Philippines/Mapping conventions/Roads

From OpenStreetMap Wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search


The current road classification for the Philippines has been since WikiProject Philippines started, but has not been applied correctly in parts of the country. With the implementation of a national road numbering system from 2014 (with signing started on 2015 in AH26 sections), a better classification system, with the official designation taken in regard, not just purpose, has been needed, as an amendment to the current system, which has been improperly implemented in various places. Proportionality and consistency must be also considered.

Most of this road classification guidelines are based on the Canadian tagging guidelines for roads, but with slight modifications to fit the Philippine context. Guidelines in Highway Tag Africa are also applied, especially when tagging road networks in the poorest provinces.

The full inventory of national roads and their routes can be found at the DPWH 2017 Road Data page, which is divided by region (excluding ARMM) and district office. Also, that can help find missing numbered routes where they are currently not mapped, but the best practice is to find the numbers on the ground.


In the Philippines, highway=motorway correspond to expressways, controlled-access highways that are multi-lane divided roads, mostly tolled. North Luzon Expressway, South Luzon Expressway, STAR Tollway, etc., fall under that classification. They are numbered in the format E[number], yet, the numbering has been only implemented in sections where AH26 runs.

A few expressway segments, such as STAR Tollway between Lipa and Batangas City exits and North Luzon Expressway between Clark Spur Road and Santa Ines exits, are originally two-lane undivided roads, and are tagged also as highway=motorway, with the addition of oneway=no, so to contradict the implied one-way tag. As of 2016, only the majority of the Subic-Tipo Expressway are mapped as a single line with oneway=no.

National roads


Unless otherwise stated, all primary national roads (with one to two digit route numbers) are tagged as highway=trunk.


There are two existing guidelines for secondary national roads (with three digit route numbers)

  • highway=trunk - Secondary national roads of major importance, linking regional centers (with at least 100,000 people) and provincial capitals; sections serving as connector for a primary route that transitions into secondary at a certain point.
  • highway=primary - All other instances not covered by the circumstances stated above

There are some exceptions to these rules, such as highway stubs that is only of local importance, military base access, except for roads connecting an operational airport.


This category is rather fuzzy to have correspondences the OpenStreetMap road classification, since it includes various local roads maintained by DPWH. There are various possible correspondences based on the existing road network where the highway run.

  • highway=primary - Use in areas where secondary applies to provincial and city/municipal roads, and where there is no secondary national road that can be classified as primary.
  • highway=secondary - Minor national road leading to area not served by any other national road, or minor urban thoroughfare (where primary class applies to three-digit routes)

Bypasses and diversion roads

In general, bypass or diversion roads are tagged as highway=primary, regardless of class. A few rules of thumb when considering the classification of bypasses or diversion routes are:

  • When the bypass is a physical continuation of a primary or secondary route entering a city or town proper being bypassed, the bypass is assigned the higher class, and the existing route is demoted.
  • When the route being bypassed continues toward the city or town center being bypassed, the bypass or diversion is given primary classification.
  • Where the bypass starts at a rotunda (roundabout, e.g. in Carmona or Batangas City), the bypass takes the class of the route it displaces.

A few bypass or diversion routes are numbered; examples are Governor's Drive in Carmona (as Route 651, where Route 65 enters the town center) and Batangas Diversion Road in Batangas City.

Local government-maintained roads


A secondary road is a non-major route that serves as a link in the national system, and typically follows shorter routes. They mostly have two lanes, but in urban areas they may be multi-lane and/or dual carriageway. Other than the majority of DPWH-maintained tertiary national roads that follows the definition of this designation, most roads of this class do not have lane markings. In some provinces, quality of this roads may be even worse.


  • Secondary, tertiary - All roads that function as links to minor municipalities, or principal access to barangays. Tertiary national roads that spur away from the main network and function as links to minor municipalities or principal access to barangays, city and municipal arterial roads, and provincial roads.

Major arterials in private developments (including subdivisions) that are public access or permissive access also falls under secondary.


Tertiary roads are roads that are less important than secondary roads but more important than unclassified roads. Most of this roads are the major road between and within barangays, and are usually maintained by the barangay government. They mostly lack road markings, and have worse quality, especially in the poorest provinces.

