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Public-images-osm logo.svg traffic_calming = island
A traffic island is a small area that temporarily separates two different traffic directions, or a non-traversable area in the middle of an intersection. Edit this description in the wiki page. Edit this description in the data item.
Group: Highways
Used on these elements
may be used on nodesmay be used on waysmay be used on areasshould not be used on relations
Status: de facto

A traffic island is a structure separating at least two lanes of a highway for a short distance. The width of the island is usually under a few meters.

The island doesn't necessarily have to have a right-of-way indicator. Traffic islands can also appear at the center of junctions or traffic lights, but then the roadway around them should also be drawn as a circular way tagged with junction=circular or junction=roundabout.

How to map

A traffic-calming island between the lanes of a 2-lane road.

For an island between two lanes of a carriageway, either:

  • put a node traffic_calming=island node at the island,
  • split the way at the ends of the island, and add way traffic_calming=island to the middle segment, or
  • split the carriageway into parallel lanes, marked oneway=yes as appropriate, and draw the island as an area area between them.

A junction at right angles with a circular island in the center.
There is no indication of a right-of-way, so this is a circular junction, not a roundabout. It's not a mini-roundabout because of the non-traversable island.

For islands at the center of intersections, draw a circular way around the island, as described by Tag:junction=roundabout#How_to_map, and tag the way with junction=circular or junction=roundabout depending on how traffic yields. Optionally, also draw the traffic-calming island as a node or area inside the circle. Routing software should treat such small circular junctions the same as normal intersections.

Tags to use in combination

For traffic islands drawn as an area area:

  • surface=* – surface of the traffic island, e.g. asphalt
  • landuse=grass – For traffic islands covered with grass


  • One possible rendering may be as a small hollow dot in the middle of a node, or a small hollow line in the middle of a way. When creating software, these choices are yours.
  • None, currently, by the osm-carto layer.
  • iD-Editor: Example-object

See also

  • crossing:island=* - Specifies whether a pedestrian crossing has a refuge island
  • highway=mini_roundabout - A road junction where the traffic goes around a painted circle or traversable island and has right of way.
  • The proposal landuse=traffic_island for a pedestrian refuge on roads was abandoned.