this is not a simple question. Different countries have different mapping standards for motorway/trunk/primary etc …
so the answer highly depends in which country the roads are. The roads are obviously in Poland, but I have no clue how polish mappers would handle these roads. I assume, http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Pl:Znakowanie_dr%C3%B3g_w_Polsce gives a good hint (but I do not speak polish)
In the videos, I was not able to see the official signs for the roads - are they signposted as motorways/Autobahnen/Autostrada, or are they signposted as expressways/Kraftfahrstrasse/Droga ekspresowa , or are they just very busy roads without such signs? The answer to the question also depends on the signs.
for me, depending on the country and depending on the signs, motorway, trunk or primary could be reasonable.
Let’s stop here for a moment. Openstreetmap is a global project, so mapping standards should be rather uniform regardless of the country. (Of course there are exceptions - for example major roads in less developed counties may be unpaved, but they should count as “primary”.) So a road with “motorway” standard (described above) should be tagged as motorway regardless of the country. At least this is how I think it should be.
Quick summary - there are “A” and “S” classes of motorways in Poland. The only significant differences between them are: lane width (3.75 m vs 3.5m, though there are also “A” roads with 3.5m) and speed limit (140 km/h vs 120 km/h). But these differences are in my opinion not enough to treat these roads differently in terms of “highway” tag - they both serve the same purpose and feel virtually the same for drivers.
Note: the same division used to be present in Czechia (“D” and “R” classes of motorways). The Czech government noticed that it makes no sense and abandoned the “R” class, changing most of these roads to “D”.
The 1st example is neither “A” or “S” - it is Drogowa Trasa Średnicowa in the Silesian Metropolis - a kind of urban expressway. It is currently tagged as “primary” but used to be tagged as “secondary” because of its official status as a regional, not national road. In my opinion it should be tagged as “trunk” - it meets most of requirements for a “motorway” but it is not proclaimed in government document and has a local, not national importance.
The 2nd example is S7 (“S” class or droga ekspresowa). As you can see in the video, it is nothing short of what we call a “motorway”. It meets all criteria according to OSM. Yet it is tagged as “trunk” because Polish mappers once felt that the existing tags in OSM fit Polish formal classification. And it stayed this way.
The thing is - it does not seem reasonable for me. If the road meets all OSM criteria for a motorway - it should be tagged as such.
If I’m travelling abroad, I don’t need to know the formal classification of roads in a specific country or the local OSM taging practice. I would like to have a quick look at the map to see which roads have motorway standard and which don’t.
Take Ukraine or Great Britain as an example - “trunk” is used for major non-motorway roads and I can agree with that. But in Poland the “trunk” tag is used for proper motorways and it is a misguidance. It should be used for non-motorway roads with above average standard.
In case you haven’t already seen it, this wiki page documents how each country tags their highways. Many countries have already decided how they want to tag highways, and you’re probably not going to have much luck in changing their minds. Motorway tagging is probably pretty similar across most countries, but you can find very different tagging for trunk, primary, secondary, and tertiary.
I do see that for Poland, they’ve decided that A class highways should be tagged as motorways, but S class as trunk. If you feel that this doesn’t accurately represent the situation on the ground, you’ll need to discuss the matter with the Polish OSM community and convince them.
That’s what I’m doing. I am patiently explaining thet the tagging scheme in Poland is incompatible with general OSM rules and proposing a new approach. Some members of the community agree with me, but others are reluctant and their counter-arguments can be reduced to what you wrote:
Let’s not change that, just because.
But I think that if something is wrong, it should be changed no matter how long it has been this way.
So I came here for some opinions from the “outside”.