Bus routes: use 1 or 2 relations?


I am just starting to map bus routes, using relations. I have read the wiki page and inspired myself on bus 61 in Den Bosch, The Netherlands. However, line 61 is using 2 different relations: relation 397232 (from Kruiskampsingel to Oosterplas) and relation 397233 (from Oosterplas to Kruiskampsingel). This is due to the fact that this line’s end points are no real end points, just regular bus stops where the bus waits for a minute or so and then continues. It could be interpreted as a circular route, but the majority of the traject is the same in the 2 ways.

I have just created route 73 in Madison, WI, USA. This is a more traditional route, as it starts and ends in two major transfer points. A part from the roads that are physically separated in 2 oneway ways, the traject is the same.

I have added the relation to the actual traject from Middleton Transfer Point to West Transfer Point (and to the associated bus stops), and now I am wondering if I should use the same relation for the opposite traject (and attached bus stops) or if I should create another relation (that would be from West Transfer Point to Middleton Transfer Point).

Traditionally mappers would have used a single relation, but it has some drawbacks in “complex” cases. Some tools (especially sketch-route) expect separate relations for separate directions to give the best results; others don’t, but should probably work with such separate relations, too.

Although there’s no beginners guide to bus route mapping, there is a description in the wiki on how full route details could could be modeled, with apparently solid arguments, at

Your question is answered on that page at

Thanks alv for the link(s), this is indeed some interesting piece of information! I will thus use 2 relations for the bus lines I’m adding. thx