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Old "Current usage"

(Pasted here from the main page with modifications while we migrate)

Former/interim tag usage

While this proposal was being discussed, a hybrid scheme was employed whereby crossing=<uk-specific-name> was used in parallel with the new values. Because UK-specific names are unintelligible to non-UK-based mappers, the UK-specific 'shortcuts' are now deprecated. The table below is retained while we migrate to the new docs on the main page.

The table below and its commentary was based on the values from the planet file, snapshotted during the evolution of the current proposal.

Tag Element Description Rendering Image
crossing=toucan node A crossing with traffic lights, and signals for pedestrians and cyclists. UK-specific. Toucan.jpg
crossing=pelican node A crossing with traffic lights, and signals for pedestrians. UK-specific. Pelican.jpg
crossing=zebra node A crossing with no traffic lights, and (usually) distinctive white stripes on the road for pedestrians. UK-specific. Equivalent to crossing=uncontrolled. Zebra-crossing sm.jpg
crossing=traffic_signals node A generic crossing with traffic lights and signals for pedestrians. Generally referred to as a "crosswalk" in the US.
crossing=uncontrolled node A generic crossing with no signals of any type, just road markings. Generally referred to as a "crosswalk" in the US.
crossing=island node A crossing with a small island for pedestrians in the middle of the road
crossing=unknown node The default value, indicating that the specifics of the road crossing is not known.
Crossing=puffin, crossing=pegasus are missing from the list. Crossing=traffic_signals can be used where the precise type is not known. Crossing=uncontrolled to me would be a crossing of an unspecified type due to the lack of features. Crossing=island is rubbish. If there's an island, then there are at least 2 crossings. One crosses highways, not islands.
However, it might be better for editors (like iD) to use the type merely to add correct subtags to a global standard from UK specific. Toucan would add traffic_signals=yes and cycle=yes. Pegasus would add horse=yes and traffic signals=yes etc. etc.

There were a small number of other values making up around 2% of the total at the time of writing. These were not, however, widespread enough to be documented.

Please note that there is nothing stopping you from using a different tag value if it suits your tagging problem. However, please consider using tag values from the current approved proposal first, and always document any custom tags you use in accordance with OSM Good practice.

I'd propose a discussion as to whether type detail is really necessary. As has been mentioned elsewhere is the fact that a footway crosses a highway sufficient to denote a crossing ? (= crossing=unmarked). If the crossing has traffic lights, why not simply mark highway=traffic_signals at the crossing rather than specifying crossing=traffic_signals. The fact a footway crosses a highway is again sufficient to denote a crossing without replicating the fact ? I don't really think we need to distinguish between all the different types of crossing. For the driver, the traffic lights are significant, that's all. If it's a pegasus crossing, it'd be shown as a bridleway crossing a highway. Ditto Toucans being shown by cycleway crossing a highway. Pelicans and puffins need no distinction. If 'uncontrolled' = not traffic signals, then specifying no signals is all that's needed. There may be value in crossing=marked for a Zebra. We do need to decide which details are necessary/useful and which are pure geekism. --pmailkeey 2016:3:28:16:46

I'm not that familiar with all these UK-animal-types. However, it could be important for a routing engine to distinguish between a traffic light at a road junction and at a pedestrian crossing, as they might have different average waiting times. Zebra stripes are quite universal worldwide, and in many countries give special rights to the pedestrian, I'm quite happy OsmAnd announces them for me. Often a use for a tag comes once enough have been mapped, so it does not hurt to record such details. --Polarbear w (talk) 19:09, 28 March 2016 (UTC)
Waiting times is an interesting one. I don't know whether routers take this into consideration although I doubt it as the overall delays to journeys will be small compared with other influences. Certainly in the UK lights timings are set on a per set basis and one type of crossing in one place may not be the same as the same type elsewhere. Also, many traffic lights in the UK now have variable timings - so the timing at one set will vary depending on how busy the roads are at the time. The idea of a global system to try to work on this data accurately is going to be very difficult and not a great deal of value. And that's back to the question of whether such detail as crossing type is actually of suitable value. --pmailkeey 2016:3:28:21:19

Complex intersections

what about an intersection that has traffic signals to control vehicles, uses the same traffic signals to control two crossings, has another crossing with separate pedestrian traffic singal and has no crossing on the fourth incoming road ? can (and should) this be properly tagged ? --Richlv 12:14, 27 August 2008 (UTC)

  • Maybe use more than one node for the cluster of crossings. If you're talking about a crossroads, I might do that as a central highway=traffic_signals node where the roads join surrounded by three highway=crossing | crossing=traffic_signals, one on each incoming way which has a crossing. Another way would be to use four highway=traffic_signals nodes, some of which have crossings and some of which do not. IIRC there's a proposal out there for using relations to link up fancy synchronised sets of traffic lights. --achadwick 01:38, 4 September 2008 (UTC)

traffic_signals and uncontrolled vs island

according to the page, traffic_signals, uncontrolled and island are all parameters to a single 'crossing' tag. so how are we supposed to mark crossing with traffic lights & an island ? the road itself is not separated for driving directions.

ok, i'ts in faq (but mentioned virtually nowhere else...) - multiple values for single tag.

This proposal should help: Proposed_features/Traffic_island


Crossing a dual carriage way

Where there is a road with two carriage ways, how should one join to the two crossing nodes? This should be done to ensure that the routers can link the sidewalks of the two ways. --Mungewell 05:40, 25 September 2008 (UTC)

How to represent crossings that go under or over a road?

A "crossing" is when two ways meet at the same level.

If they do not have the same level, it's not a crossing, but a bridge or a tunnel.


