Proper Closure Procedures for Construction

In my area, the state transportation department will be closing an off-ramp in the near future. With the off-ramp closure, they will also be closing 2 bus stops and creating a temporary bus stop for the time the construction is going on. What is the best procedure for showing this on OSM? I believe you can mark roads as Construction or Closed on OSM but for bus stops, I have no clue. I also should mention that the construction, as far as I know, should be between 1-3 months long. Any thoughts?

In general short-term closures tend to be ignored by OSM for the following reasons:

  • Many data consumers will not update regularly or frequently enough to make use of the changes. This means users might not be aware of the closure, or after something has re-opened their apps continue to tell them it is closed. Also even if the data consumers update the data, users themselves may not.
  • Often work on short-term closures extends beyond the anticipated end data. It becomes tedious for volunteer mappers to continually check the status of such closures, particularly if they dont pass the site on a regular basis.

However, there is clearly utility in marking such changes when they last for a reasonably long time or have a major impact. Given that you belong to the organisation making the changes you are in a much better position to know when they come into effect and when they finish.

If you want to make changes these are the ones I would suggest:

  • For the ramp: change the highway key to construction and add a new highway tag with the value construction. In other words if you have highway=motorway_link (a typical interstate ramp) change this to construction=motorway_link, highway=construction. The ramp will show with dashed lines and cease to be routable. Other options are adding access=private, or prefixing highway with “disused:” (disused:highway). Using access tags ensure that the road is still visible (as for construction) and should make it non-routable (but not guaranteed). The disused tag will cause the road to disappear from maps, and people who know the area but are not aware of the changes may just see this as an error.

  • For the bus stops: I think a simple use of “disused:” as a prefix to highway works fine here. They cease to be shown. Add the temporary stop as highway=bus_stop (there is a more elaborate scheme for public transport, but it is rather complex). Probably it would be a good idea to include “Temporary” somewhere in the name of the bus stop. If the bus stops are used in bus routes it gets more complex, so I’ll ignore that for now.

For both sets of changes it’s also worth adding a description field with a little more about the changes, and in particular their likely duration.

To reverse everything: simply remove the “disused:” prefixes and replace the construction key with highway.


I would disagree with adding the word “temporary” to the name, unless it actually appears on the bust stop sign. Otherwise it is tagging for the renderer.

If you are going to make temporary changes, it would be advisable to arrange with another local mapper in case something happens to you. Errors that are not “owned” can take years to fix.

At the very least add a map note saying it is expected to come back in use soon.