applied to the same way as the highway (when running along the street) or on a separate way. A separate way should be used when the tram track is separated from the street or where the ways need different tagging — for example where the road is one-way and the tram is two-way.
Main article: Aeroway
Flying (in aircraft) has become one of the most prevalent means of long-distance public transport travel. Currently, flight paths aren't included on our map (they're much less physical than roads and rails). However, this mode of transport does use an extensive range of physical on-the-ground infrastructure, including airport terminals, taxiways, runways, and connecting transport services, and all of these features can be added to OSM.
While the map currently largely goes down to a level of detail of showing airport buildings and runways, in the future we may show the location of the individual aircraft 'gates' and the internal layout of airports.
Main article: Ferries
The route of a ferry service can be defined using ways tagged with route=ferry. For sections of route across open water such as the sea, lakes and wide rivers a new linear way tagged as route=ferry should be created. For rivers using waterway=river add route=ferry to this way. If the ferry service ends along the length of an existing river then the river's way should be snipped into two at the point where the ferry service terminates. It is not clear how one tags a ferry that crosses a river that is constructed from a single way as both ends of the ferry would be at the same point. It is possible that adding route=ferry to a node on the river may be appropriate, similar to a crossing point on a road.
Places where people and vehicles can access ferry services should use public_transport=platform with ferry=yes and public_transport=stop_position. The earlier-used amenity=ferry_terminal is now deprecated, because it is very simplified and not exact enough.
The complete route for a ferry can be described using a Relations/Routes using
Main article: Aerialway
Cable-cars, drag-lifts and chair-lifts can be modeled using aerialway=*. These can be considered as a form of public transport in that they are shared, operated for fixed times of day at predictable intervals. Some cable cars may operate to a clock-face timetable.
Main article: Relation:route In addition to modelling the infrastructure on which vehicles operate and the places where people embark and disembark from transit services, it is also useful to model the public transport services themselves. In particular, this makes it possible to provide public transport routing services.
A route is a relation that describes the physical path taken by the vehicles through the infrastructure by a transit service which is known to the public with a particular reference or name. A route should contain an ordered list of all ways used by the service from the starting station to the terminal station. The route also includes details of actual stop_positions (with role 'stop') and platforms (with role 'platform'). Each direction and each variant of the service is represented in its own route relation.
Typical tags used on a public transport service route relations are:
|type=*||route||name of network bus, tram, train, etc.|
|route=*||train, bus, tram, etc.||Type of public transport vehicle|
|ref=*||text||Reference code for route|
|name=*||text||Name for the route|
|operator=*||text||company or organisation that operates the route e.g. Deutsche Bahn AG, Connex, Interconnex usw.|
|network=*||text||Name of the network e.g. BVG, RMV. There is no consensus wether to use abbrevations or not.|
Other tags may apply for different types of service, see approved feature Public Transport for more details.
- The approved feature Public Transport defines all the tags related to public transport.
There are several people creating specialist public transport maps:
- The Transport Map layer on OSM's front page by Andy Allan
- Öpnvkarte (öpnvkarte.de) (Also available at openbusmap.org for those with no Ö accessible}
- Openptmap (openptmap.org)
- OpenStreetBrowser (openstreetbrowser.org)
- LatLon.org's public transport layer
- OpenMap.lt public transport layer
- OSM Transport Karte Map for Trucks and Cars
- te-transit map to display passenger train routes with their colour=* or color=* tag by Indy Hurt.
The talk-transit mailing list was created specifically for discussion of public transport related stuff.
- http://www.overpass-api.de/ offers a generator of sketches. It must be call with a route id.; i.e., http://www.overpass-api.de/api/sketch-route?365296.
Details on usage of parameters is described on the public_transport page.
Public transports by country
- Tap Tap Map in Haiti
- United Kingdom
- Approved Feature Public Transport
- Buses and Key:railway
- Ideas in Transit
- Help:Public transport
- Proposed features/Simplified Public Transport Scheme
- Proposed features/Customized Icons for Public Transport
- Enabling Cost-Effective Multimodal Trip Planners through Open Transit Data
- GroundTruth presentation to World Bank Transport Forum