Tag:highway=road

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Public-images-osm logo.svg highway = road
Road.png
Description
Road with unknown classification.
Used on these elements
should not be used on nodesmay be used on waysshould not be used on areasshould not be used on relations
Useful combination
Status: Approved

This tag is used for a road/way/path/street/alley/motorway/etc. with an unknown classification. This tag is intentionally vague: Anything which has been tagged highway=road can basically be any kind of “road” from the smallest footpath to the largest motorway (see it as a “wildcard” for highway=* values). Warning: This tag should only be used temporarily until the road/way/etc. has been properly surveyed. Do not use this tag when the type of road/etc. is known. As soon the road type is known, use one of the more specific values of highway=*.

Treat it as an error

Mappers and mapping software should treat it as an error when a way is tagged with highway=road. Mapping software can issue warnings to make sure the mapper really does not know the road type. The error is fixed by using the correct road classification.

When this tag is used it also implies a FIXME=*. So you do not need to add a todo=FIXME, fixme="Unknown classification", etc. It's just duplicate work for the next person to change the highway type AND remove the fixme tag.

Roads with no name

Often this tag is used also in case the road most likely has a name, nonetheless the survey done hasn't properly determined what it is, or no survey was done at all. If the road indeed has no name, that is survey has determined that there are no signs indicating its name, etc., then see this proposed feature to indicate the road has no name.

Rendering

Since this tag is so vague, it is hard to recommend a particular rendering for end users. When in doubt, don't render this tag. If it is decided for a particular map to render this tag anyway, then it is recommended to make it look distinct from all other rendered ways, in order to avoid ambiguity.

Standard tile layer

On the Standard tile layer, it is rendered like this:

Rendering-highway-road-mapnik.png

Other usage implications

Mappers should not expect that ways tagged like this will be useful to the end-user in any form. The ambiguity makes this rarely useful for data consumers. This has the following implications:

  • Do not expect highway=road to be rendered
  • Do not expect highway=road to be routable
  • Do expect highway=road to be ignored by applications directed at end users

See also