Road signs in the United Kingdom

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This page is under construction, and perhaps always will be. It is intended to help those mappers in the UK that are new to the project, or those more experienced but encountering something new to them, work out what is probably the best way to tag it.

Please note: This is intended as a guide based on what contributors to the page think is best. There may be other equally acceptable alternatives - if so add them to this page with an "or" separator, or discuss first on the discussion page.

Please also note: Some of the tags here may not appear in Map Features and are suggestions instead to cover a requirement. As a result some validator tools may highlight them as errors to be checked.

Warning signs (generally triangular)

Note: Not many warning signs are currently shown here, as there doesn't seem to be much in information on how to tag them. In the longer term, many warnings will apply to a section of road between similar warning signs at either end of the section (such as "Wild Animals"), but there doesn't seem to be a wild_animals=yes tag at present. Feel free to add more warning signs with a suggested tagging method.

Sign Image Description Tags/Comments
510 UK traffic sign 510.svg

Roundabout

See junction=roundabout on how to tag the roundabout itself.

611.1 UK traffic sign 611.1.svg Mini Roundabout Add highway=mini_roundabout to the intersection node where the mini roundabout is located. Also add direction=clockwise.
516 UK traffic sign 516.svg Road narrows on both sides ahead Add traffic_calming=choker on the part of the way
523.1 UK traffic sign 523.1.svg

Steep hill downwards

incline=%age

Note: in OSM the percentage is +ve or -ve to indicate up or down relative to the direction the way has been drawn. See Key:incline. The tag should be applied between the warning of steep hill downwards at the top and (if present) the warning further down the hill of steep hill upwards for oncoming traffic.

524.1 UK traffic sign 524.1.svg

Steep hill upwards

incline=%age

Note: in OSM the percentage is +ve or -ve to indicate up or down relative to the direction the way has been drawn. See Key:incline

530 UK traffic sign 530.svg

Height restriction warning

maxheight=14′6″

Where only imperial dimensions are given it is recommended that the tag value be entered exactly as is on the sign, which is likely to always include inches even if they are 0. A conversion to a metric height is unlikely to be the same as the limit imposed if the restriction is later updated to a dual units sign, as there are rules to do with rounding that are used for safety reasons.

543 UK traffic sign 543.svg Traffic Lights

See highway=traffic_signals on how to tag the traffic lights.

545 UK traffic sign 545.svg Children Crossing / Playing Using the proposed Hazard scheme something like hazard=children to a way/node.
549 UK traffic sign 549.svg Sheep Using the proposed Hazard scheme something like hazard=sheep to a way/node.
548 UK traffic sign 548.svg Cattle Using the proposed Hazard scheme something like hazard=cattle to a way/node.
550.1 UK traffic sign 550.1.svg Horse Riders Using the proposed Hazard scheme something like hazard=horse_riders to a way/node.
552 UK traffic sign 552.svg Cattle Grid Mark a node on the way where the grid is located and tag it as barrier=cattle_grid
557 UK traffic sign 557.svg Slippery Road Using the proposed Hazard scheme something like hazard=slippery_road to a way/node.
528 UK traffic sign 528.svg Hump Back Bridge Mark the bridge with bridge=humpback
559 UK traffic sign 559.svg Falling Rocks Using the proposed Hazard scheme something like hazard=falling_rocks on a way/node.

Regulatory signs (generally round)

Speed limit signs

Sign Image Description Tags/Comments
670V50 UK traffic sign 670V50.svg

Maximum speed

maxspeed=50 mph

Note: While units are (usually) mentioned as being allowed in Map Features, there is a time when they weren't and some mappers tried tagging with just a number based on the speed converted to km/h (with no units, maxspeed is in km/h) with various different roundings, most of which didn't match those posted on signs at exits of ports. It is therefore better to add the mph suffix to be precise.

Note: When a speed limit begins at a T-junction, the sign may be up to 20 metres from the start of the limit. It's not correct to tag a short way with the same limit as the main road!

671 UK traffic sign 671.svg

National speed limit

maxspeed=60mph + maxspeed:type=GB:nsl_single or maxspeed=70mph + maxspeed:type=GB:nsl_dual or maxspeed=70mph + maxspeed:type=GB:motorway

The relevant national speed limit applies. For cars, this is currently 70 mph on motorways and dual carriageways, 60 mph on non-motorway single carriageways, including street-lit roads - but only when signed with the national speed limit sign. Because the national limit varies by road type and vehicle type, and because Parliament could change the limit in future without all signs needing changing, it was previously suggested that it might be better to use maxspeed=national rather than maxspeed=60 mph (or whatever) in case any future changes then force a resurvey of every way tagged with =60 mph.