Puffin Crossing

It appears that most crossing round here are now puffin crossings. I think we should start marking them up is different from pelican crossings using crossing_ref=puffin. --Pobice 23:09, 7 March 2009 (UTC)

an additional tag like push_activation=yes should solve this capturing much better.
Also See: Talk:Key:crossing#New_Value_for_.22button-activated.22_crossings --Cbm 14:47, 9 March 2009 (UTC)
The recommended tag is button_operated=yes/no Lulu-Ann

UK specific

Can anybody explain why some crossing types are marked as UK specific? I know all types of crossings in Germany too, including the pegasus crossing? Maybe we can clarify that the terms are UK English, not the crossings. --Lulu-Ann 11:56, 28 April 2009 (UTC)

You are right, so I removed the "UK specific" in the descriptions. (The shortcuts and names are still UK specific, of course, which should be clear from the table headings and the "('traditional' UK crossing name)" info.) --Tordanik 12:34, 28 April 2009 (UTC)

button operated traffic signals

I'd like a tag to express that pedestrians have buttons to request crossing the street at a crossing=traffic_lights crossing. Spontaneously, I'd suggest button_operated=yes/[no] for this. Opinions? --Tordanik 13:55, 8 August 2009 (UTC)

There is an "on_demand=yes" used somewhere else, as far as I remember. We can reuse it. --Lulu-Ann 14:27, 11 August 2009 (UTC)
on_demand is a bit to vague, imo. It could refer to other technologies, such as inductive loops for cars or cameras observing (pedestrian) traffic. It should be possible to distinguish between the different types to identify "demand". --Tordanik 16:15, 11 August 2009 (UTC)
Sure, then let's use on_demand=yes/button/induction/camera/whatever. --Lulu-Ann 17:26, 11 August 2009 (UTC)
There aren't many uses of it yet (tagstat:on_demand). I'd prefer crossing:activation=<whatever>, but that's just me.
  • Please can we establish some implications such as crossing=uncontrolled → crossing:activation=no or crossing=traffic_signals → crossing:activation=button while we're about it? --achadwick 11:39, 7 October 2009 (UTC)
Implications should be avoided unless we can be sure that almost everyone takes them for granted without looking them up. "crossing=traffic_signals → crossing:activation=button" is therefore a bad idea, there are lots of traffic signal controlled crossings without buttons, and I don't see why the version with buttons should somehow be the default. crossing=uncontrolled → crossing:activation=no is obvious, so I don't mind if it is documented explicitly. --Tordanik 12:52, 7 October 2009 (UTC)
  • Do we need to distinguish between pedestrian activation (crossing:activation=*) and road-traffic activation (traffic_signals:activation=*), or am I just overthinking it? --achadwick 11:39, 7 October 2009 (UTC)
Yes, we do ! --User:Skyper 12:19, 6 November 2009 (UTC)
  • There are crossings around here on busy streets which are purely timer-activated, but which still have a placebo button to help keep pedestrians in order. How to represent that? --achadwick 11:39, 7 October 2009 (UTC)
  • We have traffic signal crossing with buttons, where the button only works (roughly) in the night time - at other times the indicator light for that button stays lit all the time (or at least lits up the moment the pedestrian signals turn red). button_operated=Mo-Su 22:00-06:00? Alv 14:10, 17 October 2010 (BST)

bicycle oneway

How can I tag a crossing where bicycles are only allow in one direction ? In Germany there are 3 different lights (one for pedestrians, one for bicycles and one for both). Sometimes you have different lights for different directions. By law you are only allow to push your bike while walking on a footpath but not to drive. --Skyper 12:34, 23 September 2009 (UTC)

You could use a oneway-tag for the cycleway or path. --KartoGrapHiti 20:31, 3 November 2009 (UTC)
works for a line of crossing but not for a single one ! --Skyper 11:28, 5 November 2009 (UTC)
If you have a crossing, you have a cycleway connecting to/departing from the road it crosses. Split that way if necessary, and apply the oneway tag. If that cycleway hasn't been drawn, then draw it. Alv 11:44, 5 November 2009 (UTC)
I think this is a bit more complicated ! I have a highway=secondary with footway=both and cycleway=track. It is crossing a highway=residential with traffic_signals. There is no seperated way ! --Skyper 13:09, 5 November 2009 (UTC)
I have a highway=secondary with highway=footway on both sides and a highway=cycleway. It is crossing a highway=residential with traffic_signals. There will be a separated way eventually: [1] Alv 13:47, 5 November 2009 (UTC)
This is just another proove that cycleway=track does not work. Lulu-Ann

Tactile / audible signals

Lulu-Ann would like to introduce:

To indicate wether a sound signal is available to help blind persons to detect the greenlight.
To indicate wether a vibration signal is available to help blind persons to detect the greenlight.

achadwick would like it instead as:

Audible crossing signal. The crossing emits a sound to indicates to blind or partially-sighted persons that it is safe to cross. The exact details are necessarily country-specific. Examples: US "Walk" recordings, UK-style beeping pelican crossings, German clicking or beeping traffic lights, Japanese folk melodies!
Tactile crossing signal. The crossing emits vibrations to indicate to deaf-blind persons or others with poor sight that it is safe to cross. The exact details are necessarily country-specific. Examples: vibrating cones near the activation button of some UK pelican crossings (picture), vibrating buttons (Ireland, according to Wikipedia).

