Talk:Tag:railway=level crossing

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On-street running

The automatic tagging of level-crossings is misbehaving in the case of wikipedia:on-street running. This is where a railway (not specifically a tramway) runs down the centre of normal roads, interacting with the pedestrians and traffic.

  • [1] [MolliBahn, DE] (this is =preserved_railway; I've tried to fudge it for the moment by using =tram, but this is not a solution as the start/end do not render nicely as the railway is set to render below a road in OSMA.
  • [2] [Helsinki Metro/VR access track, FI] (level crossing signs all over the place).
  • [3] [Weymouth, GB] (kludged with =tram)
  • [4] [Algeciras, ES] (level crossings all over the place)
  • [5] [Porthmadog, CY.GB] (doesn't even bother to try; misrepresented).

These are a limited subset; there's various other non-tram (narrow-gauge, mainline + road ...) locations, particularly in the US where an active railway running down Main Street is not uncommon. There seem to be two issues:

  1. Automatic tagging of level crossings is presumptive. In alot of cases, people have worked from low-resolution imagery and just haven't placed a bridge combination there.
  2. The layering of railways and roads (with the exception for =monorail) seems non-ideal. Roads tend to be wide and railways are thinner (both in real life and when rendered).

Richard notes in an example above the often railways are just rendered as a line crossing over the road; with the denotation (an icon or "LC") being moved off to the side, in order not to confuse the details of the crossing point. --Sladen 15:38, 21 October 2008 (UTC)

illegal crossings

How do I map an illegal railway crossing? There's a little path on both sides of the rail tracks. --René Mettke 16:31, 6 February 2009 (UTC)

How about two dead end footways? Then it is in the map but never used for routing. Lulu-Ann
This has the distinct disadvantage of not mapping reality. See below. --achadwick 13:13, 31 October 2011 (UTC)

Sounds like a footpath crossing. This isn't a level crossing anyway, so don't use railway=level_crossing. However, to answer your question: draw a third footpath way between the two path segments to either side. The third way should consist of three nodes, sharing a node with the first path, the railway, and the second path. Tag the third way with access=no or access=private, whichever is the assumed "foot" access parameter for railway lines in your country. This will stop it being used for routing, but reflect the situation on the ground. --achadwick 13:13, 31 October 2011 (UTC)


How do you specify if the crossing is with or without gates? gate=*? --abunai 17:30, 17 May 2009 (UTC)

I've been tagging this controlled=yes or controlled=no. --BigPeteB 19:51, 21 July 2010 (UTC)
I use gate=no when needed --Zewan 10:01, 28 October 2011 (BST)
There is a proposal for this: Proposed features/Railway_crossing_safety_level --Tylla 09:16, 20 December 2012 (UTC)

Safety features


we are trying to tag a level crossing in sufficient detail for a navigation software for the blind.

We need tags for:

  • traffic lights (red/yellow/green) or whatever is standard in the country
  • special traffic lights (yellow flashing, red flashing)
  • lift gates, single sided or double sided
  • sound (in Germany a bell when the lift gate is closing)
  • oneway=yes/no on the railway=track.

Please tag footways next to the street and their lift gates separately.


I have seen the following safety features (mostly in Hungary):
  • Saint Andrew's cross (aka. crossbuck) - normal and one-and-a-half, with and without Stop sign (see
  • Special lights (white flashing for go, two red lights for stop)
  • Gates (full width, single sided; half width, single sided; half width, double sided)
  • Lights and gates together
I think there should be a way to tag all these things (maybe not the Saint Andrew's cross, because that's just an unguarded crossing). Furthermore, sometimes two or more tracks are guarded by a single set of safety features, but I'm not sure if it's relevant information. --Robert Vanyi 23:39, 27 September 2011 (BST)

