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Public-images-osm logo.svg unsigned_ref
Last Northern US 9 Reference Marker.jpg
Indicates a route number that has assigned ref that is not prominently signposted with a reassurance marker. Edit or translate this description.
Group: References
Used on these elements
should not be used on nodesmay be used on waysmay be used on areasmay be used on relations
Useful combination
Status: de facto

The key unsigned_ref=* is used on highway=* ways and route=* relations to indicate the route number when the route number is not prominently signposted with a [W] reassurance marker.

It may be not signposted anywhere at all, what is a typical situation. But in some rare cases there are tiny, unusable by drivers, signs.

The value of this tag follows the same format as ref=*. For example, a way might have unsigned_ref=SR 927B, whereas a relation would have unsigned_ref=927B. This tag should appear on the relation if the entire route has a single reference route number, and on the ways comprising the route in cases of multiple reference route numbers.


Road in Poland with a barely visible road reference marker, not intended to be a reassurance used for navigation

This tag has not gone through a formal proposal/voting process. However, it is in common usage.

It is useful in cases where "unsigned" highway routes are typically used by road maintenance crews but not the general public. For example in United States this tag is popular - there may in fact be signs posted with the route number, but they aren't visible or frequent enough to allow for effective navigation by motorists. Also in other countries, for example in Poland many minor roads have officially assigned codes but these codes are not used by general public and are not posted anywhere at all or with barely visible signs.

See also