My primary reason for changing the suggested namespace is that the signal is intended for highway=crossing users, not highway=traffic_signals users; thus it make sense to extend crossing and not traffic_signals. Note that the crossing tagging scheme can start with either; nevertheless for something intended to benefit road users crossing the road, crossing:* makes more sense. It's also shorter to type. We don't have consensus yet, so state your views! --achadwick 11:01, 7 October 2009 (UTC)

My proposal refer to properties a set of traffic lights can have, not a crossing. You need a "walk"/"greenlight" period, that a zebra crossing just doesn't have. It fits to traffic_signals:on_demand=yes/no. See [2] (beta status] for rendering. --Lulu-Ann 11:18, 7 October 2009 (UTC)
A crossing tagged highway=crossing crossing=traffic_signals isn’t a zebra crossing. --Wynndale 12:13, 7 October 2009 (UTC)
If the property can not be attached to each instance of a tag, then why should it be assigned there ? In other words: If there is no walk / don't walk period at all crossings, why shall be the sound property a key for crossing and not for traffic_signals. --Lulu-Ann 12:29, 7 October 2009 (UTC)
I think these tags refere to crossing cause it is crossing=traffic_signals and not highway=traffic_signals --Skyper 12:28 6 November 2009 (UTC)
I think that a zebra crossing does not have signalling, I think an island does not have signalling, I think an uncontrolled crossing does not have signalling. I do think a toucan crossing and pelican crossings are pedestrian traffic signals. So if it only applies to traffic signals, why have sound and vibration information at "crossing" ? Having sound and vibration is simply an attribute of a traffic signal pole, not of a crossing. --Lulu-Ann 18:23, 9 February 2010 (UTC)

Island *or* Traffic signals ?

crossing=island and crossing=traffic_signals is not a contradiction. I don't want to tag crossing=traffic_signals;island or similar for each bigger crossing. --Lulu-Ann 13:44, 7 October 2009 (UTC)

I completely agree - I've encountered that problem, too. My suggestion is defining a new yes/(no) tag for islands, crossing:island=yes might be a good choice. Of course, crossing=island would become rather useless, it would be synonymous to crossing=uncontrolled + crossing:island=yes. --Tordanik 18:55, 7 October 2009 (UTC)
I started Proposed_features/Traffic_island to fix this issue. --Lulu-Ann 18:32, 8 April 2010 (UTC)
I have come to the conclusion that the best way to tag a traffic island is splitting the street.

That gives you the chance to tag things where they are: sloped curbs, tactile paving, pedestrian traffic signals that are button operated... and also routing software will not try to have a car do a u-turn over a long traffic island. Lulu-Ann

I admit that splitting the street is the only way to tag really complicated situations with lots of detail. I still think that crossing=traffic_signals + traffic_island=yes is better than crossing=traffic_signals;island, though. This isn't really affected by the fact that there is a more flexible (but more complex) solution - if a mappers do use one of the two one-node solutions, they should pick the one without semicolons. --Tordanik 14:29, 27 August 2010 (BST)
IMHO this is still an issue. In StreetComplete we (speaking for the community here) tried to include the crossing island in a quest. However, the tagging does not work reliably in the way it is currently done, because you have no way to specify "there is no traffic isle". When the "island" tag is not included, you can only guess whether a mapper did not check it yet or whether there is indeed no island. And an app, can of course not do this…
Probably a separate key (or crossing:island=yes/no) or so, is needed to address this problem. If that could be made happen, it would be nice. See for details/discussion. --rugk (talk) 22:24, 18 August 2017 (UTC)
I aded description of this issues on a wiki Mateusz Konieczny (talk) 09:09, 29 October 2017 (UTC)
Resolved: We are nowadays migrating to Key:crossing:island, what is documented on this page Mateusz Konieczny (talk) 14:42, 30 November 2020 (UTC)

highway=traffic_signals instead of highway=crossing?

I've always mapped crossings as highway=crossing regardless of what different features it has. I think the current documented examples are quite clear, which I guess is good, but since when was a crossing not a highway=crossing? Some time back in the August 2008 the examples on this page got changed to list most of them has highway=traffic_signals instead. -- Harry Wood 11:37, 26 October 2009 (UTC)

I've used traffic signals when combing the crossing with the marking of traffic lights (controlling the road traffic) on said crossing (or if traffic lights at junctions also include crossings). I suppose an alternative is real micro mapping and mapping both. --Pobice 15:45, 26 October 2009 (UTC)

there are different combinations possible:

  • highway=traffic_signals + crossing=no
  • highway=traffic_signals + crossing=traffic_signals
  • highway=crossing + crossing=traffic_signals
  • highway=crossing + crossing=yes/island/zebra...

so it's the combination of highway and crossing that can specify each crossing best. highway is for the user "on the road" crossing is your user "crossing the road" --Cbm 15:45, 6 November 2009 (UTC)

Crossing Ways

What's the reasoning behind restricting crossings to being nodes? Any reasons you shouldn't use, say, a way and a node when working from the footpath perspective? It feels misleading to draw and label a regular footpath over 99% of the crossing and label just the node as the crossing.

I agree. --Lulu-Ann 18:33, 8 April 2010 (UTC)
Oh God. What a mess OSM is - which is understandable. OSM comprises two maps, a geographic one and a navigational one. A crossing appears on the navigational map - and navigational map features have no size - so to say 99% of anything on the navigational map is an indication of the failure to understand the mapping. The geographical map features are all areas (I think !) while the navigational map uses lines ('ways') and points (nodes). So crossings are a navigational feature and are nodes. -- pmailkeey

Use British English

Resolved: Now use both on the page, the non-annotated form being en_GB. Tag value stays as it is. --achadwick 20:32, 11 November 2010 (UTC)

"Curb" is AE, in BE use "kerb". Please change this in the whole wiki where you can find it for consistency reasons. -- Dieterdreist 12:17, 21 September 2010 (BST)

  • Thanks for that. I've updated the page to remove the discussion and add some annotations. As for "the whole wiki" - well, I'm not fussed about which variety of English is used on the English pages, but if it bothers you, please feel free to update it yourself. This en_GB speaker can cope with the occasional en_US word; the two languages are very similar. Tag values should stay as they are though, since software may use already use it and would also have to be updated. --achadwick 20:32, 11 November 2010 (UTC)


Is it intended that the 'crossing=no' tag should be applied to a way, rather than to a node? If so then this needs to stated clearly in the article. This is certainly the approach that makes most sense to me and would indicate that pedestrians should be guided to only cross the road at points where there are formal crossing as tagged on appropriate nodes along the way. Pedestrian routing software to routing people along the pavement on one side of the road to the nearest crossing point and then back along the far pavement to the destination.