The current recommendation is to tag the highest limit across all vehicle types using the maxspeed key and then add a maxspeed:type key with country-specific values, such as GB:nsl_single or GB:nsl_dual (the non-standard country code "UK" is also seen in places). This has the benefits that clients such as the OSRM Open-source Routing Machine can simply use the maxspeed key (but could additionally support country-specific, vehicle-specific maximum speeds), but still permit the update of country-specific national speed limits non-ambiguously.

672 UK traffic sign 672.svg

Minimum speed

Vehicles must keep their speed above the stated minimum speed.

minspeed=30 mph

674 UK traffic sign 674.svg

Entering 20mph zone

maxspeed=20 mph

20 zones tend to be residential areas with traffic calming measures, with a 20 mph maximum speed throughout the zone. At the exits from the zones there is a different sign which indicates both the end of the 20 mph limit and what the new speed limit is beyond the zone. Unlike ordinary 20mph limits, 20 zones are intended to be self-enforcing by the traffic calming system.

Note: The similar-looking 'Twenty's Plenty' signs (with a green, not red, circle) are not legal limits and should be signed with maxspeed:advised=20mph.

Vehicular type restrictions

Sign Image Description Tags/Comments
619 UK traffic sign 619.svg

No motor vehicles

motor_vehicle=no

617 UK traffic sign 617.svg

No vehicles except bicycles being pushed

vehicle=no

foot=yes

A bicycle=dismount tag may be useful to show cyclists can still use the way if they push their bicycle.

619.1 UK traffic sign 619.1.svg

No motor vehicles except solo motorcycles

motor_vehicle=no

motorcycle=yes

619.2 UK traffic sign 619.2.svg

No motorcycles

motorcycle=no

622.7 UK traffic sign 622.7.svg

No towed caravans

caravan=no

951 UK traffic sign 951.svg

No cycling

bicycle=no

625.1 UK traffic sign 625.1.svg

No pedestrians

foot=no

952 UK traffic sign 952.svg

No vehicles designed to carry more than 8 passengers (excluding driver) or local buses

bus=no

622.6 UK traffic sign 622.6.svg

No ridden or accompanied horses

horse=no

622.5 UK traffic sign 622.5.svg

No horse-drawn vehicles

horse_drawn=no

622.4 UK traffic sign 622.4.svg

No articulated vehicles

articulated=no

622.1A UK traffic sign 622.1A.svg

No goods vehicles exceeding maximum gross weight shown (in tonnes)

maxweight=7.5

or, to perhaps tag more precisely

maxweight:hgv=7.5

See also Size/weight restrictions below

622.8 UK traffic sign 622.8.svg

No vehicles carrying explosives

access:explosives=no

I can't find any relevant tags mentioned in the wiki, so have used the access:prefix to suggest that it is access that is prohibited by the carrying of explosives, rather than just have explosives=no (as per discussion here

Size/Weight restrictions

Sign Image Description Tags/Comments
629.2A UK traffic sign 629.2A.svg

Maximum height (metric and imperial)

maxheight=4.4

Where both metric and imperial dimensions are given it is recommended that the metric version be used, which is the default unit for the tag. The metric height is unlikely to be an exact conversion of the imperial.

629.2 UK traffic sign 629.2.svg Maximum height (imperial only)

maxheight=14'6"

Where only imperial dimensions are given it is recommended that the tag value be entered exactly as is on the sign, which is likely to always include inches even if they are 0. A conversion to a metric height is unlikely to be the same as the limit imposed if the restriction is later updated to a dual units sign, as there are rules to do with rounding that are used for safety reasons.

629A UK traffic sign 629A.svg Maximum width (metric and imperial) maxwidth=2.0

Where both metric and imperial dimensions are given it is recommended that the metric version be used, which is the default unit for the tag. The metric width is unlikely to be an exact conversion of the imperial.

629 UK traffic sign 629.svg

Maximum width (imperial only)

maxwidth=6'6"

Where only imperial dimensions are given it is recommended that the tag value be entered exactly as is on the sign, which is likely to always include inches even if they are 0. A conversion to a metric width is unlikely to be the same as the limit imposed if the restriction is later updated to a dual units sign, as there are rules to do with rounding that are used for safety reasons.

626.2AV2 UK traffic sign 626.2AV2.svg

Maximum weight

maxweight=3

It is believed maximum weight limit are all signposted in metric, which is the default for this tag.

629.1 UK traffic sign 629.1.svg

Maximum length (imperial only)

maxlength=32'6"

Where only imperial dimensions are given it is recommended that the tag value be entered exactly as is on the sign.

Give way and stop signs

Sign Image Description Tags/Comments
602

UK traffic sign 602.svg

Give way

highway=give_way before the junction

601.1

UK traffic sign 601.1.svg

Stop

highway=stop before the junction

Turn restrictions

Note: It should not be necessary to tag restrictions such as no left turn where the destination which is prohibited is oneway in such a way that it would be no entry from that end anyway. Turn restriction relations are more for use in situations such as no right turn onto a busy twoway road from a side road. In other words it isn't necessary to add a turn restriction relation every time there is a sign (though there should be no harm in doing so if correctly tagged and not contradicting other tags).

