Proposed features/CommuterRail

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Commuter Rail - route=commuter
Status: Draft (under way)
Proposed by: Geogast
Tagging: route=commuter
Applies to: relation
Definition: Routes of commuter rail


Both in traditional and in new public transport tagging schemes, there is a value missing for suburban or commuter rail connections. This proposal does not refer to the infrastructure (ways), but to the train connections (relations).

What is commuter rail?

According to Wikipedia, commuter rail or suburban rail is a rail transport system that primarily operates between a city center and its middle or outer suburbs. It should be distinguished from (long distance) rail, metro and tram services. In Italy it is called Treno suburbano, in German speaking countries S-Bahn, in France Train de banlieue, in Spanish speaking countries Tren de Cercanías.

What about light rail?

Often, commuter rail is tagged with route=light_rail. But according to Wikipedia, light rail is a transport system similar to tram systems. It refers to "rail systems [...] that usually use electric rail cars operating mostly in private rights-of-way separated from other traffic but sometimes, if necessary, mixed with other traffic in city streets." In Germany, Stadtbahnen, combinations of tram and subway systems, could be an example. The fact that route=light_rail is often used for commuter rail, is due to an early translation error (according to this discussion, #24 in the OSM-forum).


  • The new public transport tagging scheme proposes tags like subway=yes for stop positions. Consequently, there should be a commuter=yes tag for this purpose.