Malaysian Roads Tagging

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This page merely recommends how to tag highway=* in Malaysia (note: strictly the peninsular at the moment). Over time, different mappers will have their own way to interpret a certain tag, but definitely, some key-value pairs will become the standard way to tag things.

The main classification for Malaysian highways are as follows:

Other types of roads may not fall under any kind of the mentioned categories, but they are able to be systematically tagged in the OSM database according to their primary function and/or importance to local traffic. The ref tags listed on signs do not delineate between ref and ref:to markers. In order to determine how to tag the ref network, mappers should look at the larger road network before tagging.


The highway system which is the highest class in Malaysia.

Reference number

Highway shield

OSM tagging

Typical examples

Description, comments Photo

One or two digits, beginning with the letter E

  • High-speed expressway, usually 90km/h and up to the national speed limit of 110km/h. Use the maxspeed=* tag to indicate different speed limit zones.
  • Typically expressways are strictly full access control highways. Which means:
    • no direct access to properties (buildings)
    • inaccessible to cyclists or pedestrians (in some cases, motorcyclists)
    • restriction on certain type of heavy vehicles (may vary across different expressways)
    • traffic flow in and out of the highway through specified interchanges only
  • They are often tolled: usually closed toll system (or an open toll system). Use the toll=* tag accordingly.
  • Often expressways have central reservations (double carriageways or divided highway). Each carriageway has two lanes minimum. However, some expressways do not have central reservations (single carriageways or undivided highway) at some certain stretches but still maintain toll payments and access restrictions.


  • Some highways in the Greater Klang Valley – Kuala Lumpur area may not fall under this category e.g. Federal Highway .
  • Consider using highway=trunk for certain stretch of the highway that features lack of controlled access. For example, the northbound North-South Expressway, there are intersections with traffic lights between the stretch from Bukit Kayu Hitam and Changlun.

Lebuhraya Pantai Baru.jpg

Malaysia Destination Sign.png highway=motorway_link


[1] Alternate ref signage sometimes seen. Imagery found on Mapillary.
[2] New version of this type of signage. Imagery found on Mapillary.
  • Motorcycle path for certain expressways, or designated motorcycle paths near toll plazas. Please refer to this specific segment.
Motorcycle lane Sungai Petani Utara.jpg

Further reading

Federal roads

These highways are maintained under the Ministry of Works (MoW or KKR). Features blue road signs.

Reference number

Highway shield

OSM tagging

Typical examples

Description, comments Photo

Main Federal Road

One or two or three digits

name=Lebuhraya Persekutuan


  • This is the highway that looks like the expressways. The highway is meant to carry long distance journeys but may not be significant for local traffic. E.g. Federal Highway .
  • These highways feature partial access controls.
  • Central reservations much like the expressways, commonly from one end to another end.
  • They have more interchanges or even intersections. These let more traffic going in; usually through collector roads. Traffic lights are uncommon, but it may not impact the flow of traffic.
  • Designated places for U-turns.
  • Indirect access to properties is possible.
  • Typically toll-free. Exception: Federal Highway have tolls.
  • National speed limit up to 90 km/h.

Main roads

  • Typical roads that connects between major key places across the country.
  • Lack of access control:
  • Highway is important for both local and non-local traffic.
  • Almost every kind of vehicle is allowed to use the highway.
  • Fragmented central reservations. In other words, most part of the highway is left undivided (single carriageways). There will be divided segments (dual carriageway) but only near intersections.
  • Anything else simply not matching the highway=trunk description as above.
  • National speed limit up to 90 km/h.
Hezery99-Jerangau Jabor Hwy.JPG

Other main roads

Some roads in certain places (e.g. Langkawi or Selangor) may not be suitable to be tagged with highway=trunk or highway=primary. Use highway=secondary or highway=tertiary to accurately reflect the importance of such roads.


Institutional Federal Roads

Three digits


FELDA or FELCRA Federal Road

Four digits, beginning with 1000-2999


Industrial Federal Roads

Four digits, beginning with 3000-3799



  • Major federal route, for example, Federal Route 1, is usually referred as a federal trunk. However, as it winds through small cities or towns or rural areas (e.g. outside Greater Kuala Lumpur or Johor Bahru), the route may show clear signs not fully meeting the conventional highway=trunk criteria. highway=primary tag (or lower tag classifications) describes better this particular stretch of road. This may apply to the rest of major federal routes (which usually has a single digit reference number). Divided stretch (dual carriageway), or an undivided stretch (single carriageway) does not directly imply whether it should be tagged as highway=trunk or highway=primary – consider access control. To discuss more in depth, the forum is the best place to do so! Important: do not simply tag for the renderer.
  • Currently the road reference system can be said quite messy. The last time the road list was updated in 2013, the main federal routes are coded with 1-255 and institutional roads are coded with 250-499. However, recently, some of the formerly state roads were made into roads maintained under the federal level (MoW) and are using codes meant for institutional road.