Sign Image Description Tags/Comments
613

UK traffic sign 613.svg

No left turn

See Relation:restriction for details.

612

UK traffic sign 612.svg

No right turn

See Relation:restriction for details.

614

UK traffic sign 614.svg

No U turn

See Relation:restriction for details.

Other Prohibitory signs

Sign Image Description Tags/Comments
616 UK traffic sign 616.svg

No entry

when the direction of the way is the same as the driving direction:

oneway=yes

when the direction of the way is the opposite of the driving direction:

oneway=-1

642 UK traffic sign 642.svg No Stopping Currently the tag with the most uses is parking:lane:both=no_stopping (or parking:lane:left / parking:lane:right, whichever is applicable, depending on the direction of the way, and on the side for which the restriction applies to).

Previously suggested tags include stopping=no on the way, or traffic_restriction=no_stopping as suggested by Jonathan Bennett on the talk-gb list, the latter being the more common one of these two at the moment.

632 UK traffic sign 632.svg No Overtaking Use the overtaking tag. See wiki page for details

Cycle and Pedestrian signs

Tags for cycle tracks drawn as a separate way
Image Description Classic tagging style Alternative tagging style
UK traffic sign 956.svg
Shared cycle/pedestrian path highway=cycleway highway=path;
foot=designated;bicycle=designated;
surface=paved
UK traffic sign 957.svg

UK traffic sign 957R.svg
Segregated cycle/pedestrian path highway=cycleway;
segregated=yes
highway=path;
foot=designated;
cycleway=lane; (implies bicycle=designated)
surface=paved
UK traffic sign 955.svg
Cycle only path (not intended for pedestrians) highway=cycleway;
foot=no*
highway=path;
bicycle=designated;
foot=no*;
surface=paved

* : The route is not intended for pedestrians, but use is not prohibited. Before tagging as foot=no please check that there is a convenient alternative route for pedestrians nearby (e.g. a footway or road).

Information signs (generally rectangular)

Sign Image Description Tags/Comments
816 UK traffic sign 816.svg

No through road

noexit=yes

There is an argument that this tag is unnecessary as it should be possible to determine whether a road is a through route or not based on the topology of ways. Some validation tools apparently can use this tag to distinguish between a no through road that ends near another road, and giving a warning for a road which perhaps hasn't been properly joined to a nearby road.

801 UK traffic sign 801.svg

Parking

amenity=parking

Note for laybys, some have been tagged as:

amenity=parking
fee=no
parking=surface
name=Lay-by

such as this one on the A14 near Ipswich.

968.1 UK traffic sign 968.1.svg

Cycle parking

amenity=bicycle_parking

820 UK traffic sign 820.svg

Unsuitable for motor vehicles warning

This is only a warning, so the access tags currently aren't really suitable for tagging this sign as they currently relate more to whether you can legally use the route rather than whether it is physically suitable to do so. It is probably best to do something like

note=Unsuitable for motors

until something better is available.

878 UK traffic sign 878.svg Speed Camera in Operation See Relation:enforcement#Example_3:_Speed_Camera for marking any actual cameras
2713.1V UK traffic sign 2713.1V.svg SOS Point There is a proposed tag of amenity=emergency_phone - see Proposed_features/emergency_phone
817.2

817.2L

UK traffic sign 817.2.svgUK traffic sign 817.2L.svg Escape lane highway=escape
811 UK traffic sign 811.svg Priority over oncoming vehicles priority=forward/backward

Exceptions - examples and how to handle them

Image Description Tags/Comments
UK no cycling time limits.jpg

No cycling during the hours shown

Not easily done with the current tagging scheme. Something like:

bicycle=no
bicycle:day_on=Monday
bicycle:day_off=Saturday
bicycle:time_on=09:00
bicycle:time_off=18:00

There are occasional proposals to use syntax a bit like Key:opening_hours uses, which would change this to something like:

bicycle=Mo-Sa 09:00-18:00 no
UK no motor vehicles except.jpg

No motor vehicles except those specified

motor_vehicle=no
goods=yes
hgv=yes
taxi=yes

Note: taxi=yes might not currently be documented on Key:access

UK no motor vehicles except 2.jpg

No motor vehicles at certain times except those specified

motor_vehicle=no
motor_vehicle:time_on=10:00
motor_vehicle:time_off=16:00
psv=yes
goods=destination

As mentioned above, there are occasional proposals to use syntax a bit like Key:opening_hours uses, which would change this to something like:

motor_vehicle=10:00-16:00 no
psv=yes
goods=destination