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Road Classification

According to the government of Nepal, the major roads are divided into four main categories:[1]

  1. National Highway (NH)
  2. Feeder Roads (FR)
  3. District Roads (DR)
  4. City Roads / Streets (CR)

National Highway (NH)

Main arterial routes passing through the length and breadth of the country as a whole.

Official Class Id ref=* OSM tag Description Tagging guidelines Photo
National Highways H highway=trunk Highways which have heavy traffic intensity and connect different cities, regions and tourist centers.

Example includes the primary highways: Mahendra Highway, Tribhuvan Highway, Arniko Highway, Siddhartha Highway, Prithvi Highway

Name Relation Status Length(OSM/DoR) route Remarks
H01 relation 339449 100 % 1026/1026km MAHENDRA RAJMARGA:Kakarbhitta-Dhalkebar-Pathlaiya-Hetauda-Narayangadh-Butwal-Kohalpur-Banbasa trunk
H02 relation 4655407 100 % 187/188km TRIBHUVAN RAJPATH: Sirsiya Boarder-Pathlaiya-Bhainse-Naubise-Nagdhunga-Tripureswor trunk
H03 relation 4655593 100 % 117/117km ARNIKO RAJMARGA:Maitighar-Suryabinayak-Dhulikhel-Dolalghat-Barabise-Kodari trunk
H04 relation 339982 100 % 172/172km PRITHIVI RAJMARGA:Naubise- Mugling-Pokhara trunk
H05 relation 4655609 100 % 36/36km Narayanghat-Mugling trunk
H06 relation 4655642 100 % 159/159km SINDHULI RAJMARGA:Bhittamod-Dhalkebar-Sindhuli-Khurkot-Nepalthok-Dhulikhel primary
H07 relation 4655655 100 % 237/?km MECHI RAJMARGA:Kechna-Charali-Maikhola-Ilam-Phidim-Taplejung primary,secondary,unclassified
H08 relation 4655659 100 % 111/111km KOSHI RAJMARGA,Rani-Itahari-Dharan-Dhankuta-Hile primary
H09 relation 4655682 100 % 124/124km SAGARMATHA RAJMARGA:Kadmaha-Gaighat-Lamidanda secondary
H10 relation 4655736 100 % 183/183km SIDHARTHA RAJMARGA:Belhiya-Butwal-Bartung-Syangjha-Pokhara trunk
H11 relation 4655755 100 % 171/171km RAPTI RAJMARGA:Ameliya-Tulsipur-Salyan-Musikot primary,secondary
H12 relation 4655803 100 % 113/113km RATNA RAJMARGA:Jamunia-Kohalpur-Chisapani-Birendranagar trunk,primary
H13 relation 4655825 100 % 237/237km KARNALI RAJMARGA:Birendranagar-Manma-Jumla secondary
H14 relation 4655828 100 % 318/316km MAHAKALI RAJMARGA:Mohana Bridge-Ataria-Syule-Dadeldhura-Satbanj-Darchula primary,secondary,tertiary,unclassified
H15 relation 4655852 100 % 54/54km SETI RAJMARGA:Syaule-Doti/Silgadi secondary
H16 relation 4659866 100 % 27/27km Kathmandu Ring Road trunk
H17 relation 4655869 100 % 582/456km secondary,tertiary,unclassified
H18 relation 4655920 100 % 955/798km MIDHILL:Sanfebagar-Mangalsen; Kudu-Begelung;Khurkot-Hile primary,tertiary,unclassified
H19 Lua error in Module:Element at line 60: Given relation id parameter is not a number. 0 % 13km Shabha( MRM)-Bramhadev planned
H20 Lua error in Module:Element at line 60: Given relation id parameter is not a number. 0 % 82km Kathmandu (Outer Ring Road)–Chhaimale-Kulekhani-Budune-Shreepur–Jaspal-Nijgadh planned
H21 Lua error in Module:Element at line 60: Given relation id parameter is not a number. 0 % 72km Bhutkhel-Tokha-Changunarayan-Suryabinyak-Lubhu-Lubhu-Thaiba-Bhutkhel(KTM Outer Ringroad) planned

Feeder Roads (FR)

Important roads that connect District Headquarters with the National Highways.

District Roads (DR)

These are the small roads usually in villages that provide access to abutting (lie adjacent to) land with no movement. Usually, they give access to one or more villages to the District Headquarters.

City Roads (CR)

Urban Roads

The following roads forms the road network in urban areas like cities and towns. Sections of these roads carrying very high density are usually oneway (oneway=yes) and intersections are restricted by having a parallel highway=service road to collect local traffic. Major intersections are usually grade separated or are regulated using highway=traffic_signals. For all practical purpose the roads in an urban area can be considered as those roads that are enclosed within designated ring roads or bypass roads.

Class OSM tag Description Tagging guidelines Photo
Primary Collector or Sub-arterial Roads highway=primary Road corridors that carries a huge volume of traffic between arterial roads and has a high density of public transport services. e.g. Maitighar to New Baneshwor, Tripureshwor to Kalimati, Thapathali to Jawlakhel etc. These roads often connect two relatively distant localities in urban areas. The lanes=* key should be used to specify the total number of traffic lanes.
Secondary Collector Roads highway=secondary Collector roads that carry lower volume of traffic and has either no public transport service or a lower density of public transport service. e.g. New Road to Basantapur, Mangalbazaar to Gwarko, New Baneshwor to Sankhamul, etc. These roads often connect two neighboring/nearby localities in urban areas. The lanes=* key should be used to specify the total number of traffic lanes.

