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Public-images-osm logo.svg highway = residential
Road in a residential area Edit or translate this description.
Rendering in openstreetmap-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
Useful combination
See also
Status: de facto


The tag highway=residential is used on roads that are used for accessing residential areas and in residential areas but which are not normally used as through routes (which would usually be unclassified highways, tertiary highways, etc.)

This is a useful guideline if you are not sure whether to use residential or unclassified for streets in towns:

  • residential – street or road generally used for local traffic within settlement.
  • unclassified – Unclassified roads typically form the lowest form of the interconnecting grid network (below highway=tertiary roads). Roads serving for interconnection of small settlements. Use residential rather than unclassified on the road section if there are traffic restrictions (such as slower speed limits) or traffic calming features near small settlements. (See also highway=unclassified.)

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


To map a residential way nothing else other than a simple way is required. Add the highway=residential tag to it and a name=* if appropriate.

Tags to use in combination

These tags are worth tagging, even if obvious to local residents. In some parts of the world it is obvious 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.