Learn-a-tag: highway=escape

Posted by jgpacker on 6 January 2015 in English (English). Last updated on 7 January 2015.

I plan to ocasionally post about a random OSM tag which I believe should receive more attention. Due to usefulness or curiosity or even fun.

The first tag is highway=escape. runaway truck lane

This is used to describe an emergency escape ramp, usually located at the lower end of a mountain, to help stop trucks or other heavy vehicles that are not able to stop while going down the road. It’s a very useful traffic device, and literally life-saving.

Currently it’s wiki page seems to be a rip-off of the wikipedia page. Let’s hope it get’s improved soon. :-)

Cheers, John

Comment from Harry Wood on 6 January 2015 at 17:31

We have 170 of them mapped at the moment. Not bad

Comment from robbieonsea on 7 January 2015 at 00:33

Very interesting.

I remember some on Porlock Hill, UK ( - not currently mapped) and some others else where from journeys many years ago but unfortunately for remote mapping via aerial imagery is difficult / not possible as these areas tend to be covered by trees.

Comment from escada on 7 January 2015 at 09:47

Very nice idea to highlight little known but useful tags. The area were I live is so flat I probably won’t need this one soon :-)

Comment from SK53 on 7 January 2015 at 11:30

Agree this is a nice idea, useful info, and simpler to execute than the old project of the week.

Comment from Diomas on 7 January 2015 at 12:37

Good idea!

I suggest a couple of improvements:

  1. put the tag in the note title after “Learn-a-tag” (the current should be “Learn-a-tag: highway=escape”
  2. put an example photo (get it from the wiki for example) as an attraction and a quick explanation to “strange” title

Comment from jgpacker on 7 January 2015 at 12:47

@Diomas Thanks, I changed the post like you suggested.

Comment from Alan Trick on 7 January 2015 at 20:44

In Canada these are called runaway lanes and I found two cases that were tagged as highway=service, they’re now changed.

Comment from Little Brother on 8 January 2015 at 07:04

I hope I am not being to cynical by pointing out that the tag will probably never be used. Can you imagine any driver careering down a hill with no brakes and looking at any map for an escape lane. However, having now been cynical, it is part of the highway system so it should be mapped. Well done for pointing out this highway feature!

Comment from JBacc1 on 8 January 2015 at 08:07

Hey, routing is not the only way OSM data is used!

Anyway, good idea to spot some little used tags out here.

Comment from Polyglot on 9 January 2015 at 09:22

I added links to 2 Youtube videos to our wiki page

and a link to Overpass Turbo on ( and (

Comment from HolgerJeromin on 19 January 2015 at 11:21

here is the bugtracker for rendering this feature on the main map:

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