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Public-images-osm logo.svg access
For describing the legal accessibility of a feature Show/edit corresponding data item.
Group: Restrictions
Used on these elements
may be used on nodesmay be used on waysmay be used on areasmay be used on relations
Documented values: 21
Useful combination
Status: de facto

Access values describe restrictions on the use of highways and other transportation routes (railways, waterways), as well as facilities such as buildings, building entrances, amenities and leisure entities.

Access values describe legal permissions/restrictions and should follow ground truth; e.g., signage or legal ruling and not introduce guesswork. It does not describe common or typical use, even if signage is generally ignored.

Access restrictions can be very complex, for instance including type, direction, size, and time of traffic - but with care most can be coded as described here. Fortunately standard simple cases are usually also quite simple to tag.

In case of complex situations it may be wise to add a note describing exact signage, especially if it does not follow legal signage rules or rare combinations.

Introductory examples

Car parking without public access

Parking is mapped with amenity=parking. But there are both parking usable by anyone and ones where only some very narrow group can use them.

It is a good idea to mark restricted parking as a restricted. Add access=private tag to mark it as a parking with heavily restricted access, with general public not allowed to use it.

There are sometimes more complex rules, for example adding access=customers means that only customers may use the parking.

Some parking rules are more complex - limited stay duration and so on. See amenity=parking for more info.

Road with restricted access

Some cases are simple: "no entry" will typically be access=private without need for further tags

There are some roads with restricted access - roads in factory complexes, on military bases or driveways with clear out of bounds signage or barriers. To mark road as as restricted to only private access, add access=private.

Note that it notes access, not ownership. Many privately owned roads are freely accessible for the general public without prior permission- in such case access=private would be wrong and it may be access=permissive if the owner can revoke this permission at their own discretion. Privately owned roads can even be -depending on the legislation- public roads in the sense that the owner has a legal duty to allow the general public access and is not free to revoke this permission (access=yes).

The use of access=private is not limited to roads, but may also be used to indicate that access for other kinds of objects is restricted - for example to leisure=playground.

Road where residents, pedestrians and cyclists are allowed

It is possible to mark road as accessible for some specific types of traffic. For example a road where only local residents may drive vehicles, but cyclists are still allowed.

To tag this one may use following combination of access tags:

  • vehicle=private - access for vehicles in general is not allowed, but some narrow range may still use it
  • bicycle=yes - cyclists may use it

Example of more complicated situation

Some restrictions require conditional restrictions syntax to record them

A service road (highway=service) with the tag access=customers implies that the road can be used only by customers. There are no other restrictions: customers can arrive by any form of transport, at any time, etc.

But if we add the tag motor_vehicle=no, we understand that only customers may use the road AND only if they are not in a motor vehicle.

Maybe the road is one-way: add the tag oneway=yes.

And if it can only be used during certain times, add 'conditional' and the hours: access:conditional=customers @ (Mo-Fr 08:00-17:00) using conditional restrictions syntax.

Transport mode restrictions

Use the access=* key to describe a general access restriction that applies to all transport modes.

In theory, adding access=yes to highway=footway could be read as changing default restrictions (which usually are foot=yes and vehicle=no for highway=footway) to yes, highway=footway + access=yes means "road, which is open for all pedestrians and vehicles".

In practice, this combination is often used by mappers to modify (rather than enlarge) default values: for example, access=permissive with highway=steps is very unlikely to be traversable by a truck, whatever the tags may say.

To avoid ambiguity, you may therefore want to avoid general tags access=yes and access=permissive, and use more specific transport modes where appropriate. For example, to distinguish a footway with open access from one with private access, use tags like foot=yes instead of access=yes.

Where different restrictions apply to different modes of transport then mode specific tags can be used. These modal tags each have a place in a hierarchy in which keys become narrower in scope as they branch out from the root.

For example:

  • access=no, bus=yes - means that only buses are allowed to enter (for example a road only for buses and forbidden also to pedestrians)
  • access=yes, motor_vehicle=no - means that all transport modes except motor vehicles can use the element
  • access=forestry, foot=permissive - implies that forestry vehicles can use the route legally and that pedestrians can use it currently but that permission may later be withdrawn. Note that this tagging at the same time prohibits the way for all not explicitly tagged modes of travel, e.g. cyclists and horse riders which is usually a mistake in combination with forestry. Therefore it is better to use the specific tags and not the general access=* for limitations.