The inability to cross the road at other points may be due to the presence of barriers between the pavement and the road, or by signage, or possibly just due to the volume of traffic and number of lanes along the road (although that then becomes subject to the judgement of the mapper which is never ideal).

-- PeterIto 02:43, 13 June 2012 (BST)

Both should make sense, nodes and ways, somewhat depending on whether the sidewalks are already drawn as separate ways. What I've come across several times (but can't find one right now), is a case where a footway (or even a highway=service) comes from a apartment building lot and connects with the road and there's a roughly similar way that departs from the other side of the road at the same spot. However, there's a signposted crossing "nearby" so pedestrians must use the crossing and could, in theory anyway, be fined for crossing at the point where the ways meet - at least if that were to lead to a traffic accident. (For "nearby", here we only know that 30 meters or less is legally nearby, but we don't know how far a crossing starts being "not nearby"). Alv 05:54, 13 June 2012 (BST)

Proposal: make "crossing_ref=zebra" less UK centric.

Zebra crossing is appearing not only in UK - see

Therefore I propose to change "A crossing with no traffic lights, but with flashing amber globes on poles and distinctive white stripes on the road for pedestrians. (not button operated)" to "A crossing marked with distinctive white stripes on the road". New UK-specific tag may be introduced, but it makes no sense to use term popular worldwide for narrow UK specific meaning. Bulwersator (talk) 20:29, 29 October 2013 (UTC)

I think that we shouldn't change current meaning of heavily used tag. crossing_ref=zebra is quite well defined, high level tag describing type of crossing (for pedestrians, stripes, no lights). If there's a need to tag just marking of crossing (existence of stripes) we should introduce new tag for that. Eg. traffic_sign=zebra or traffic_sign=stripes or traffic_sign=PL:P-10.

Royas (talk) 21:22, 6 November 2013 (UTC)

The problem is that it is also frequently used outside of the UK and it takes name that is not indicating that it is something UK-specific. Bulwersator (talk) 20:37, 8 November 2013 (UTC)

Proposal: crossing_ref=driveway

Name and description Tags UK shortcuts Image
Crossing of driveway with sidewalk, separated from road by curb (usually lowered), typically surface is different than on sidewalk (sometimes only colour is changed) highway=crossing



Crossing of driveway with sidewalk.jpg
Isn't that "crossing" just a part of the sidewalk, where motor vehicles occasionally happen to cross the sidewalk - it has even stronger protection for the pedestrian than what a marked pedestrian crossing provides. I wouldn't tag it as a highway=crossing, even, but only with the crossing_ref=driveway. Alv (talk) 07:14, 30 October 2013 (UTC)
I am unsure about dropping highway=crossing - this one may seem obvious but border is quite fluid (some very similar driveway are leading to factories/warehouses and carry significant traffic) Bulwersator (talk) 12:02, 30 October 2013 (UTC)
"I wouldn't tag it as a highway=crossing" - you may want to mention this on - without highway=crossing or crossing=no any road crossing with footway will be reported by validator as a problem in the next version of JOSM Bulwersator (talk) 12:02, 30 October 2013 (UTC)
This isn't a crossing at all. The driveway forms a T intersection with the highway with a sidewalk. It's the same at any other intersection where sidewalks exist. Some such situations do have crossings such as Zebra and some don't. Those that don't are not marked at all and this is how it should be with a driveway - not marked. --pmailkeey

Add an example with cyclist only crossing

Name and description Tags UK shortcuts Image
Crossing of driveway with cycleway, border of crossing is marked with white squares. Typical markings for cycleway crossings in Poland. highway=crossing

crossing=traffic_signals bicycle=yes foot=no

Bicycle crossing, Poland, Kraków, Piastowska.JPG

I have no idea for a a good value here, any ideas?. Bulwersator (talk) 21:43, 29 October 2013 (UTC)

IMO it's no different from an uncontrolled pedestrian crossing in the sense of identifying attributes, except that it allows cyclists. Thus crossing=uncontrolled, or actually in the photo that's crossing=traffic_signals. Alv (talk) 07:20, 30 October 2013 (UTC)
OK, I drop "Proposal: new crossing_ref value for type of bicycle crossing in Poland" idea. But as there is confusion how to tag cyclist only crossing so I still suggest to add this an an example Bulwersator (talk) 18:55, 10 November 2013 (UTC)
It is very easy, if the tag is used for lines: highway=cycleway + crossing=traffis signals--Ulamm (talk) 13:15, 28 August 2014 (UTC)

Node or line

Many people do not understand these crossroads in reality, 53.078913,8.825294 E
A standard type of crossroads mapped with separately drawn cycleways, 53.072665,8.856924 E
The bicycle crossing traverses two carriageways and several tram tracks in one pass with one single traffic light. The pedestrian crossing three meters right of it starts right of the small grass bed on an island between cycleway and first carriageway and is led across two further islands with separate traffic lights.
coord = 53.071303 N, 8.801245 E
2 uncontrolled crossings for bike & foot, 2 signalized crossings for bike & foot, 1 signalized crossing for bike only,
coord = 53.071154 N, 8.863977 E

The infobox told that the crossing-tag ought to be used for nodes, only. On the other hand is is recommended to draw the bicycle or foot passage of the crossing as a line.

If it is a line, there is no reason to use the tags differently from those for bridges.

I guess bridges and tunnels should also be nodes ! However that would make it unclear which way went over the bridge and which went in the tunnel.

