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Public-images-osm logo.svg access
For describing the legal accessibility of a feature Show/edit corresponding data item.
Group: restrictions
Used on these elements
may be used on nodesmay be used on waysmay be used on areas (and multipolygon relations)may be used on relations
Documented values: 21
Useful combination
Status: de facto

Access values describe restrictions on the use of highways and other transportation routes (railways, waterways), as well as facilities such as buildings, entrances and barriers, shops, amenities and leisure grounds.

Access values pre-eminently describe legal permissions/restrictions and should follow ground truth, such as signage or legal ruling, and not involve guesswork. It does not describe common or typical use, even if the signage is generally ignored.

Access restrictions can be very complex, for instance including type, direction, size, and time of traffic — but with care most can be coded as described here. The most common simple cases are, however, also quite simple to tag. In complex situations, it may be wise to add a note describing exact signage, especially if it does not follow legal signage rules.

List of possible values

The tag takes the form access=* for all transport modes or foot=* / bicycle=* / motor_vehicle=* etc. for specific modes of transport, where * can be any of the following:

Value Description
On public roads / elements[1]
yes The public has an official, legally-enshrined right of access; i.e., it's a right of way.
no General public access is prohibited. Stronger interdiction than private.

It is necessary to add additional access (like foot=yes or bicycle=permissive, etc.) to indicate who may use the element, if anyone is allowed. If only specific transport modes are forbidden, for example, at a vehicle no-entry sign, use a more specific restriction like vehicle=no or motor_vehicle=no over the general key access. Keep in mind that sidewalks/pavements are typically included in the highway of the street.

On non-public roads / elements[2]
permissive Open to general traffic until such time as the owner revokes the permission which they are legally allowed to do at any time in the future.
private General public access is not allowed. Access is granted with individual permission only. Examples: A driveway with a no trespassing or keep out sign; A company parking lot for employees only.
By designation
designated A preferred or designated route for the class of traffic specified by the tag key, such as foot=designated, in general this means that there is a (explicit) sign saying something like "pedestrians allowed", or a pedestrian icon. Status: "approved" Text-x-generic.svg

Using this value with the plain access key, access=designated, has no meaning, and should not be used. (see #Transport mode restrictions).

For compulsory cycleways mapped as separate ways see bicycle=use_sidepath.

discouraged A legal right of way exists (see yes) but usage is discouraged either officially with signs (e.g., HGVs on narrow but passable lanes) or where it could be dangerous, but permitted (a lot of highways in North America are legal to use on a bicycle or by foot, but are dangerous: using foot=no or bicycle=no for these would break routing, so using foot=discouraged or bicycle=discouraged is more precise and should not break routing). historically, it was used only if marked by a traffic sign e.g.:UK traffic sign 820V2.svg, Carnotrec.jpg, but it is now used for security reasons in a lot of locations.
Only for specific types of usage / purposes / groups of users within the transport mode
customers Only for customers of the element. If access is not open to any person willing to pay, consider using private instead. Membership clubs are generally tagged as private. Toll roads and paid ferries should instead be tagged with toll=yes and e.g. access=permissive, so that routing engines know they are allowed for through-traffic (unlike access=customers).
destination Only when travelling to this element/area; i.e., local traffic only. This is signed, for example, as "except for access" in the UK or "no thru traffic" / "local traffic only" in the USA (other countries). Note that "access only for residents" is private.

This restriction often only applies to certain modes of transportation; e.g., vehicle=destination when traffic of both motorized and non-motorized vehicles, and motor_vehicle=destination when motorized vehicles is restricted.

agricultural Only for agricultural traffic. Note a closed farmer's access track would be access=private rather than access=agricultural unless the track is explicitly open to any vehicle used for agricultural purposes, e.g: Zusatzzeichen 1026-36 - Landwirtschaftlicher Verkehr frei (450x600), StVO 1992.svg. Status: "approved" Text-x-generic.svg
forestry Only for forestry traffic. Status: "approved" Text-x-generic.svg
delivery Only when delivering to the element. For example motor_vehicle=delivery on a highway=pedestrian. Status: "approved" Text-x-generic.svg.
military Only for Military vehicles and Vehicles on Military business. Access is usually secured with Armed Guards, and multiples signs.
For specific modes of that must act in a certain way
use_sidepath Used to indicate that a mapped parallel way (that belongs to the same road) must be used instead (mostly acting as access=no with some exceptions). A road can legally consist of several ways, such as a single or dual carriageway with parallel tracks for cyclists, mopeds, pedestrians and/or equestrians. Used in countries where these classes must use specific parallel ways when present (following traffic rules, sometimes in conjunction with traffic signs). This tag should only be used to limit specific transport modes (e.g., bicycle=use_sidepath). Status: "approved" Text-x-generic.svg
dismount Permitted for some vehicle (or animal) only if you dismount. Mostly used for bicycle: Use bicycle=dismount when people are not permitted to cycle (e.g., through a graveyard) but are allowed to dismount and bring the bike. See Bicycle#Bicycle restrictions. Note that bicycle=no is also commonly used where dismounting and pushing bicycle is legal.
By permit that must be obtained[3]
permit Open only to people who have obtained a  permit granting them access, but permit is ordinarily granted. If permit is hard to obtain, then it is typically access=private.

