Living streets & Service tagging

Johnny has raised a point in a changeset comment that needs airing here :

Given the massive amount of mistagging that the FB team have created in Thailand (with many private drives to houses being tagged as residential now) I think your efforts would be better spent retagging their work first. However I’m aware there was some discussion before in this area.

I firmly believe that residential roads in gated communities deserve the tag of living street. Typically these are walled, and not open to the general public unless with permission. In fact, I should really also add the access=private or permissive tag too ! Other streets with houses and being open to all, of course get a residential tag.

Its not always possible to be sure if the community is gated when mapping from aerials, but if the layout of the mooban is structured, then the chances are it is. Typically speed limits are lower, with speed bumps etc to slow traffic. Pedestrians may not have a legal priority but the fact is they enjoy a greater degree of safety. In essence, it carries all the characteristics of a European living street just without the legal name.

So as they say in OSM, if it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck … then tag as a duck And I will carry on this way and hope you do not change my work.

On the second issue of the service tag, in villages where streets look narrow or small, I will tag these as alleyways. OSM dictates the service tag is also used, when tagging as an alleyway. After all, the Wiki states “An alley: A narrow road, alley or path between properties”. So, if I see a narrow road, I believe my tagging is correct.

In the examples you cited above, I wasn’t sure the properties were residential, could be industrial, but the roads were narrow hence service … I guess I just forgot the alley tag.

Unfortunately, the addition of the alleyway tag is a practice I have started in recent years, so there may be examples in my earlier work that don’t include it… feel free to add.

Maybe this will open a discussion, which should lead to us posting advice on the Thai Wiki, as highways less than unclassified status currently don’t get any Thai specific advice.


Perhaps unrelated, but I tend to tag streets around Yaowarat as living streets since they seem to meet the description. Example here,100.4916222,3a,75y,239.39h,90t/data=!3m7!1e1!3m5!1sGSkR24O2_NIY-3A8mvOUrw!2e0!!7i13312!8i6656

Best Regards

I’ll respond to things a bit out of order here as I don’t have too much time right now.

I suspected you tagged things as service just to get the rendering of the roads to become smaller, which would have been the wrong reason.

This however makes sense, I have noticed that some roads are tagged as alleys and others are not. Whether alley is the correct tagging, I don’t know - but it is much better than service, and I personally don’t have a problem with it.


I have never heard of lower speed limits in gated communities. I assume it is a wish of the people living there that people drive reasonably slow. But I have doubts that there is a legal requirement for it.

Because of the missing legal requirement we agreed a while back that we are not using the living_street tagging.

Adding access=permissive for gated communities with limited access to those living there, visiting of having other good reasons to drive there is in my opinion correct and required.

Very narrow roads typically serve the purpose of servicing the houses so people can either drive their car to their parking or reach their house with a motorbike. Typically these roads are not intended to be used as via roads to reach other places. At least not for larger vehicles.

highway=service together with service=alley fit very well here.

Adding lanes=1 or width=x helps also when deciding how to render or to select for routing. In case of roads too narrow for cars motorcar=no also makes it clear.


Tagging suggestions, this is not a guideline or recommendation, merely a summary of what have been seen in the posts:

1) Very narrow residential roads:
Option A:

Option B:

2) Mooban/gated community roads:
Option A: (Johnny, Stephan, SK53)

Option B:

Option C: (Russ)

Option D: (Johnny, Stephan, SK53)
motor_vehicle=destination (optional)
foot=destination/permissive (optional)

3) Paved roads leading to houses in a private orchard:
Option A: (Johnny)

Option B: (Johnny, Bernhard)

Option C: (Bernhard)

4) Unpaved roads leading to minor villages in the mountain, at points requiring 4WD to pass.
Option A: (Johnny, Stephan, Bernhard)

Option B: (Russ)
surface=unpaved (?)

5) Paved roads used only for agricultural uses
Option A: (Johnny, Stephan, Bernhard)
surface=paved (?)

Option B: (Dave)

Do we have other tagging disagreements we should maybe go over?

Also please let me know if you have better ways to tag the above, and what your preferred and acceptable tagging would be.

I have added names to the above tagging schemes based on what I believe your current position is, please let me know if I got it wrong, or if you later change your mind.


Most common example locally; 40 kmph signs just after the gate in Land & Houses, Maejo. Just saying ! :slight_smile:

The legality, well Im guessing as private land its not enforceable in law, but it is a rule of the community, and in the spirit of OSM, I think the speed limit is that of whoever imposes it, rather than just the National/State speed laws.

