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Public-images-osm logo.svg expressway
US 33 Exp Winchester.jpg
A dual-carriageway (divided) highway with high-speed design features and limited access to adjacent properties. Edit or translate this description.
Group: Highways
Used on these elements
should not be used on nodesmay be used on waysshould not be used on areasshould not be used on relations


See also
Status: de factoPage for proposal


The key expressway=* is used to specify whether a not a highway=* feature is an expressway: a dual carriageway (divided highway) with high-speed design features and limited access to adjacent properties. Unlike a motorway (freeway), an expressway may have at-grade intersections, signalized or not, with other public roads. Like motorways (freeways) (motorway=*), expressways also often have some grade-separated interchanges at major junctions.

expressway=yes can also refer to a dual-carriageway (divided) road with high-speed design and grade separations, but which does have frequent access to adjacent properties. In this case the term "expressway "is used because there are few or no at-grade intersections with other public roads, or what intersections it does have are unsignalized.

In some regions highway=trunk are often expressway=yes and expressway=yes is often highway=trunk. But note that it is possible to have expressway that is highway=primary.

In some areas highway=trunk, for example in Poland, are misused to map expressways (instead of using expressway=yes), resulting in a fragmented road network.

Unlike motorroad=*, expressway=* does not imply default access restrictions.


Tag Description Notes Photo
expressway=yes The road is an expressway, a motorway-like road with at-grade intersections, or a Jersey freeway, a road with few or no intersections, but adjacent property access. US 33 Exp Winchester.jpg
expressway=no The road is not an expressway, but a conventional road, with access to adjacent properties. Default treatment of roads without expressway=* tag. Explicitly stating this is more of an indication to other mappers, than to users of OSM data. US 40 Conv Alton.jpg

Usage in United States

The standard sign warning about the end of an expressway.

The tag was first used in the United States, where this terminology is used in the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD). Note that many freeways (motorways), especially the eastern U.S., have names that end with "Expressway", for example Interstate 95 in Philadelphia. Some conventional dual-carriageway (divided) roads in the United States may have the word "expressway" in their name, but do not fit the definition of this tag because they do not have limited access to adjacent properties, grade separated interchanges, or high-speed design,

Regional variation in road design can also be a deciding factor. True expressways are rare in the northeast United States, however some roads such as US 11/15 along the Susquehanna River in central Pennsylvania, as well as parts of US 22 in western Pennsylvania, can be said to be "expressways" relative to the typical regional road network.

expressway=yes can also refer to a "Jersey freeway", which is a divided road (typically a jersey barrier and narrow overall footprint) with high-speed design and grade separations. Unlike a standard expressway, however, it does have frequent access to adjacent properties, but has few or no at-grade intersections with other public roads


Rural Expressways

  • US 33 in parts of Ohio
  • US 48 in West Virginia
  • Much of US 15 between Frederick, MD and Harrisburg, PA

Urban/Suburban Expressways

Jersey Freeways

  • US 11/15 between Duncannon and Selinsgrove in Pennsylvania
  • US 46 and NJ 3 between I-80 and NJ 21
  • NJ 17 between NJ 3 and I-287

See also