Proposal:Evacuation routes

From OpenStreetMap Wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search
A hurricane evacuation route shield in New Orleans, Louisiana, after Hurricane Katrina. The signage below suggests tuning to WWL Radio or sister station WLMG for emergency information.
Evacuation Route
Proposal status: Approved (active)
Proposed by: Sparks
Tagging: evacuation_route=*
Applies to: relation
Definition: Emergency evacuation routes, with direction, for various types of emergencies.

Rendered as: Clients should be able to follow a route without based on current location to exit the area quickly and safely. Maps should be able to highlight emergency routes.
Draft started: 2017-09-07
RFC start: 2017-09-07
Vote start: 2018-08-09
Vote end: 2018-08-23
Voting closed

Voting on this proposal has been closed.

It was approved with 10 votes for and 2 abstentions.

Tagging seems adequate in places where evacuation routes are available. Contra-flow (reverse lane) routes should not be mapped as they can cause confusion and may not always be available. On-the-ground routing will be available when contra-flow routing is available.


Deprecate the key:evacuation_route tag and start fresh with an evacuation route which includes the type of emergency, the direction of the route, and any contact information that may be associated with the route.


The current key:evacuation_route tag is quite deficient in information and is only sparsely used (4424 times as of 2018-08-05). In an emergency or disaster situation, it is important for people to have this information at their fingertips quickly to be able to get out of harms way.


In the United States, many (all?) coastal states along the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico have hurricane evacuation routes to aid people's evacuation away from their homes and vacation spots. Many (all?) localities around nuclear power plants and other hazardous materials-handling facilities also require evacuation planning including pre-defined routes. These routes are typically signed with a round, blue evacuation route sign.

In countries bordering the Pacific Ocean, many (all?) have tsunami evacuation routes that route people to higher ground.




evacuation_route=hurricane;nuclear;tsunami etc

information:eas=870 kHz, information:eas=101.9 MHz (optional)

ref=* (optional)

website=* (optional)

symbol=* (optional)

description=* (optional)

colour=* (optional)

direction=forward;backward (optional)

Applies to

This tagging would apply to highway ways.

Marking reverse-lane routes

Some areas reverse lanes of highways to speed the evacuation of higher population areas. These reverse lanes should notbe tagged as an evacuation route as a routing engine may attempt to route someone onto a highway that hasn't been reversed as of yet.


It would be nice to have some sort of an emergency feature on the client side that would highlight emergency routes, along with placing emergency POIs, on the map. The ability for a client to immediately route to an evacuation route and then follow the evacuation route from their current location should be the goal.

Features/Pages affected

This would deprecate the key:evacuation_route page. This would also change the relation:route page and an entry on the Emergency Project page should be made.

This proposal also adds tags around the key:information (example information:eas = 870kHz) tag. By adding the radio broadcast frequencies to the evacuation route (in the United States these are known as Emergency Alert System or EAS), people know where to tune their radios to obtain further information.

External discussions

Tagging list ( 2017)

Tagging list (2018)


Please comment on the discussion page.


Instructions for voting
  • Log in to the wiki if you are not already logged in.
  • Scroll down to voting and click 'Edit source'. Copy and paste the appropriate code from this table on its own line at the bottom of the text area:
To get this output you type Description
  • I approve this proposal I approve this proposal.
{{vote|yes}} --~~~~ Feel free to also explain why you support proposal.
  • I oppose this proposal I oppose this proposal. reason
{{vote|no}} reason --~~~~ Replace reason with your reason(s) for voting no.
  • I abstain from voting but have comments I have comments but abstain from voting on this proposal. comments
{{vote|abstain}} comments --~~~~ If you don't want to vote but have comments. Replace comments with your comments.
Note: The ~~~~ automatically inserts your name and the current date.
For full template documentation see Template:Vote. See also how vote outcome is processed.

  • I approve this proposal I approve this proposal. --EneaSuper (talk) 16:59, 18 August 2018 (UTC)

Jack the Ripper

  • I abstain from voting but have comments I have comments but abstain from voting on this proposal. comments -- As someone who grew up in a hurricane zone (and still has family in one), I am somewhat strongly in favor of this idea, and think it is fairly well developed. In point of fact, I've been thinking about tagging evacuation routes without even going through a formal proposal. However, I think this proposal is absent one important point that should be included. They don't necessarily have to be considered NOW, but we would be delinquent if it wasn't brought up soon. Specifically, how would this proposal handle contraflow situations? By way of example: When hurricane Katrina's destination along the Louisiana gulf coast became certain, with New Orleans as a likely area to bear a significant brunt of the force, Louisiana and Mississippi implemented their interstate emergency contraflow evacuation plan, which included stopping southbound traffic on I 55, and putting northbound traffic in the southbound lanes all the way from New Orleans to Jackson. (Fun fact: my brother has pictures of him driving his fiancee north in the southbound lanes then.) I don't see anything in this proposal that reflects a contraflow plan in the tagging, and I think there should be.
I think that one could easily use the direction tag to show which direction the route goes. The problem I foresee is a routing engine trying to route someone along a highway backwards before the highway has officially been changed to reverse routing. I would just mark the main route and maybe mark in the description that the opposing lanes could be turned around and used as well. I wish you had brought this up in the discussion we have been having on the topic on the mailing list or started a discussion on the discussion page. --Sparks (talk) 14:52, 11 August 2018 (UTC)
I have made an adjustment to the proposal addressing this concern. --Sparks (talk) 13:16, 13 August 2018 (UTC)
  • I approve this proposal I approve this proposal. I don't think contra flow situations should be mapped - they may increase traffic flow rates but would be along side normal flows. In terms of knowing where the route is this will work, contra flow should be handled on the ground not be shown by map. It is far better than tags avalible now. --Warin61 (talk) 09:29, 18 August 2018 (UTC)
  • I approve this proposal I approve this proposal. I think that these routes are a good thing to map. --JamesKingdom (talk) 12:01, 18 August 2018 (UTC)
  • I approve this proposal I approve this proposal. Seems to be adequate to map the tsunami evacuation routes in my area. --N76 (talk) 16:03, 18 August 2018 (UTC)
  • I approve this proposal I approve this proposal. It appears adequate for mapping emergency evacuation routes in my region. GOwin (talk) 06:22, 19 August 2018 (UTC)
  • I approve this proposal I approve this proposal. --Michi (talk) 19:40, 19 August 2018 (UTC)
  • I approve this proposal I approve this proposal. --Thetornado76 (talk) 18:48, 22 August 2018 (UTC)
  • I abstain from voting but have comments I have comments but abstain from voting on this proposal. The purpose make sense, I followed the creation discussion, good proposed features... But Brazil have no official "Evacuation routes", will be never a "geographical reality" for my "real life map analyse", them it is only a later register, I decided abstain. --Krauss (talk) 21:03, 22 August 2018 (UTC)
  • I approve this proposal I approve this proposal. --Gendy54 (talk) 23:02, 22 August 2018 (UTC) We don't have this route type in Europe but it seems to be important to map this case. A proposal using tag emergency=* would also be a good thing. To see how this can fit into the scheme
  • I approve this proposal I approve this proposal. Fanfouer (talk) 10:38, 25 August 2018 (UTC) A bit late to vote, good work and this have to be said :)
  • I approve this proposal I approve this proposal. Another late vote. And I chime in with the opinion _not_ to tag contraflow, as this is merily opening more lanes parallel to the existing route, which might be handled dynamically by the responders. --Polarbear w (talk) 17:22, 25 August 2018 (UTC)