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Public-images-osm logo.svg highway = secondary
A highway linking large towns. Show/edit corresponding data item.
Rendering in OSM Carto
Rendering-highway secondary carto.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

Use highway=secondary to tag highways which are not part of major routes, but nevertheless form a link in the national route network. Secondary highways are generally specified by country road classification bylaws and assigned a ref=reference name. In developed countries it is normally a paved road with at least two lanes usually separated by a central line on the road. In areas with worse infrastructure road quality may be far worse.

In cities it is usually used to tag major arterial roads, but of lesser importance than highway=primary roads. See Highway:International equivalence for an overview of highway tagging principles among countries.

How to map

Select all ways which belong to the highway and tag them with highway=secondary. To attach more information for the highway you should add further keys.

  • name=name The name of the highway, for example Skipton Road
  • maxspeed=number The maximum speed, in kilometers per hour which is allowed on the road, for example 120
  • ref=reference name The reference number of the road, for example R 372 or C 452
  • loc_name=name The unofficial or local name for a road
  • maxweight=number The weight limit in tonnes, for example 5.5
  • winter_service=* – if winter service is provided

Special situations

When a highway segment runs over a bridge or through a tunnel, split the way from the rest of the road and tag it with one of:

  • bridge=yes - if it goes over a street or waterway
  • tunnel=yes - if it goes below a street or waterway

Roads with dual carriageways (which are seldom classified as secondary) may be mapped with two parallel sets of ways, one for each traffic direction. Use oneway=yes for ways belonging to each direction.

Route relations

In OSM, roads are divided into many segments (ways) which differ by tag values such as maxspeed=*, bridge=* or tunnel=*. Those segments should be added to a route relation that identifies them as a single legally defined route with common properties (typically ref=*, operator=*, name=*, from=*, to=*).