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. 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


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 (with populations above 100,000), as well as provincial capitals, other regional centers and major seaports (especially, RoRo ports). 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.

In Luzon, trunk class falls on the routes listed below. Notes, and known road names are placed in parentheses:

  • N1 (Maharlika Highway, Cagayan Valley Road, EDSA, Manila South Road)
  • N2 (MacArthur Highway, Manila North Road)
  • N3 (Jose Abad Santos Avenue)
  • N4 (Jose P. Laurel Highway, Ayala Highway)
  • N11 (C-5)
  • N51 (Santiago-Tuguegarao Road)
  • N52
  • N53
  • N54 (Kennon Road, Naguilian Road)
  • N55 (Pangasinan-La Union Road, Romulo Highway)
  • N56
  • N57 (Urdaneta-Dagupan Road)
  • N58 (Tarlac-Santa Rosa Road
  • N59 (Aurora Boulevard, Marcos Highway, Sumulong Highway)
  • N60 (Ortigas Avenue)
  • N61 (Roxas Boulevard from EDSA to NAIA Road)
  • N62 (Quirino Avenue, Diego Cera Avenue, Aguinaldo Highway from Zapote Bridge to Tirona Highway, Tirona Highway, Manila-Cavite Road. From Alabang-Zapote Road to Antero Soriano Highway only.)
  • N63 (Dr. A. Santos Avenue, Sucat Road. Ninoy Aquino Avenue to SLEX only)
  • N64
  • N65 (excluding Carmona section bypassed by N651)
  • N66
  • N68 (Andaya Highway)
  • N110 (Benguet-Nueva Vizcaya Road)
  • N111
  • N114
  • N120
  • N127
  • N128
  • N129 (Katipunan Avenue, Luzon Avenue)
  • N140 (Roxas Boulevard to Osmeña Highway only)
  • N194 (NAIA Road)
  • N195 (Ninoy Aquino Avenue)
  • N204 (Halsema Highway)
  • N301 (Roman Superhighway)
  • N306
  • N410 (Aguinaldo Highway, Tagaytay-Nasugbu Road. Silang to Diokno Highway only)
  • N412
  • N435 (Batangas-Quezon Road)
  • N436
  • N601 (Manila East Road. Excludes section bypassed by Taytay Diversion Road)


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.

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=*)(if advisory, tag as maxspeed:advisory=*
  • Primary national roads and major urban thoroughfares connecting major cities and administrative areas.
    • 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.
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.



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