Instead of tagging the line cycleway=crossing and then two, tree or even four nodes highway=crossing + bicycle=yes + crossing=traffic_signals, it is more convincing to tag the line from the cycleway on one side of the road to that one on the other side highway=cycleway + crossing=traffic_signals

--Ulamm (talk) 14:21, 28 August 2014 (UTC)

I'm don't think "bridge-like" tagging should be used. When there is a physical separation between parts of a road (the requirement for having multiple ways) then there are usually also islands for the crossing pedestrians that make the situation more similar to multiple small crossings. This seems to be the case for the "Bismarckstr x Bennigsenstr" crossroads, for example. --Tordanik 22:49, 1 September 2014 (UTC)
For the "Bismarckstr x Bennigsenstr" crossing that is true.
But in "Concordia" crossroads, some cycleway crossings and footway crossings cross one carriageway-line and two tram tracks without an intermediate island.
In Bremen, there are several traffic signal crossings for pedestrians only that pass two one-lane carriageways and between them a tramline with two tracks, elevated by 20 cm with curbes, without any island.--Ulamm (talk) 10:56, 2 September 2014 (UTC)
Now I have tried to write a comprehensive concept, see Ulamm/Regulations and smoothness of crossings--Ulamm (talk) 08:46, 3 September 2014 (UTC)+Ulamm (talk) 10:06, 27 September 2014 (UTC)

Proposal: signed=no (was =yes)

In many situations, for example with snow covered or badly maintained streets, the markings on the street ("zebra stripes") are invisible. However, crossings that are marked with a pedestrian crossing sign are still obvious. It seems to me that the presence of traffic signs is an important indication of how safe a unmarked crossing is. I propose the addition of a tag signed=yes|no for crossing=uncontrolled. --Pbb (talk) 19:50, 7 September 2014 (UTC)

I think, if a traffic sign shows that there is a zebra crossing, it is a zebra crossing, legally, even if the zebra markings on the asphalt are faded out.--Ulamm (talk) 22:23, 5 October 2014 (UTC)
  • I approve this proposal I approve this proposal. In Pittsburgh, most crosswalks don't have signs; however, many have signs, and some even have warning lights and signs (especially when not near intersections). Some way to tag signed crosswalks may provide an idea of how important/busy/dangerous the crosswalk is. --Abbafei (talk) 07:31, 15 January 2015 (UTC)

As most are signed, this should be assumed hence only need extra tag for those that are not signed.

Why not use crossing=unmarked in this case (because when there's no sign, there's no crossing), and add something like crossing=unofficial or =emergent when there are neither markings no signs? --Zverik (talk) 11:31, 27 June 2016 (UTC)
What would you do with a crossing that is marked but has no sign ? What about a crossing that has a warning sign well in advance of the crossing but nothing at the crossing ? -- pmailkeey 2016:6:28

Levels of sidewalk (and perhaps cycleway) and carriageway

Advanced (modern) traffic authorities tend to raise the level of entrances of minor streets to the level of the sidewalk and (if there is one on the same level) of the cycletrack.

In some places even whole intersections are risen.

  • This way there is kerb=no.
  • In Germany, cycletracks of major roads crossing entrances of minor roads nowadays have to be marked, but sidewalks at the same sites are not marked.

Where the minor road is recorded with one single line (as it is mostly) and the cycleway of the major road is drawn separately, it would be useful to a highway=crossing on the crossing point of both lines. If neither a cycleway nor the sidwalk has an own line, the node may be set on the minor road near to the main road. Tags oth this node should describe the standard layouts with as few tags as possible:

  • Cycletrack + sidewalk on sidewalk level, cycle crossing with priority="right of way" for the marked cycleway, foot crossing unmarked: highway=crossing + crossing=priority ?? + ??
  • sidewalk only, crossing on its level: highway=crossing + ??
  • Cycletrack + sidewalk on carriageway level, cycle crossing with priority="right of way" for the marked cycleway, foot crossing unmarked: highway=crossing + crossing=priority ?? + ramp=steep VS. intermed VS. Smooth ?? + kerb=* (normally different values for bicyle and foot crossing) + ??
  • sidewalk only, crossing on carriageway level: highway=crossing + ??

--Ulamm (talk) 22:20, 5 October 2014 (UTC)

Do not use crossing=unmarked

A footway crossing a road without further markings does not require a crossing tag. That the footway crosses is sufficiently described by sharing a node with the road. Adding crossing tags here only confuses data consumers, such as satnavs warning motorists that pedestrians have special rights at particular crossing types, which is not the case here. --Polarbear w (talk) 23:44, 6 February 2016 (UTC)

But the point of mapping things is so that people know things are there. Unmarked crossings do exist and it's therefore valid that they are marked on the map. A footway may cross a road where there isn't an unmarked crossing. I do see your point though. However, from a mapper's POV, if the path just shares a node with the highway, it looks like there's a crossing that's undescribed (no detail) to mark it as 'unmarked' clarifies this. Also, a shared node with tactile paving without specifying a crossing may look like a mapping error. Is it not valuable to motorists to be warned there may be pedestrians crossing the road when you generally don't expect it ? Example -- pmailkeey 2016:2:7
Sometimes, a crossing may be visible on the ground (due to lowered kerbs, tactile paving etc.), but still have no painted markings. In my opinion, that's a good use case for crossing=unmarked. --Tordanik 17:09, 7 February 2016 (UTC)
In my example above, it's a 60mph road without footways either side yet a footpath crosses the road. While I agree the path sharing the highway node would appear sufficient, due to the speed and not expect peds crossing, I feel it's worth marking - as for that road even one ped crossing there would make it a relatively high ped use section of the road! -- pmailkeey 2016:2:7
The main page recommends tactile paving to on the node representing the kerb; and the dropped kerb belongs there as well. That's fine with me, both are aids for the blind and the wheelchair user to find or pass the kerb. This does not affect motorists. What bothers me is inflationary use of crossing=unmarked in such situations, namely at every corner of a block when people are micromapping sidewalks. It causes my satnav, namely osmand, to shout the crossings continuously, which annihilates the effects of a warning. --Polarbear w (talk) 19:42, 7 February 2016 (UTC)
I agree that tactile and sloped kerb info would be better at the kerb node as that would give clarity where one side differs from the other. With editor iD, the crossing key automatically asks for tactile/slope information - and this perhaps ought to be removed. I also agree that crossing=unmarked should not be used where roads cross each other as that is common sense! -- pmailkeey 2016:2:7
Personally, I disagree that there should even be such a thing as a "kerb node" with most crossings – it implies mapping sidewalks as a separate way, which is overkill for most sidewalks. As such, I think iD is entirely in the right here. --Tordanik 13:16, 8 February 2016 (UTC)
If lanes of a road are shown as separate ways when a kerb barrier or two lies between them, why shouldn't sidewalks ? TBH I'd prefer to map every lane as a way as it'd add clarity and convenience at junctions. Maybe we'd new a new node type - a 'group node' comprising n linked nodes, one per lane. As it is, it's not difficult already to find sidewalks separately mapped - especially near crossings. -- pmailkeey 2016:2:8
Please, do not. There is a strong consensus in OSM that all lanes are tagged on one way unless the road is physically divided. Changing that will not only create chaos at junctions, it will also break routing. Finally, it is off topic on this discussion page.--Polarbear w (talk) 17:36, 8 February 2016 (UTC)
Although the process is suggested on the sidewalks page - as I've just discovered. -- pmailkeey 2016:4:5
crossing=unmarked is clearly used so it should be documented. Also, as far as I know it is in general supported by mappers. Feel free to make proposal deprecating it. Mateusz Konieczny (talk) 14:45, 30 November 2020 (UTC)