A permit is typically different from an exemption: certain areas signed for parking are only allowed for permit holders, whereas an exemption allows certain users to use an element that is forbidden for that mode of traffic by a prohibitory or mandatory sign[4]. Possible exemptions might sometimes be mentioned on additional panels in the field but can also granted to certain individual users without signs in the field upon request, so signs are not leading here.

Other / catch-all
unknown The access conditions are unknown or unclear. For the access key, where users might assume access rights by definition or some default, this makes it explicit that the actual situation is not known (since an absent access tag might also be mistaken by some users as being compliant to an assumed default). These tags should therefore not be removed without replacing them with a better alternative. For example data consumers typically assume that amenity=parking without access tags is public, and when mapping from aerial imagery some parking will be likely (but not certainly) access restricted, in such cases tagging them unknown would be a good idea.
user defined All commonly used values according to Taginfo

Transport mode restrictions

Use the access=* key to describe a general access restriction that applies to all transport modes.

In theory, adding access=yes to highway=footway could be read as changing default restrictions (which usually are foot=yes and vehicle=no for highway=footway) to yes, highway=footway + access=yes means "road, which is open for all pedestrians and vehicles".

In practice, this combination is often used by mappers to modify (rather than enlarge) default values: for example, access=permissive with highway=steps is very unlikely to be traversable by a truck, whatever the tags may say.

To avoid ambiguity, you may therefore want to avoid general tags access=yes and access=permissive, and use more specific transport modes where appropriate. For example, to distinguish a footway with open access from one with private access, use tags like foot=yes instead of access=yes. This does not mean that access=yes should always be avoided; for instance to denote that a amenity=parking that is opened for all vehicle types is a public parking instead of a private parking, using access=yes is fine.

Where different restrictions apply to different modes of transport then mode specific tags can be used. These modal tags each have a place in a hierarchy in which keys become narrower in scope as they branch out from the root.

For example:

  • access=no, bus=yes – means that only buses are allowed to enter (for example a road only for buses and forbidden also to pedestrians)
  • access=yes, motor_vehicle=no – means that all transport modes except motor vehicles can use the element
  • access=forestry, foot=permissive – implies that forestry vehicles can use the route legally and that pedestrians can use it currently but that permission may later be withdrawn. Note that this tagging at the same time prohibits the way for all not explicitly tagged modes of travel, e.g. cyclists and horse riders which is usually a mistake in combination with forestry. Therefore it is better to use the specific tags and not the general access=* for limitations.

Land-based transportation

This hierarchy is different in each country. So it's possible that your country has vehicle classes which aren't in this list, doesn't have some which are, and some vehicle classes may even have a different definition from the one listed below:

