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the footway in the example looks like it is explicitly not for bicycles. 18:17, 23 July 2008 (UTC)

Not to me, it doesn't. It just looks like cyclists are prevented from going out into the street at full speed (because they have to negotiate the barrier). --Hawke 20:01, 23 July 2008 (UTC)
Yes, and exactly this makes the way a highway=path. Please use a better picture. --Scai 20:37, 19 April 2010 (UTC)
No, it doesn't, even if it could be tagged as a path. Thinking that all highway=footways are only the kinds with the blue pedestrian sign read the equivalences introduced in the path proposal the wrong way round. Your interpretation was decisively rejected at that poll; the definition of a highway=footway was never amended from "mainly or exclusively for pedestrians" - and it would be hard to change a meaning of a tag, esp. when it's one of the oldest tags. Only some language versions of the tagging guides emphasize using highway=path always when it's not signed for one mode of transport only. There are already several pages explaining the various users' needs and interpretations, at least: Consolidation_footway_cycleway_path, Path controversy. Alv 07:05, 20 April 2010 (UTC)
I still don't get why this is a footway and no path, could you explain it to me? The two mentioned pages don't really help me here. --Scai 08:15, 20 April 2010 (UTC)
Think of the time before anyone introduced highway=path; there was only highway=footway and highway=cycleway. Then choose between the two, and the one in the picture is "mainly for pedestrians" (because it's made harder to use by cyclists), i.e. a footway. Alv 08:30, 20 April 2010 (UTC)
Sure, if I only have the choice between them, footway fits more. But this isn't the case any longer. To me, there is still an exact differentiation between footway and path missing, all those pages just go in circles or have overlapping descriptions without explaining the definite distinctive features between the two types. There are many examples where both highway=footway and highway=path fit, this is really confusing. --Scai 11:17, 20 April 2010 (UTC)

footway vs pedestrian

Vovkav 09:05, 16 February 2010 (UTC): When should Tag:highway=footway and not Tag:highway=pedestrian be used? Should not we merge these two?

(Answered earlier at Talk:Tag:highway=pedestrian#footway_vs_pedestrian).

Should this be tagged surface=paved?

Or is that implied (despite not being in the infobox here)? I had been using the 'paved track' preset in Potlatch for paved urban paths, since the 'public footpath' preset doesn't include surface=paved, but apparently that's only for rural paths. --NE2 17:10, 19 February 2010 (UTC)

It's always good to tag the surface; about only thing we know to be paved all around the world are motorways, and possibly trunk roads. Presets are just the starting point (lowest common denominator) - 'public footpath' in Potlatch is for any, well, public way where you're allowed to walk but (most of the time) not allowed to use any other means of transport. Alv 17:42, 19 February 2010 (UTC)
So there's no preset for the most common type of footpath in a city? Gotcha. --NE2 18:04, 19 February 2010 (UTC)

Formally derive from highway=path?

Subtitle: "There Is (hopefully) No Path Controversy (any more)"

Just sounding people out here. Could we generally settle on the notion that a highway=footway is a specialisation of highway=path? To me, here in the UK, it merely adds the loose but helpful information that it is a kind of highway=path which is normally used by pedestrians, or is built to be used by them. I'd like to see the main page updated with the emphasised wording too.

It would be good if we could formalise a proper notion of inheritance for these tags, to the extent of also stating that h=path's implications are inherited.

It's a simpler tag for new mappers to apply, Duck tagging and all that, and using the more specific tag conveys useful information information about the footpath's level if importance in the transportation network. After all, no-one's insisting on a single tag for all roads. The same notion of specialisation of a generic path could equally well apply to h=bridleway and h=cycleway if people find it amenable.

--achadwick 13:19, 3 May 2012 (BST)

I would agree with you.
I'd like to see if anyone disagrees with this, as I'd be quite suprised if that was the case. If no one objects in a few weeks, I'd say make the change. -- Joshdoe 15:38, 18 May 2012 (BST)

Advanced definition: Distinction footway vs path

I would like to propose an advanced definition of footway in order to have a classification criteria from "path".

"highway=footway is used for pathways designated for pedestrians. The designation may be explicitly by a signpost, implicitly by law (like sidewalks if mapped as distinct ways) or obviously by structural design. Designated footpaths are primarily common in residential areas, but may also exist out-of-town (recreational environments, parklands etc.).


The current definition ("minor pathways which are used mainly or exclusively by pedestrians") is not specific in providing definite distinctive features between footway and path. The consequences are misconceptions and assumptions in selecting the right type. --geow (talk) 17:20, 2 August 2015 (UTC)

  • Redefining so popular tags makes no sense, as it is already used on massive scale and there is no chance for review ensuring that usage will fit new definition. Mateusz Konieczny (talk) 18:03, 2 August 2015 (UTC)

Mateusz, I'm sorry but I don't share your general rejection. According to your belief it would be hardly possibly to develop and enhance the tagging of popular keys. Do you have any functional suggestions for a decent classification criteria between footway and path? --geow (talk) 19:57, 2 August 2015 (UTC)

I don't think signposts are enough to make a way a footway on their own. I'm seeing networks of wilderness trails using a mix of h=path and h=footway for similar trails based only on access restrictions, and I don't think that's right. To me, a footway should not only be designated for pedestrians, it should be relatively unattractive to other modes. For example, pathways between buildings on a campus and urban sidewalks are footways, because you probably wouldn't/ shouldn't ride a bike or a horse between buildings on campus. A trail which prohibits other modes but is physically similar to ways where cycles are allowed should use the same highway tag and only be different in the access tagging
Likewise, a cycleway should be specially attractive to cyclists relative to other modes. The easiest indicator is if the path is divided with a centerline, but the presence of cycle-specific traffic signals, roundabouts, and other cycle-specific infrastructure also helps. I also use cycleway/footway if the way is divided into separate, parallel paths which are designated to separate traffic. A typical user wouldn't walk on the cycle side if there's a designated pedestrian path running parallel two meters to the right.
In order to avoid overlapping keys, the highway tag should be based on how a typical user would use the network, with access restrictions of minor relevance at most, since that has its own keys. Dericke (talk) 19:01, 3 October 2015 (UTC)