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Clarifications for an American

It seems like motorroad=yes generally indicates that the road is designed for high-speed travel, offers no direct access to adjacent properties, and may or may not have at-grade intersections with other public roads. Is that correct? American engineers and roadgeeks would tend to call such a road an "expressway". Vid the Kid 20:29, 16 July 2010 (UTC)

No - access in the expressway sense refers to driveway access, while access in the motorroad sense refers to cyclist/pedestrian access. --NE2 13:29, 25 October 2011 (BST)

I have a hard time understanding how/why this key should be used in the context of roads in the US. Motorways, Trunks, and Primaries already do a decent job (at least according to classifications used in civil planning) for what appear to be the types of roads being described. Adding the necessary access specifications to any of those makes more sense to me organizationally than a whole separate keyspace (with only one value).

Existing usage is almost all in Europe, India, and Japan, and in combination with highway=*, with 80% yes and 20% no values. For all I know, it may have pre-dated the access concept. I worry that usage elsewhere (especially without highway=*) might be from mappers who didn't grok highway=* . AM909 00:55, 14 December 2011 (UTC)

"Access concept" predates this for certain; that doesn't mean tagging motorroads with this tag wouldn't be valuable. A motorroad is always signposted as such, with the distinct traffic sign, and can have special implications that might not be relevant for ordinary car routing. Many other high volume roads can have a different traffic sign "no bikes or pedestrians", but without any of the visual and functional characteristics of a typical motorroad. Here we have quite few motorroad sections, but I believe they're more common in Central Europe. Motorroad=yes without a highway tag must be a mapper's error. Alv 08:10, 14 December 2011 (UTC)
Motorroad is useful where the government has defined a specific class between trunk and motorway. It's really not useful otherwise (e.g. the U.S.). --NE2 18:50, 14 December 2011 (UTC)


The page currently states that all Trunk Roads in France are automatically motorroads - surely this is incorrect! Many all-purpose roads have green destination signs (and therefore mapped as Trunk in OSM) but only some Trunk routes in France have the 'car on a blue square' sign indicating motorroad restrictions... unless I'm missing something. Can anybody help on this one?--CunningPlan What's on your mind? 14:35, 6 August 2014 (UTC)

In France the use of the C107 sign is reserved for "Voie Express". These roads are regulated and involves a ban for slow vehicle (motorcycle, pedestrian, ..)=> Trunk. They are often limited to 110 KM / h. Warning: some roads are limited to 110km / h but are not "Voie Express" and slow vehicle are allowed => Primary and maxspeed=110

After a discussion on talk-fr, trunk and motorroad is two different concept, as it is done in others countries. I fix this wiki page as such. --Florimondable (talk) 16:13, 1 February 2020 (UTC)


Just checking: in Europe and Japan, are highways with motorroad=* exclusively dual-carriageway (divided) highways? Do they always have more than 1 lane in each direction? Trying to understand if this tag is clearly different than expressway=* used in the USA, or if they could be treated similarly by database users. --Jeisenbe (talk) 02:10, 29 August 2019 (UTC)

Answer for Europe: it is country dependent (and can vary a lot between different countries) but for sure in Italy, Austria and Switzerland (and possibily a lot of other countries) it can exist motorroads that are not divided and have only 1 lane for each direction. In my opinion motorroad=* is different from expressway=* because, at least in Europe, the status of motorroad comes from a spicific road sign (so it is legal designation by an official authority) while the expressway tag refer to the physical design of the road (few or lack of at-grade crossroads) --Urbis13 (talk)
Correct, it's a specific, explicit legal definition. In fact, "Dual carriageway" can also be explicitly signed in countries like UK where it has legal meaning, aside from being continuous and long enough (long & wide urban median islands for easy pedestrian crossing opportunities, and single-lane dualing are obviously not intended to be the common meaning of "dual carriageway"). That being said, "expressway" is still an ambiguous term. ---- Kovposch (talk) 14:01, 4 February 2021 (UTC)
In Japan there are 2-lane two-way motor vehicle only roads with either bollards, wire-rope barriers, or permanently fixed walls. So technically they aren't all "dual carriageway". ---- Kovposch (talk) 14:26, 4 February 2021 (UTC)

Limited-access Road?