  • access=* (category: any land-based transportation mode)
    • Without a vehicle
    • With any vehiclevehicle=*
      • Non-motorized vehicle
        • Single-tracked
          • Sinnbild Radfahrer.svg bicycle=* – cyclists
            • electric_bicycle=* – bike limited to a slow speed (e.g. 25 km/h). No licence plate or driving licence required
            • mtb=* – for rare cases where there are different legal access restrictions indicated for mountain bikes then for other types of bicycles (such as "access only allowed on mountain bikes" or "cycling allowed, but not on mountain bikes". For legal access restrictions that to apply to all types of bicycles use bicycle=*. To indicate practical (un)suitability for certain types of cycles / riders do not use mtb=* (a form of access=*), but tags as smoothness=* , mtb:scale=* or surface=*
          • kick_scooter=* – Non-motorized vehicle to stand on with a handle bar. Accelerated by kicking.
        • Double-tracked
      • Motorized vehicleZeichen 260 stripped.svg motor_vehicle=*
        • Single-tracked
          • Sinnbild Kraftrad.svg motorcycle=* – a 2-wheeled motor vehicle, allowed to drive on motorways
          • Sinnbild - Kleinkrafträder und Fahrräder mit Hilfsmotor.svg moped=* – motorized bicycles with a speed restriction; e.g., at most a 50 cc engine or max. speed of about 45 km/h
            • speed_pedelec=* – electric bicycles capable of a higher speed (often up to 45 km/h). Required to have licence plate, helmet, insurance, ...
          • Sinnbild Mofa.svg mofa=* – "low performance moped", usually with a maximum design speed of 25 km/h
          • small_electric_vehicle=* Electric scooter – like a kick scooter but powered by an electric motor. Maximum design speed usually between 20 and 30 km/h.
        • Sinnbild Kfz.svg Double-tracked – category: motor vehicles with more than 2 wheels/more than 1 track. Please note double_tracked_motor_vehicle=* is suggested in motorcar=* but neither widely used nor officially approved; it would allow one single tag instead of ten tags (one for each of the child types).
          • Sinnbild PKW.svg motorcar=* – automobiles/cars (in restrictions it can imply the generic class of double-tracked motorized vehicles)
          • Motorhome.svg motorhome=* – a [W] motorhome
          • Sinnbild Reisebus.svg tourist_bus=* – describes a bus that is not acting as a public transport bus service, usually for long-distance travel but not always
            • Sinnbild Reisebus.svg coach=* – a bus for long-distance travel, not part of a public transport bus service
          • Sinnbild Leichtes Nutzfahrzeug.svg goods=* – light commercial vehicles; e.g., goods vehicles with a maximum allowed mass of up to 3.5 tonnes
          • Sinnbild LKW.svg hgv=* – heavy goods vehicle; e.g., goods vehicles with a maximum allowed mass over 3.5 tonnes
          • Sinnbild Traktor.svg agricultural=* – agricultural motor vehicles; e.g., tractors, that have additional restrictions; e.g., a 25 km/h speed limit
          • auto_rickshaw=* – 3-wheeled motorized vehicle
          • nev=* – neighborhood electric vehicles (small and low-speed but higher-speed than golf carts)
          • Golf Cart Icon №1.svg golf_cart=* – golf carts and similar small, low-speed electric vehicles
          • Microcar icon.svg microcar=* – microcars, small compact vehicles (also known as light quadricycles)
          • Pictograms ATV All terrain Quad.svg atv=* – a.k.a. Quad (bike). Restricted to or permissive for vehicles 50 in / 1.27 m or less in width. Still in proposal stage. You may want to use maxwidth=1.27 instead.
          • ohv=* – an off highway vehicle or unlicensed off-road vehicle that may be explicitly allowed or prohibited, especially on trails.
          • Map icons by Scott de Jonge - snowmobile.svg snowmobile=*
        • By use
          • psv=* – public service vehicle
            • Sinnbild Kraftomnibus.svg bus=* – a heavy bus acting as a public service vehicle
            • Aiga taxi.svg taxi=* – taxi
            • Sinnbild Minibus.svg minibus=* – a light bus acting as a public service vehicle
            • share_taxi=* – a light bus acting as demand responsive transit
          • Car sign with two persons.svg hov=* – high-occupancy vehicle/carpool, varies by location; e.g., at least one passenger
          • car_sharing=* – car sharing vehicles
          • emergency=* – category: emergency motor vehicles; e.g., ambulance, fire truck, police car. Note that emergency vehicles are generally not restricted by legal access rules. For places explicitly designated for emergency access consider emergency=designated.
          • Zeichen 261 stripped.svg hazmat=* – motor vehicles carrying hazardous materials
            • Symbool bord C24c.svg hazmat:water=* – motor vehicles carrying materials which can pollute water
          • School Bus Stop - The Noun Project.svg school_bus=* – a bus transporting school students (country specific: is psv=* or not)
          • CCFLiconePMR.svg disabled=* – holders of blue badge, UK, or other such disabled persons' permit. Used on traffic signs to exempt said group from access restrictions; not just regarding parking

Not in the list

  • Hybrid cars, electric vehicles, other no-emission vehicles (e.g., hydrogen powered). See discussion.
  • Car hire with driver.
  • 4wd_only=*
  • Sinnbild LKW mit Anhänger.svg roadtrain=*[W] Road train (should that be "hgv_caravan"?)
    • Other configurations of hgvs – 2AB quads.
  • Sinnbild LKW mit Anhänger.svg lhv=* – longer heavier vehicles (long trucks)
  • Panzer aus Zusatzzeichen 1049-12.svg tank=*
  • [W] Kei Cars – Small cars which have limited size, weight, and engine power. Their limited size differentiates them from "regular" motorcars for road access in some countries, such as Japan.

