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Help required for adding access information to track roads

Posted by jguthula on 22 July 2019 in English (English)

Dear OSM Community,

At Amazon we are coming across a situation where unmaintained track roads have no access tags. We would like to know your suggestions/feedback on how to tag these roads.

Track Roads:

By definition track roads implies traversal of motor vehicles and are mostly used for agricultural use. We have private GPS traces showing where delivery vehicles go, and when we match them against OSM data, we see they’re going along highway=track ways. We want to add appropriate access tags so that routers can route correctly along the data in the future.

Screen Shot 2019-07-16 at 9 57 15 PM

The driver trace is on-the-ground evidence that the road can be used by motor vehicles for deliveries, but we have no evidence either way that the road can be used for general traffic.

There are four different ways we’ve come up to tag this information:

1. motor_vehicle = yes

Our editing team used to do this, but the community has pointed out that it’s incorrect because we don’t know if the roads can be used for public motor vehicle traffic. This is particularly a problem for track roads that could connect two roads.


If the track road were tagged as motor_vehicle=yes, the data would show that anyone could connect from one side to the other. We don’t have evidence on that.

2. motor_vehicle = destination

This indicates that local traffic can go there. Unfortunately, it also says through traffic can’t use it, which we also have no evidence on apart from our delivery partners route information.

3. motor_vehicle = delivery

This is the same as #2, except it indicates delivery only. All public traffic will be blocked from routing via this road.

4. service = driveway + surface = unpaved

Since most of the track roads are leading to independent houses or commercial entities, these track roads can be converted to driveways and add ‘surface=unpaved’ information as per available sources. This might not be applicable to all the track roads but only to roads leading to housing entities and vehicles visible in satellite images.

Our personal preference is the combination of #2 and #4 as we think this correctly captures the information we have.

What do community think is the most appropriate tag for this case?

As per community request, we’ve stopped adding motor_vehicle=yes to track roads and reverted all the changes we made previously in UK while we sort this out. Do let us know your suggestions.