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This should really be rendered the same (or smaller) as service=parking_aisle. Perhaps it shouldn't even be rendered at all, or perhaps not rendered only if it's also access=private.

In the long run, when every house and building will have a driveway mapped, it would make the map too cluttered to read except at the most zoomed in. And when using the map for navigation, seeing every driveway would be distracting. I think a good routing program would only show driveways you're going to use on your route, and hide the rest. BigPeteB 04:31, 22 June 2010 (UTC)

i'm totally with you on that, because i'm someone who maps all those driveways :-) the problem is, that there is no differentiation between short driveways, only a couple meters long (to a garage or into a courtyard) and long driveways, a couple of hundred meters long, leading to rich peoples houses or farms. for now i add an additional tag "driveway=garage" or "driveway=courtyard" to those ways. that would give renderers and routing programs the chance to ignore those ways while still being able to render general service=driveway ways. maybe we should add this additional tags to the wiki page even though it's not heavily used right now. i also started a discussion about that in the german forum: -- Flaimo 16:08, 16 March 2011 (UTC)
I agree with you; when the topic at the German forum has settled down, would you mind posting a summary here for us non-German readers? I've just mapped a few driveways in my community, which you can see here, and I think it might be acceptable to render them at this high of a zoom, but I'm not sure where the cutoff is. -- Joshdoe 00:45, 17 March 2011 (UTC)


How do we differentiate between driveways and pipestems? Pipestems are common in planned residential developments, where a number of houses are located off a pipestem, each with their own driveways. Maintenance of the pipestem is the responsibility of all the homeowners off that particular pipestem. Pipestems aren't named roads, so highway=residential doesn't make sense, but I'm not sure if I should use service=driveway both for the pipestems and for the individual driveways. Fairfax County, Virginia, USA has a short page and photo of a sign here. - Joshdoe 15:01, 19 January 2011 (UTC)

I've started using highway=service, service=driveway, and driveway=pipestem to tag pipestems in my area. This is compatible with existing tagging, can be easily changed to something else if it is warranted. - Joshdoe 17:42, 7 March 2011 (UTC)
Perhaps "shared driveway" might be the better term? A quick search reveals that it's used for places in the US, and it's a common enough term here in the UK. I'd not heard the term "pipestem" for this before today, and Wikipedia thinks it's a kind of tree. Liking the drill-down typology going on here, whatever term we choose. --achadwick 14:31, 9 December 2011 (UTC)

Myself I use service=driveway for both shared and non-shared since with a few exceptions neither go anywhere other then to properties. In practice I only really map ones going to shared garage-blocks, or extensions of tens of metres to residential culs-de-sac that go on to more than one typical detached house but which aren't really public road or turning circle. Out in the countryside, farms have them and so do big posh country houses: those can loop or link two public roads, so it's a good idea to mark them as being driveways, but beyond that I don't think routing algorithms would care very much. --achadwick 14:31, 9 December 2011 (UTC)

I see some usage of service=pipestem as an alternative to service=driveway driveway=pipestem. I think it's better to use service=pipestem and have started using that tag in areas where shared driveways are common. Renderers should give a shared driveway more prominence than most driveways, because in many cases it's essentially an extension of the street rather than a driveway that happens to lead to other driveways. Routers should include shared driveways in guidance instructions, just as they would include alleys, because there remain decision points along the shared driveway. – Minh Nguyễn (talk, contribs) 01:15, 16 September 2018 (UTC)

