Thailand - Highway classification’s wiki revision - paths vs tracks

The goal of this proposal is to solve the common issue where minor roads including tracks are downgraded to paths due to obstacles, vegetation, and the perception they may not be passable by 4-wheel vehicles.

Background: when tracks are downgraded to paths without additional info (smoothness, tracktype, width), we lose the information that this is a wide “path” which:

  • may still be passable for specialized off-road vehicles like heavy-duty 4WDs and other off-road vehicles (please lookup smoothness=very_horrible)
  • is a lot easier to navigate for 2-wheel vehicles (MTB, dirt bike) than a narrow nature trail.

There is a common misconception that a track becomes a path if it’s not passable by a motorcar, while the wiki clearly mentions that the width is the determining factor and not its passability and surface conditions):

Also indicating that a track is not passable is most of the time done subjectively without direct experience. Hence using the width factor is a lot more objective and easier to identify.

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Proposals:

  1. rename section “Urban and Local Road wide enough for motor cars” to “Urban and Local Road wide enough for 4-wheel vehicles (>= 2 m)

  2. rename section “Urban and Local Road that a motor car cannot pass” to “Pathways not wide enough for 4-wheel vehicles (< 2 m) or with access restricted legally to only pedestrians, cyclists or horseriders”

  3. Add following statements below section “General notes and exceptions”:

    a. If a road’s access is obstructed by an object, do not downgrade it to path/footway, instead add the object at the approximate location (e.g. barrier=gate, obstacle=fallen_tree, obstacle=hole …)

    b. When a track’s surface is seasonally overgrown, it may look like a path. If the path’s surface looks wide enough (2 meters), keep it as a highway=track and document its firmness with tracktype=grade4/grade5.

    c. If a path/trail is wide enough (>= 2 meters), it may still be passable by specialized off-road vehicles, and it should be then tagged instead as highway=track with the corresponding smoothness=horrible/very_horrible

    d. Unless sign-posted, do not use legal access tags (motor_vehicle=yes/no, motorcar=yes/no, 4wd_only=yes/no) to document a road’s suitability for motor vehicles. Instead use the appropriate smoothness tag value (e.g. very_bad: high clearance only, horrible: 4WD only, very_horrible: specialized off-road only).

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  1. Please tell, which wiki page you want to change.
  2. In the other thread, it was clearly stated, that width only serves to rule out narrow ways to be mapped track, yet does not rule out wide ways mapped path.

No worries, if you are not a regular contributor in Thailand, this Thailand wiki project page revision does not concern you.

Unlike the other global post, this topic site is under the communities category " ประเทศไทย (Thailand)" and even includes Thailand in the title. The wiki URL is commonly known in the community.

Wide paths are covered as per the global wiki in revision proposal #2.

“Pathways not wide enough for 4-wheel vehicles (< 2 m) OR with access restricted legally to only pedestrians, cyclists or horseriders

If you have any concerns about this global wiki reference, please respond directly in the other post: Conflicting global wiki definitions for deciding between tracks and paths based on passability - #12 by cmoffroad

Thank You.

Thank you for bringing this up. I generally agree with most of the proposals.

A little concern. If it’s wide enough for 4-wheel vehicles but legally limited, isn’t it a highway=pedestrian?

IMO, to keep things simple, I think the section title can be described by width only, and then we may add exceptions for footway, such as it can be wider than 2 m if it is a sidewalk, or if it can’t connect to the same or higher class road (like a floating island).

The floating island issue should also be applied to all types of highway=*, for example, if a way is wide enough for 4-wheel vehicles but can only be reached by a narrower path, it should be tagged as path rather than track.

Another issue is the 2 m width; I can’t find a discussion about it, just found it on the wiki you mentioned. I believe I can’t drive the 4-wheel vehicles through the 2m-wide way, saying that a wall exists on both sides. I guess it should be at least 2.4 or 2.5 m (not sure). This is different from the track in an open area, such as an agricultural field, which is much easier to pass.

I also have another approach to suggest. Is it better to remove the path and track from the Thailand wiki and let mappers read it on the global wiki instead? Maybe just mention a unique issue for Thailand, such as the path is commonly used by motorcycles.

I was concerned too and my understanding is that a highway=pedestrian road authorizes certain vehicle traffic (e.g. emergency, taxi, delivery, …) while a wide highway=footway/cycleway/bridleway would not.

I also assume these are very rare cases so we could simplify this as you proposed and not mention it.

I agree, we could simply remove the 2m reference and just mention “(not) wide enough for 4-wheel vehicles”.

While I agree these wiki definitions can be considered global (like other minor road classifications), the goal is to harmonize the tagging methods in Thailand, and in case of editing conflicts, it’s easier to point to Thailand’s summarized wiki versus the more complex global pages which are often hard to interpret. At least, if it’s in the Thailand wiki, it means we spent time studying the topic.

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There may be some confusion, but I think the discussion in the wiki is sufficient to indicate that the main criteria is their width. The remaining problem is how width.

https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Talk:Tag:highway%3Dpedestrian#footway_vs_pedestrian

Anyway, this may not be the issue we’re going to solve here.

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Based on my initial proposal I have updated the Thailand wiki with a simplified revision:

https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/w/index.php?title=WikiProject_Thailand&type=revision&diff=2471319&oldid=2471284

  1. renamed section “Urban and Local Road that a motor car cannot pass” to “Urban and Local Road not wide enough for motor cars

  2. added the following two paragraphs to the section “General notes and exceptions”:

  • Unless sign-posted, do not use legal access tags (motor_vehicle=yes/no, motorcar=yes/no, 4wd_only=yes/no) to document a road’s suitability for motor vehicles. Instead use the appropriate smoothness tag value (e.g. very_bad: high clearance only, horrible: 4WD only, very_horrible: specialized off-road only, impassable).
  • Unused/Abandoned roads that are only passable on foot/two-wheel vehicles may be tagged as highway=path + disused:highway=/abandoned:highway=.

Happy to improve this with future feedback.

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