Resident parking access=permit (GB)

In the wiki for Street parking - Residential parking permits, parking zones, using permit as an access value is excluded because a ‘resident parking permit is not “routinely granted to everyone requesting it”’.

I am sure that this assertion is true in many countries. It’s certainly true for privately managed street side parking in the UK. This tends to be individually marked bays, often numbered, which the residents will usually pay for.

However, we also have Controlled Parking Zones (CPZ) and Resident Parking Zones (RPZ), which usually take the form of parking lanes marked on the carriageway. These zones only restrict parking by the general public during business hours on weekdays, e.g. Mo-Fr 08:00-18:00. A resident will pay a fee to the council which allow them to park anywhere in that zone without being fined.

All residents within the zone, whether they have a motor vehicle or not, are entitled to apply for or buy a number of daily visitors permits, which they may assign to the vehicle of any visitor or tradesperson they wish. People with a short term reason to park within a CPZ/RPZ may also be able to apply to the council for a permit.

This situation is clearly not access=private, as anyone may ask a resident or even the council for a permit and it is routinely granted. What we have is a conditional permit parking restriction, which cannot currently be tagged while following the wiki.

I appreciate that this is a minor parochial issue, perhaps only affecting only a few thousand kilometres of residential highway in the UK.

The wording of this page also came up recently in discussing an access value for permits that aren’t granted routinely, not just for street parking:


It’s not about who can ask, but how it is granted. If you know someone, or can contact the authority (that depending on what’s allowed from them), you could access any other =private feature if allowed by them. =private (alone, as I have suggested to use private= for how “private” it is, rather than user groups) doesn’t mean certain individuals only. It is “individually permitted”, case-by-case. You need to have a valid reason to apply to the council, not simply wanting to go there as in the classic =permit case of trails.
I favor deprecating =permit over adding permit= alone. This allows combination of =yes + permit= and =private + permit= as needed. It can be an augmentation similar to toll=, fee= , membership= , etc. For now, =permit should not be encouraged to grow in meaning. =private should be used for these.

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These aren’t private at all, those on our road are located on the public highway, and are only in force from 08:00-20:: (mainly to stop hospital workers from parking when at work, originally we had a simple no parking restriction which stopped daytime parking but then we had night shift workers parking). We actually do not have a permit to allow our car to be parked there: we do have some which we can give to visitors though (you are allowed up to 3 permits & we chose to have them all for visitors). If I park our car on the road in the operating hours, I’d get a ticket (also if I used a visitor permit). Note these schemes are now in place on all residential roads around the two main hospitals in town (perhaps upto 1 km from the hospital).

As @Minh_Nguyen points out there are issues with the use of permit, but to assert that a really common permit scheme is really access=private flies in the face of common sense, and is unlikely to occur to someone casually mapping them.

In terms of use-cases the most important one is likely to be to indicate that parking is not possible for the casual visitor. I quite frequently meet people making an urgent hospital visit who could do with better information before they try & park.


I don’t understand what your example shows. This is not related to whether they are “private” roads. A =private carpark can also have no assigned spots, or individually assigned spots.
In comparison, driveways as “private” roads are often mistaken as access=private , when they should be eg =delivery + ownership=private . Is this situation “really common” that “flies in the face of common sense, and is unlikely to occur to someone casually mapping them.” ?
The origin of the confusion is =permit intending for US trail permits, causing contradiction the usual UK permit holder meaning. UK has yet another restriction for roads, “authorised vehicles” , which could be =private too. So =private can have a range of meanings. It’s not limited to residents and individuals. In this case, it includes whoever the resident and authority allows, which is in effect the same process as any other =private feature.

These are just not private parking spaces, Period.


I’m only suggesting to use =private instead of =permit for now . Both have a range of meaning. Same for “private” roads.
If a “private” carpark allows visitor and workers to park after clearing with residents or the management, does it become not access=private ? It is obviously not a “public” carpark either. Trying to determine based on some false dichotomy in common language doesn’t work. If you want to say there is no “private” parking on a public street, highway=residential etc and parking= =street_side or =lane already express this. Whether the permission is granted by some form of “permit” or other system shouldn’t matter.
You can avoid access= if you use restriction=no_parking + restriction:conditional=none @ (Mo-Th 18:00-08:00, Sa, Su; permit) . This can be preferred. Besides, zone= is suggested to have implied restrictions for resident parking. This can vary by country.