Land-based transportation

This hierarchy is different in each country. So it's possible that your country has vehicle classes which aren't in this list, doesn't have some which are, and some vehicle classes may even have a different definition from the one listed below:

  • access=* (category: any land-based transportation mode)
    • Without a vehicle
    • With any vehicle - vehicle=*
      • Non-motorized vehicle
        • Single-tracked
          • Sinnbild Radfahrer.svg bicycle=* - cyclists
            • electric_bicycle=* - bike limited to a slow speed (e.g. 25 km/h). No licence plate or driving licence required.
          • kick_scooter=* - Non-motorized vehicle to stand on with a handle bar. Accelerated by kicking.
        • Double-tracked
          • Sinnbild - Gespannfuhrwerke.svg carriage=* - carriage drawn by horse(s) or other animals
          • cycle_rickshaw=* - human powered pedal vehicle with 2 tracks
          • Sinnbild - Fußgänger mit Handfahrzeugen oder sperrigen Gegenständen.svg hand_cart=* - a cart that is pulled or pushed by one or more people
          • Sinnbild PKW mit Anhänger.svg / Sinnbild LKW mit Anhänger.svg trailer=* - needs to be towed by another vehicle which has its own restrictions
      • Motorized vehicle - Zeichen 260 stripped.svg motor_vehicle=*
        • Single-tracked
          • Sinnbild Kraftrad.svg motorcycle=* - a 2-wheeled motor vehicle, allowed to drive on motorways
          • Sinnbild - Kleinkrafträder und Fahrräder mit Hilfsmotor.svg moped=* - motorized bicycles with a speed restriction; e.g., at most a 50 cc engine or max. speed of about 45 km/h
            • speed_pedelec=* - electric bicycles capable of a higher speed (often up to 45 km/h). Required to have licence plate, helmet, insurance, ...
          • Sinnbild Mofa.svg mofa=* - "low performance moped", usually with a maximum design speed of 25 km/h
          • small_electric_vehicle=* Electric scooter - like a kick scooter but powered by an electric motor. Maximum design speed ususally between 20 and 30 km/h.
        • Sinnbild Kfz.svg Double-tracked - category: motor vehicles with more than 2 wheels/more than 1 track. Please note double_tracked_motor_vehicle=* is suggested in motorcar=* but neither widely used nor officially approved; it would allow one single tag instead of ten tags (one for each of the child types).
          • Sinnbild PKW.svg motorcar=* - automobiles/cars (in restrictions it can imply the generic class of double-tracked motorized vehicles)
          • Motorhome.svg motorhome=* - a [W] motorhome
          • Sinnbild Reisebus.svg tourist_bus=* - describes a bus that is not acting as a public transport bus service, usually for long-distance travel but not always
            • Sinnbild Reisebus.svg coach=* - a bus for long-distance travel, not part of a public transport bus service
          • Sinnbild Leichtes Nutzfahrzeug.svg goods=* - light commercial vehicles; e.g., goods vehicles with a maximum allowed mass of up to 3.5 tonnes
          • Sinnbild LKW.svg hgv=* - heavy goods vehicle; e.g., goods vehicles with a maximum allowed mass over 3.5 tonnes
          • Sinnbild Traktor.svg agricultural=* - agricultural motor vehicles; e.g., tractors, that have additional restrictions; e.g., a 25 km/h speed limit
          • auto_rickshaw=* - 3-wheeled motorized vehicle
          • nev=* - neighborhood electric vehicles (small and low-speed but higher-speed than golf carts)
          • Golf Cart Icon №1.svg golf_cart=* - golf carts and similar small, low-speed electric vehicles
          • Pictograms ATV All terrain Quad.svg atv=* - a.k.a. Quad (bike). Restricted to or permissive for vehicles 50 in / 1.27 m or less in width. Still in proposal stage. You may want to use maxwidth=1.27 instead.
          • ohv=* - an off highway vehicle or unlicensed off-road vehicle that may be explicitly allowed or prohibited, especially on trails.
          • Map icons by Scott de Jonge - snowmobile.svg snowmobile=*
        • By use
          • psv=* - public service vehicle
            • Sinnbild Kraftomnibus.svg bus=* - a heavy bus acting as a public service vehicle
            • Aiga taxi.svg taxi=* - taxi
            • Sinnbild Minibus.svg minibus=* - a light bus acting as a public service vehicle
            • share_taxi=* - a light bus acting as demand responsive transit
          • Car sign with two persons.svg hov=* - high-occupancy vehicle/carpool, varies by location; e.g., at least one passenger
          • car_sharing=* - car sharing vehicles
          • emergency=* - category: emergency motor vehicles; e.g., ambulance, fire truck, police car. Note that emergency vehicles are generally not restricted by *legal* access rules. For places explicitly designated for emergency access consider emergency=designated.
          • Zeichen 261 stripped.svg hazmat=* - motor vehicles carrying hazardous materials
            • Symbool bord C24c.svg hazmat:water=* - motor vehicles carrying materials which can pollute water
          • CCFLiconePMR.svg disabled=* - holders of blue badge, UK, or other such disabled persons' permit. Used on traffic signs to exempt said group from access restrictions; not just regarding parking

