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Public-images-osm logo.svg expressway
US 33 Exp Winchester.jpg
Highways divided as dual-carriageway with high-speed design features and limited access to adjacent properties. Edit this description in the wiki page. Edit this description in the data item.
Group: Properties
Used on these elements
should not be used on nodesmay be used on waysshould not be used on areasmay be used on relations


Status: de factoPage for proposal

See also: Proposed features/Expressway indication, and possibly User:Vid the Kid/Expressway.

The key expressway=* is used to specify whether a not a highway=* feature is an expressway: a divided (dual-carriageway) highway much like a freeway or motorway, with high-speed design features and limited access to adjacent properties, but unlike a motorway (freeway), an expressway may have at-grade intersections, signalized or not, with other public roads.

Like freeways (motorway=*), expressways also often have some grade-separated interchanges at more major junctions. Expressway typically have signage similar to that of a full freeway. This is in contrast to a conventional road, which may be divided with a high-speed nature, but allows access to homes and businesses along the road. This terminology comes from the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) used in the United States. (Note that many freeways and even some conventional roads in the United States, especially the eastern U.S., have names that end with "Expressway", for example Interstate 95 in Philadelphia. This key's use is based strictly on the definitions from the MUTCD, regardless of the road's name.)

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, or what intersections it does have are unsignalized.

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.


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


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

  • SR 161 in Columbus, Ohio
  • US 222 around Trexlertown, PA near Allentown
  • US 29 in Maryland between MD 650 and MD 32

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

  • motorroad=* - highways that have motorway-like access restrictions. Commonly used in parts of Europe and Japan to specify a road designed for motor vehicle use only.