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Public-images-osm logo.svg highway = trunk
Dscf0444 600.jpg
Important roads that are not motorways. Show/edit corresponding data item.
Rendering in OSM Carto
Rendering-highway trunk 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=trunk for high-performance or high-importance roads that don't meet the requirements for motorway, but are not classified as highway=primary either (subject to country-specific exceptions listed below). In different countries, either performance or importance is used as the defining criterion for trunk – see #International equivalence and Highway:International equivalence for guidance on road classification in different countries.

How to map

Map dual carriageway.png

To map a simple trunk road you can just draw a line for it. Select all ways which belong to the trunk road and tag them with highway=trunk. As always, use oneway=yes when it is not possible to drive in both directions on the trunk road, and make sure the way points in the same direction as the oneway goes.

In the case of a dual carriageway you should draw one way for each direction and tag each direction separately. Position the nodes in alignment (as shown), this gives a better result when the map will be rendered and indicates directly that both ways belong together.

To attach more information for the trunk road you should add further keys.

  • maxspeed=Number indicates the maximum speed which is allowed
  • minspeed=Number indicates the minimum speed which need to be reached to use this road
  • name=Name of the road
  • ref=reference name e.g. "B 6", see your countries road identification system
  • int_ref=* International reference number E.g. E 12
  • lanes=Number to indicate how many lanes exist on the trunk road.
  • motorroad=* indicates if this road has the motorcars only traffic rule
  • expressway=* indicates if this road is an expressway: a dual-carriageway (divided) highway with high-speed design features, plus limited access to adjacent properties or grade-separated interchanges.
  • toll:N3=yes - Tolls for trucks with a maximum permissible weight> 12 t
  • destination=* Indicates where the road goes to. Consider the direction of the way and use the name of the city written on the sign which belongs to the trunk_link: for example "London" (for trunk_link see highway=trunk_link)

Special situations

In the case you do not have a normal trunk road you should take a look on these sites:

  • bridge=yes + layer=1 - If the trunk road goes over a street or waterway.
  • tunnel=yes + layer=-1 - If the trunk road goes below a street or waterway.

International equivalence

Below is a comparison of how some of the tags are assigned in different countries. Users should consult the guide for the particular country for more details and additional tags.

See Category:Projects for country specific projects and Tagging for list of country specific tagging guides.

Country Trunk description More details
Australia National highways; state strategic road network. Australian Tagging Guidelines/Roads
Austria Autostraße NO road sign 503.svg Note the small difference to the Motorcars Only Zeichen 331.1 - Kraftfahrstraße, StVO 2013.svg traffic sign in Germany. WikiProject Austria/Schnellstraßen
Belgium In general, roads with an F9 traffic sign Verkeersbord autoweg in België.jpg (Autoweg / Route pour automobiles) are tagged with highway=trunk. But keep in mind, also roads without the F9 traffic sign are tagged with highway=trunk
Brazil Rodovias duplicadas (divided highways), vias expressas urbanas (urban expressways)
Bulgaria Скоростен път с поне две ленти във всяка посока. Ограничението на скоростта не трябва да е по-малко от стандартното (50 км/ч за населени места, 90 км/ч извън тях).
China 普通国道Kokudou (China).svg/城市快速道路
Croatia Expressways (brza cesta) and motorroads (cesta za promet motornih vozila) Zeichen 331.1 - Kraftfahrstraße, StVO 2013.svg WikiProject Croatia/Ceste
Czech Republic Silnice pro motorová vozidla: Silnice pro motorová vozidla and other major 4-lanes highways mainly in urban areas
Denmark Motortrafikvej Denmark road sign E43.svg Da:Map Features
Finland Valtatiet/National Highways, "Moottoritiemäiset" tiet/"Motorway-like" roads Fi:Map Features
France Rocade, voie rapide ou voie express. Voie ayant les caractéristiques d'une autoroute. En général, une 2x2 voies avec séparation centrale. France road sign C107.svg
Par défaut: lanes="2", maxspeed="110" (sauf périph. Paris: 80)
+ ref="N xx" ou "D xx"
+ oneway="yes"
+ lanes="x" (si voies <> 2)
FR:Map Features
Germany For Motorway Like Roads (Autobahnähnliche Straße collq. Schnellstraße) without crossings. The carriageways are separated physically or by road markings. Motorway-like junctions with exit signs Zeichen 333-21.svg indicate a trunk road. Neither bound to an administrative class like Bundesstraße 35 number.svg nor to the traffic rule Kraftfahrstraße (motorroad=yes) indicated by this sign Zeichen 331.1 - Kraftfahrstraße, StVO 2013.svg. Note the very similar Austrian sign which indeed indicates a road class. DE:Tag:highway=trunk
Greece 1st-tier National Roads WikiProject Greece § Road Network
Hong Kong SAR Roads with route number, but not expressways or tunnels Zh-hant:Hong Kong tagging#街道分類 Classifications of streets
Hungary Autóút
Indonesia National Roads. Different by island.
Iran The expressways according to the definition of Iranian National Standardization Organization.
Ireland National Primary Routes, regardless of build quality. Currently numbered N1-N40. Signed in white lettering on a green background.
Israel National Primary Routes, regardless of build quality. They are numbered with one or two digits. Red numbers on a white background surrounded by green border. ISR-HW-3.svg ISR-HW-10.svg He:Map Features
Italy "Strade a scorrimento veloce" (~roads for high travel speeds) with on ramps and off ramps and without level crossings or roundabouts, a road class generally between primary roads and motorways. For mapping access restrictions similar to motorways, use the tag motorroad=yes. Usually the major roads between cities are of this type. IT:Tag:highway=trunk
Japan 国道/National Highways
Morocco Rocade, expressway. 2×2 divided highway, every intersections with roundabout. Speed limit varies from 40 to 100 km/h.
Mexico Requirements:
  1. No traffic lights (does not apply to trunk_link)
  2. Has right of way on all crossings, unless it is with another trunk.
  3. There are no houses right beside the highway. It is allowed that there are houses separated by a strip enough to maneuver a vehicle.
  4. Completely paved.
  5. Importance at national level.
ES:Mexico/Red Nacional de Caminos#Troncales (highway=trunk)
Netherlands Autowegen. highway=trunk is always used in combination with motorroad=*. NL:The Netherlands roads tagging#Auto(snel)wegen
New Zealand

