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Public-images-osm logo.svg route_master
Contains all direction/variant routes of a public transport line Show/edit corresponding data item.
Group: Public transport
Useful combination
Status: approvedPage for proposal

Relations of type route_master contain all the direction and variant routes and the information that belongs to the whole public transportation line. These are superrelations because all the direct members are relations, not individual ways or nodes.

A transit line (often referred to as a "route" or "service") is represented by vehicles that always run the same way with the same reference number. Each direction of a route should be tagged as a separate Route relation. If a route has several variants (e.g. different way at weekend), these variants should also be in separate relations.

Rarely, this type of relation has also been used to group together variants and directions of hiking, bicycling, or road routes. A more common approach uses type=route for the same purpose.


A route master contains all the important information that belongs to the line.

Key Value Comment Presence
type route_master Declares relation to be a route_master. ! Required
route_master bus / ferry / monorail / subway / train / tram / trolleybus Defines the type of public transport vehicle operated on the route (e.g. train, subway, monorail, tram, bus, trolleybus, ferry...) ! Required
ref Reference as text. The reference by which the service or route is known. ! Required
ref:<qualifier> <qualifier> is a name as text.

The value is the reference as text.

The reference by which an operator or network, specified by <qualifier>, refers to the route or service.  Important, where the reference differs across networks.
name <vehicle type> <reference number> as text. Short prose description of route master. <vehicle type> should be as in route_master=*. For example, Bus 201.  Important
operator Operator's name as text. Name of the entity that operates the service. ! Required, where available.
network Network name as text. Name of the local or regional network to which the route belongs. ! Required, where available.
colour CSS colour name, or #<red><green><blue>, each component 2 hexadecimal digits. Colour by which the route or service is identified on signage, maps, etc.  Important, where available.

Other useful tags

NB: These tags can belong to the route_master relation and/or its route relations. To ease maintenance, please avoid duplication if you can.

Key Value Comment Presence
tourism yes / only If it is a touristic service.  Important, where appropriate.
school yes / only If it is a scholar service.  Important, where appropriate.
wheelchair yes / no / limited  Important
opening_hours The service hours of the line. ? Optional

Only for public transport route_master.

interval The time between arrivals of any stop along the public transport route. Use HHːMMːSS, HːMMːSS, HHːMM, HːMM, MM, or M format. ? Optional

Only for public transport route_master relations.

Use this tag only if all variants have the same interval.

Other tags that may be used with this relation:


All the variants/directions of a route/service are members of this master relation.

Element Role Recurrence? Description
relation <empty> ! 1; at least 2, usually. All route variant/directions.


Number Relation Tags Description
[U]Bus 201 relation 1244886 relation type=route_master + route_master=bus A bus line.
[U]Metro 3 relation 7733214 relation type=route_master + route_master=subway A subway line.


See also