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Public-images-osm logo.svg highway = residential
Road in a residential area Show/edit corresponding data item.
Rendering in OSM Carto
Rendering-highway residential.png
Group: highways
Used on these elements
should not be used on nodesmay be used on waysshould not be used on areasshould not be used on relations (except multipolygon relations)
Useful combination
See also
Status: de facto

The highway=residential tag is used on roads that provide access to, or within, residential areas but which are not normally used as through routes. Most traffic on a residential road will be for the access to, or from, residential properties, but may have also some transit traffic. Roads carrying primarily through traffic, or non-residential traffic, should instead be tagged with another highway tag (e.g. unclassified, tertiary) as appropriate (see highways). Roads to individual dwellings would normally be tagged as highway=service (and likely service=driveway).

For tagging in towns and cities, it can be useful to consider the following:

  • residential – street or road generally used for local traffic within the settlement. Primarily used for access to residential properties but may include access to some non-residential properties (e.g. a corner shop or convenience store). Likely to have lower speed limits or traffic calming measures in place.
  • unclassified – roads with the lowest priority in the interconnecting road network. Use instead of highway=residential when the traffic is not just for residential access, even if residential properties may also be accessed by this road.
  • tertiary – usage is dependent upon local mapping conventions, but is often used on a linking or connecting road with low to moderate traffic. May still be in a residential area, and may have residential properties abutting it, but will normally connect up multiple residential roads, local centers of activity, or other suburbs.

See also:

  • highway=living_street - a street where pedestrians have priority over cars, children can play on the street, maximum speed is low.
  • highway=service - a service road for access to a building, service station, beach, campsite, industrial estate, business park, etc.

How to map

Draw a way and add the highway=residential.

Tags to use in combination

Tags like surface=* are worth tagging, even if obvious to local residents. In some parts of the world it is expected that road will be paved, in some not. And name, oneway, etc. are even more useful.

United States – TIGER data import

Further information: TIGER fixup#Wrong highway classifications

The large scale TIGER data input of United States street data overused the highway=residential tag. A significant proportion of these roads could be tagged as highway=unclassified or highway=tertiary under the guideline mentioned above.