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Sometimes, in residential areas, there are ways or passages that are foot-only and does not have a street name. I tend to tag them highway=footway and leave highway=pedestrian for regular named street where motor vehicles are not allowed. Is that correct? What are the exact uses of footway and pedestrian apart from what's said in Map_Features?

asked 07 Feb '11, 11:56

jjchico's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%

highway=pedestrian ways are generally wide, about the width of a normal residential street or wider. They can be areas too: think large public pedestrian squares. There's enough space for a crowd to mill around, and probably points of interest like shops to all sides. It sounds like your named street example where motor traffic is prohibited is one of these.

highway=footway ways are generally narrow, with perhaps only enough space for two people on foot to pass, or narrower. Traffic is generally directed, from one end to the other.

Whether it's named or not is not really relevant to the tagging. highway=pedestrian can be named in many places: for example, I've added some near where I live: Headington Quarry named footpaths. Some of them are very narrow, with bike barriers and abutting stone walls, but they bear regular road name signage in an identical style to the rest of the city.

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answered 07 Feb '11, 12:45

Andrew%20Chadwick's gravatar image

Andrew Chadwick
accept rate: 25%


Yes. Those cases are clear to me. Please take a look at the pedestrian street at:

The problem is with streets that are: - Wide, even small gardens inside (pedestrian?) - Has no name nor number (they do not give access to the buildings) (footway?) - They are in a pure residential area: no shops, no points of interest. (footway?) - Some are very short, just the length of one or two houses...

Probably in these cases that are ambiguous it is not so important to tag one way or the other.

(07 Feb '11, 15:25) jjchico

From the Bing/GeoEye satellite photos of the area it looks more as if they're just wide footways - about 3m? - but with some shade from planted trees. I suppose the distinction to use here is more the implicit one based on cris-crossing vs. straight-through foot traffic: which in this case suggests highway=footway.

highway=path might also be appropriate, if the traffic isn't only foot traffic (I notice the nearby cycleway and school...). It's basically highway=footway, but without it being overtly dedicated to foot traffic.

You can tag physical properties too, e.g. width=<metres>

(07 Feb '11, 16:33) Andrew Chadwick

I see that the wiki page for highway=pedestrian does explain the difference, although the page for highway=footway does not.

(08 Feb '11, 01:51) Ebenezer

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question asked: 07 Feb '11, 11:56

question was seen: 11,089 times

last updated: 08 Feb '11, 01:51

NOTICE: is no longer in use from 1st March 2024. Please use the OpenStreetMap Community Forum