Strategic State Highways State Highway 1 NZ.svg
State highways linking major urban areas (population 30,000+), major ports, major airports, international tourist destinations, and/or remote regions. Generally two lanes, undivided with regular passing lanes. All state highways not meeting the criteria should be tagged highway=primary.

Norway Nation infrastructure road (Riksvei) that are not "Motorvei" , green signs, include E-roads class A and B Norwegian-road-sign-723.11.svg Riksvei 9.svg No:Map Features#Road classes
  • Primary national roads connecting major cities and provinces. Has shields like N1 (Philippines).svg or N54 (Philippines).svg
  • Secondary national roads of major importance (refer to link on the side).
    Examples are the Pan-Philippine Highway/AH26 (not including toll expressway segments, like segments on NLEX and SLEX) that are tagged highway=motorway) , Daang Maharlika, MacArthur Highway, EDSA (includes portions not marked as part of Pan-Philippine Highway/AH26), Aguinaldo Highway, Governor's Drive, Jose P. Laurel Highway (mostly designated as Manila - Batangas Road, but short segment at Santo Tomas is designated as Santo Tomas Bypass Road) , Andaya Highway, Strong Republic Nautical Highway, etc.
Philippines/Mapping conventions/Roads
Poland PL road sign D-7.svgExpressway (Polish: Droga ekspresowa) – high-speed, limited-access highway with similar restrictions as in case of motorways (no bikes/horses/tractors allowed), but a bit lower technical parameters. In contrast to motorways it has lower speed limit (140 km/h for motorways vs. 120/100 km/h for dual/single carriageway expressways), it can be single carriageway (most are dual, however) and can have intersections with main roads (except for other expressways and motorways; but in practice probably there are no intersections on any Polish expressway). Reference numbers for expressways in Poland have 'S' prefix, for example S5 Tabliczka S5.svg. WikiProject Poland/Klasyfikacja dróg
Portugal Portugal road sign H25.svg Used in Vias Rápidas, Itinerários Principais and Itinerários Complementares. (Only with H25 signal.) Portugal's highways standardization
Romania highway=trunk is used for any national road part of a European corridor or express ways (do not exist in Romania); along with the national road shield (white on red background) RO Roadsign 1.png there are also plates similar to this Norwegian-road-sign-723.11.svg . The ref=* tag has the format DNn, DNnn or DNnnx (n=0-9, x=A-Z), while the tag int_ref=* has the format Enn or Ennn.
E.g.: DN6/E60, DN2/E85 .
Ro:Map Features#Drumuri
Serbia Motorroads (Мотопут/Motoput) Мотопут, roads with two lanes (without shoulder) designed for high-speed vehicle traffic (путеви резервисани за саобраћај моторних возила).
Slovakia Cesta pre motorové vozidlá: Cesta pre motorové vozidlá and other high-speed 4-lane roads exclusive for motor vehicles
South Korea

Divided highway without ramps.
Higher speeds. Few stop lights or stop signs.

Sweden Trunk roads (stamväg) as defined by the state, including all European routes and certain other national roads (riksväg). See Lista över stamvägar i Sverige.
Switzerland Autostrasse / autoroute de 2eme classe (semi-autoroute)
Tanzania Refers to a (paved) 'Trunk Road', as classified by Tanroads. Main roads that connect major cities in the country: e.g. T1 from Dar es Salaam - Zambia border.
Turkey Divided Turkish State Highways (devlet yolları) such as D.100
United Kingdom Primary A road (green signs)
United States As the top non-motorway classification, highway=trunk should be applied in the following cases:
  • In areas of high population density, to expressways that meet most, but not all, of the requirements for highway=motorway, and provide connectivity between motorways and other trunk roads. These roads should also be tagged expressway=yes.
  • In areas of medium to low population density, to the most important non-motorway roads that provide principal, long-haul connections between population centers of regional importance.

Historically, trunk in the US has been defined based on physical construction, but the 2021 US highway classification project has moved to a definition based on network importance.

United States/2021 Highway Classification Guidance#Trunk
Venezuela National roads network that cross the entire country connecting the most important cities.
Vietnam Trunk (Xa lộ) in Vietnam usually have more than 3 lane with lane classification signs.


Note that highway=trunk is classified by its importance in road network, not by its quality (though in given area these two will correlate extremely strongly).

In one place multilane double carriageway can be highway=primary or lower - and in another part of the world, with poor road quality highway=trunk may be single lane road surfaced with gravel.

Picture/Description Tags
A 2-lane rural trunk road with yellow center-line and white fog lines.
A 2-lane rural trunk road.
name=Ethan Allen Highway
maxspeed=50 mph}
ref=US 7
Dscf0444 600.jpg

(for each carriageway)

name=Oldenburger Straße

One of single lane sections on Route 1 in Iceland


See also