From this description it seems that pipestems are closer to highway=residential+noname=yes than to highway=service Mateusz Konieczny (talk) 06:41, 17 September 2018 (UTC)
In many newer subdivisions, shared driveways are indistinguishable from the residential roads they branch off of, except for (usually) being narrower and (usually) lacking a curb or sidewalk. The only physical characteristic that seems to reliably apply to shared driveways is that all the mailboxes are colocated where the shared driveway meets the main street. Thus any house along the shared driveway has the main street’s street address. It’s this lack of dedicated addresses, I think, that suggests the shared driveway should be tagged highway=service but not service=driveway. –Minh Nguyễn 💬 00:55, 6 January 2019 (UTC)
My observation in my local area is that Amazon's army of mappers tag all pipestems as just highway=service. Just because they tag a lot of things "wrong" (imo) doesn't mean the wiki should promote that scheme based on usage. We shouldn't tag it this way because we like the current rendering. If it's a pipestem it should be tagged as a pipestem. service=pipestem would be nice, but I think service=driveway + driveway=pipestem has been used since it would still be understood or rendered better even if an app didn't recognize pipestems.--Rassilon (talk) 16:39, 29 November 2019 (UTC)
I agree that it is better to use service=pipestem or even highway=residential for a shared road which leads to several residential properties. The idea of a driveway in British English is a private service road which leads to a single residence. While the word "driveway" has a much broader meaning in North American English, we should stick to the original definition. --Jeisenbe (talk) 19:30, 17 May 2020 (UTC)
After some consideration I do agree that service=pipestem (shared driveway) is better, otherwise if you opt for service=driveway + driveway=pipestem then that implies there should also be a corresponding driveway=single for non shared-driveways, and it implies that service=driveway is for an unspecified shared/non-shared driveway. The wiki is very clear that service=driveway is for non-shared driveways which lead to a single residence/business, therefore we should instead use service=pipestream for a shared driveway and keep using service=driveway for a non-shared driveway. --Aharvey (talk) 21:48, 15 March 2022 (UTC)
@Aharvey: Agreed. By the way, usage numbers are low enough that I think we could get away with migrating to something more intuitive like service=shared_driveway, by analogy with cycleway=lane versus cycleway=shared_lane (not lane=shared). – Minh Nguyễn 💬 05:40, 2 June 2022 (UTC)

Why access=private?

Isn't a driveway typically a private road? I think we should only tag what we see. If a house owner adds a sign "do not enter/private road" a access tag is needed. But if we add access tags if no signs are exists, we can not say if there is a sign or not by only looking into OSM-data. It's the same like motorways where we don't add bicycle=no.
The access will make editin or routing to complicated. If the first user adds the driveway, the second who draw the foot- or cycleway must split EVERY driveway to delete the access tags form the small part between road and cycleway. Routing Example --HalverHahn (talk) 14:48, 17 August 2015 (UTC)

  • My feeling is that driveways should be tagged with access=destination as service workers and unannounced visitors are generally allowed access without obtaining prior permission. They could be subsequently chased from the properly as unwanted, but unless posted as 'private property, keep out, no permission to be assumed' or something of the same gist (such as a locked gate), at least in the United States it is generally assumed that if your intention is to reach the private residence as a destination, using the driveway is permitted. --Ceyockey (talk) 02:37, 30 August 2016 (UTC)
  • Please dont tag/map stuff thats not there. Its in in Good Practices that we only map stuff that is there and verifyable. Any access=* on a driveway which does not correspond to a explicit signage of the owner is broken and just "felt access restriction" not "factual access restriction" Flohoff (talk) 18:08, 23 May 2018 (UTC)
    • It may depend on a location. At least in Poland closed gate or something similar making clear that it is a private property requires no explicit signage Mateusz Konieczny (talk) 06:39, 17 September 2018 (UTC)

Removal on restrictions on service=driveway tagging

There has been a discussion on not tagging service ways as driveway within a parking lot. However, this contradicts OSM policies on the following points.

  • There is no mandate on how a user chooses to tag in any manner, as long as it is verifiable on-the-ground.
  • It contradicts the general rule that secondary tags adds additional details, and forces user to tag without secondary tags. It has never been OSM practice to tell users not to do things in a particular manner.
  • This "rule" is applied in various regions, but not globally. The change un-intentionally forces regional preferences into a global "standard", which also is not OSM practice.

In fact, users should be encouraged to categorise the service way type where possible, and not use the generic classification. --JaLooNz (talk) 13:22, 17 July 2020 (UTC)

But service=driveway is for driveways: small service ways which access a single house, not for parking aisles or access aisles. If you would like a new value of service=* to tag the main services ways entering parking lots, it's certainly possible to do so (perhaps service=parking?), but you should not mis-use an existing tag. --Jeisenbe (talk) 05:21, 20 July 2020 (UTC)
parking alone seems easy to confuse with parking aisles... I have no good ideas, service=main_parking_road is ugly. Mateusz Konieczny (talk) 07:32, 20 July 2020 (UTC)
I am ok with new definitions, but the restrictions have to go as it contradicts various general rules and is not a standard globally.--JaLooNz (talk) 14:57, 20 July 2020 (UTC)
"This "rule" is applied in various regions, but not globally." - where it is not used and people use service=driveway for main roads on parkings? Mateusz Konieczny (talk) 07:32, 20 July 2020 (UTC)
Various legal definitions differ from the definition "small service ways which access a single house, not for parking aisles or access aisles", examples include US-CA statures, and others define driveway as "point access linking to lots from public way". Just from these examples along, it tells us definitely that the tagging convention even for access routes to parking bays do meet the definition of driveway. However, as an exception, you may want to choose to tag your region in whatever way you like as long as your rules are not imposed on others.--JaLooNz (talk) 14:57, 20 July 2020 (UTC)
I'm also a Californian, however I am aware that in OpenStreetMap, the value of a tag does not depend on local legislation or local dictionary definitons. Rather what is important are the real-world characteristics. When tags are originally created they are based on British English rather than American English definitions (though this is less important for long-established tags): Cambridge dictionary defines "driveway" as "a short private road that leads from a public road to a house or garage" ( and Oxford defines it as "A short road leading from a public road to a house or garage." ( But Wiktionary (which tends to be US English) also defines it as "Short private road that leads to a house or garage. (
The definition of driveway in Cambridge dictionary (updated in 2021) and Oxford (updated in 2020), and was used as references/sources for the above discussions, now better reflects driveway as "a private area in front of a house or other building onto which you can drive and park your car" and "A short road leading from a public road to a house or other building.". This means that UK sources which includes dictionaries (Cambridge and Oxford/Lexico), legislatures (UK and US-CA) do not agree with the existing definition of the driveway as defined on this page, which states that the term should not be used for ways connecting to parking-aisles and limits this definition to only ways that connects to residential buildings.--JaLooNz (talk) 15:08, 29 August 2021 (UTC)
@JaLooNz: The definition on the page doesn't strictly limit it to residential buildings. Loading docks and passenger drop-offs are not exactly exclusive to residential buildings. The point of mentioning residential buildings is to emphasize that driveways are the things that normally provide access to buildings without parking lots, and sometimes to buildings with parking lots, but not to the parking lots themselves. – Minh Nguyễn 💬 00:58, 30 August 2021 (UTC)
While it's true that you can invent any new tags that you like, this wiki is supposed to document how tags and keys are used by the majority of mappers around the world. --Jeisenbe (talk) 15:10, 20 July 2020 (UTC)
Precisely, but there is nothing wrong with a person tagging a driveway base on what's correct in their region. The previous text is a absolute no, which contradicts OSM's general rule that it is OK as it is verifiable on the ground, and this is also the person's understanding that what's been described is indeed a driveway. At this point, your justifications are not sufficiently strong to argue against that just because you have been doing so in your region.--JaLooNz (talk) 15:22, 20 July 2020 (UTC)
"The previous text is a absolute no" - it is untrue, it starts from softening qualifier "generally speaking". And it is widely applicable. If there is actually region where such tagging is actually widely considered as a correct, then please mention this exception (with links to discussion allowing to confirm this). Can you finally specify region where such tagging in OSM is actually considered as a correct, with links to something confirming this claim? Mateusz Konieczny (talk) 19:42, 20 July 2020 (UTC)
Please substantiate where is your "widely considered as correct", as you have kept repeating this despite all the evidence (legal) and impact on my region (remote mappers).--JaLooNz (talk) 23:55, 20 July 2020 (UTC)
I am not asking about local legislation. I am asking about OSM tagging. Is there any region where such tagging scheme that you promote is actually widely considered as a correct one? Mateusz Konieczny (talk) 19:33, 20 July 2020 (UTC)
I am using this tagging scheme for parking lots in Singapore and Malaysia since 2012, and w.e.f. from last year there were various "remote" editors trying to retag these serviceways into your "standard" tagging scheme just because this is the way others tag in your region after the wiki is edited (2019). Likewise, based on CA legisation, there is nothing wrong with how serviceway is tagged based on the definition (and likewise the tagging scheme for driveway will also apply to CA, to SG and MY). Without the previous text added in 2019, the definition of serviceway on OSM wiki still satisfies CA legal definition which is what is being used to tag in the locations specified.--JaLooNz (talk) 23:51, 20 July 2020 (UTC)
The fact that other mappers want to update your tagging suggests that there is no consensus in MY, SG or CA for that usage. --Jeisenbe (talk) 15:49, 22 July 2020 (UTC)
The reason why other mappers are updating the tagging is primarily due to the incorrect definitions introduced previously. I have already clearly provided the direct definition which is used in CA.--JaLooNz (talk) 21:21, 22 July 2020 (UTC)
JaLooNz, you are incorrect about the meaning of "driveway" in OpenStreetMap and in British English. While in California some people might refer to any service way as a "driveway", in OpenStreetMap the tag service=driveway is used for a small service way which accesses a single house or other single private building. It is not used for all types of service ways, such as the main entrance to a customer parking lot. --Jeisenbe (talk) 15:47, 22 July 2020 (UTC)
This is getting absurd, as you have reverted text that directly references the CA legistature definition of driveways. As you are now referencing UK english terms, I would like to point you to UK legislature where there is no strict definitions of driveway, nor text which defines what is a service way. This explains why the driveway tag is not used, because it has never been defined in UK law. However, it does not mean that tagging these ways as driveways are incorrect, especially if we consider the definitions used elsewhere.--JaLooNz (talk) 21:21, 22 July 2020 (UTC)
Please see How_We_Map and Verifiability: tags in OpenStreetMap, including service=driveway, are defined by consensus of the community of mappers (and data users), not by dictionary definitions or the laws in any particular jurisdiction. Also see the Good Practice page where it is mentioned that we don't map based on legislation: Good_practice#Don.27t_map_your_local_legislation.2C_if_not_bound_to_objects_in_reality. --Jeisenbe (talk) 05:20, 23 July 2020 (UTC)
Other than the few of the people here trying to redefine the consensus of the community, there is no sense of where this consensus was previously formed. Talking about verifiability, the consensus formed by CA legislature starts from 1971, and you are now trying say this is not consensus formed by a community of people. Are you trying to say that this is not based on consensus? Next on verifiablity, which for sure can be verified based on the CA legislature text, and not for the previous text which obviously does not fit in with the full definition of what is correct. What I have been doing here is to correct the verifiability part with something consistent for over 50 years and counting. If you are looking at How_We_Map, you will notice that your rule contradicts 'as few rules as possible', and 'tagging standards but they evolve instead of being pushed through'. Providing alternatives is compatible with these guidelines, putting in place restrictions on how people map aren't.--JaLooNz (talk) 12:54, 23 July 2020 (UTC)
"consensus formed by CA legislature starts from 1971" - are you claiming that CA legislature formed consensus about OpenStreetMap tagging in 1971? That is an amazing foresightMateusz Konieczny (talk) 14:55, 23 July 2020 (UTC)
Why you think that OSM tagging should follow local law definition of terms such as "driveway"? Do you think that unusual definition in local laws of terms such as "forest", "lake", "tree", "building", "river" would also redefine OSM tags using the same word? (local law may affect tags tagging legal status such as leisure=nature_reserve, but not tagging physical objects, where how law defines various terms is unimportant) Mateusz Konieczny (talk) 07:39, 23 July 2020 (UTC)
My edits do not say follow local law definitions, but says some communities may map this way since 1971. How is that unusual?--JaLooNz (talk) 12:54, 23 July 2020 (UTC)
"some communities may map this way since 1971. How is that unusual?" - mapping in OSM since 1971 would be quite interesting achievement. To repeat, I am asking whatever community of OSM mappers actually supports your claim. Legal situation is not relevant here Mateusz Konieczny (talk) 14:57, 23 July 2020 (UTC)

