Help required for adding access information to track roads

Dear OSM Community,

At Amazon we are coming across a situation where unmaintained track roads have no access tags. We would like to know your suggestions/feedback on how to tag these roads.

Track Roads:
By definition track roads implies traversal of motor vehicles and are mostly used for agricultural use. We have private GPS traces showing where delivery vehicles go, and when we match them against OSM data, we see they’re going along highway=track ways. We want to add appropriate access tags so that routers can route correctly along the data in the future.

The driver trace is on-the-ground evidence that the road can be used by motor vehicles for deliveries, but we have no evidence either way that the road can be used for general traffic.

There are four different ways we’ve come up to tag this information:
1. motor_vehicle = yes
Our editing team used to do this, but the community has pointed out that it’s incorrect because we don’t know if the roads can be used for public motor vehicle traffic. This is particularly a problem for track roads that could connect two roads.

If the track road were tagged as motor_vehicle=yes, the data would show that anyone could connect from one side to the other. We don’t have evidence on that.

2. motor_vehicle = destination
This indicates that local traffic can go there. Unfortunately, it also says through traffic can’t use it, which we also have no evidence on apart from our delivery partners route information.

3. motor_vehicle = delivery
This is the same as #2, except it indicates delivery only. All public traffic will be blocked from routing via this road.

4. service = driveway + surface = unpaved
Since most of the track roads are leading to independent houses or commercial entities, these track roads can be converted to driveways and add ‘surface=unpaved’ information as per available sources. This might not be applicable to all the track roads but only to roads leading to housing entities and vehicles visible in satellite images.

Our personal preference is the combination of #2 and #4 as we think this correctly captures the information we have.

What do community think is the most appropriate tag for this case?

As per community request, we’ve stopped adding motor_vehicle=yes to track roads and reverted all the changes we made previously while we sort this out. Do let us know your suggestions.


@jguthula As you may have noticed, this sub-forum doesn’t get a lot of traffic. Most UK-specific OSM discussions are on mailing lists - for the island of Great Britain (England, Wales and Scotland) and for the island of Ireland (Ireland and Northern Ireland). However, I notice that your diary entry has received 5 answers from GB already, so thankfully people have seen that. I’m sure that if you posted it to talk-gb and talk-ie you’d get some more answers too.

I have posted the same content in Germany forum ( and talk GB mailing list along with a diary post ( I didn’t know of “talk-ie” but will post it there as well. Thanks for you suggestions SomeoneElse. I will wait until this weekend to get more responses from the community members and also to cover as many edge cases as possible. Later this week I will compile all the information in all forums and come up with a list of possible solutions.