Not in the list

  • Hybrid cars, electric vehicles, other no-emission vehicles (e.g., hydrogen powered). See discussion.
  • Car hire with driver.
  • 4wd_only=*
  • Sinnbild LKW mit Anhänger.svg roadtrain=* - [W] Road train (should that be "hgv_caravan"?)
    • bdouble=*
    • Other configurations of hgvs - 2AB quads.
  • Sinnbild LKW mit Anhänger.svg lhv=* - longer heavier vehicles (long trucks)
  • Panzer aus Zusatzzeichen 1049-12.svg tank=*
  • [W] Kei Cars - Small cars which have limited size, weight, and engine power. Their limited size differentiates them from "regular" motorcars for road access in some countries, such as Japan.
  • ohv=* - off-highway vehicles

Water-based transportation

  • access=* - category: any water-based transportation mode
    • Maki-swimming-15.svg swimming=* - use of the waterway or body of water without a craft
    • Map icons by Scott de Jonge - ice-skating.svg ice_skates=* - ice skating, obviously only when the water is frozen
    • Rowboat symbol.svg boat=* - covers small boats and pleasure crafts, including yachts; in CEVNI: less than 20 m long, might be different in legislations where CEVI is not adopted
      • Speedboat symbol.svg motorboat=* - boats and yachts using motor, on way also for sailing boats using the motor
      • Sailboat symbol.svg sailboat=* - boats and yachts using sails, on way doing way with sail, not using the motor (according to definition in Colreg and CEVNI
      • Canoe - The Noun Project.svg canoe=* - boats without sail or motor, such as small dinghies, canoes, kayaks, etc.
    • fishing_vessel=* - covers fishing vessels of any size
    • Maki2-ferry-18.svg ship=* - covers commercial vessels of any size and any trade
      • passenger=* - ships carrying passengers, either as a scheduled service (ferries, etc.) or as cruise
      • cargo=* - any type of cargo ship
      • isps=* - International Ship and Port Facility Security Regulation

As suggested, see discussion.

Rail-based transportation

  • access=* - category: any rail-based transportation mode

List of possible values

The tag takes the form access=*, where * can be any of the following:

Value Description
yes The public has an official, legally-enshrined right of access; i.e., it's a right of way.
no General public access is prohibited. Stronger interdiction than private. Examples: a fully closed road; a restricted military facility.

It is necessary to add additional access (like foot=yes or bicycle=permissive, etc.) to indicate who may use the element, if anyone is allowed. If only specific transport modes are forbidden, for example, at a vehicle no-entry sign, use a more specific restriction like vehicle=no or motor_vehicle=no over the general key access. Keep in mind that sidewalks/pavements are typically included in the highway of the street.

private General public access is not allowed. Access is granted with individual permission only. Examples: A driveway with a no trespassing or keep out sign; A company parking lot for employees only.
permissive Open to general traffic until such time as the owner revokes the permission which they are legally allowed to do at any time in the future.
permit Open only to people who have obtained a  permit granting them access, but permit is ordinarily granted. If permit is hard to obtain, then it is typically access=private.
destination Only when travelling to this element/area; i.e., local traffic only. This is signed, for example, as "except for access" in the UK or "no thru traffic" / "local traffic only" in the USA (other countries). Note that "access only for residents" is private.

