A toucan crossing is a road crossing where pedestrians and bikes can cross together (typically used to cross a road between two segregated cycle paths).

The OSM Wiki for "crossing" states that I can either use:


Or the "UK shortcut":


However the crossing=toucan version doesn't appear on the default Mapnik rendering on the OSM home page so I'm not sure how widely recognised it is (TagInfo suggests there are only around 1000 uses of toucan, compared to 64,000 of traffic_signals).

Despite this the "More Info" link from OpenCycleMap suggests that it only recognises the crossing=toucan version and treats anything else as "Other Crossings". And the OSM information on CycleStreets.net suggests the same thing.

So which should I use? Is one method "better" than the other? Is there any reason that the Mapnik rendering can't recognise the UK shortcut or that OpenCycleMap can't recognise the long version?

asked 01 Jul '11, 09:19

GrahamS's gravatar image

accept rate: 28%

edited 01 Jul '11, 09:31


OpenCycleMap interprets three different ways of tagging toucan crossings - as well as the crossing=toucan method, it handles crossing_ref and also access-based crossing tagging. See https://gitorious.org/opencyclemap-tagtransform/opencyclemap-tagtransform/blobs/master/transform-crossings.xml for the gory details

(01 Jul '11, 15:08) Andy Allan

Thanks @Andy that's good to know. The OCM page I linked only mentions crossing="toucan" - perhaps it should be updated?

(05 Jul '11, 14:24) GrahamS

what, to expose to normal people some of the worst of the OSM tagging nonsense? Explain that there's at least three different ways to tag one? I'm not going to inflict this on anyone :-)

(05 Jul '11, 15:01) Andy Allan

The basics:

As a minimum, use


Then it depends on whether you expect international application programmers to know what a "toucan crossing" is. If you don't want to rely on their knowledge of UK crossing terminology, you can add the additional tags that you quoted from the wiki.

Controversy: crossing=toucan vs. crossing_ref=toucan:

As you have noted, there is a popular alternative for crossing_ref=toucan, crossing=toucan. It's not obvious which you should choose, but I'll try to summarize the arguments again:

Pro crossing=toucan

Pro crossing_ref=toucan

  • it is used more frequently (1842 vs. 1071)
  • crossing=toucan conflicts with tags like crossing=traffic_signals (64,883 uses), crossing_ref toucan can coexist
  • it is also documented on the wiki (but only as an add-on tag)
  • JOSM presets use this tag

I would personally encourage the switch to crossing_ref, if for no other reason than allowing the supporters of "UK names" and "explicit subtagging" to peacefully coexist. Using crossing=toucan forces mappers into an avoidable conflict over the value for crossing tags.

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answered 01 Jul '11, 20:04

Tordanik's gravatar image

accept rate: 35%

edited 01 Jul '11, 20:40

The JOSM preset for Toucan crossing currently adds the tags


This seems to be a mistake, and as per the wiki and OCM recommendations I would suggest


I wouldn't worry about what does or does not render on the Mapnik rendering too much, as there are too many things mapped for everything to show. If you are concerned though you could suggest an enhancement at trac.openstreetmap.org

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answered 01 Jul '11, 10:09

EdLoach's gravatar image

EdLoach ♦
accept rate: 23%

Yeah I wouldn't normally worry too much about the Mapnik rendering - but crossing=traffic_signals does get rendered, so it's not like the general policy is to avoid rendering crossings for aesthetic reasons.

(01 Jul '11, 10:46) GrahamS

I've done a quick search and there is already http://trac.openstreetmap.org/ticket/3483 suggesting highway=crossing be rendered.

(01 Jul '11, 11:46) EdLoach ♦
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question asked: 01 Jul '11, 09:19

question was seen: 22,049 times

last updated: 05 Jul '11, 15:01

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