Back in 2009, a user added a link to Limited-access_road on wikipedia, but then another user changed this to "It is not the same as a limited-access road, as access there refers to the right of adjacent property owners to construct driveways." However, looking at the current text of Limited-access_road on wikipedia and the current descriptions, country-by-country, of how motorroad=* is used, it seems that most motorroad=* are in fact limited-access roads, because 1)pedestrians and bicycles are usually prohibited (but not always, see Spain), 2) the road is designed for higher-speed motor vehicle traffic 3) often parking is restricted 4) usually the two directions of travel are divided ("dual-carriageway"). --Jeisenbe (talk) 02:30, 29 August 2019 (UTC)

This issue is caused by the many definitions of "access control". In a most barebone meaning, it will mean driveways (I see eg Japan treating this separately). Then, other clauses began to be added:
  1. no other modes crossing (say both non-motorized road users and railways)
  2. no non-motorized modes
  3. class of motor vehicles
  4. stopping restriction (ie an older UK term "clearway")
  5. high-speed (but this is about geometry and design overall -- 60km/h and 70km/h design speed & mandatory maximum speed limit urban "expressway" main line exists; a separate term "high-speed road" is used in again some Commonwealth countries for maintenance, any road works, and other purposes)
  6. permanent median division (only open central reservation and fixed walls count; not bollards, kerb blocks, and wire-rope barriers)
  7. no road crossings (some such roads simply limit the number of intersections and roundabouts)
  8. uninterrupted (meaning no junction control, not exactly the same as "free-flow" as that is the opposite of congested flow) main line (some merging and weaving sections can be fully signalized)
  9. uninterrupted entry (entries can be priority control)
  10. fully uninterrupted interchanges (think UK M25's three-level roundabout system interchanges).
I believe we should limit the discussion to the legal designation and signage. Leave any review and comparisons on the supporting physical features to a less prominent illustrative section, as a guideline for national communities to compile each jurisdiction's conventions. ---- Kovposch (talk) 14:17, 4 February 2021 (UTC)

Mandatory sign?

Mandatory sign for ≈cars only?

Would it be fair to say that motorroad=yes essentially corresponds to a mandatory sign reserving a road for some kind of car-like motor vehicle? My understanding is that the Vienna Convention normally puts a mandatory restriction in a blue circle, but it seems elegant to say that this is basically a "cars only" restriction, where "cars" is flexible enough to include HGVs and buses, depending on the jurisdiction. This breaks down a bit in Vietnam, where the tag is also used for a similar sign reserving the road for motorcycles only. I'd chalk that up to a difference in what a "normal" vehicle would be in a given country.

If my hunch is correct, then introducing the article with this explanation would keep the key from getting coopted for other purposes in regions that don't have equivalent signs, as has already occurred in Hong Kong and the U.S. Americans have continually found this key unintuitive, both in the discussions above and countless times in OSMUS Slack and talk-us. (The MUTCD doesn't have mandatory signs at all. It uses a variety of "ONLY" regulatory signs for many of the same situations where the Vienna Convention uses mandatory signs. However, it only uses "NO" regulatory signs for keeping slower traffic out of expressways and the like.)

 – Minh Nguyễn 💬 23:14, 7 August 2021 (UTC)

In my opionion the article should make clear that the tag motorroad=* should be used only if the government of a country has legally definied a specific road with motorway-style driving rules that however it is not considered a motorway and if these roads are signeposted as such. If the governement does not make such a difference or doesn't diferentiate strongly motorway-like roads and ordinary roads (as is tipical in country with European/Vienna Convention-influenced road signs but is not so usual in countries with US-influenced road signs) the tag is useless. Please note also that, in my opionion motorroad it is more than a "only cars" sign (where cars ≈ cars, motorcycles, trucks, buses, ... depending on the jurisdiction) beacuse it has also implication on traffic rule (eg. no reversing, no parking, ...); the focus on specific road rules is underlined by the fact that the Vienna Convention refers to the sign shown above as Signs notifying an entry to or exit from a road on which the traffic rules are the same as on a motorway. --Urbis13 (talk) 09:17, 19 August 2021 (UTC)
@Urbis13: Thanks, I think we're in agreement about these points. In fact, there is one jurisdiction in the U.S. that may meet these criteria (Illinois), but only for a very limited number of roads, not in the broader manner that some American mappers have historically used this key. Based on the Vienna Convention's official name of the sign, I guess it isn't officially accurate to describe it as a "mandatory sign for car-like vehicles" per se. Still, I wonder if that would be a helpful rule of thumb, because the longstanding guidance about legally-defined motorway-style driving rules hasn't effectively prevented mappers in the U.S. and Hong Kong from bending this key's definition. I think it's also important to point out that, no matter how well-supported by the Vienna Convention, any suggestion on this page that non-access-related tags are assumed by routers is quite fictional at this point. – Minh Nguyễn 💬 18:03, 19 August 2021 (UTC)
@Minh Nguyen: sorry for late reply. Anyway in my opinion the changes to the page you made are correct and helped to clarify the situation. --Urbis13 (talk) 14:38, 31 August 2021 (UTC)