This restriction often only applies to certain modes of transportation; e.g., vehicle=destination when traffic of both motorized and non-motorized vehicles, and motor_vehicle=destination when motorized vehicles is restricted.

delivery Only when delivering to the element. For example motor_vehicle=delivery on a highway=pedestrian. Status: "approved" Text-x-generic.svg.
customers Only for customers of the element. If access is not open to any person willing to pay, consider using private instead. Membership clubs are generally tagged as private. Toll roads and paid ferries should instead be tagged with toll=yes and e.g. access=permissive, so that routing engines know they are allowed for through-traffic (unlike access=customers).
designated A preferred or designated route for the class of traffic specified by the tag key, such as foot=designated, in general this means that there is a (explicit) sign saying something like "pedestrians allowed", or a pedestrian icon.

Using this value with the plain access key, access=designated, has no meaning, and should not be used. (see #Transport mode restrictions).

For compulsory cycleways mapped as separate ways see bicycle=use_sidepath.

use_sidepath Used to indicate that a mapped parallel way (that belongs to the same road) must be used instead (mostly acting as access=no with some exceptions). A road can legally consist of several ways, such as a single or dual carriageway with parallel tracks for cyclists, mopeds, pedestrians and/or equestrians. Used in countries where these classes must use specific parallel ways when present (following traffic rules, sometimes in conjunction with traffic signs). This tag should only be used to limit specific transport modes (e.g., bicycle=use_sidepath).
dismount Permitted for some vehicle (or animal) only if you dismount. Mostly used for bicycle: Use bicycle=dismount when people are not permitted to cycle (e.g., through a graveyard) but are allowed to dismount and bring the bike. See Bicycle#Bicycle restrictions. Note that bicycle=no is also commonly used where dismounting and pushing bicycle is legal.
agricultural Only for agricultural traffic. Note a closed farmer's access track would be access=private rather than access=agricultural unless the track is explicitly open to any vehicle used for agricultural purposes, e.g: Zusatzzeichen 1026-36 - Landwirtschaftlicher Verkehr frei (450x600), StVO 1992.svg. Status: "approved" Text-x-generic.svg
forestry Only for forestry traffic. Status: "approved" Text-x-generic.svg
discouraged A legal right of way exists (see yes) but usage is officially discouraged (e.g., HGVs on narrow but passable lanes). Only if marked by a traffic sign (subjective otherwise), e.g.:UK traffic sign 820V2.svg, Carnotrec.jpg.
variable Value used in access:lanes=* to denote a variable-access lane.
unknown The access conditions are unknown or unclear. For the access key, where users might assume access rights by definition or some default, this makes it explicit that the actual situation is not known (since an absent access tag might also be mistaken by some users as being compliant to an assumed default). These tags should therefore not be removed without replacing them with a better alternative. For example data consumers typically assume that amenity=parking without access tags is public, and when mapping from aerial imagery some parking will be likely (but not certainly) access restricted, in such cases tagging them unknown would be a good idea.
user defined All commonly used values according to Taginfo

Nodes, ways and areas

Tags of "access" group can be used for nodes, ways and areas. There are different priorities in OSM-community, where to put access tag: to area (usually it is a square, which have some specific conditions of access), to line (usually it is roads inside square) or to node (usually it is gate in barrier, which surrounds square, where there is a possibility to enter the area). Note that access tags mark legal status of territory and barriers and warning signs are only physical reflections of restrictions in area. In such manner, area with private status should have appropriate values, even there is no surrounding barrier or it is broken. Note, that different entrances can have different access values and different roads inside area can have different access values too. For example, we have area with permissive access - so we mark it with access=permissive. But there are several entrances, one of which is designated for all people, and other - only for persons, which have key. So we mark one entrance with access=permissive and other - with access=private. Another example - we have botanical garden with permissive access, which have roads, which are designated for public, and roads, which are designated only for staff of garden. In such case we have access=permissive at one roads and access=private (or access=no) at another.

