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Public-images-osm logo.svg verge
Protected road verge - - 1800031.jpg
Presence of grass or other vegetation verges at the sides of a highway carriageway. 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)
See also
Status: in use
A85 east of Crianlarich ( - 1542387): a narrow verge used for parking
Oak Park Boulevard, a Chicago parkway with sidewalk within a wide verge
Wollaton Road and the Park wall ( - 1040852) : a verge providing amenity & separation of pedestrians from busy traffic

Indicates the presence of road verges on highways.

Road verges are strips of low vegetation, consisting of grasses and [W] forbs, alongside the carriageway of a highway. In urban areas verges are situated, at least in part, between the carriageway and sidewalks and are usually maintained at a low height through regular mowing. In rural areas verges can be wider than in towns, and may obscure other features along the road, such as ditches. Countryside verges will be cut less frequently and can be significant conservation resources. Verges are usually flat or slope gently away from the road. Be careful not to map road banks (as found in hollow lanes) as verges: these are not useful for pedestrian shelter or parking.

Mapping whether a highway has verges is of interest for the following reasons:

  • Rural roads without sidewalks sidewalk=no may be dangerous for walkers unless verges provide a suitable place to shelter from on-coming traffic. Pedestrian routers may wish to penalise segments without sidewalks or verges.
  • Existence of verges may indicate scope for informal parking of cars in rural areas.
  • Provide additional information to facilitate routing for mobility-impaired pedestrians in urban areas. Verges are often not navigable for wheelchair and mobility scooter users, and their presence or absence will affect how blind people navigate.
  • Indicate apparent amenity value of the streetscape. Verges in urban areas are usually regarded as an amenity, see also tree-lined=*


On highways

Tag a highway way with verge=* if it has a shoulder, and verge=no if it lacks any. The key should be used in exactly the same way as sidewalk=*. In the main the key is used to provide additional information to be used in conjunction with sidewalk data.

You may find it useful to tag roads with verge=no if it might be otherwise assumed to have verges. In Britain, for example, a reasonable default assumption is that all roads in towns lack verges, and all roads in rural areas have verges. The most useful cases for adding the tag are for roads where both sidewalks and verges are absent.

If there is a verge on just one side of the road, there are two possible ways of tagging:

  • verge=[yes|no|left|right|both]
  • verge[:left|:right|:both]=[yes|no] (not currently in use).

In general if there is a sidewalk directly adjacent to the road then don't use verge to map the remaining part of the highway corridor. There is no means of specifying if the sidewalk or verge is closest to the road, and therefore it is recommended that only verges interposed between the road and sidewalk be added using this key. In such cases this can either be inferred from any hedges, walls etc mapped, or can be mapped explicitly as an area (see below).

On verges as areas

If the actual verges have themselves been mapped, for instance with landuse=grass or leisure=nature_reserve, then adding verge=yes in conjunction with verge=separate on the adjacent highway helps show that the grassland feature belongs in the highway corridor.


You may want to add further details of the shoulder using normal tags, suitably namespaced. Here are some examples of tags that are in use:


If the shoulders are different on both sides of the road, consider using the :left/:right suffixes in the keys:

Verges & sidewalk mapping

There are two distinct ways of mapping sidewalks: as a single tag on the highway; or as separate highway=footway ways either side of the main highway. Either technique has advantages & disadvantages when compared with the other, and these apply both to mappers & data consumers. Historically, it has been recommended that sidewalks separated from the carriageway by verges should be mapped as separate ways. It is not clear that this practice is universal, but is common, for instance in Russia. When all sidewalks, whether with a verge or not, are mapped as separate ways then the presence of absence of verges needs to be made more explicit.

For a separately mapped sidewalk which runs within the verge, it may be appropriate to apply the tag directly to the footway itself.


This tag was first used in 2009 by SK53 to explicitly capture detail on a minor road which personal experience showed was dangerous for pedestrians.

External links