From OpenStreetMap Wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Public-images-osm logo.svg foot = private
Private footpath notice, Priory Road - geograph.org.uk - 3160181.jpg
indicates that walking is not allowed for general public, but the owner may make exceptions at will. Edit this description in the wiki page. Edit this description in the 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
Useful combination
See also
Status: de facto

foot=private is used to indicate that walking is not allowed for general public, but the owner may make exceptions at will. It can be used on non-public roads where other forms of transport, such as cycling bicycle=permissive or horse riding are allowed, but walking is not.

Please, use the general key access=private if the access restriction applies to all modes of transport.

Legal background

The distinction between foot=private versus foot=no (both negative values) is similar to foot=permissive versus foot=yes (both positive values): foot=private / foot=permissive can be used -depending on national legislation on non-public ways where the owner can allow or ban categories of users at will. foot=no / foot=yes can be used on public ways where a form of legal right-of-way provides legal safeguards (such as enforcement request and appeals in administrative law) when changing the access rights for certain categories of road users such as pedestrians in the field.

Whether such legal distinctions for access for walking exist in the first place depends on the presence of legislation on Freedom to roam: in countries with a strong version of "everyman's right" the legal default is foot=yes, while in countries lacking such legislation the legal default is foot=permissive and foot=yes only applies on selected paths.

However, even in countries without a strong "everyman's right", where such legal distinctions for access for walking do exist, foot=no is often used on elements in OSM while from a legal perspective it is actually foot=private.

Usage in Openstreetmap

Mappers may not be aware of (or interested in) such legal nuances, but the structure of access=* nevertheless forces mappers to choose between options with different legal meanings even if someone just want to register that walking is or is not allowed (without making a statement on the legal basis of the access rights)

Worldwide foot=no is used almost 10 times as much as foot=permissive (Taginfo 2021-10)