I agree with User:Lulu-Ann, but also wish a tagging for the type of triggering and checking, if the crossing is working and noone is left between the gates. In Germany this would be:
  • type of triggering:
    • by a "Fahrdienstleiter" (the guy, who makes switches to the right direction and the signals green ;-) ) by "making the signal green" (or triggering manually)
    • by train by a contact on the track.
    • by a "Wärter" on the crossing, who closes and opens the gates, if a train is approaching.
  • type of checking if the crossing is working and noone is left between the gates:
    • only single sided gates ("Halbschranken"):
      • a flashing white light on the railway track (shows only, if the gates are closed / lights flashing)
      • report to the "Stellwerk" (the house, where the "Fahrdienstleiter" sits) (shows only, if the gates are closed / lights flashing)
    • mostly on double sided gates ("Vollschranken"), but might appear on both:
      • (unfortunatly seldom) the "Fahrdienstleiter" or the "Wärter" is looking out of the window
      • a camera system (display is in the "Stellwerk")
      • a radar system (here in the white thing in the right corner) reporting to the "Stellwerk")
(sorry for my bad english...)-- rayquaza 02:02, 23 June 2012 (BST)

Highway - Rail Crossing Inventory Number

In the United States, a crossing inventory system has been adopted. I think this would be a valuable piece of information to include in the node that includes the railway=level_crossing. Any suggestions on how to best tag this? What if there are multiple rails at the crossing? Or a divided highway which will have multiple level_crossing nodes? Just put a ref= on one of the nodes? or is ref= the right tag?

--Charles_Smothers 00:40, 2 October 2012 (BST)

UK has numbers for crossings and each has a web page where the URL ends in the crossing number. I've therefore added website= tag and put the crossing's URL in the data field. (

Crossing type

I'm a bit bemused with the lack of a crossing:type= field:

  • Manual (operate the gates yourself)
  • Manned (Rail employee operates the gates)
  • Automatic (powered remote controlled gates)

Perhaps crossing:barrier= could be expanded

  • half-barrier
  • gate (1 per side or where there's 2 per side but only one needs to be opened)
  • gates (2 per side)
  • lift gate
  • no

Is anyone else marking telephones for use by crossers? I've also added a note as to how to use the crossing - where it's a manual one.

Well, the most common values for crossing:barrier in the database are:
  • no (no barrier)
  • half (1 half-sized gate per side)
  • yes (some unspecified kind of barrier)
  • full (1 full-sized gate per side)
  • double_half (2 half-sized gates per side)
So it would make the most sense to document these, rather than invent new values. In fact, they are already documented in German and Hungarian. See DE:Tag:railway=level_crossing. Some other tags are also documented there, such as crossing:activation=* (automatic, remote, local). There's no value for "manual", though. The key crossing:on_demand is similar, but probably not the same. --Tordanik 09:16, 21 September 2015 (UTC)
so these then:

railway=level crossing - is surplus to requirements

As we have the tag level_crossing= then there is no need for railway=level_crossing as the term 'level crossing' is unique to railways - so it is not needed to specify that it is.


Should this tag be used for crossings with trams, or only with proper raiways? --Nighto (talk) 12:03, 9 December 2016 (UTC)

At least here in Germany this tag is used for all kinds of intersections between railways and roads. --rurseekatze (talk) 14:00, 20 December 2016 (UTC)

Unmarked road-rail crossings

Would a service highway crossing a spur be considered fit for railway=level crossing? This can often be found at large industrial parks with a lot of spurs, and marking/regulating them as proper level crossings is too cumbersome/costly for the operators/owners to implement. There are no signs, and certainly no lights/barriers. The Russian-lang version of this page only calls for railway=level crossing usage for marked crossings. What do?


