From OpenStreetMap Wiki
Jump to: navigation, search
Available languages — Tag:railway=light_rail
Afrikaans Alemannisch aragonés asturianu azərbaycanca Bahasa Indonesia Bahasa Melayu Bân-lâm-gú Basa Jawa Baso Minangkabau bosanski brezhoneg català čeština dansk Deutsch eesti English español Esperanto estremeñu euskara français Frysk Gaeilge Gàidhlig galego Hausa hrvatski Igbo interlingua Interlingue isiXhosa isiZulu íslenska italiano Kiswahili Kreyòl ayisyen kréyòl gwadloupéyen kurdî latviešu Lëtzebuergesch lietuvių magyar Malagasy Malti Nederlands Nedersaksies norsk norsk nynorsk occitan Oromoo oʻzbekcha/ўзбекча Plattdüütsch polski português română shqip slovenčina slovenščina Soomaaliga suomi svenska Tiếng Việt Türkçe Vahcuengh vèneto Wolof Yorùbá Zazaki српски / srpski беларуская български қазақша македонски монгол русский тоҷикӣ українська Ελληνικά Հայերեն ქართული नेपाली मराठी हिन्दी অসমীয়া বাংলা ਪੰਜਾਬੀ ગુજરાતી ଓଡ଼ିଆ தமிழ் తెలుగు ಕನ್ನಡ മലയാളം සිංහල ไทย မြန်မာဘာသာ ລາວ ភាសាខ្មែរ ⵜⴰⵎⴰⵣⵉⵖⵜ አማርኛ 한국어 日本語 中文(简体)‎ 吴语 粵語 中文(繁體)‎ ייִדיש עברית اردو العربية پښتو سنڌي فارسی ދިވެހިބަސް
Public-images-osm logo.svg railway = light_rail
U14 Auwiesen 230720061032.jpg
Rails of a light rail. Edit or translate this description.
Group: Railways
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
Status: in use

A higher-standard tram system, often separated from other traffic for part or much of the way. It exists between classical tram railway=tram and classical conventional railway railway=rail.

With this tag the rails of a light rail are tagged.


Definition according to [W] Transportation Research Board: "A mode of urban transportation utilizing predominantly reserved but not necessarily grade-separated rights-of-way. Electrically propelled rail vehicles operate singly or in trains. LRT provides a wide range of passenger capabilities and performance characteristics at moderate costs.

There is no clear definition of light rail on OSM, the distinctions between conventional rail (rail), tram (tram) and subway (subway) are fuzzy. A light rail system should be mapped consistently, as long as there are no serious differences. Further below are some recommendations from railway mappers which should support the selection. In order to avoid conflict, please seek consensus on the forum or mailing lists before retagging.


The community of OpenRailwayMap has compiled a set of recommendations at their Aktiventreffen 2014 nr. 2.

railway=light_rail is/has:

  • neither tram nor rail
  • only passenger traffic
  • connections of the inner city with the surroundings
  • separated from other traffic for part or much of the way, the level crossings have active protection
  • simpler construction than railways, but higher standard compared to tram
  • the railway signaling is less complex
  • Compared to light rail, a subway is predominantly underground, and, while overground, has a separate right of way nearly without level crossings.
  • connections to conventional rail are not a factor

Strong criteria for light rail against tram:

  • Trams are driving on sight, while light rail has signals.
  • Light rails are driving faster than trams because of own right of way and more complex signaling and protection.

Soft criteria for light rail against tram:

  • own right of way
  • high-floor
  • underground railway
  • elevated railway
  • workrules like conventional rail
  • drives overland to the surroundings
  • constructed stops rather than simple bus-like stops at the road level.
  • stops are separating the passengers from the tracks
  • presence of so-called third rails



For light rail routes use the route relation.


No consensus has been reached yet if the urban mass transit systems in Berlin and Hamburg which are operated by Deutsche Bahn and called "S-Bahn" are light rails or heavy rails. The same question occurs in Copenhagen for the "S-tog".

Related tags

Do not use this tag for rail-based systems outside the context of urban transportation.

railway=narrow_gauge can be used for rail-bound systems with narrower gauge than the standard gauge for the country or state, for passenger, freight or amusement systems.


Above light rail, below conventional rail.