This class differs in characteristics in the urban and rural areas, so does the recommendation:

  • Urban
    • Narrow: usually not wider than two to four lanes
    • Local access: typically used for access to residential and commercial areas, and is divided by major highways.
  • Traffic calming: low speed limit, frequent uncontrolled intersections, humps, curves, shared traffic with pedestrians
  • Rural
    • Typically a local access road used to serve sparsely populated barangay[s] and branches from a higher importance road. These may be paved, but may be unpaved in the underdeveloped provinces. They are usually narrow and has shared motor, foot, and animal traffic.

Main access roads in restricted-access subdivisions are previously recommended to be classified as tertiary, but they must downgraded to unclassified, with addition of necessary access tags.


This includes all non-major rural roads that link smaller areas, including, but not limited to non-major barangay roads and the vast majority of farm-to-market roads. Maintenance varies from well-paved to unsealed.


  • Rural:
    • More narrow barangay roads, usually spurring from a more frequently used route. Typically used only to access a sitio/purok from the major roads, and narrow (usually one lane).
    • Most farm-to-market roads, linking farmlands with a major road
  • Urban: Non-major roads in barangays that serve as a street over a commercial district or a distributor road in a barangay. Can be distinguishable by having a narrow right of way.



Summary of each type

Name Description Examples Picture Speed (in kilometers per hour)
Motorway Expressways 0766jfHighway Pangasinan Urdaneta Bridges Binalonan Landmarksfvf 03.JPG

JfBulacan9897ChapelMarilaoLiasfvf 22.JPG

60 (minimum); 80 (maximum for trucks and buses); 100 (maximum)
Motorway link Expressway entrance and exit ramps, usually with toll gates. 40 (if legal, tag as maxspeed=*), otherwise tag as maxspeed:advisory=*
  • Primary national roads, unless otherwise indicated (see list above), and connecting highways.
    • Urban areas: typically four-lane roads with a white center line or divided multi-lane roads with a center island.
    • Rural trunk roads may range from two-lane roads to four-lane roads, sometimes the two added lanes are former shoulders.
  • Secondary national roads of major importance, linking regional centers (with at least 100,000 people as rule of thumb) and provincial capitals. See list for all highways classified as such.
04180jfChurches Buildings West North Avenue Roads Edsa Barangays Quezon Cityfvf 07.JPG

Muntinlupa City, Tunasan, Maharlika Highway 009.JPG 0036jfWelcome Barangays San Juan Pedro Lapsing Tarlac Moncada Highwayfvf 20.JPG

40-80 (unless signed)
Trunk link Ramps on non-expressway grade roads, slip roads between roads of the same type or below (primary, secondary, tertiary, etc.), and U-turn slots
  • Primary national highways (or sections of) not listed as parts of the core network
GilPuyatLRTjf1278 07.JPG

09188jfPura Victoria Tarlac Farm National Roadfvf 03.JPG

40-60 (unless signed)
Primary link Ramps on roads that does not serve the function of a trunk road, slip roads between roads of the same type or lower (secondary, tertiary, unclassified, etc), and U-turn slots 40-60 (unless signed)
Secondary Secondary importance roads usually connecting barangays with the city/town center. JfBulacan9897ChapelMarilaoLiasfvf 38.JPG

JfSanSimonSanJuanSanPedro7165Pampangafvf 28.JPG

Tertiary Tertiary-importance roads usually serving a barangay or residential area and mostly lined with houses. Collector roads on a populated area. 0275jfSan Pablo Libutad Mexico Pampanga Roads Quezon San Simonfvf 03.JPG 20-40
Unclassified Roads usually serving through traffic on industrial or commercial areas. May occur on rural areas as a less important road on a barangay, usually paralleling a road tagged with highway=tertiary. 20-40
Residential Roads on residential areas. 09827jfBaluga Schools Halls Maestrang Kikay Talavera Ecijafvf 05.JPG 20 (unless signed)
Service Parking lot roads. Roads around malls, industrial areas, or commercial areas, unless it serves as a through route.


Names, by practice, should be the local, signed, or official short name. The vast majority of nationally or locally maintained (i.e. maintained by local governments) roads have official names, but with the notable exception for national roads, official names of locally maintained roads are often obscure, and can be only spotted on road project signboards posted by the local engineering office.