Should crossings on disused rail lines be tagged with level_crossing? Eg . The track is there and it might give a small bump. But there is no risk of collisions with trains. And it is disturbing to get warnings from the GPS about railways when there is no signs to see Elgaard (talk) 04:14, 27 October 2018 (UTC)

There is something to be tagged for disused railway as well. For one there might still be occasionally maintenance vehicles on the rails (?), but besides this because there will still be physically a level crossing.
According to the wiki, railway level crossing is a tag about “A crossing between a railway and a road.” Looking at this definition I would say a railway means a rail with railway service on it. Following this idea, you could consider tagging disused:railway=level_crossing in your case. It may also depend on the signs, if there are level crossing street signs, I would keep the railway=level_crossing tag regardless of the supposed railway status—Dieterdreist (talk) 09:54, 28 October 2018 (UTC)
using disused:railway=level_crossing seems ambiguous whether the cars no longer cross the rails, or trains no longer cross the road. Removing the level_crossing to prevent a GPS from saying "warning, RR crossing" seems like tagging for the renderer. The disused crossings in my area are marked with a sign "exempt". If this (or a similar) marking is in broad use, maybe "railway=exempt_crossing" could be a tag? Blackboxlogic (talk) 20:52, 12 July 2020 (UTC)
@Blackboxlogic: Some jurisdictions have different signs for "exempt" crossings versus "abandoned" (disused) crossings, so I don't think we should conflate the two concepts. I started a separate discussion about exempt crossings so we can figure out the right tagging for it. – Minh Nguyễn 💬 23:55, 5 September 2021 (UTC)
It does not matter, there isn‘t an active level crossing any more, that’s what the tag says. If you are interested in the trains, look at the connected rails, for road based vehicles, look at the highway. —Dieterdreist (talk) 23:27, 12 July 2020 (UTC)
if rails present at crossing than level_crossing is appropriate. Eg if rails are imbedded in pavement than use level_crossing if there is no longer any sign of rails in crossing then mark rails as abandoned and remove level_crossing. it is dangerous to speculate on disused crossing weather they are disused or not. Much easier to list the rail as rail or disused. Note rail or rails are the steel not the track as a whole. Natfoot footnat (talk) 15:45, 9 September 2021 (UTC)

IMO it makes sense semantically to mark disused crossings differently (specifically, when the rails cross the street but the railway is closed down, abandoned, fenced off...). Disused crossings shouldn't incur speed penalties like active ones while routing, but at the same time the renderer should still be able to warn users to slow down, because of the bump in the road and rough pavement around the rails. Rostaman (talk) 22:33, 31 October 2021 (UTC)

Exempt crossings


In North America, some railroad crossings are designated as "exempt" crossings. Commercial vehicles (such as trucks and buses) that normally have to stop at level crossings before proceeding aren't required to stop at exempt crossings unless there are flashing lights or a crossing guard. Contrary to the discussion above, these crossings are not necessarily disused. The general idea is that the railroad sees such infrequent traffic compared to the road that road traffic doesn't have to stop and look out for rail traffic, risking a fender-bender. Meanwhile, the train has to slow down enough to potentially stop and wait for the crossing to clear before proceeding.

In the United States, there's no federal regulation around exemptions other than the requirement to signpost them with the sign to the right (49 CFR 392.10). Exemptions mostly occur along industrial and spur lines, but it depends on the state. For example, Ohio now allows exemptions on some main tracks too. [6] The road and rail may also need to meet a variety of safety criteria before an exemption can be considered. [7][8] Some of these criteria, such as rail traffic volume and accident history, are not as easily verifiable as the "Exempt" sign, so there should be a way to tag the exemption as opposed to the physical or regulatory characteristics that gave rise to the exemption.

Are there similar provisions elsewhere, or should we coin something like crossing:exempt=yes, knowing that it would be limited to North America? This article already documents quietzone=yes, which is peculiar to the U.S., so there is precedent for regional level crossing tags.

