Proposal:Emergency access & exits

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emergency access & exits
Proposal status: Proposed (under way)
Proposed by: Push-f
Draft started: 2022-06-20
RFC start: 2022-06-20

emergency=yes emergency=no emergency=designated entrance=emergency exit=emergency


  1. Formalize emergency=yes/no to indicate the usability of roads/paths to emergency vehicles, as described in #emergency=yes/no.
  2. Deprecate emergency=yes/no for hospitals in favor of emergencies=yes/no, as described in #emergencies.
  3. Red x.svg To do: What about emergency=designated?
  4. Deprecate the highly misleading entrance=emergency (which was approved to indicate emergency exits) in favor of exit=emergency.
    Red x.svg To do: How should entrances specifically intended for emergency services be tagged?


This proposal:



  • emergency=yes indicates that customary emergency vehicles can use a road or path (tagged with highway=*).
    This requires the following:
    • the way must physically allow passage for customary emergency vehicles regarding their width, height and weight
    • if there are any barriers along the way, they must be passable for customary emergency vehicles
  • emergency=no indicates that any of these requirements are not met (that is customary emergency vehicles cannot use the road or path).

Note that:

  • Both of these tags should only be used on a way tagged as a road or path (as per highway=*).
  • The specific type of road or path does not change the meaning of these tags. E.g. emergency=yes still means that emergency motor vehicles can use the way if it is tagged with highway=footway or highway=cycleway.
  • Neither of these tags implies anything about access=*. If the element is reserved for emergency services (i.e. may not be accessed by regular citizens), you should additionally add access=no or access=private.
  • Emergency services are not restricted by legal access restrictions such as access=* or vehicle=*.


emergencies[1] is used to indicate whether a hospital (amenity=hospital or healthcare=hospital) is equipped to deal with emergencies:

  • emergencies=yes - the hospital is equipped to deal with emergencies
  • emergencies=no - the hospital is not equipped to deal with emergencies

  1. The key name is of course up to debate. emergency_room=* is currently used about 50 times. Given the approved emergency=emergency_ward_entrance tag emergency_ward=* would perhaps be even more consistent with the established tags. However such a tag seems to be a bit misleading since a hospital probably has multiple emergency rooms/wards, so naming the tag "emergencies" (as in does the hospital handle "emergencies"?) seems to be preferable.

Features/Pages affected

External discussions


Please comment on the discussion page.