Water-based transportation

  • access=* – category: any water-based transportation mode
    • Maki-swimming-15.svg swimming=* – use of the waterway or body of water without a craft
    • Map icons by Scott de Jonge - ice-skating.svg ice_skates=* – ice skating, obviously only when the water is frozen
    • Rowboat symbol.svg boat=* – covers small boats and pleasure crafts, including yachts; in CEVNI: less than 20 m long, might be different in legislations where CEVI is not adopted
      • Speedboat symbol.svg motorboat=* – boats and yachts using motor, on way also for sailing boats using the motor
      • Sailboat symbol.svg sailboat=* – boats and yachts using sails, on way doing way with sail, not using the motor (according to definition in Colreg and CEVNI
      • Canoe - The Noun Project.svg canoe=* – boats without sail or motor, such as small dinghies, canoes, kayaks, etc.
    • fishing_vessel=* – covers fishing vessels of any size
    • Maki2-ferry-18.svg ship=* – covers commercial vessels of any size and any trade
      • passenger=* – ships carrying passengers, either as a scheduled service (ferries, etc.) or as cruise
      • cargo=* - any type of cargo ship
        • bulk=* – covers all dry bulk cargo
        • tanker=* – covers all wet bulk cargo, including compressed gas
          • tanker:gas=* – compressed or liquefied gas
          • tanker:oil=* – crude oil and oil products
          • tanker:chemical=* – all other products in tanks
          • tanker:singlehull=* – special coverage for single hull as most of Europe and US have more restrictive rules for single hull tankers than for double hull. The general tag is for double hull if this tag is in use.
        • container=* – collective tag for general cargo
        • imdg=* – dangerous cargo covered by the [W] International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code, IMDG
      • isps=* – International Ship and Port Facility Security Regulation

Rail-based transportation

  • access=* – category: any rail-based transportation mode

On specific elements

On access:lanes
variable Value used in access:lanes=* to denote a variable-access lane.
escape Value used in access:lanes=* to denote a lane leading towards a highway=escape.

Nodes, ways and areas

Tags of "access" group can be used for nodes, ways and areas. There are different priorities in OSM-community, where to put access tag: to area (usually it is a square, which have some specific conditions of access), to line (usually it is roads inside square) or to node (usually it is gate in barrier, which surrounds square, where there is a possibility to enter the area). Note that access tags mark legal status of territory and barriers and warning signs are only physical reflections of restrictions in area. In such manner, area with private status should have appropriate values, even there is no surrounding barrier or it is broken. Note, that different entrances can have different access values and different roads inside area can have different access values too. For example, we have area with permissive access - so we mark it with access=permissive. But there are several entrances, one of which is designated for all people, and other - only for persons, which have key. So we mark one entrance with access=permissive and other - with access=private. Another example - we have botanical garden with permissive access, which have roads, which are designated for public, and roads, which are designated only for staff of garden. In such case we have access=permissive at one roads and access=private (or access=no) at another.

When you are tagging some area, it is your decision, where to put "access" tags: to area, to entrances or to roads inside area (because nobody can bring you to add some tags somewhere), but removal of correct tags, which were put by someone else, is a mistake (and is close to vandalism). If you like to put tags to areas, do it, if you like to put tags to roads inside areas, do it, if you like to put tags to entrances, do it. But don't delete tags from type of elements, which you don't like.

Facility restrictions

Access can be tagged on facilities, typically including

Access time and other conditional restrictions

For a full description and more examples, please see the conditional restrictions page.

Restrictions may be limited to a particular time or day. Or they may limit the access for vehicles over a certain weight. Such conditions can be tagged as shown in these tagging examples:

  1. Only destination access is permitted during 8am and 5pm on Mondays to Fridays:
    access:conditional=destination @ (Mo-Fr 08:00-17:00)
  2. Motor vehicles heavier than 5 tonnes may only access this street for the purpose of delivering goods:
    motor_vehicle:conditional=delivery @ (weight>5)

Please note that the above tagging style can be used to replace the following time dependent restrictions. It has been suggested that they be deprecated and should therefore no longer be used. date_on=*, date_off=*, day_on=*, day_off=*, hour_on=*, hour_off=*. Also note, that using of conditional tag assumes overt indication of value, which mostly suites as a default value. For example, if access is open on one part of day (on this part of day access=permissive) and is closed on other part of day (on this part of day access=private), we have a situation, when we should mark the object with a tag access=permissive or access=private. There is no concrete, precise and universal algorithm to define, if we should use permissive or private in concrete situation, but we can definitely say, that in such case we can't use access=yes (or not use tag access at all), because access=yes (or absence of tag access) means round-the-clock open access for general public.


Car parking without public access

Parking is mapped with amenity=parking. But there are both parking usable by anyone and ones where only some very narrow group can use them.

