Styling road names and numbers

Continued from: - I created this thread so that it would not get lost in the many changesets that get opened every minute of the day. Also, permalinks.

The story so far:

I have to oppose the idea of putting tunnel names under alt_name=*, because they are clearly signed on the road, and some of them (like the Tempe Valley Tunnels) are notable and thus should be named individually.

Nearly all countries that I know of put tunnel names under name=* as well (e.g Cross-Harbour Tunnel in Hong Kong, and Túnel de Vallvidrera in Barcelona). It makes no sense to demote them under alt_name=* when the tunnels already have a unique signed name, and also since we are already using relations for classified roads. I doubt that anyone call the Rio–Antirrio cable-stayed bridge as the Αυτοκινητόδρομος 5 instead of the Rio–Antirrio Bridge or the Charilaos–Trikoupis Bridge.

If it had not been signed, then name=* would indeed be set to Αττική Οδός.

Since Greek is the official language of the country, name:el=* would basically be the same as name=, thus name:el= would be redundant. However, this is a matter of personal choice since it would make little difference, since many renderers go for name=* by default anyway.

Regarding road numbers, the ref=* tag exists for that very purpose: virtually all countries put road numbers under ref=, and put the proper name (e.g. Αττική Οδός or Περιφερειακή Υμηττού) under name=.

So to answer the last question, road names (e.g. Αττική Οδός or Περιφερειακή Υμηττού) should go to name=* and road numbers (e.g. Α6 or Α64) should go to ref=* (National Roads) or reg_ref=* (Provincial Roads). I do not think you should be too worried about the renderer not picking up the numbers. That is their responsibility, not ours.


Sadly, that is not how OpenStreetMap works for roads. name=* and ref=* do not have to relate with each other. It is perfectly okay to, for example, use name=Σήραγγα Mεταμóρφωσης and ref=Α6 only, although I include alt_name=Αττική Οδός for sake of completeness. It is simply not the practice of OpenStreetMap to use a single name for the entire stretch of any given numbered road.

If a road already has a common name, whether it is Αττική Οδός or Σήραγγα Mεταμóρφωσης, then that is what the value we have to use for in name=*. For the tunnel names, the road signs declare their names.

We do not just call the whole section the “Α6 Motorway” and disregard everything else even if that is the commonly-known name. That would be like calling the North Circular Road in London the “A406 road”, even if North Circular Road is a widely used name.

You should leave it as is, and contact the software developer to interpret the road numbers properly. It is not the fault of you or the OSM data, since Italy also has two-letter prefixes for road numbers (e.g. SP and SS).


I would have though that tunnel_name would be more appropriate and informative than alt_name and it’s behaviour is cognate with bridge_name, which is widely used.

Of course there are cases where name applies to/instead of tunnel_name, but the case is clear if tunnels are numbered the ref is the ref of the road, not the ref of the tunnel. This case is very common on railways where the line name “Gotthardbahn” is clearly the name of the railway and each tunnel (and curve) has it’s own independent name.

It is understandable, but in the case of the Attiki Odos tunnels, the presence of names on road signs pretty much influenced my choice of putting the tunnel names under name=*, and added source:name=sign with it.

Example of such signs: and

As a side note, I believe that tunnel_name=* is competing with tunnel:name=* and I don’t know which one is on top since neither has accepted status or something like that. I also do not know the status of the proposal to support man_made=tunnel, noting that some parts of the OSM wiki are not up to date (or are slow to update) with the discussion on other channels.

Continued from:

I do not think that the adoption of “Ε.Ο.8” or “Ε.Ο8” is acceptable at all, because the motorway road numbers are shown as “Α8” (see on recent signs. It is for the sake of consistency that we use “ΕΟ8”. Note that we do not use “8” since it is too vague when we have provincial roads.

i always thought this thing about road tunnels and bridges names is odd, i mean the road is still a road, it doesnt have to change names everytime it crosses a bridge or a tunnel

we could use other tags than name, and maybe name the structure as separate (multipolygon, area etc)

about motorway names/refs:
we can find those in an issue of government gazzette: ΦΕΚ 253ΑΑΠ/2015

I appreciate if you can wait until the situation becomes clearer in the general discussion about tunnel names, and also I am not quite in a good mood now, because George_ath had deleted valid tunnel names, verifiable by Mapillary data, and right now I am trying to put them back online to name=* (in the interim).

I know it sounds unusual, but I would not worry too much because it seems signed tunnel names often go to name=*: e.g. Blackwall Tunnel, Duplex A86, Kennedy Tunnel, etc.

In any case, any solution that we pick has to be recognised by Nominatim.

this code does not load tunnels