I have just downloaded the open street map shape file for Europe (here: http://download.geofabrik.de/osm/)) and opened it in a GIS (ESRI ArcMap). Everything worked well accept that there seem to be no attributes attached to the geometry. That means that I wasn’t able to select e.g. different street levels (like motorways) and displaying them with a certain color. So everything looks a bit spaghetti like. Any suggestions ?
I just downloaded Finland.shp.zip and at least that did come with attributes. Not too many, but for example roads shapefile has attributes osm_id, name, type and oneway. Type is exactly what you want, it has values motorway, trunc etc. Have you tried to open the .dbf file that contains shapefile attributes directly with Excel or Open office?
sorry for that I simply missed a button in ArcMap - everything is as expected !
update: however there do exist a couple of wrong entries in the “Type” field of the road layer, especially street names (!). I am sure that is already known. Can everybody create new type fields ?