When is a crossing considered to have an island? According to the wiki page, a crossing tagged with crossing=island is "a crossing with a small traffic-island for pedestrians in the middle of the road." If a crossing crosses two oneway roads, which some bigger roads are sometimes modelled as, with an island in between the roads, should the crossing still be tagged with crossing=island considering the fact that the island is now in between the two roads? —Kri (talk) 23:10, 25 September 2015 (UTC)

Crossings don't have islands. It's either a single crossing or there's more than one crossing to cross all the highways. --pmailkeey
If the island is the only physical separation between the two highways, it does not justify drawing separate ways. So yes, there are crossings that have islands. --Tordanik 17:12, 7 February 2016 (UTC)
I don't think OSM changes the rules just for this occasion - I certainly don't. If you can't drive across the island, then two ways is the way it has to be according to OSM. --pmailkeey 2016:3:28:16:30
Typically roads in osm are not devided for such small features like islands. Nodes like 2284295589 are perfectly fine. --Klumbumbus (talk) 11:50, 9 July 2016 (UTC)
The OSM database is not only used to draw a graphical map, it is also used for routing and navigation. Splitting a road for a minor feature makes mapping other things more complicated, such as mapping turn:lanes, thus the community has moved away from minor splittings. Similarly, a cycle track is added as an attribute to a highway and not drawn separately, despite having a kerb.--Polarbear w (talk) 14:53, 9 July 2016 (UTC)
Getting back to the original question, I would not expect crossing=island to refer to an island area that has been explicitly mapped with geometry. It seems to imply a "mini-island" in the highway (in the same sense as how a mini-roundabout differs from a roundabout; see Traversable). The doc should be more clear about this. The tagging could be better as well. Mrwojo (talk) 19:33, 9 July 2016 (UTC)


I've been editing crossings with =traffic_signals for quite a while now but have only just found out OSM is using "traffic_signals" to mean pedestrian signals. No one else in the UK does this and traffic_signals means signals for motor traffic only. If you want to tag a crossing with pedestrian signals, use that terminology, don't use 'traffic_signals' as clearly you will confuse everyone. pmailkeey 2016-07-08

highway=traffic_signals is used for the main traffic lights for motor traffic, typically on a road junction. The combination of highway=crossing + crossing=traffic_signals is used for a pedestrian-only crossing of a road that is regulated with traffic lights, i.e. red and green lights. OSM needs to unify tags independent of local terminology because it needs to be understood worldwide, and needs some structure for efficient processing.--Polarbear w (talk) 21:40, 8 July 2016 (UTC)
If that means a typical cross-roads with traffic lights and the ped crossings have simply been added to the junction arms such that the ped crossings are neither Puffin or Pelican then I agree but this doesn't appear how the wiki explains it. pmailkeey 2016:7:8:22:6 GMT


This topic needs a proper discussion as it is a complete mess.

  • Why do we have it at all when other way crossings are not tagged specifically ?
  • Terminology is all over the place
  • Unclear what purpose it is supposed to have
  • Kerb data issues by having all data on one node
  • Throws up multi-node issues that are currently badly/not handled
  • appears to contradict OSM mapping wrt 'islands'
  • Editors not in agreement with 'OSM' in tagging conventions

pmailkeey 2016:7:8

"crossing=no" confusion

It appears some people are finding it difficult to accept both tagging of highway=crossing + crossing=no despite the fact that's the way it's explained in the wiki. It is a 'positive negative' to remove doubt in cases where it would be expected to have something but it is not there. crossing=no is, by definition, a sub-tag of highway=crossing or railway=crossing - so these tags need to be included. (according to history by user Pmailkeey001 10:58, 9 July 2016)

Adding crossing=no to highway=crossing is a trolltag. The tag highway=crossing implies that there is a crossing and data readers should not be expected to have to read anything else.--Andrew (talk) 11:09, 9 July 2016 (UTC)
"despite the fact that's the way it's explained in the wiki" Before your edits it was explained that this combination does not make sense. (Please sign your comments with --~~~~) --Klumbumbus (talk) 12:06, 9 July 2016 (UTC)
Stop edit wars such as undoing reverts from experienced users. The wiki documents how people use particular tags. You cannot turn an agreed definition on its head, just based on your personal opinion, or just because you understand something differently. You have already been banned from the Tagging list a year ago, this can happen here as well.--Polarbear w (talk) 15:06, 9 July 2016 (UTC)
Currently the relevant section reads "As crossing=no excludes the existence of a crossing, the combination of highway=crossing and crossing=no is invalid. ". What it doesn't say is "whether you are allowed to cross the road at a crossing=no". It'd be great if someone who claims to understand this page could edit it to say what it is supposed to mean. Should it cover (where there appears to be infrastructure, but no crossing as such) or (where there may be no infrastructure at all)? --SomeoneElse (talk) 21:33, 1 August 2016 (UTC)

