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I am wondering how I can intuitively map safe walking routes in my city using OSM. Walkability is a big issue in many urban areas and would like a way to identify safe walking routes so that any department in the city and the public can all see and verify the most walkable areas. For example, some streets are safer than others and just because it has a sidewalk, that should not imply it is a pedestrian friendly area.

There is a cycling map layer but no pedestrian equivalent - why is that?

asked 31 May '19, 20:34

ArinLewis's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%

The cycling map layer shows signposted cycle routes, not routes with good "cyclability" or routes that are "safe". (This is also something that some web sites aim to do but not on our main site.) Overlays with hiking routes are also available from third parties. I am not aware of anyone signposting or recording "city walking routes" but if they were signposted they could certainly be mapped and made available by someone.

The issue with "safe" walking is that it is subjective and we don't map subjective stuff. Whether you feel safe in an area could for example entirely depend on your gender, ethnicity, or social status. We only map things that are verifiable. For example, people map whether streets are lit at night and there are indeed maps showing that (e.g.

So, unless your city signposts "safe walking routes" which would then be a verifiable thing to add (not that these routes are safe - but that these are the city's official safe routes!), you are limited to trying to identify the verifiable features that could be used to determine the safety or not of a street.

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answered 31 May '19, 21:30

Frederik%20Ramm's gravatar image

Frederik Ramm ♦
accept rate: 23%

edited 01 Jun '19, 16:06

Tordanik's gravatar image


Are you referring to traffic safety in the sense of not getting run over by a car or to "social" safety in the sense of not getting robbed? The former can to some extend objectively mapped by tagging sidewalks, curbs, barriers between carriageway and sidewalk, tactile paving, sidewalk width, crossings, traffic lights, lamps/lighting, underpasses, signed walking routes etc. Adding subjective, personal views like "my preferred way to work" is frowned upon my most mappers.

There are several projects that try to find best routes for for example disabled or visually impaired pedestrians. Some of what they do is also applicable to generally safe walking. Maybe have a look at Wheelchair Routing to get some additional ideas.

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answered 31 May '19, 21:48

TZorn's gravatar image

accept rate: 15%

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question asked: 31 May '19, 20:34

question was seen: 1,824 times

last updated: 01 Jun '19, 16:06

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