When the signs literally say “permit holders only”, then I wonder if asking mappers to use access=private instead of access=permit because of what it says on the Wiki is a lost cause.

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The definition in the main article came directly from the draft access=permit proposal:

In the United States, at least, there is a fairly common situation of lands, roads, and barriers that require some sort of permit to pass, but where the permit is granted routinely on condition of complying with certain formalities.

I’ve emphasized the “but” to point out that the proposed tag definition tries to tackle two problems simultaneously, yet the two problems are only sometimes linked. @ke9tv was motivated by tagging access on trails in public land. In regions without a right to roam, a routinely granted permit is closer to a yes than a private. This worked because routers like OSRM equate unrecognized access values with yes. But it quickly became apparent that access tags are used for much more than these trails.

There’s a real need for tagging a required permit in general. “Permit” is the usual signposted word for this kind of restriction, whereas “private” is the usual signposted word in the absence of a formal permitting process:

People have often asked in Slack whether a particular permit qualifies as “routine” or not. A permitting process can be routine or extraordinary depending on who you are, where you live, or whether the government has sufficient operating funds these days. As this thread and the other one both demonstrate, a permit may not be particularly convenient even if it’s granted routinely. There’s also some overlap with private, in that we don’t always know if a permit is involved just by looking at the sign:

I think the permit value has already been diluted to the point that we need permit=* to clarify the usability of a required permit, so using it on street parking should be fine. In the context of parking facilities, renderers like openstreetmap-carto equate permit with private, for example by dimming out the :parking: icon.

In my country, almost all “except permit” supplementary plate is used for =private at private carparks, and on roads that’s not even usually allowed for residents. It is apparent the common case (as encountered on signs) of “permit” in UK and US, as well as possibly other countries, won’t necessarily mean the same thing. So the use of =permit should be cautioned, and it is not a good solution that translate universally.
Another related question is whether members-only shops with open application should get =permit . They are =yes in the sense anyone paying will be allowed in by signing up. membership= =yes or better yet eg =required handles this better without affecting the definition of =yes .

I agree that access=permit is confusing and should be deprecated in favor of access=yes/permissive/private depending on who permits would be issued to. For access=private private=* permit=* you would need to be in the private= group and also have a permit. I would suggest moving private=exceptional_permit into permit=exceptional.

  • permit=yes A permit is required.
  • permit=exceptional A permit is required, and is not granted without a reason
  • permit=routine A permit is required but is granted to anyone who fits the access=*/private=* tags
  • permit=no A permit is not required
  • permit=type of permit required
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In the construction world there is a key difference between “Discretionary Permits” such as a land-use permit that the agency is under no obligation to provide, and “Non-Discretionary Permits” like building and electrical permits where, if you meet all the requirements, they must grant the permit.

The idea of access=permit in my mind has always been around the idea of a non-discretionary permit - IE, there may be rules or restrictions, maximum number of permits issued, etc., but where there is a system setup for access, and if you check all the boxes you’ll get your permit.

Discretionary access is just private . You can ask anyone for permission to access their land, and they can either accept that or deny it, which is our usual definition of private.

As for residential parking permits, I live on a street in the US with a residential parking permit program. Weekdays 9:00-5:00 you may park for less than 3 hours, unless you have a permit, which lets you park for up to 3 consecutive days. There are no restrictions outside of those hours.

Permits are granted to people who can prove residency OR prove that they work nearby. However, the permits are non-discretionary in the sense that, as long as you check the boxes and pay the fee, you’ll be granted the permit.

To me, this feels like the intended use of access=permit.


I had to reread the post a couple times to be sure what you’re suggesting, but I think I like it a lot. To gain access to something, you need to satisfy the access restrictions, but sometimes that’s insufficient: sometimes you also need to pay a fee or obtain a permit or both.