Read this thread with interest.

Living streets seem to be a problematic tagging area. I’ve seen it used here in the UK for any residential street which doesn’t have pavements (sidewalks). I’m of the view that the tag should be used only for places where a distinct legal sign exists, i.e., it should be a rare tag. @RussMcD commented that one highway in a gated development has a speed limit of 40 kph: that is higher than standard speeds on residential roads in many European cities. A living street might not have an explicitly signed lower limit, although in Germany I believe that walking pace is recognised as the speed limit, but would be designed to make it difficult to travel at perhaps more than 15-20 kph. I haven’t seen anything in this discussion which suggests that the streets under discussion are similar to those that qualify in Europe.

A second point is about the access tag. A gated development implies that you cant gain entry without passing through a gate. Residents, and certain services (post), can presumably do this automatically. I would guess visitors would require to be admitted by a resident. In such circumstances I dont think access=permissive is the right tag, rather I would choose access=destination. Access=permissive usually equates to an absence of barriers, and at most a notice saying something like “not a public highway” or similar. Needing to ask permission each time does not fulfil my understanding of access=permissive.

Thirdly, access permissions are often different depending on transport mode. We have a large historical gated estate in Nottingham (The Park) where motor vehicle access is controlled by gates, but bicycle and pedestrian access is entirely permissive, and on one road pedestrian access is by right. Typically gated places which could be used as a cut-through by motor traffic will enforce car access strictly, and similarly so if parking could be abused. They may be much more relaxed about people walking through.

I think the Philippines OSM community has a fairly long-standing experience of mapping gated-communities which may be similar to those in Thailand. They may have some advice.

In summary I’d go with highway=residential or highway=service (depending on size of the gated area) and motor_vehicle=destination, foot=destination/permissive etc.

We do have some different “styles”.

I do not like the “service” tag - it looks more like some leftover from early days of OSM. With “service=parking_aisle”, it may have some usefulness. “service=drive_way” seems well defined, too. Other uses are less well defined. So, along houses, I prefer “highway=residential”, but likely won’t change different tags (1 and 2).

(3) The houses in the private orchard are more complicated. Are those ways made for horticultural uses in the first place? Then it could be a track. But likely, I’d tag them as “residential” or “unclassified” (when the distance between houses becomes wider). Even on ground, it will be hard to decide, and in case of doubt I’d prefer the access to the houses.

(4) Option A, but likely with an additional tracktype
(5) Option A
But things can vary - when I do armchair mapping, it is hard to see which one of the ways leading to a remote village is the “official” road, and which ways are actually tracks - under such circumstances, I’d likely use “highway=track” for all of them. I do not want to send someone along a road which is not usable. If the village can be reached via “tracks” on the map only, then someone driving there will have to find out which way to take.
Detecting that a paved road is used for agricultural purposes only, is quite impossible for an armchair mapper. So, in that case, I’d likely use Option B.
That is, the lack of knowledge of things on ground may lead to a sub-optimal tagging.

I recognize that we wont get all tags right using armchair mapping, but I still think it is important to know what we think would be correct tagging. IE, someone does the best they can from aerial, and someone else later go there and updates the tagging.

Updating the tagging can be difficult if we don’t agree on what it should be.

I also recognize that the descriptions above will be understood slightly different by people, causing other tagging errors. I just want to try and get us a bit closer to consistent tagging in a few areas that I know we all do differently.

you are right with the access tags. The places I have been stop you at the gate and ask where you want to go. If you can name the purpose of your visit then typically you are allowed to enter. Either visiting friends or going to use a swimming pool. Some places also ask you to leave some ID document with them.
“private” sounds a bit too strict. “destination” might be the right one for these.
Others have a gate but it’s always open and no one checks who is entering. These would qualify as “permissive”.

I would say not possible to tell from aerials. So in case it is tagged, permissive would be a good default value. As the wiki says: General access can be revoked. So a routing software might warn that access restrictions could apply and probably avoid it when routing.

If it is known from on-the-ground survey then different values can be applied. For very strict access regulations “private” might also be an option.


I have updated the tagging list above.

As I happened to pass some hundred of those “fake” living streets actually being pure residential roads (in a housing development): How about searching and re-tagging them for residential/permissive?
To avoid having too many bad examples of tagging in the map. Beginners learn from existing tagging, so we should give a good example.