Crossings at intersections

Parts of this page don't seem to have in view the case of marked pedestrian crossings at intersections. For example, for crossing=traffic_signals, the page says "Position this tag where the crossing-traffic (pedestrian, bicycles) have their own traffic lights," which seems to exclude the case when pedestrians use the same signals as cars. And the page doesn't say how to map crossing=no; do you put it on the intersection node or add another node at the location where the no-crossing sign is located, just past the intersection? And it doesn't seem to have in view the use here of putting crossing=no at an intersection where crossing is allowed in order to direct pedestrians to the separately marked crosswalks. Germyb (talk) 19:25, 27 August 2017 (UTC)

No unmarked crosswalk

In some US states, if two roads intersect at an angle (i.e., a significant angle), then there is generally an unmarked crosswalk, but if you have two one-lane roads that merge into one one-way two-lane road, then there's no "intersection" and no unmarked crosswalk. Pedestrians can still cross if they want to in the same way they would normally cross a street away from an intersection, but cars do not have to yield the right of way to them. Is there a way to mark such meetings of roads? crossing=no would indicate crossing is not legal. If I don't mark it at all, it may be assumed that there is an unmarked crosswalk. Does crossing=unmarked imply that cars must yield? Germyb (talk) 19:47, 15 September 2017 (UTC)

Uncontrolled crossing

According to the current text, an uncontrolled crossing is "A generic crossing with no traffic-signals of any type, just road markings;". Isn't this highly confusing? In normal language, traffic control is done via policemen, traffic lights, traffic signs and road markings. An uncontrolled crossing would be a crossing without road markings or zebra markings. Is there a reason we have decided not to follow common definitions? --Dieterdreist (talk) 13:59, 9 October 2018 (UTC)

No idea. If you are curious you may try to look in tagging mailing list archive or try to find people who started using or documenting this tag Mateusz Konieczny (talk) 11:14, 18 October 2018 (UTC)
Frankly I have given up defending long standing definitions in this case, the leverage power of editor presets on the main map and default editor is hard to beat, and IMHO crossing=zebra is also easier to understand, and less ambiguous, so I am basically been retagging my old mapping to crossing=zebra for zebra crossings. --Dieterdreist (talk) 11:03, 25 October 2018 (UTC)
I agree that crossing=uncontrolled is misleading, however crossing=zebra isn't a good replacement either, because not all marked crossings are zebra crossings and because in some countries like Spain or Switzerland, crossings with traffic signals also have zebra markings. (I've already corrected many crossings with traffic signals wrongly tagged crossing=zebra.) In my opinion, crossing=marked were a better alternative. --SelfishSeahorse (talk) 19:48, 25 October 2018 (UTC)
For me it doesn't matter whether all marked crossings are zebra crossings or not, the important thing is to be able to mark zebra crossings. Other marked crossings could get different tags. WRT traffic signs and zebra crossing road markings: I would not see these as zebra crossings unless the traffic lights are turned off. Around here it is also common to have zebra markings at traffic signal controlled crossings, it is not a problem. The tag "crossing" is about the kind of crossing, not necessarily about the markings. Just use a different tag which could be only for the markings (would be useful also around here, where there are "false" zebra crossings, which do not present vertical signs, but do have markings on the road, i.e. legally these are not zebra crossings unless they are close to an intersection. --Dieterdreist (talk) 09:14, 26 October 2018 (UTC)
In countries where pedestrian crossings with traffic signals also have painted zebra markings, people that don't know the area often tag them crossing=zebra because they just see zebra markings on the aerial imagery. One can hardly blame them because when just seeing the editor's preset or the tag crossing=zebra it's not obvious that crossings with traffic signals are excluded. (By the way, in Switzerland zebra crossings are called Zebrastreifen ['zebra stripes'] or Fussgängerstreifen ['pedestrian stripes'], no matter if there are traffic signals or not.) --SelfishSeahorse (talk) 12:41, 26 October 2018 (UTC)
It's all about pedestrians priority (over vehicles): never, sometimes or all the time.
An unmarked crossing would be a crossing where pedestrians never have priority.
At crossings with traffic lights, pedestrians do not have priority over motor vehicles unless the traffic signals give them the priority, so their priority on the crossing is controlled/restricted.
At an uncontrolled crossing, pedestrians have priority over motor vehicles at all times, i.e. this priority over vehicles is uncontrolled/unrestricted. The stripes on the road indicate to motorists that at all times they must give way to pedestrians.
In the UK, a zebra crossing must also have a 'zebra' pole with a yellow light (Belisha beacon) on each side of the pavement (and on a central crossing island if present) in order to make the crossing distinctive to motorists, especially at night. There are also striped crossings without these poles in the UK, but these are not zebra crossings even though pedestrians still have uncontrolled priority. There are also tiger crossings, which are essentially zebra crossings with a separately marked parallel bicycle crossing.
For these reasons, I think crossing=uncontrolled is the correct tag for all crossings where pedestrians have priority at all times. The genuine zebra crossings (possibly UK only) can be further indicated by crossing_ref=zebra. --MacLondon (talk) 00:01, 27 October 2018 (UTC)
Further to my previous comment, perhaps the combination of highway=footway + footway=crossing + crossing=zebra), could be used to detail the presence of stripes from one pavement to the opposite pavement. In order words, my suggestion is to use a crossing=zebra only on the footway (wherever the on-road part of the footway is drawn), but never on the highway=crossing node. --MacLondon (talk) 01:41, 29 October 2018 (UTC)


I just noticed the iD new Issues feature is suggesting/automating the 'upgrade' of crossing=zebra to crossing=marked.