Major federal routes suitable to be tagged as a highway=trunk

  • The Federal Highway, route number 2
  • The Pan-Borneo Highway when it's completed

Further reading

State roads

Roads connecting towns, districts or villages in a state. Maintained under the state's Public Works Department.

Reference number

Highway shield

OSM tagging

Typical examples

Description, comments Photo

One or two or three digits, beginning with specified letters for each state


The main function of the road can be considered to decide the class of a state road. For example:

  • For a main (arterial) state road (e.g. connects between towns) which carries significant amount of traffic, then the tag highway=primary may fit well.
  • Roads that connects across key places across a state (e.g. between villages and nearby towns) is suggested to carry the highway=secondary tag.
  • Road that acts as connector roads between a village and a main road may be tagged as highway=tertiary.

Please note that some residential roads may look the same to these kind of road, however, there is a specific tag for that.

In short, universal tag convention gives the best description.


Secondary road near Langgar.JPG

State road codes

  • A: Perak
  • B: Selangor
  • C: Pahang
  • D: Kelantan
  • J: Johor
  • K: Kedah
  • M: Melaka
  • N: Negeri Sembilan
  • P: Penang
  • T: Terengganu
  • R: Perlis

Further reading

Malaysian State Roads system (Wikipedia)

Other roads

Sample signpost OSM tagging

Typical examples

Description, comments Photo

name=Jalan Masjid
Maintained by local authorities (majlis bandar raya or majlis perbandaran). This kind of road is typical, for example, in Shah Alam (with BSA code followed by a number). Again, the degree of importance of the road depends on its traffic, etc.

More about its road code over here.

Jalan kampung.JPG highway=unclassified Roads with no certain classification. These may include:
  • Very minor public road
  • Rural roads

These kind of road act as feeder roads, which means they mainly carries traffic from villages (or special residential areas) to a major road.

Kawasan Perumahan.jpg highway=residential Roads in a typical housing estate (taman perumahan). May also be used in villages (or any other kind of residential areas) upon roads that act as feeders to the more important local highway. Taman Ria Terrace.jpg
ParkingSignT2SultanAbdulAzizShah.jpg highway=service Provides access to parking spaces, fuel stations, buildings, etc. Lapangan Terbang Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah.jpg
Jalan Ladang Skim Pengairan.jpg highway=track The bottom class of the road network which is still accessible by cars (or probably four-wheeled drive only). The tag can describe the tracks in agriculture lands or the only way deep in remote areas. Jalan Ladang.jpg
Signposted motorcycle lane in expressways
Signposted bicycle lane
highway=path Used for roads totally inaccessible by any four-wheeled vehicles. Motorcycles may or may not be able to use it. Southwest Dedicated Bicycle Highway, bicycle crossing at Jalan Tun Sambathan.jpg
N/A highway=pedestrian As shown in the picture to the right (Kuala Lumpur Central Market), the road is open for pedestrians only. No vehicles is allowed on the road. KL-CentralMarket pedmall.JPG
highway=footway N/A
Example based on way 560371536 highway=motorway_link


Malaysia Ref Network.png
Example based on way 249848185 highway=motorway_link


Often times there is no clear difference between the destination:ref and destination:ref:to signs for motorways and links. Look at the larger road network to see which refs connect directly to a link. Malaysia Ref Sign.png


  • Roads maintained by local authorities are categorised in this typical way: three letters followed by a number. The first of the three letter code is taken from the state road codes and the rest of the letters may be the initials of a city's names. For example, in Shah Alam, Selangor, roads maintained by the Shah Alam City Council is marked with BSA and followed by a number. Here, B is the state code for Selangor and SA is the initials of Shah Alam. Reference
  • The road Lebuh AMJ is an abbreviation commonly used on a road running from Simpang Ampat to Malaaca City before going west-east from Malacca City to Muar. The less commonly used expanded form is Lebuhraya Alor Gajah–Melaka Tengah–Jasin.

Route reference number

These can be found in direction signs or mile markers: the route reference number is in hexagonal highway shields ()

Sample street furniture OSM tagging

N.B. Taiping indicates other reachable major road(s)

Direction sign J7 Jalan Gelang Patah Ulu Choh - Mapillary (oeyrUIfTMH4iv33LGwYrnt).jpg
name=Jalan Gelang Patah - Ulu Choh

Painted road reference sign at Penerok-Teluk Kerang boundary - Mapillary (lPUqzbh7dN2Kxb5gr0Aq7v).jpg
Painted road reference sign at Teluk Kerang-Penerok boundary - Mapillary (03zUx6kGS0JTh0yHrKkswv).jpg
Painted reference number on road surface


See also

External links