It is a good idea to mark restricted parking as a restricted. Add access=private tag to mark it as a parking with heavily restricted access, with general public not allowed to use it.

There are sometimes more complex rules, for example adding access=customers means that only customers may use the parking.

Some parking rules are more complex - limited stay duration and so on. See amenity=parking for more info.

Road with restricted access

Some cases are simple: "no entry" will typically be access=private without need for further tags

There are some roads with restricted access - roads in factory complexes, on Government sites or driveways with clear out of bounds signage or barriers. To mark road as as restricted to only private access, add access=private.

Note that it notes access, not ownership. Many privately owned roads are freely accessible for the general public without prior permission- in such case access=private would be wrong and it may be access=permissive if the owner can revoke this permission at their own discretion. Privately owned roads can even be -depending on the legislation- public roads in the sense that the owner has a legal duty to allow the general public access and is not free to revoke this permission (access=yes).

The use of access=private is not limited to roads, but may also be used to indicate that access for other kinds of objects is restricted - for example to leisure=playground.

Road where residents, pedestrians and cyclists are allowed

It is possible to mark road as accessible for some specific types of traffic. For example a road where only local residents may drive vehicles, but cyclists are still allowed.

To tag this one may use following combination of access tags:

  • vehicle=private - access for vehicles in general is not allowed, but some narrow range may still use it
  • bicycle=yes - cyclists may use it

A one-way street with a counter-flow cycle lane

A one-way street with a counter-flow cycle lane

A one-way street with a cycle lane in the opposite direction:

Customer access

Some restrictions require conditional restrictions syntax to record them.

A service road (highway=service) with the tag access=customers implies that the road can be used only by customers. There are no other restrictions: customers can arrive by any form of transport, at any time, etc.

But if we add the tag motor_vehicle=no, we understand that only customers may use the road and only if they are not in a motor vehicle.

And if it can only be used during certain times, add 'conditional' and the hours: access:conditional=customers @ (Mo-Fr 08:00-17:00) using conditional restrictions syntax.

Mismatch between legal and de facto status

In some regions, at least for some modes of transport there is a complete mismatch between what is officially legal access and what is actually treated seriously[5]. Currently OSM has no known good method to tag this (bicycle=no bicycle:de_facto=yes?).

Currently some mappers put actually enforced status into access tags, rather than what is legal[6].

Possible tagging mistakes

General values

If you know places with this tag, verify if it could be tagged with another tag.
Automated edits are strongly discouraged unless you really know what you are doing!
  • access=restricted ‒ Replace with access=private. The latter does not imply the land is privately owned, so it can be used for government facilities.
If you know places with this tag, verify if it could be tagged with another tag.
Automated edits are strongly discouraged unless you really know what you are doing!
If you know places with this tag, verify if it could be tagged with another tag.
Automated edits are strongly discouraged unless you really know what you are doing!

Specific modes of transport : use a separate key for the mode instead of the general access=*

If you know places with this tag, verify if it could be tagged with another tag.
Automated edits are strongly discouraged unless you really know what you are doing!
If you know places with this tag, verify if it could be tagged with another tag.
Automated edits are strongly discouraged unless you really know what you are doing!
If you know places with this tag, verify if it could be tagged with another tag.
Automated edits are strongly discouraged unless you really know what you are doing!

Specific groups of users

If you know places with this tag, verify if it could be tagged with another tag.
Automated edits are strongly discouraged unless you really know what you are doing!
If you know places with this tag, verify if it could be tagged with another tag.
Automated edits are strongly discouraged unless you really know what you are doing!

Specific requirements: use a separate key for the requirement

If you know places with this tag, verify if it could be tagged with another tag.
Automated edits are strongly discouraged unless you really know what you are doing!

See also


  1. When an area is closed for the general public, such as a military complex or the runway of an airport, the closure itself is typically derived from public law instead of private law or violation of such a closure is a different offence then ignoring private access rules such as "no cycling on this manor".
  2. The non-public here refers to the road, not to the traffic. Non-public road can still be opened to public traffic if the owner decides to do so. The typical difference with a public road is that on a public road the owner must allow traffic, on a non-public road the owner can revoke permission to use the road by himself (unless there is a right to roam for certain modes of transport such as walking or cycling in the legislation). The definition of "road" in the Vienna Convention on Road Traffic applies to roads open to public traffic regardless of the road itself is public or not.
  3. The requirement for a permit may or may not be combined with other criteria in this list, such as a permit is only given out for destination or agricultural traffic, and a way may also be designated for that mode of transport.
  4. See the Vienna Convention on Road Signs and Signals: