Footway or residential / unclassified?

Hi Everyone,

Grab has made an interesting observation on this issue, could you guys please take a look and comment?

I would argue leaving it on footway as we won’t be able to, for example, fit a big bike in this soi but anything up to 150cc, bicycles, scooters, would be fine.

Best Regards

Hi Mishari,

Those tiny sois in Bangkok are very narrow indeed. I’ve walked on them and know that many people drive motos on them despite their narrow width. But it would be very difficult to tag them in such a way as to allow small bikes but disallow big bikes.

So yes, I think leaving them as footways is the best and most correct solution. Locals will continue to use them as they always have but any decent routing software will disqualify them for vehicular use.

A number of us “up country” were adopting the stance that if it was a FOOTWAY, then all vehicles explicitly were not able to use it (either thru legal or physical constraints).
However, if it was a pathway, or single track as many off-roaders call it, where a bike could physically ride down it, but not a wider vehicle, then it was tagged as a PATH, with some adding the motorcycle=yes tag for clarity.
IMO it would be nice if Grab adopted this stance too.

At least, there is a width tag, 1.5 meters.
I’d prefer path in this case, as it is wide enough for most bikes.
Unfortunately, there is a weird routing island: residential road
can only be reached via this footway / path…

I also usually use highway=path for these. Practically, their distinction from highway=footway in urban areas hasn’t been really clear (especially in Thailand where motorbikes regularly plough through pedestrian ways), but I tend to think that path better reflects reality than footway.

The island mentioned by Bernhard Hiller is apparently a private driveway.

Looking through the Wiki Wiki it seems that highway=path is more accurate as highway=footway by definition excludes bicycles and any non-foot transport.

I just remembered these threads from way back.

Back then many suggested highway=service with service=alley for these very small sois in urban areas; the path option was considerably less popular.

I know consistency hasn’t really been a distinctive quality of our work given the nature of OSM, but maybe we could reconcile these positions to identify the most preferred solution? The Grab team has raised another question regarding the alley tagging here and it would be good not to further confuse them.

The use of highway=path should only be second choice. As Mishari pointed out, there is a large uncertainty how path should be interpreted.
Look at the different “path” photos in the wiki. Most of them depict more of a hiking trail.

tagging as alley together with proper width tags and access restrictions for cars should do it.

As no photo of the true situation on tjhe ground was provided: Please be extra careful here not to over-restrict.

If you see cars parked in an area where that road is the only way in, then these are actually suitable for cars. I am frequently surprised into how narrow sois people are able to squeeze their cars in.

I dislike the path tag for that reason and don’t use it much. The tag is poorly defined and many mappers use it as a catchall if they are uncertain about its status. In my mapping in Alaska there are many “trails” used by people, animals and the ever-present ATV. These multi-use trails are IMO proper paths, that is, a way used by people or horses, or bicycles, and even the occasional specialized vehicle but isn’t designated for any particular means of transport.

I mapped the Iditarod Trail last year and made that a highway=path for most of its length. It is used by snowmobiles, dogsleds, and bicycles during the winter while the parts of it that are near towns are used by ATVs year-round.

Maybe adding a link to streetview to compensate the lack of pictures to estimate the situation on the ground.,100.5262574,3a,75y,139.82h,68.18t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1saKsbZ8T2KwUwfJ1ZakDyuA!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

As you can see there are motorbikes, bicycles and hand-carts on the road. Looks wider than 1.5m, but too narrow for a car.

description of service=alley seems to perfectly fit here.

For me, if it is too narrow for car, using highway=path (or highway=footway) makes the map clearer for user, at least for now.
I won’t mind much about the motorcycle because more than 90% of footway in Thailand is also usable by motorcycle, at least in reality.
Also OpenStreetMap-Carto render service=alley thicker than service=driveway (which is clearly usable by car). It looks weird if the service=alley is narrower in reality.