When you are tagging some area, it is your decision, where to put "access" tags: to area, to entrances or to roads inside area (because nobody can bring you to add some tags somewhere), but removal of correct tags, which were put by someone else, is a mistake (and is close to vandalism). If you like to put tags to areas, do it, if you like to put tags to roads inside areas, do it, if you like to put tags to entrances, do it. But don't delete tags from type of elements, which you don't like.

Facility restrictions

Access can be tagged on facilities, typically including

Access time and other conditional restrictions

For a full description and more examples, please see the conditional restrictions page.

Restrictions may be limited to a particular time or day. Or they may limit the access for vehicles over a certain weight. Such conditions can be tagged as shown in these tagging examples:

  1. Only destination access is permitted during 8am and 5pm on Mondays to Fridays:
    access:conditional=destination @ (Mo-Fr 08:00-17:00)
  2. Motor vehicles heavier than 5 tonnes may only access this street for the purpose of delivering goods:
    motor_vehicle:conditional=delivery @ (weight>5)

Please note that the above tagging style can be used to replace the following time dependent restrictions. It has been suggested that they be deprecated and should therefore no longer be used. date_on=*, date_off=*, day_on=*, day_off=*, hour_on=*, hour_off=*. Also note, that using of conditional tag assumes overt indication of value, which mostly suites as a default value. For example, if access is open on one part of day (on this part of day access=permissive) and is closed on other part of day (on this part of day access=private), we have a situation, when we should mark the object with a tag access=permissive or access=private. There is no concrete, precise and universal algorithm to define, if we should use permissive or private in concrete situation, but we can definitely say, that in such case we can't use access=yes (or not use tag access at all), because access=yes (or absence of tag access) means round-the-clock open access for general public.

Restrictions other than access tags

Apart from the access tags documented above, there are also various other tags that restrict use of infrastructure.

Size and statutory restrictions

A number of statutory restrictions based on height, width, weight, etc. can also be defined. A assumed units are the appropriate SI unit and should be specified without any suffix. For lengths use metres, for weights use metric tonnes and for times use hours. Decimal numbers should include a decimal point. Exceptions include speeds which should be in mph in places where speed limits are defined in these units and times which can include a suffix of 'days' if appropriate.

  • maxaxleload=* - The legal maximum axleload in metric tonnes.
  • maxheight=* - The legal maximum height in metres
  • maxheight:physical=* - The maximum height in metres
  • maxlength=* - The legal maximum length in metres
  • maxspeed=* - Specifies the maximum legal speed limit on a road, railway or waterway (km/h by default, mph where specified)
  • maxstay=* - Maximum time you are allowed to stay somewhere. (maximum parking time)
  • maxweight=* - permissible maximum actual weight
  • maxweightrating=* - Legal access restriction for vehicles with a max allowed weight above the specified weight in metric tonnes.
  • maxwidth=* - The legally restricted maximum width of a vehicle (also note width=* for the physical width of the entire road.)
  • mindistance=* - minimum trailing distance, often as mindistance:hgv=* on old bridges or in tunnels
  • minspeed=* - Specifies the minimum speed limit on a road, railway or waterway.
  • maxdraught=* - Specifies the maximum boat draught

Highway type restrictions

Main article: OSM tags for routing/Access restrictions

Various highway types also define access restrictions relevant for routing. For example, the following road types[1] commonly imply country-specific access (and possibly other) restrictions:

Such access restrictions are described on OSM tags for routing/Access restrictions, and should be assumed to apply unless explicit mode-specific access tags indicate otherwise.

One-way restrictions

Main article: Key:oneway

Ways may have different access restrictions for each direction. The most simple case is a way designated as a oneway road:

  • oneway=yes - Driving is only allowed in the direction of the way.
  • oneway=-1 - Driving is only allowed against the direction of the way. If possible reverse the direction of the way and tag with oneway=yes.
  • oneway=no - Not normally used, as two-way traffic is the default. Use only where another tag (such as highway=motorway) implies oneway=yes.

Exceptions to 'one-way' and related special cases

When cyclists are allowed to travel in the opposite direction: oneway:bicycle=no

In addition one may specify also what allows cyclists to travel in both directions:

The oneway tag can be translated (for routing purposes) to this generic system as follows (oneway=* restrictions presumably do not apply to pedestrians; see oneway:foot=* for them):

Lane dependent restrictions

Main article: Lanes

Access restrictions may differ between lanes.

