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I'm using GraphHopper in an application which helps suggest running routes for people.

I'm seeing cases where routes are being suggested that use unsuitable/unsafe roads. For example:

West Powell Road, Ohio

This road and bridge has no sidewalk and always has heavy traffic on it.

  • OSM
  • [Street View][2]
  • GraphHopper - shows pedestrians being routed over this bridge

12th Street Bridge, Ohio River

You definitely don't want to be walking over this!

I strongly suspect that this is just going to be down to poor OSM tag data for these roads. It seems quite common on many US roads.

My questions are:

  1. Is my assumption correct that this is just down to tagging?
  2. What would be the correct tag to apply to these roads? foot=no? sidewalk=none?
  3. Is there a reasonable heuristic I can use as a workaround? e.g. Avoid any primary/trunk/motorways for foot unless explicitly tagged with foot=<acceptable values=""> or sidewalk=<acceptablevalues>



asked 30 Nov '19, 12:52

samcrawford's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%

edited 30 Nov '19, 13:59

SK53's gravatar image

SK53 ♦


In general can you avoid providing references to Google StreetView: such information is inadmissible in using OSM. I have replaced these with equivalent images from Bing Streetside which we do have permission to use when mapping.

(30 Nov '19, 13:56) SK53 ♦

Unfortunately no Bing Streetside available: StreetView links removed.

(30 Nov '19, 14:04) SK53 ♦

Yes sidewalk=none is the appropriate tag.

You may need to tune the routing rules to severely penalise such ways. Some routing applications for cyclists may make use of other open data on likely traffic volumes to provide additional penalties. Motorways should automatically be non-routable for pedestrians, horses & cyclists (there are exceptions which require explicit tagging to over-ride). Penalising other road categories will produce odd decisions where a main road runs through an urban area: in particular where such a road is the main street in a small town.

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answered 30 Nov '19, 14:08

SK53's gravatar image

SK53 ♦
accept rate: 22%


You might also want to consider shoulder=yes|no.

(01 Dec '19, 08:01) Richard ♦

For completeness, in the UK verge=none|left|right|both can help identify busier roads where there is some kind of safer space for walking. In rural Ireland shoulder=yes is common and can be heavily used by pedestrians.

(01 Dec '19, 14:12) SK53 ♦

foot=no is also a correct tag when there's signage prohibiting foot traffic. (Can't tell if that's the case in your examples.)

(01 Dec '19, 16:04) jmapb

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question asked: 30 Nov '19, 12:52

question was seen: 1,075 times

last updated: 01 Dec '19, 16:04

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