Tagging Yield Here For Pedestrians Signs (MUTCD R1-5)


The above sign is MUTCD R1-5L, and can be seen here on the wiki, with the guidance of tagging it as highway=give_way. This makes sense in some ways and not in others, and I’m looking for some discussion on whether this sign needs another tag. I think it does and would like your perspectives.

Here’s an example location in Sacramento, CA that uses that tagging on a node for this sign nearby that made me notice this sign. There’s no other yield sign nearby. I think this could be confusing for data consumers that can’t separate it out from a standard yield, and it’s somewhat redundant with the explicitly mapped marked crosswalk where a driver is already legally required to yield to a pedestrian.

So, my questions are:

  • Is there value in explicitly mapping this sign. I think there is, even if just marking the actual MUTCD code (which I did on a nearby sign)
  • Is highway=give_way the appropriate tag? I don’t think it is and think a new tag or explicitly required combination of tags, such as give_way=pedestrian for this sign would be appropriate to prevent confounding with other highway=give_way signs that apply regardless of pedestrian presence and always have a speed limit of 15MPH (in California, at least, but whatever the local jurisdiction’s speed limit is).
  • Is there a value to data consumers I’m missing in keeping this sign tagged as is?

I tried tagging it as highway=give_way; give_way=pedestrians to separate things out, but I see that more as interim while discussion occurs.

Thanks for any input you have!

Sounds like it shouldn’t be tagged at all as it merely repeats information… are there any situations where the pedestrian has to yield to drivers?

Here’s an aerial view of the location in question:

The R1-5L sign is accompanied by a yield line, a row of triangle markings on the pavement that resembles a shark’s teeth. A yield line normally doesn’t occur before a two-way stop intersection and normally doesn’t occur before a marked crosswalk either. Along with the triple-four crosswalk markings (crossing:markings=zebra:double), the yield line seems to be an additional safety measure to protect pedestrians using the crosswalk on the near side of the intersection.

Sometimes I see a similar configuration without a near-side crosswalk, just to make sure that drivers stop before the intersection instead of blocking it when yielding to pedestrians. Here’s one involving a HAWK crossing that has a stop line (and a “Stop Here on Red” sign) rather than a yield line:

Intersection with a stop line in the foreground and HAWK beacons mounted above a marked crosswalk in the background (© 2023 networklanman, CC BY-SA 4.0)

Stop lines also occur in other situations, like in front of sliding gates and before railroad crossings. Here’s an intersection where drivers need to wait before the intersection when a train crosses past the intersection:

These stop lines have the same legal effect as a stop line at an all-way stop intersection, except that it’s conditioned on crossing traffic. It would make sense to distinguish these cases from the usual case. It would also be great if we could somehow explicitly indicate what other way the user has to watch when crossing.

Yes, of course, just like any other sign. But a regulatory sign’s regulatory effect should also be mapped.

My understanding is that yield signs are inherently conditional. The fact that this yield sign and marking is conditional on the presence of a pedestrian wouldn’t make it so minor that it needs a different top-level tag. But can you elaborate on the 15 mph speed limit?

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There are, but you’re right that drivers normally have to yield to pedestrians. (There’s even a standard sign to remind drivers of that state law.) The purpose of these signs is to clarify where the driver needs to yield or stop. Sometimes it isn’t obvious due to the road geometry. I don’t think traffic_sign=US:R1-5L and road_marking=give_way_line are sufficient for this purpose, because the message of these signs and markings is at least as important as the signs and markings themselves.

First, thanks for providing and discussing the image of the intersection - I think that adds to this discussion.

That makes sense to me. Do you think it’s worth a tagging scheme that has give_way=* indicating the type of yield that’s present? E.g. give_way=pedestrians here, give_way=all at a standard yield sign (R1-2), etc?

And my question could just reflect a misunderstanding of what data consumers do with this information, but I can imagine they’d do something different with that yield sign than a yield sign that refers primarily to vehicular traffic (in addition to pedestrians) such as these yields nearby the one I linked before, so some distinction could be useful. But maybe this isn’t an issue that data consumers care about.

For 15mph, I was referring to my recollection of the speed a vehicle is allowed to proceed through an intersection controlled by a yield sign when it is safe to do so. Maybe my memory is dated, or just plain incorrect on that? I can’t find a source on that right now.

That’s a good question. I don’t know the full answer, but so far I’ve seen routers and navigation applications use or plan to use highway=give_way for these purposes:

  • Penalize a route that traverses a yield-controlled intersection, but not as much as a stop-controlled intersection, with the understanding that this penalty averages out the times you stop and the times you don’t
  • Display a Yield icon on the map along the route
  • Give a more natural-sounding turn instruction such as, “After the yield sign, turn left”
  • Distinguish two conjoined roundabouts by the yield line separating them

There may be other use cases, such as in traffic simulators like A/B Street.

By the way, the other day I drove by this intersection and was stopped by the HAWK beacon. Thanks to the stop line, I and others dutifully stopped before the intersection while the pedestrian crossed. However, drivers on the cross street took this as an opportunity to cut into the intersection and basically chase the pedestrian out of the crosswalk. :neutral_face: