|Feature : Trams|
|A form of public transport|
Differences to other railways
Trams are unique among rail-based public transport systems in that, for at least some of their route, they travel along the road, rather than on a separate rail corridor. Where the tracks are embedded within the road, the trams may share the space with other road traffic, such as private motor vehicles, or perhaps buses and taxis only. Sometimes, for instance on wide roads, trams may have their own tracks on which only they can travel, separated from the main road traffic by a small island (in a similar way to some cycle paths). In other circumstances, road traffic and trams may share the same space, but different restrictions (turns, one-way, etc) may apply.
Most often there are two tracks, one track in each direction, running parallel to each other. It is recommended to draw each tracks separately. In the past the tracks where often mapped as as a single line representing both tracks with tracks=2.
Tram tracks are sometimes physically embedded within the highway, and sometimes completely separate.
Tram tracks integrated within an highway, where other traffic is allowed to share the same space.
Latest trend in mapping embedded tracks is to separate geometry of tram tracks and highways entirely. Highway is mapped by a way highway=* with its tags and each single track is mapped as a railway=tram according to its real position. This has many positives (precision, intuitivity, editing ease, less tags on all the ways etc.) but also few negatives, most notably losing information that track is embedded into highway (possibly important for routing purposes). See this section of the Karlsruhe, Germany map for examples of all these situations.
In the past some mappers have drawn a new way for the tram tracks but reuse the nodes as the street where they run completely parallel. This has the drawback that ways are harder to select in visual editors. To draw the railway on top of the street but using its own nodes suffers from the same issue.
Where tram tracks run to the left or right of the road, each track is usually drawn as a separate way on the appropriate side.
A tram stop is a place where a passenger can embark/disembark a tram. It generally comprises a sign, maybe with a small shelter, timetable and facilities for unattended ticket sales (vending machines). There are no operating staff present.
Tram service routes
see Public Transport
Tram systems by country