Including the UK 'Quiet Lanes' in OpenStreetMap

Hello there

I wonder if it would be possible to somehow include the roads that have been designated ‘Quiet Lanes’ e.g. is there any way to highlight this so that routing programs for cyclists, walkers, horse riders can preferentially choose it to avoid traffic?

See for all the Suffolk Quiet Lanes - It would be great to add them and the rest of the UK’s Quiet Lanes to OpenStreetMap.

Many thanks


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Does this have legal implications?

Hi Michael, I don’t think there are any issues with highlighting them, they are not any different to other white roads / single track roads in the UK, just that they are generally much quieter in terms of the no. of cars going down there, and consequently good for cycling / walking / riding on :slight_smile:



Yes - it’s specifically covered by the highway code here and here, and the legislation for England and Wales is here.

Beyond the signage there’s not much to map - the rules just say “You should drive slowly and carefully and be prepared to stop”.

People already have mapped these in some places as “designation=quiet_lane” - this overpass query shows about 250 of them.

I don’t know of any projects using OSM data that use them yet, though - the projects tab in taginfo is a good place to start looking. The one project listed there looks at the “designation” tag, but not to show quiet lanes.

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Thanks Andy,

This is brilliant!

Looks like someone’s done a very detailed job of updating parts of Norfolk, which your search nicely highlights.

How difficult is it to update the designation tag for a road in this way?

Is it something I could do to add the Suffolk Quiet Roads?

Thanks also for sharing the bit in the highway code about them. I was originally really sceptical about the usefulness of putting up the signs, but its a step in the right direction to get more folks riding bikes / walking etc.

I’m trying to convince the folks at Komoot it would be a good idea to include them for route planning in the UK.



Here’s one I did earlier:

In iD (the default editor on the website), scroll down to the “tags” area and add a new tag “designation” with a value of “quiet_lane”.

You’d need to know that the data that you were adding was compatible with OpenStreetMap’s licence (which of course it will be if you’ve recorded where the quiet lanes are yourself). If you want to add the data from and it’s not otherwise clear, you could ask them whether its OK to add the data to OpenStreetMap.

I think you should document this at

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Thanks Andy,

It doesn’t seem too difficult to add the designation=quiet_lane tag, I’ve had a go on ‘Mere Lane’ to test the process. I checked the “ask another user to review edit” just to make sure I’ve done everything correctly, so I guess the edit will not be ‘live’ until someone has reviewed it?

At least it didn’t show up in your Turbo Search routine yet.

Many thanks for your help with this. Assuming I’m doing everything correctly I will continue updating the tags for roads in Suffolk as time permits.

I will also speak to the data owner of in a couple of weeks to confirm about adding to OSM.

The Google mymap they’ve created doesn’t have great resolution in some areas so I’ll need to confirm some of the locations anyway.

Thanks again


Quick update - it seems my first update is now visible :slightly_smiling_face:.

One question that arises though - how to handle a section of road already has a designation e.g. some parts of lanes already have designation= unclassified_highway so I’m not sure I should change that to quiet_lane ?



Yes - that looks OK:

Edits in OSM go live immediately. The “ask another user to review” tick shows up in some other tools, like

I’d use semicolons to add “quiet_lane” after “unclassified_highway”, like with these:

Thanks Andy,

I tried that for the cases where there was already something in the designation tag, and OSM seems to accept it OK, but the Overpass Search does not find these parts - maybe the search terms need to be broadened to include a wildcard character in case there is more than one tag included in designation=


I’m slowly working through adding these Suffolk Quiet lanes and it seems to be working OK.

Thinking about this more broadly - is there a way to make the Quiet Lanes more visible in Open Cycle Map?

This would be really cool - then anyone would be able to see them without having to run an Overpass Search to highlight them. :smiley:

I guess Open cycle Map uses the same data source i.e. Open Street Map data?

Thanks for all your support!


This query finds all ways with “designation” value that contains “quiet_lane”:

// print results
out body;
out skel qt;

If this is not really a designation or if it is very common for this designation to be an additional designation to already present designation, maybe you could think about changing the tagging scheme to something like quiet_lane=yes.

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It is really a designation, in that it complements the existing usage of designation in the UK.

There are already semicolon-separated lists of designations in England and Wales containing designations of roads from the “list of streets”, and and a separate legal right of way, for example “designation=unclassified_highway;public_footpath”. In theory there shouldn’t be overlap between the two lists, but in practice there will always be edge cases. Consumers already need to be aware of this, like e.g. here.

Quiet lanes are similar - most are on obvious unclassified or residential roads with no need for “designation=unclassified_highway”, and no right of way designation either. There will still be edge cases, and just like with the existing data, consumers will need to deal with them.

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I’ve changed the rendering** of “quiet lanes” at to show quiet lanes (and living streets in a slightly different colour. You can see your example here.

** The rendering of “semicolon separated” ones hasn’t gone live yet, but there is only one currently, and the other tags on that means that it shows on that map as a solid brown line, not a regular white unclassified road.

Thanks Michael - that works, it now finds all the designations with semi colon lists too!


Thanks Andy - this is helpful - are the quiet lanes in a very light grey compared to the white roads?

the highlight seems to be quite subtle. I can see the solid brown line on the colon listed section near Cavenham Heath more clearly.

Is there some way we can make them more visible on Open Cycle Map?

Something similar to the way to the thin blue / dashed blue line for “Cycle and footpaths” that are appearing on new-build estates are shown would be handy…

Many thanks



You’d have to contact the maintainer of Open Cycle Map about that. There’s a link at the bottom of that map to , and there is contact information there.