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Public-images-osm logo.svg highway = rest_area
Parking and picnic area at Rest And Be Thankful - geograph.org.uk - 1657648.jpg
Place where drivers can leave the road to rest, but not refuel. Show/edit corresponding data item.
Rendering in OSM Carto
Rendering-highway services.png
Group: highways
Used on these elements
may be used on nodesshould not be used on waysmay be used on areas (and multipolygon relations)should not be used on relations (except multipolygon relations)
Useful combination
Status: de facto

A [W] rest area is place along a road, usually a motorway or dual carriageway, where a driver can stop to have a rest.

Unlike highway=services, rest areas don't have places to buy fuel, but they may have picnic tables, garbage bins and toilets.

How to Map

Place a node or draw the area area and tag it with highway=rest_area.

Useful combinations

Where the location of these features is known it is best to map them as separate features:

  • toilets=yes/no - Indication of whether a feature has public toilets.
  • drinking_water=yes/no - Indication whether a feature provides drinking water.
  • bin=yes/no - Indication whether a feature provides garbage bins.
  • picnic_table=yes/no - Indication whether a feature provides picnic tables.

Additional features

The junction way from the highway is mapped with highway=*_link and where pedestrians are allowed it is tagged highway=service. Another addition such as service=parking_aisle is only suitable for subordinate services ways in the parking lot.

Individual amenities can be mapped as separate nodes:

If exits to rest areas are considered to qualify as motorway junctions (it appears there is no consensus on this), then this node is mapped with highway=motorway_junction. Add name=* in the form "Rest area xyz". But no ref=* is set.

International Equivalence

These areas are also commonly referred to as rest stops or lay-bys. They may be combined with tourist information (tourism=information) in a welcome center.

In Australia, a wide variety of rest areas exist on major roads: see the Australian_Tagging_Guidelines/Roads page for guidance.

In the UK, lay-bys are marked with a blue-background "P" symbol, identical to that used for parking areas. The most common variety is a simple, rather short, extra lane next to the highway with a concrete surface and a couple of litter bins. Some are set further back in the form of short loops of service road, and may feature mobile fast food outlets, toilets etc. (In the UK, it is legal to leave HGV trailers parked on these, but not on those not separated from the road, so some road users (truckers) may be concerned with the difference.) Lay-bys are not found on UK motorways: by law rest stops on motorways must be full-fledged service areas.

In the U.S., the vast majority of Interstates have only rest areas, not service areas. One must exit the highway to find fuel or food. The main exception is on a tolled Interstate or other tolled motorway, where service areas are the norm.

In continental Europe, this sign is often used to mark rest areas, although many rest areas are marked by a normal 'parking' sign or not marked by signs at all.

See also