NOTE: This roads are often named as a सडक, e.g. बत्तीसपुतली सडक.

Local Roads

These roads are usually in the cities. They provide access to abutting residential or industrial properties.

The following roads cater to local traffic movement over short distances and feed traffic into bigger roads. Speed is usually restricted due to narrow widths, high number of intersections or by traffic calming devices like traffic_calming=bump. Access restrictions can be indicated by using the access=* tag.

Class OSM tag Description Tagging guidelines Photo
Unknown or unverified road highway=road Roads traced from satellite imagery for which a classification has not been determined yet. This is a temporary tag indicating further ground survey work is required.
Residential road highway=residential General residential roads in a planned locality. Wide enough to carry slow moving residential traffic. Wider residential roads with access to two cars at the same time will have lanes=2 key. Narrower residential roads through which only one car can pass at a time will have lanes=1 key.

NOTE: A road name ending with the word "मार्ग" is a good indication that a road is residential.

Service ways highway=service Generally for access to (or inside) a building, industrial estate, universities, parks, etc. This is also commonly used for access to parking, driveways, and alleys.
Pedestrian highway=pedestrian Roads that are almost exclusively used by pedestrians and are out of bounds of motor vehicles in normal conditions, such as plazas and squares. e.g. Roads around Durbar squares, Ason etc. If motorcycles are allowed, it will be tagged motorcycle=yes.
Unpaved motorable tracks highway=track


Rough roads, often with unpaved/unsealed surfaces and normally for agricultural or forestry uses etc. Also used for unpaved roads in rural areas through which motorized vehicles such as tractors can pass. Use tracktype=* for tagging to describe the surface.

Pedestrian Paths

These roads are meant for pedestrians and cannot be used by motorized transport. Use bicycle=yes and access=* to specify restrictions.

Class OSM tag Description Tagging guidelines Photo
Footpaths highway=footway Paths designated for pedestrian use in residential areas. Should be used along with galli=yes for narrow 'galli' which cannot be accessed by vehicles (a taxi or bigger). Most of the time, a bicycle or a motorcycle will regularly pass through these streets, but they will still be called galli. For wider pedestrian roads, please use highway=pedestrian.

NOTE: A road name ending with the word "गल्ली" is a good indication that the tags highway=footway and galli=yes should be used.

Multi-use paths highway=path 'Kachcha' tracks or dirt paths not intended for motorized vehicles. Also used by stock/mules/yaks and suitable for mountain biking and hiking along with sac_scale=*

Highways in Rural & Mountainous Areas

In many parts of Nepal access by 4-wheeled vehicles may be very difficult or impossible. In those places the largest vehicle in use may be a motorcycle. Although a path may be clear on the imagery, it is often difficult to establish for certain whether it is used by vehicles with axles or not. However, it is important to try, as such information is highly useful for on-going humanitarian relief efforts.

Determining a path's highway type from imagery

The following rules of thumb can be used to decide whether a path can be used by 4-wheeled vehicles:

  • Examine the path for changes in direction. Frequent 'kick-backs' indicate a pedestrian path.
  • Examine the path for alternative paths. Pedestrian paths will often have many small divergent paths in places which get muddy or are liable to erosion. Similar places with vehicular traffic do not show clear divergent paths, but rather broaden out.
  • Tracks and gravel roads will often show clear signs of the presence of 4-wheeled vehicles.
  • Consider access. All highways upstream of a foot suspension bridge are very likely to be paths for pedestrians.
  • Gradient. Estimate gradient of highways. OpenCycleMap will help. A gradient over 7% is unlikely to be a road regularly used by vehicles.
  • River and stream crossings. The way in which a highway crosses rivers and streams can often provide useful cues as to the type of traffic using the highway. Pedestrian routes tend to try and avoid height loss so will contour upstream, whereas powered vehicles need a steady gradient and broad crossing place.
Good rural road (F123)

Tagging rural vehicular highways

In practice highway=unclassified is usually the best choice. Villagers in rural areas of a poor country are unlikely to be able to afford motor vehicles, and thus the primary functions of the roads are access from the main road network. Longer roads serving several villages may need a highway=tertiary to reflect a more important position in the road network. But often the initial tagging can only be refined once the rest of the highway network has been traced for context.

Sometimes highway=track is used, but in Nepal's classification scheme, it is typically used for agricultural roads. highway=road is sometimes used in OSM to indicate that more data are needed to correctly classify the road, but this is not appropriate when the data is likely to be needed in the short term, as in current 2015 Earthquake.

It is also important to tag unpaved roads as surface=unpaved and to identify river and stream crossings and mark these ford=yes, either as a node intersecting the waterway or as a section of the highway that crosses the waterway.

Good rural path

Tagging rural pedestrian paths

Generally highway=path is appropriate.

Pedestrian suspension bridges are commonly found. Add bridge=yes + bridge:structure=suspension + layer=1.