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The classification indicates the function of a road. A higher class means better mobility but less access.

Often, the functional classification can be derived from national classification schemes.

Roads may have different classifications for different modes of transportation. For example, national cycle networks often deviate from the the national road network for motorised vehicles. These can be tagged as bicycle:class=1.

Key Value Element Comment
class 1 way ways that are part of a national or super-national network, ways used to get around a country or continent.

DE: Bundesfernstraßen; UK: motorways/A-roads; US: Interstates

class 2 way ways that are part of a sub-national network.

DE: Staats-/Landesstraßen; UK: B-roads; US: other arterials

class 3 way ways that are part of a district or local network, local roads usually preferred over other roads.

DE: Kreisstraßen; UK: C-roads; US: collector roads

class 4-9 reserved for future use
class 10 way ways used for local access

DE: Gemeindestraßen; UK: unclassified roads; US: local roads

road condition

The road condition indicates the standards to which a road was built. Usually, roads that are classified higher also have a better condition. However, this need not be the case for roads in developing countries or unpopulated areas.

Key Value Element Comment Photo
condition grade-separated way
  • paved
  • fully grade-separated
  • often dual carriageways with multiple lanes per direction (indicated by other tags)
condition marked way
  • paved
  • at-grade intersections
  • road markings (or reservation) separating the two directions of traffic
condition paved way
  • paved or heavily compacted hardcore
  • no road markings
  • few traffic signs
Surface grade1.jpg
condition unpaved way
  • unpaved
  • surface of gravel or densely packed dirt/sand
Surface grade2.jpg
condition dirt way
  • unpaved
  • surface of a mixture of hard and soft materials
  • often no plane surface
Surface grade3.jpg
condition green way
  • unpaved
  • lack of hardcore, subtle on the landscape
  • often unplanned/not built but arisen from common usage
Surface grade5.jpg

applicable rules of the road

These tags indicate which rules of the road apply. In countries where a

Key Value Element Comment Rendering Photo
motorway yes way Motorway regulations apply; this usually means higher speed limits and restrictions for some vehicles.

In European countries, this is indicated by a sign showing a bridge over a dual-carriageway road on blue or green background.

motorroad yes way Motorroad regulations apply; this sometimes means higher speed limits and restrictions for some vehicles.

In European countries, this is indicated by a sign showing the front of a passenger car on blue or green background.

urban yes way Regulations for urban areas apply.

In the UK, this is the case if the street has street lights. In Germany, this is indicated by yellow signs showing the locality name.

rural yes way Regulations for rural (non-urban) areas apply.

Highway shorthands

Key Value shorthand for
highway motorway class=1; condition=grade-separated; motorway=yes;
highway trunk class=1; condition=grade-separated
highway primary class=1; condition=marked
highway secondary class=2; condition=marked
highway tertiary class=3; condition=marked
highway unclassified class=10
highway residential class=10