From OpenStreetMap Wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Public-images-osm logo.svg turn
Zeichen 297 - Richtungspfeile, StVO 1970.svg
The key turn can be used to specify the direction in which a way or a lane will lead. 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 areasshould not be used on relations
Status: approvedPage for proposal


The turn=* key can be used to specify the indicated direction in which a way or a lane will lead for turning or merging. It is used on the way or ways:

  • from the first indication via road markings, signposts or similar indications (including traffic being guided by solid lines into a particular turn, e.g. "turn pockets")
  • to the junction or the completion of merge.

This key is mostly used with the :lanes suffix (turn:lanes=*), to tag indicated turn markings for individual lanes. See the section Turning indications per lane on this page.

How to map

Identifying a turn indication

A turn lane may be indicated in a variety of ways, for example:

An arrow pavement marking may be used for something other than a turn indication, in which case it is unnecessary or counterproductive to add a turn:lanes=* tag:

Motorway with links and destinations

The following example shows a motorway with two links.

TurnExample6.svg lanes=3
TurnExample5.svg lanes=4
TurnExample4.svg lanes=3 (lanes=1 on ramp roads)
TurnExample3.svg lanes=4
TurnExample2.svg lanes=3
A3-Ring-StevensWoluwe.jpg Klettenberg, Köln, Germany - panoramio.jpg lanes=4

Current usage

When turns apply similarly to all lanes in the same direction (or when there's a single lane per direction)
Without a ":forward" or ":backward" or ":both_ways" direction suffix, the turn=* applies to both directions, or to the forward direction of oneway=yes highways (the same direction as the OSM way is drawn), or the backward direction of oneway=-1 highways (the reverse direction as the OSM way is drawn). You usually don't need to append such direction suffix to most oneway highways, unless the other direction applies to specific vehicles allowed to use the highway in the opposite direction (e.g. for some bus service lanes or cycleways, possibly on the same shared single lane, usually with a priority or with traffic control devices to alternate the direction when needed for these vehicles, or with special warning signals).
To specify different turn indications for each lane when there are multiple lanes in the same direction (see below)
In most frequent cases these tags are used to specify turn directions for separate lanes, but on bidirectional highways with separate single lane per direction, you can just separate the forward and backward directions. If you use the ":lanes" suffix, the number of values specified separated by vertical lines (|) must match the number of lanes according to their direction.


In addition to the individual values listed below, you may also indicate multiple directions by separating them in any order with a semicolon (;). If you specify multiple values any one of separate lanes, the lanes order must be preserved and must still be separated by vertical lines (so a lanes tag whose value is given as turn:lanes=a1;a2|b1;b2 specifies values for two lanes, not three, each lane having two values, and is equivalent to turn:lanes=a2;a1|b2;b1 but not to turn:lanes=a1;b2;a2|b1).

Value Description Road marking example Signpost example
left left turn (only) Richtungspfeil Links.jpg Fr-B21c2-Tourner a gauche a la prochaine intersection.gifFr-B21-2-Tourner a gauche.gifMUTCD R3-7L.svg
slight_left slight left turn (only)
sharp_left sharp left turn (only)
through going straight through (only) Richtungspfeil Geradeaus.jpg Fr-B21b-Aller tout droit.gif
right right turn (only) Richtungspfeil Rechts.jpg Zeichen 209-20 - Vorgeschriebene Fahrtrichtung, rechts, StVO 1992.svgMUTCD R3-7R.svg
slight_right slight right turn (only) Autobahnkreuz A24 - A10 bei Potsdam - Leipzig - - 3191 crop.jpg
sharp_right sharp right turn (only)
left;through / through;left left turn & through (only) (the variant of used values is to be discussed, see table of some distribution examples here: distribution) Turn-left-through.png
right;through / through;right through & right turn (only) (the variant of used values is to be discussed, see table of some distribution examples here: distribution) Turn-through-right.png
reverse reverse/U-turn (only) U turn A2 Lithuania.JPG
merge_to_left the traffic of this lane has to merge with the traffic of the lane to the left of it (only) US "lane reduction ahead sign" sign
merge_to_right the traffic of this lane has to merge with the traffic of the lane to the right of it (only) US "lane ends" signFahrbahn 2.pngFr-C28 ex3.gifNederlands verkeersbord L5.svg
slide_left slide to left. Note: This is a new tag that is hardly ever used. You can create a similar tag with a more appropriate name
slide_right slide to right. Note: This is a new tag that is hardly ever used. You can create a similar tag with a more appropriate name
none there are no turn indications on this lane
This value could be skipped for a shorter format, so ||right is equivalent to none|none|right. Some people find the latter more readable.

Turning indications per lane

Usually the turning indications of a road differ from lane to lane. To specify those indications for every lane, the :lanes suffix is used. For details about the :lanes suffix in general, see Lanes.

In short:

  • The key changes to turn:lanes=*
  • View the road in the direction of the osm-way.
  • Add the lane-values to the value, starting with the leftmost lane and ending with the rightmost. Separate each lane-value with a | (vertical bar)

If you want to describe only the lanes of one direction of the road, use either turn:lanes:forward=* or turn:lanes:backward=*. The key turn:lanes:forward=* describes only the turning indications on the lanes in the same direction as the osm-way. The key turn:lanes:backward=* describes only the turning indications on the lanes in the opposite direction as the osm-way; doing so view the road in the opposite direction of the osm-way for this.

Example for a one-way

There are three lanes on a one-way, and the leftmost lane will turn left, the rightmost lane will turn right and the lane in the middle will go straight through the next junction.


Example for a road with both directions

There are two lanes on the road in each direction. Those lanes running in the same direction as the osm-way are considered to be "forward"; the others "backward". The left lane of the forward direction will turn left and the right lane will go straight through and also turns right. The left lane of the backward direction will go straight through, the right lane will turn right and also continue straight through.


Special turn rules for specific vehicle types

In some cases, some vehicles—typically buses or all psv vehicles or bicycle will have a special rules.

turn:bus:lanes=* / turn:psv:lanes=* / turn:bicycle:lanes=* may be used for such tagging.

As with other lanes tags vehicle type is added before ":lanes" part (see say hgv:lanes=*).

Editor support



Adding a visual turn lane editor to iD was stated as planned during July-August 2016.[2]

Renderers and data consumers

Quality assurance tests

See also