@JaLooNz: I think you're getting hung up on the literal word "driveway". OSM tag values adhere to day-to-day terminology only up to a point. The tagging system is akin to programmers designing a server API or client-side type system. At some point you need to choose a word, even if it isn't defined precisely the same way as in the real world. It's unfortunate that sometimes nuances get lost this way, but that's why editors should prioritize showing presets to users over raw tags. (And incidentally why I would someday like to see us put the bulk of mapper-oriented documentation on topical pages like Driveways and reserve Key: and Tag: pages for data consumer–oriented documentation. But that's a ball of yarn for another day.)

It should be clear that service=driveway was originally coined for the purpose of tagging a driveway leading to two-car garage in suburbia – and anything reasonably like it for the purposes of rendering and routing. Both these use cases call for a hierarchy of service roads; driveways form the lowest rung in that hierarchy. As one of the more prolific parking aisle mappers in California, I can assure you that the California Streets and Highways Code's definition of a driveway matters very, very little in this context. Under U.S. law, every legal document is required to define terms as used in the document, but not necessarily outside of that document, lest it run afoul of the vagueness doctrine. The SHC is not intended to regulate how anyone uses the term driveway, least of all for the purpose of road classification on maps. In fact, I actively remove service=driveway from any parking lot access road I see it on in the South Bay. But you're more than welcome to add designation=driveway to any roadway that legally qualifies.

 – Minh Nguyễn 💬 00:51, 30 August 2021 (UTC)

I am not hung up on this, and have accepted that this tag/schema had already been hijacked in 2017. I embarked on an effort to migrate these "incorrectly" tagged driveways to service=driveway2 so as to avoid people removing these detailed classification tags from the ways, as what @Minh Nguyen: and others have done. However, from a natural language perspective, this only means that OSM is accepting that there are inconsistencies between what dictionaries understood it to be and what is termed the 2017 defined schema of driveway. It also means that ways that are correctly tagged from from 2011 through 2016 that describes driveways as correctly based on the latest UK dictionary definitions are deemed as incorrectly tagged just because the definition is changed. —Preceding unsigned comment added by JaLooNz (talkcontribs) 05:49, 30 August 2021‎ (UTC)

@JaLooNz: I don't think service=driveway was "hijacked" in the way you may be thinking: you're apparently focusing on this change in 2017, but that was merely copy-pasted from this change in 2014. Even before that, since at least January 2010, a bare highway=service has been recommended for a gas station access road, another situation that the California Streets and Highway Code would've defined as a driveway for the narrow purpose of certain laws. In other words, what you're criticizing as a novel reinterpretation is actually more or less the original definition of the tag. That's not to say that the wiki is or was ever authoritative on the subject, but consensus to tag parking lot access roads as driveways was never as solid as you're claiming.

You are correct that OSM accepts inconsistencies between natural language and tag values. It's a matter of pragmatism, because we don't expect most end users or mappers to work with raw tags in the first place, but data consumers do expect the tags to translate automatically to a certain rendering style or routing behavior. By contrast, the Streets and Highway Code only uses its definition to determine who pays for a sidewalk or curb, something we might be inclined to tag as owner=*. British English dictionaries are relevant, but the norm is to use British English spelling and specifically avoid British English terms when they're ambiguous (a great example being "pavement" versus sidewalk=*). I can't emphasize enough that end users shouldn't care how we name this tag, especially considering the variety of languages they speak. (The hairs we're splitting don't translate into the two other languages I speak, one of which doesn't even have a word for "driveway".)

For my part, I've stated in various places that I'd be completely fine with a new service=* value for parking lot access roads if people find it to be of such importance that every highway=service have a service=* tag on it. But if you're taking the time to coin and promote a new tag, why not choose one that's more specific and discoverable, like service=parking_access, service=pipestem, etc.? If I'm not mistaken, you're the mapper who added virtually all the 3,000+ occurrences of service=driveway2 in the database [1], so it shouldn't be too difficult to settle on a tag that makes the intention a little clearer to software developers.

 – Minh Nguyễn 💬 09:03, 30 August 2021 (UTC)