 – Minh Nguyễn 💬 23:53, 5 September 2021 (UTC)

*:exempt=* is confusing. stop=no instead? Unless there are other implications.
---- Kovposch (talk) 06:32, 6 September 2021 (UTC)
@Kovposch: I agree that "exempt" could be confusing out of context; it could be confused with except=*, which is quite different. But I think it might have to be something very specific to the North American working rules. For one thing, stop=no on an intersection node is unclear whether traffic along the road or the railway can proceed without stopping – this isn't an invitation for vehicles to collide. Moreover, only some kinds of vehicles would normally be required to stop anyways, and it seems to vary a bit from place to place (differing on whether school buses are exempt from exemption). At non-exempt crossings, there's always a stop line and there's sometimes a stop or yield sign for these vehicles, but to my knowledge few mappers have mapped highway=stop or highway=give_way at level crossings, so unfortunately we can't simply treat an exempt crossing as the absence of such a node. – Minh Nguyễn 💬 08:20, 6 September 2021 (UTC)
Maybe crossing:posted_exempt=yes would provide that missing context? Instead of conveying "this element is exempt [from what?]" it would be more clear "this element has a sign saying it's exempt". Blackboxlogic (talk) 15:50, 6 September 2021 (UTC)
@Blackboxlogic: That would be better. If the explicit reference to the sign sounds a little too much like "map the signs" (which we can also do), then we could borrow the terminology in California law: crossing:stop_exempt=yes or crossing:exempt_status=yes. I think this would end up being the only thing we can definitively say about the sign, because there's so much variation among states about the criteria for posting. (For example, Iowa only allows the sign to be posted at razed crossings, in stark contrast to Arizona and Ohio law allowing them along mainline tracks in incorporated areas. [9]) – Minh Nguyễn 💬 18:45, 6 September 2021 (UTC)
And in this state if the City is a first class city they can write and control the railroads with their own rules. Natfoot footnat (talk) 15:09, 11 September 2021 (UTC)

Quiet zones

Split out from #Exempt crossings:

There are only 15 quietzone=* instances. I imagine it can be generalized to road vehicles (eg use horns:train=prohibited to replace the original) for sound horns instructions and no honking restrictions, like how headlights=* is being proposed to replace daytime_headlight=*.

29 honk=no, and 3 honking=no instances.

Kovposch (talk) 06:32, 6 September 2021 (UTC)

@Kovposch: I took the liberty of splitting out a separate discussion about quiet zones. I'm not enamored by the spelling either – at least quiet_zone=* would look better. A more generic term would make sense, because some localities did establish "whistle bans" before the federal government took over regulating train horns and subsequently introduced "quiet zones", and these preexisting bans remain in place. However, train horns aren't quite prohibited: they would sound on an as-needed basis rather than indiscriminately. [10] Also, it looks like no one has mapped a partial quiet zone, which is only in effect at night; conditional tagging would address that variation.

Regardless, it would be worth mapping the extra barriers or the presence of wayside horns that allows the crossing to meet the minimum criteria for exemption. crossing:wayside_horn=yes?

 – Minh Nguyễn 💬 08:20, 6 September 2021 (UTC)

I'm pretty sure honk=no and honking=no are related to No Honking signs on roads, which seem to be actual prohibitions on honking a horn. At crossings within all-day quiet zones, No Train Horn is posted to remind motorists and pedestrians not to expect a routine horn, but by itself it doesn't prohibit the use of a train horn. A more apt value for a quiet zone would be optional, which so far is typically used on safety:hand_sanitizer:covid19=* and button_operated=*. It isn't perfect, because the federal government can punish an engineer who sounds a horn unnecessarily. (Technically it was a similar kind of "not required" for New York City's former "No Honking" signs too, but that rule was rarely enforced. [11])

As for the key, one only "honks" a car horn but "sounds" or "blows" a train horn or whistle. There is already a railway:signal:whistle=* key that's popular in Germany, but whistles are obsolete and are equated with horns in the quiet zone rules. For now, I'm leaning towards crossing:horn=optional for quiet zones and crossing:horn:conditional=no @ (22:00-07:00) for partial quiet zones.

 – Minh Nguyễn 💬 17:58, 6 September 2021 (UTC)

Apparently they are still called train whistle bans in Canada. [12] – Minh Nguyễn 💬 09:16, 10 September 2021 (UTC)