[RFC] Highway=pass

What using something more explicit. About using the full text value of “mountain_pass” instead of just “pass”. This should drastically reduce confusion with existing values.

Too confusing.
I see no benefit.


You mean to introduce highway=pass to map a way that is just passable. I would tag this with highway=path, trail_visibility=no and optionally a sac_scale= tag to indicate how difficult it is to pass.

I see, as of today, there is no benefit in proposing something as generic as what highway=path turned out to have become.


Agree with you there as well!

As I said in Highway=path wiki page additions and updates - #28 by Friendly_Ghost, I’d love to demote highway=path to a sort of highway=road where you know that motor vehicles can’t or are not allowed to pass, but we first need to find a consensus regarding alternative tagging schemes that can replace most highway=path in meaningful ways.

Replacing highway=path with an even more meaningless and ambiguous tag is in my opinion counterproductive.

You can simply use highway=footway for this.


At this point I would almost recommend a large study into the different uses of highway=path and how these can be categorised into a meaningful scheme of highway=* tags and sub-tags so we can eventually demote highway=path, but that would take an enormous amount of man-hours and more than a few compromises.

I see no benefit.

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… and in the end you can tag the same things, just in a different way, with a large amount of new highway tags with their own implications and in the end the mappers on the ground need to figure out which is the better fit. Like the frequent discussions whether the way leading to a place=isolated_dwelling should be highway=service, residential, unclassified or track where a highway=road + motor_vehicle=destination + surface=asphalt + width=3 would contain all information as well.

Those man-hours would be more wisely invested in thinking of a tagging scheme for those difficult//dangerous ways below highway=path, where you need special skills/equipment.

That’s what I meant to say. Thank you for specifying this :+1:

I agree, and despite the “rejection” at the wiki vote stage I sill think that “highway=scramble” is a good fit.


These discussions are quite a nuisance indeed. Though the local tagging police is quite apt to spot users, that tag highway=service where a highway=residential would be much more appropriate, if the reasoning behind the scenes merely was, to avoid the road renderings in OSM-Carto to not overlap buildings (e.g. where streets are narrow.)

I’d love to demote highway=path to a sort of highway=road where you know that motor vehicles can’t or are not allowed to pass

there is no general assumption that paths (without access tags) are forbidden to motor vehicles, rather the distinction is physically to track (width) and legally to footway/cycleway/bridleway

That works in theory at the most basic level, but find me a routing engine that considers highway=path ways without explicit access for motor vehicles to be accessible to motorised traffic.

You just demonstrated yet another reason to demote highway=path. There’s no limit to the ambiguity of this tag.

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Just the other night I saw a car on the cycleway. It was the police, of course. Regularly, the gardening department drives their Piaggio transporters on paths, be they legally for cycle or foot. Administrative regulations recommend a width of 2.6 m for express cycleways.

UPDATE: 2.6m is for one-directional class A cycleways, bidirectional should get 4m. Both enough for cars, so by definition not path then; Do you suggest it would be more correct then to tag highway=track + bicycle=designated there?

UPDATE 2: Tonight I saw a car on the footway, again the police. They definately do not use OSM as a base for their navi.

Yeah, definitely; I concur; No need to propose highway=pass that just says, you can pass from here to there, there might be something on the ground, e.g. a 4m wide track paved with asphalt, or there might be nothing, You might get by with sneakers, or you might need an ice axe and a rope; We already have highway=path for that :slight_smile:


As mentioned, there is highway=road which says:

Anything which has been tagged highway=road can basically be any kind of “road” from the smallest footpath to the largest motorway

If you know extra attributes, like surface=asphalt + width=4.0 you mention above, or foot=yes + access=no, you can add that. If you don’t know details, you simply don’t add them.

(Related: Feature Proposal - Voting - highway=scramble)

Except for motorways, that is exactly what highway=path is used for, the difference only on the other end of the spectrum, like what I read in OSM notes, that say, “There is no path there”, the answer goes: “This is the most praktikable route to get from here to there” or “I have seen people walk there.” So I dreamt up highway=pass to capture such, but the community immediately reminded me, that there is no benefit.

I kind of like this take:

If I were @Mateusz_Konieczny I would start by editing wiki pages. How to create some evidence?

Have a good look at OSM tags for routing/Access restrictions - OpenStreetMap Wiki.
Also, don’t just start fiddling with the documentation unless you’re clear that the concept you’re adding has community support as well as actual use in OSM.

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Well, I lack the guts to fiddle with the wiki, especially in such a highly loaded tag. That is why I invited someone with more guts. I’ rather collect evidence: Starting here, highway=path | Tags | OpenStreetMap Taginfo Austria

Looks like highway=path is mostly for hiking trails (26% sac_scale). This is by the number of entities. For a better measure, the length of the ways should be used.

What highway=path is purported to be useful as, to map designated foot- and cycleways only accounts for a mere 5.8% (foot=designated) rsp. 4.7% (bicycle=designated). No way to tell, how many there are, that have both, which is the panacea of highway=path tagging. (Overpass might do it or ohsome too, and also calculate length of ways.)

Regarding “actual use”, is that telling enough?