Philippines/Mapping conventions/Roads

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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.

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.


A highway=trunk is any nationally-important road that are not expressway-grade. In the Philippines, they include most primary national roads, as well as secondary national roads that have the highest importance over others in the system. These highways connect the major cities, as well as provincial capitals and major seaports. In some areas, they can have partial grade separation, but they do not need to be divided and controlled-access. Highways in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao that connect the gaps in Routes 1 and 75 also fall in this classification.

All primary national roads are tagged trunk, except for these routes, with reason provided:

  • Route 1 in the poblacion Tiaong (bypassed by Tiaong Diversion Road)
  • Route 1 in Naga city proper (bypassed by Almeda Highway)
  • Route 1 between Panacan and Bangkal in Davao City (bypassed by Carlos P. Garcia Highway/Route 931)
  • Route 2 in San Fernando, La Union (bypassed by San Fernando Bypass Road)
  • Route 4 in the poblacion of Santo Tomas (bypassed by a short diversion road segment, also part of Route 4, connecting Maharlika Highway at Santo Tomas Junction)
  • Route 8 following General Maxilom Avenue and Osmeña Boulevard in Cebu City (mostly functions as a primary artery, and is bypassed by Imus Avenue and Del Rosario Street)
  • Route 55 passing the poblacion of Mangaldan and downtown Dagupan (bypassed by Route 241 and De Venecia Avenue Extension Del Rosario Street)
  • Route 59 following Aurora Boulevard in Quezon City (mostly an urban artery, because of frequent traffic lights and side streets)
  • Route 62 between Parañaque and Las Piñas (mostly functions as a primary artery in the city instead, since it was bypassed by CAVITEX)
  • Route 62 between Kawit and Cavite City (mostly functions as a primary artery for the municipalities served instead, plus it was surpassed in importance by Centennial Diversion Road/Route 64)
  • Route 63 (mostly functions as a primary artery in Parañaque)
  • Route 65 in the poblacion of Carmona (bypassed by Carmona Bypass Road)
  • Route 67 (mostly functions as a primary artery over Calauan, when considering proportionality and usage)

These secondary national roads are also tagged trunk, for their overall importance over the others:

  • Route 109 (Banaue-Bontoc section)
  • Route 110
  • Route 120
  • Route 128 (Mindanao Avenue between Congressional Avenue and NLEX Mindanao Avenue Link)
  • Route 129 (Congressional Avenue, Commonwealth Flyover, Katipunan Avenue up to C.P. Garcia Avenue)
  • Route 170 (following P. Burgos Avenue, Quezon Boulevard, Lerma, España Boulevard, Quezon Avenue, and Commonwealth Avenue
  • Route 204
  • Route 224
  • Route 300
  • Route 301 (Mindanao Avenue between Congressional Avenue and NLEX Mindanao Avenue Link)
  • Route 306 (Mindanao Avenue between Congressional Avenue and NLEX Mindanao Avenue Link)
  • Route 410 (Aguinaldo Highway between Silang and Tagaytay, and Tagaytay-Nasugbu Road up to Cavite-Batangas boundary)
  • Route 419
  • Route 601 (Manila East Road between Taytay and Famy. Excluded bypassed sections in municipal centers of Taytay, Baras, and Taytay)



A highway=primary is a major highway that connects major municipalities with the backbone highway system, and function as a primary artery in the area. In rural areas, they are two-lane roads with a marked center line (with a few having no lines), while in urban areas, they can be multi-lane roads. They do not need to pass over the town center or downtown district (poblacion).

Other than those that are highway=trunk, or lower, by overall importance, secondary national roads (3-digit routes) are usually highway=primary. Tertiary national roads that function as a principal artery are also under this class.


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 main access road in 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
  • 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.






Reclassification work

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

  • Batangas
    • Ibaan, Taysan, and Rosario (provincial roads)
    • Lipa (provincial and city roads)
    • Batangas City (streets in Poblacion)
  • La Union
    • Aringay
  • Nueva Ecija
    • San Jose and Lupao (Route 56)
    • Guimba (tertiary national roads)
  • Pangasinan
  • Umingan, Balungao
  • Tarlac
    • Victoria (tertiary national roads, provincial roads, major barangay roads)
    • Tarlac City (Hacienda Luisita Access Road)

Current reclassification are planned on these areas:

  • 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