The correct use of highway tags in residential estates and complexes in RSA

Hi South Africa OSM Community!
I hope everyone is doing great!
I would like to get some input from the community on the use of highway tags in residential estates in South Africa.

Many of the roads in these areas are currently tagged with the combination of highway=service and access=private. Example here (-25.842885648361573, 28.201547291147715).
While I agree with the access=private tag for these areas, should we not rather be tagging these roads with highway=living_street or highway=residential?

The tag highway=service has a very broad definition. While these roads within residential estates could be classified as a “driveway”, I believe that the tag highway=living_street is more applicable to these areas.

When looking at the definition of “living_street”, there are many aspects of the definition that residential estates and complexes apply in South Africa. These include " lower speed limits, and special traffic and parking rules compared to streets tagged using residential". There are also usually pedestrians sharing these roads with cars within the residential estates although I do not think that our legislation grants pedestrians “the right of way over or at equal rights to other road users”. I have also observed in many occasions that the speed limit in residential estates is limited to 20km/h or lower.

The alternative is highway=residential but after comparing the two tags I feel like highway=living_street is the more applicable one for these specific areas.

I look forward to your opinions and feedback on this topic.

Thanks in advance!
Keep well
Arno (From Bolt)

1 Like

I agree that in your example service is not the best choice.

Many such places I have come across are already tagged as residential roads, and I think either residential or living_street is good.

For small complexes which are basically just a single road, living_street would be a fine option, but I would probably have tagged it as residential if I had been mapping one.

Larger estates and complexes probably should not be living_street throughout, the main roads through and around would be residential and then maybe some cul-de-sac sections would be living_street.

Thanks @confusedbuffalo for your input. Based on your feedback and some discussions we had within our South Africa mapping team at Bolt, we believe the best approach would be to use the highway=residential tag for these roads within residential estates. The tag highway=living_street can work in some cases but highway=residential would probably be the primary one to use in most cases.

We have created a MapRoulette challenge focused on the City of Tshwane to kickstart the changes to these roads.

Happy mapping!
Keep well