  • hgv:lanes=no|yes|yes - Heavy good vehicles are not allowed on the leftmost lane of a road with three lanes.
  • bus:lanes:forward=no|yes|designated - Buses are not allowed on the leftmost lane of a road with three lanes in forward direction. The rightmost lane is a designated bus lane.

Turn restrictions

Main article: Turn restriction

Protected areas

In protected areas, such as national parks, wilderness areas or nature reserves, special rules usually apply. Often motor vehicles are banned, sometimes even access on foot is restricted. Details vary depending on the type of area and local jurisdiction and access restrictions can also vary within the area (some ways are allowed for a specific transport mode and some are not). Protected areas are tagged with boundary=protected_area or boundary=national_park, and additionally with protect_class=* to more precisely indicate the type or area. To make access information usable for routing it should be added to the highways in the area. The resulting restrictions can also be added separately on the area, but this is done less often.

Similar considerations apply to low emission zones (boundary=low_emission_zone), military areas (landuse=military), and border zones (boundary=border_zone).

Further examples

  • bicycle=yes - The public has a right of way when travelling on a bicycle.
  • horse=designated - The route is designated for use by equestrians.
  • motorcycle=unknown - It is unclear whether motorcycles can use this section.
  • motorcar=private - The owner must give access to cars on an individual basis. Access by car is private; e.g., on a private road.
  • goods=no - General goods vehicle traffic is not allowed.
  • hgv=no - Heavy goods vehicle traffic is not allowed.
  • boat=no - Waterway is not available for boat traffic.
  • oneway=yes + psv=opposite_lane - The street is one way for cars but there is one opposite lane for buses and taxis.
  • maxweight=7 - The weight limit is 7 tonnes.
  • maxaxleload=3.5 - The restricted weight limit per axle in tonnes; e.g., 3.5 t.
  • maxheight=2.5 - The maximum vehicle height is 2.5 meters.
  • maxdraught=1 - The maximum boat draught is 1 meter.
  • maxspeed=110 - The maximum speed limit is 110 km/h.
  • maxspeed=55 mph - The maximum speed limit is 55 mph.
  • maxstay=14 days - The maximum stay permitted; units in the tag as either hour/hours or day/days.
A one-way street with a contra-flow cycle lane

A one-way street with a cycle lane in the opposite direction:

Mismatch between law and de facto status

In some regions, at least for some modes of transport there is a complete mismatch between what is officially legal access and what is actually treated seriously[2]. Currently OSM has no known good method to tag this (bicycle=no bicycle:de_facto=yes?).

Currently some mappers put actually enforced status into access tags, rather than what is legal[3].

Possible tagging mistakes

If you know places with this tag, verify if it could be tagged with another tag.
Automated edits are strongly discouraged unless you really know what you are doing!
  • access=restricted ‒ Replace with access=private. The latter does not imply the land is privately owned, so it can be used for government facilities.
If you know places with this tag, verify if it could be tagged with another tag.
Automated edits are strongly discouraged unless you really know what you are doing!
If you know places with this tag, verify if it could be tagged with another tag.
Automated edits are strongly discouraged unless you really know what you are doing!
If you know places with this tag, verify if it could be tagged with another tag.
Automated edits are strongly discouraged unless you really know what you are doing!
If you know places with this tag, verify if it could be tagged with another tag.
Automated edits are strongly discouraged unless you really know what you are doing!
If you know places with this tag, verify if it could be tagged with another tag.
Automated edits are strongly discouraged unless you really know what you are doing!
If you know places with this tag, verify if it could be tagged with another tag.
Automated edits are strongly discouraged unless you really know what you are doing!
If you know places with this tag, verify if it could be tagged with another tag.
Automated edits are strongly discouraged unless you really know what you are doing!
If you know places with this tag, verify if it could be tagged with another tag.
Automated edits are strongly discouraged unless you really know what you are doing!
If you know places with this tag, verify if it could be tagged with another tag.
Automated edits are strongly discouraged unless you really know what you are doing!

See also


  1. These road types and example traffic signs are from the Vienna Convention on Road Traffic. Residential areas are defined in the European Annex.