In many provinces, national roads with no established name unique to the road section mentioned are often named generically as "National Road" or "National Highway", with some including the name of the barangay to the name. Those names can be tagged if there is established local usage (e.g. through common usage on addresses and local orientation), otherwise, use the official name as used on road project signboards or street signs as the primary name (i.e. the name=*).

Names in local languages are not very common, but do exist. Street names in Tagalog will generally have Kalye ("Street") or Daan ("Road") (or even rarer, like Abenida, ) prefixed, while roads in Visayan-speaking areas (and also in Kapampangan or Ilocano) typically have the prefix Dalan, which can either theoretically translate to "Road" or "Street". In most cases, such names are the only ones signed, so they take the default name tag.


Named junctions

In some places, named junctions are often used for local orientation. Most commonly such junctions are often named from the a locality or other reference point (usually a barangay, city/municipality, city district, or nearest kilometer marker, ), followed with descriptors like "Junction/Crossing" (e.g. Calamba Crossing, Palapala Junction). In regions where Visayan languages (e.g. Cebuano, Hiligaynon/Ilonggo) are spoken locally, junction names often have the descriptor coming before the locality name (e.g. Crossing Panacan, Crossing Talomo, Crossing Ulas, in Davao City), but that naming scheme also occur outside Visayan-speaking regions, but to a lesser extent.

Named junctions are tagged junction=yes, where it could be placed on the junction node, or on a separate polygon on more complex situations. In some cases, the junction name became an established name for the surrounding area, that one might consider tagging it on a place node, especially where the name is of a sitio/purok.

Reclassification work

This page is currently drafted, but, reclassification has been started in these places:


  • Batangas
    • Lipa: provincial and city roads (some needs reclassification, like Feliciano Leviste Provincial Highway and Lipa-Ibaan Road)
    • Batangas City: streets in Poblacion
  • La Union
    • Aringay
  • Metro Manila
    • Makati: Demote J.P. Rizal Avenue, Antonio Arnaiz Avenue, Ayala Avenue, and Paseo de Roxas.
    • Manila: Demote tertiary national roads tagged as primary (incl. Juan Luna Street, Honorio Lopez Boulevard, Moriones Street, Reina Regente, and promoting those tagged as tertiary; promoting most primary national roads tagged as secondary (except T.M. Kalaw Avenue)
  • Nueva Ecija
    • San Jose and Lupao (Route 56)
    • Guimba (tertiary national roads)
  • Pangasinan
    • Umingan, Balungao
  • Tarlac
    • Tarlac City (Hacienda Luisita Access Road)
    • Victoria (tertiary national roads, provincial roads, major barangay roads)


  • Bulacan
  • Metro Manila
    • Quezon City: demote local tertiary national roads including E. Rodriguez Sr. Avenue, Roosevelt Avenue, Tandang Sora Avenue, and Regalado Highway
  • Taguig: Demote Lawton Avenue (except Sales Interchange overpass connecting with Route 192), McKinley Road, and Cayetano Boulevard to secondary.


  • Ilocos Sur
    • Promote major tertiary national roads tagged as secondary or tertiary to primary
  • La Union
    • Promote major tertiary national roads tagged as secondary to primary
    • Reclassify other major roads from Agoo to Rosario
  • Pangasinan
    • Demote all major provincial roads in the eastern part currently tagged as primary
  • Pampanga
    • Reclassify major roads, particularly national roads leading to Candaba and nearby municipalities
  • Nueva Ecija
    • Promote major tertiary national roads tagged as secondary to primary
    • Demote provincial roads tagged as primary to secondary
  • Bulacan
    • Promote/demote various tertiary national roads and sub-national roads (provincial, city/municipal) around Santa Maria and Pandi
    • Reclassify main road serving Doña Remedios Trinidad
  • Cavite
    • Demote Daang Hari to primary
    • Reclassify city roads in Dasmariñas
    • Demote remaining part of provincial road serving General Emilio Aguinaldo
    • Reclassify municipal and barangay roads in General Mariano Alvarez and Carmona
  • Laguna
    • Demote LGU-maintained arterial road across the poblacion areas of San Pedro, Biñan, Santa Rosa, Cabuyao, and Calamba to secondary.
    • Demote arterial road around Greenfield City to secondary
    • Demote Pulo-Diezmo Road to secondary
  • Batangas
    • Demote Leviste Highway and remaining major provincial roads to secondary
    • Fix road classifications in Balayan poblacion and parts of Tuy