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Public-images-osm logo.svg footway
Sidewalk and zebra-crossing.jpg
Further refinement of footways Show/edit corresponding data item.
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 (except multipolygon relations)
Documented values: 13
Status: approvedPage for proposal

The key footway=* refines the tag highway=footway.

The two most common values are footway=sidewalk for sidewalks (called pavement or footpath in British English; see Sidewalks as well for a more in-depth treatment of this topic) and footway=crossing to mark parts of a pedestrian path that cross a road.

It is also used together with highway=path in some communities where it represents a refining of the pedestrian part of a combined or segregated foot- and cycleway; for this use see also the comprehensive explanation for bicycle way tagging.

Common values

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Less Common or Deprecated values

Key Value Element Description Photo Count


link way Proposed Tag - Parts of a footway necessary for routing which may not have a physical presence, but which form a link between other highway=* ways.

footway lane way One of the options to map pedestrian lane (i.e. part of the carriageway dedicated for pedestrian traffic, only marked with paint and not separated by kerbs, treeline or other physical barriers). See Sidewalks#As a pedestrian lane on the road for a list of alternative options, as well as problems with this one! Fussgängerweg blau Fussgängerschutzstreifen.jpg

footway both / right / left / none / no / separate Deprecated — please use sidewalk=* instead.

Usage for sidewalks

To start using this tag, map the sidewalk as a way alongside the carriageway, with the following tags:


You might use additional tags:

Connecting ways

Connections of other ways with to the street should always be made as in reality: If a way terminates on the sidewalk don't map a connection to the carriageway. If a way goes over the sidewalk to the carriageway just draw the way trough to the carriageway with a shared node on the sidewalk way.

The latter also holds true for connecting highway=footway/path: The access permissions for sidewalks usually don't allow other access than pedestrian and without the connection routing might be broken. If a way allowed for bicycles terminates on a sidewalk consider adding bicycle=dismount for the shortest sidewalk route to the carriageway.


If walking is illegal on a road then use foot=no (or foot=use_sidepath, if appropriate) given that most roads are assumed to be available for use by pedestrians unless they are motorways. For motorways consider adding foot=yes if walking it allowed, or add a sidewalk=* tag which should also be interpreted as meaning that walking is allowed. See access=* for a more general discussion about legal access issues.

Usage for crossings

The process is as follows:

  1. On either side of the street, create a parallel footway=sidewalk way way, if any
  2. Create a perpendicular way (connecting both sidewalks) with highway=footway and footway=crossing
  3. Place a highway=crossing node node at each point where this perpendicular section crosses the carriageway (often only one point, more for a dual carriageway or complex junction).

You might use additional tags:

See also crossing:island=* and footway=traffic_island if you wish to map the presence of pedestrian refuges along the crossing.

Where there's no sidewalk on the opposite side but where the crossing is used to access a park, playground, building entrance, service road. etc., draw the perpendicular footway from the sidewalk footway to the crossing node on the carriageway.

Add cycleway=crossing if the crossing can be used by cyclists without dismounting, however where cyclists are required to dismount then add bicycle=dismount) to indicate that the route can be used by cyclists on foot.


The following examples show the range of sidewalk/crossing mapping of an intersection from very detailed to less detailed.

Image Discussion
Example for tagging as separate way
Crossing four-way intersection moved kerbs 2016.png
Example for combination of tagging as property and as separate way – full crossing & kerb mapping
Crossing four-way intersection combination.png
Example for combination of tagging as property and as separate way – light crossing & kerb mapping

Crossing four-way intersection combination light.png

Example for tagging as property

Crossing four-way intersection implicit.png

Association with the street

Because with the separate sidewalk schema makes the sidewalk completely separate from the street, several methods have been proposed to link the separate sidewalk back with the street. None have universal acceptance.

associatedStreet or street relations


To couple the sidewalk to its respective street, the ways can be added to a relation of type associatedStreet. The proposed type street is another commonly-used street aggregation relation. The following roles work in either.

(Traditionally, both relation types are used for a very different purpose – for linking houses to the street whose name is used in their address, rather than the street they are physically accessible from –, which accounts for most of the existing uses.)

Element Role Recurrence? Discussion
way street or <empty> One or more The multiple ways that form the carriageway
way sidewalk One or more The multiple ways that form the sidewalk and the crossings

Using relations for this purpose is very much optional, and you may wish to omit this in order to keep your mapping simple.

Taginfo statistics:

  • 2016-08 around 4000 elements with role sidewalk


The Proposal:Key:is_sidepath proposal captures whether a path is parallel along a street, making it adjoining.

The Proposal:Key:is_sidepath:of proposal documents possible ways to specify additional information with is_sidepath:of=*, is_sidepath:of:name=* and is_sidepath:of:ref=*.


Sidewalks are usually left unnamed in OpenStreetMap, but some mappers prefer to use name=* to associate a sidewalk with a street, avoiding the complexity of a relation. Around four percent of ways with footway=sidewalk have name=* set as well (around 125,000 as of August 2022).

Possible tagging mistakes

If you know places with this tag, verify if it could be tagged with another tag.
Automated edits are strongly discouraged unless you really know what you are doing!
If you know places with this tag, verify if it could be tagged with another tag.
Automated edits are strongly discouraged unless you really know what you are doing!
If you know places with this tag, verify if it could be tagged with another tag.
Automated edits are strongly discouraged unless you really know what you are doing!

See also