Proposed features/sidewalk tagging

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tagging of sidewalks, both integrated into and separated from the road itself
Status: Draft (under way)
Proposed by: CamelCaseNick
Tagging: sidewalk:left/:right=no/separated/integrated
Applies to: way
Definition: a simple yet powerful sidewalk tagging scheme

Rendered as: none in general maps; meant for pedestrian specialized maps and pedestrian routers
Drafted on: 2019-09-20

Current situation

Sidewalks are currently mapped either as a separate highway=path or highway=footway or as an integrated sidewalk via tags on the carriageway.


How to tag the carriageway with sidewalks

The presence/absence and integration/separation of sidewalks will be mapped via sidewalk:left=* and sidewalk:right=* on the corresponding carriageway respectively with the possibility of using sidewalk:both=* implying the respective value for both, left and right. The value for no sidewalk is simply no, if there is a separately mapped one separated and if there is one, though not separated, it is integrated.

If the sidewalk has a segregated bike lane or is a shared sidewalk, it is indicated with sidewalk:*:bicycle=yes (with its default being sidewalk:*:bicycle=no) on the corresponding carriageway, no matter if the sidewalk is separated or integrated. With the possibility of using sidewalk:*:segregated=* (see segregated=*). This does not mean, the use of segregated=* on separated sidewalks is unnecessary.

Subsequent use of sidewalk:*:surface=*, sidewalk:*:smoothness=*, sidewalk:*:width=* and other top level keys in use for highway=path is encouraged, if the sidewalk is an integrated one. These tags shall be treated as if there were a highway=path with those tags being the sidewalk.

How to tag separated sidewalks

For the separated sidewalks themselves the tagging is not affected, meaning e.g. bicycle=*, width=*, surface=* etc. shall still be used in the same way, they were defined.

see Proposal Sidewalk as separate way

When to use separated and when integrated sidewalks

A separated sidewalk is a sidewalk where it is physically not possible to cross or prohibited by law to do so.

On the other hand an integrated sidewalk might be crossed anywhere, while it might be recommended to do so at specific crossing.


Sidewalks are of great importance for many people. Since no tagging scheme is based on any approved proposal, multiple different, yet similar (makes it even harder to distinguish), schemes are in use. Basically all of them use sidewalk=*. The use of the latter is a de facto "standard" with a major flaw.

When a separately mapped sidewalk is present on the right and an integrated sidewalk on the left, some examples of current tagging on the carriageway are:


If sidewalk=both or sidewalk=left should be used, is not intrinsically clear from the current ways of mapping sidewalks.

Since e.g. sidewalk:right:bicycle=yes or sidewalk:both:surface=* (and others) are in use, this scheme fits neatly into the current tagging habits, while not having the ambiguities of the current situation.

The problems this scheme shall solve are:

  • solving ambiguities of the examples above
  • being similar to the current style, yet not interfering with the top level sidewalk=* which would just increase the ambiguities further
  • allowing to clarify the use of the sidewalks for bicycles



  • Sidewalks shall be mapped with sidewalk:[left | right | both]=[no | separated | integrated] on the carriageway.
  • The use of sidewalks for bicycles shall be mapped with sidewalk:[left | right | both]:bicycle=[yes | no | designated] with the default being no on the carriageway.
  • The segregation of bicycles and pedestrians on sidewalks shall be mapped with sidewalk:[left | right | both]:segregated=[yes | no] on the carriageway.

See proposal and segregated=* for the meanings or look at some examples.

Applies to

This proposed tagging scheme applies to any highway=* which could have or have not a sidewalk, separated or not.


In most maps no further rendering is required. If maps made for pedestrians render sidewalks, any change in the rendering optional and independent of this scheme.

Features/Pages affected

This proposal affects the current sidewalk=* and sub keys and sub tag, while the top level key would be obsoleted, and henceforth the sidewalk summary. It also obsoletes the currently in use foot=use_sidepath.

External discussions


Please comment on the discussion page.