However crossing=marked is not documented here. At least it should be added as a preferred(?) synonym for crossing=zebra.

As a side-note. iD says "Marked Crosswalk has outdated tags". Crosswalk is very american!

--EliotB (talk) 23:14, 22 May 2019 (UTC)

iD bugs should be reported at Is crossing=marked actually preferred synonym of crossing=zebra or is it a mistake in iD validator? Note that is an active proposal on this topic with lively discussion on tagging mailing list Mateusz Konieczny (talk) 06:48, 23 May 2019 (UTC)
For the second one - if you are not planning to report it I may do it as it should be fairly uncontroversial. What is your browser language? Is it maybe set to en-US? If not - what is the term that you would expect?Mateusz Konieczny (talk) 06:48, 23 May 2019 (UTC)
I would strongly object to 'marked' being an upgrade to 'zebra'. Why? zebra is a subset of marked, so to suggest such a thing is suggesting removing details someone has added. That would be the same as suggesting surface=paved as an "upgrade" to surface=asphalt. Ridiculous. --Gorm (talk) 00:05, 1 December 2020 (UTC)


I am unsure about crossing_ref, it isn’t really defined/documented, the crossing page says its meaning is countryspecific and is about a “crossing type“ what is somehow contradicted by the usage of crossing_ref in combination with signal controlled crossings, what implies the tag crossing_ref is used to state the kind of road markings). —Dieterdreist (talk) 23:11, 18 November 2019 (UTC)

"false" Zebra crossings

While it seems that thanks to iD we now have 3 alternative ways for mapping zebra crossings (crossing=zebra, or crossing=uncontrolled + crossing_ref=zebra or crossing=marked + crossing_ref=zebra), we do not have a way to mark crossings with zebra markings on the ground but which aren't legally zebra crossings because there are no additional zebra crossing signs. I used to use "crossing=marked" for these. --Dieterdreist (talk) 09:02, 19 November 2019 (UTC)

What do you mean with false or illegal zebra crossings? Don't vehicles have to give priority to pedestrians if there isn't an additional sign in your jurisdiction? Here in Switzerland there are two different zebra crossing signs; one of both is always placed in rural areas, but in urban areas only if the zebra crossing isn't well visible, [3] and the other is only placed in rural areas if the zebra crossing isn't well visible (it's never placed in urban areas). [4]. --SelfishSeahorse (talk) 19:53, 19 November 2019 (UTC)

"Wild" crossings

What about railway/tram crossings at are obviously in use, with footpaths extending to both sides of the tracks, but lack any sort of infrastructure or markings? On one hand crossing from one side to the other is rather trivial to a capable pedestrian or biker able to carry their bike over the tracks, on the other hand it's not so trivial for prams and impossible for wheelchairs, and the "path" clearly ends at one side of the tracks and continues on the other. Should these just be untagged, or is there a specific crossing variant? SinusPi (talk) 18:18, 26 November 2020 (UTC)

Is it crossing where using it is illegal? Such as (this one has even a sign marking it as illegal)? In such case I map path and add access=no Mateusz Konieczny (talk) 20:38, 26 November 2020 (UTC)
Oh, nice one, clearly showing how we Poles respect rules. :P No, I meant a non-forbidden crossing, with no signage at all. Here's one that used to be a road, but wasn't properly fitted with concrete blocks after the tracks were replaced: [5]. And here's one that's just in the middle of nowhere, but obviously well used: [6] SinusPi (talk) 22:51, 26 November 2020 (UTC)
I am betting that second one is also illegal, just not signed as illegal. First one is quite weirs - are crossing barriers still working? What about other infrastructure? Anyway, Tag:railway=crossing is mentioning crossing=uncontrolled and crossing=traffic_signals. Adding wheelchair=no would handle "not so trivial for prams and impossible for wheelchairs" @SinusPi: Mateusz Konieczny (talk) 14:51, 30 November 2020 (UTC)

Which crossing?

Is it correct to tag this crossing as
highway=footway + footway=crossing + crossing=traffic_island way 862946928
+ node as highway=crossing + crossing=unmarked + traffic_calming=table node 5003603785? maro21 22:14, 8 October 2021 (UTC)

Tagging crossings as ways

The argument that crossing ways confuse the router does not hold, as the crossing ways are necessary for pedestrian or cycle routing across the road. In my view the best solution, to satisfy both car routers and bicycle/pedestrian routers, is to add a crossing node on the junction of the road with the foot|cycle-way

button operated traffic signals

Please let us discuss here what button operated means on traffic signals. --Langläufer (talk) 10:38, 11 January 2023 (UTC)

crossing_ref=zebra should not be tagged as 'uncontrolled' within the UK

The law for zebra crossings in the UK (and maybe in other countries) is that if a pedestrian is waiting to cross, then a motor vehicle must stop. Therefore the pedestrian is the 'control'. These should be tagged as crossing=marked & crossing_ref=zebra. --DaveF63 (talk) 17:22, 27 February 2023 (UTC)

crossing=uncontrolled in OSM does not mean that pedestrians do not have priority. It just means that there are no traffic lights. crossing=uncontrolled and crossing=marked are more or less synonyms. Woazboat (talk) 17:41, 27 February 2023 (UTC)
hopefully the tagging of crossing=* will be overcome and replaced with something useful. see Proposed_features/Highway_crossing_cleanup --Langläufer (talk) 18:04, 27 February 2023 (UTC)
A pedestrian waiting to cross is the same as a red traffic light. --DaveF63 (talk) 18:18, 27 February 2023 (UTC)
I understand your argumentation but it is hopeless to change the definition of a much used (1.5 million) attribute. --Langläufer (talk) 18:24, 27 February 2023 (UTC)