Wheelchair tagging and accessibility

When choosing an appropriate wheelchair=* tag for a shop, should I consider the whole way to the shop or only the shop itself? For example: if I’m tagging a shop that has no blocking at the entrance and wheelchairs can access it easily, but this shop is on a sidewalk that is already tagged with “wheelchair=no” should I tag the shop with “wheelchair=yes” or “wheelchair=no”?


In this case, I would focus on whether a wheelchair can enter the store frim the sidewalk. Access to sidewalk is considered secondary since it is maintained by a separate entity. It will also make it simpler for the mapper to update the sidewalk access since the attached stores don’t need to be reevaluated. Computing the resulting the final access to the store should be handled by a router.


I would only set wheelchair=yes if the store is wheelchair-accessible, which includes being able to reach it in the first place. If the state of the sidewalk prevents a wheelchair user from visiting the shop (this isn’t clear to me from your description), I don’t think we can consider it wheelchair-accessible.

As far as I know, this is not how these tags are typically used. Building a map of wheelchair-accessible shops this way would be very challenging.

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In another thread on this fourm, I got told that a POI in the alps, which is only reachable in a two hours mountain hike, might be tagged wheelchair=yes, because there is no step in front of it. I did not the change the current value of wheelchair from “no”. On the other hand, I gathered from the thread, a pure Nominatim search should tell the user all of it, no router required.

-1, this would be a property of the sidewalk, not the shop.


Getting around using a wheelchair is similarly challenging.

If we start talking about wheelchair=yes implying that it’s possible to reach a particular location, the first question is where would we consider the starting position to be? There are many buildings in my town that are wheelchair=no if you consider the start of the trip to be my front door, but if you assume the starting position to be somewhere on the same block, they becomes wheelchair=yes.

It’s much simpler to take a realistic view that a wheelchair user will is more than able of setting their own starting position and allow the router to calculate whether a route is possible.


In general I would suggest to reconsider the tagging of the sidewalk. Things that usually obstruct access are:

  • a bad surface
  • a too heavy incline
  • a too narrow passage (including obstacles like illegal parking one reasonably should expect with local knowledge)
  • steps in the way

For all four exist explicit tagging, and using that explicit tagging instead of the coarse wheelchair would help sportive wheelchair users in contrast to electric scooters and a lot of other groups of pedestrians to decide whether they can pass or not.

Could you please share the location? After an intensive search at all former SotM locations and across Germany I did not find a single instance of such a tagging constellation. As the search includes some manual steps, I cannot easily scale that to the whole world. Cases that come close are:
Pedestrian zone, Sett surface, and a strange access way
In all three cases I suggest to open a note such that a local mapper can revisit the situation, not to remotely change tagging of the shop. In a fourth case where I have local knowledge I can confirm the the tagging of the virtual way is plain wrong. There should no be a virtual way at all, and if so nonetheless, the only obstruction here is the incline. It is possible for at least some wheelchair users to get across that pedestrian area.


I agree that accessibility should be determined at each point of transition. It makes it easier to maintain and when deciding if a particular path can is possible. It also allows those who are working toward accessibility towards determining what is preventing a successful trip. Is it the business with steps and no ramp or is it the sidewalk that is broken, obstructed or otherwise missing a kerb cut. If a nonprofit wants better access then it needs to know who to talk to and have the stats to convince that entity why the problem should be fixed.
Including more information about the sidewalk or other objects should help community organizations and local planners a like. Getting the word out about those extra stats starts like an awarenes campaign. Use them like they matter. Make sure your local sidewalks have them filled in. Start posting Notes on nearby sidewalks that appear to have extreme values (brokrn, large incline, etc) so local mappers start to understand what the tags meaning and why
Including the information is important. They should start add them regularly. Some may even reach out to others to discuss the tags usage, thus raising their profile even further. Basically, show the local mapper that the tags are worth adding and they will help you spead the word.