When using the lanes tag to indicate lane count, do we count only lanes open to all traffic, or do we include restricted lanes such as bus, taxi, carpool and bicycle lanes?

asked 21 Jan '11, 05:46

Paul%20Johnson's gravatar image

Paul Johnson
accept rate: 10%

First of all the lanes=* tag was not ment to handle every case. A lanes=* tag on highway=residential would include all motorized lanes, but not bike lanes, mostly since bike lanes tend to be so much smaller.

Example: Bahnhofsplatz and a picture of it, where you can almost see 4 car lanes + cycle lane + bus lane. tagged as lanes=5

Verbose lane tagging is AFAIK not solved, but you are not alone wanting to do that, but lanes=* is not the place for that. There are several proposals hidden on the wiki, on some link from the key:lanes=* page they all lack an easy to access documentation with examples. You are free to document your findings.

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answered 23 Jan '11, 09:22

emj's gravatar image

accept rate: 15%

edited 23 Jan '11, 23:16

The reason I ask is because in some places (like Vancouver, BC and Portland, OR) there's a propensity for streets having a bus and taxi lane right of the bicycle lane (like on Robson in Vancouver), or multiple bicycle lanes going in the same direction (like on several central Portland streets, where common configurations are to have one bike lane on each side of a one-way so cyclists can merge to whichever one is on the side with their next turn, or two bicycle lanes adjacent on high volume, steep routes so faster cyclists don't have to use a general traffic lane to pass slower cyclists).

(23 Jan '11, 19:31) Paul Johnson

well lanes was never a very good approximation of street width.

(23 Jan '11, 22:59) emj

No, the lanes tag is a pretty poor way to determine street width, tagging the right of way with an area as landuse=highway would give a better indication of that. However, knowing how many lanes may be useful to some routing engines to make a guess about which lane you should be in in advance.

(23 Jan '11, 23:11) Paul Johnson

Yes but the lanes tag is completely unable to handle that. You need something else. Just look at the lanes wiki page the second picture example of lanes=2, but it really looks like lanes=1.5 right? lanes is very broken..

(23 Jan '11, 23:17) emj

I wonder if it's time to retire the lanes key at this point given it's severe shortcomings.

(08 Feb '11, 01:16) Paul Johnson

Well someone have to come up with a better one.. :-)

(08 Feb '11, 12:34) emj

Unless we do not have something better it is not time to retire the lanes tag. I still think that it is usefull but only if the lane number refers to normal motor vehicle lanes.

(08 Feb '11, 15:40) ALE
showing 5 of 7 show 2 more comments

If there is one globally agreed definition of what a "lane" is, it's this: quote UN Vienna Convention on road signs and signals:

"Lane" means any one of the longitudinal strips into which the carriageway is divisible, whether or not defined by longitudinal road markings, which is wide enough for one moving line of motor vehicles other than motor cycles;"

That's what people have been told to tag with the lanes=* tag all the way from 2006. All motorcar-wide lanes count.

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answered 13 Feb '12, 10:29

alv's gravatar image

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question asked: 21 Jan '11, 05:46

question was seen: 4,619 times

last updated: 13 Feb '12, 10:29

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