Any path which is intended for dedicated foot traffic is considered a footway on OSM and tagged as highway=footway. Sidewalks that run parallel to the carriageway on one or both sides of the road and foot crossings at the junctions are sometimes mapped as seperate ways to aid in wheelchair routing.

Such ways need an additional footway=sidewalk or footway=crossing tag that can be used for specialized rendering.

screenshot 2015-12-11 12 00 30

Unfortunately many of sidewalks and crossings on OSM don’t have these tags and we have been trying to detect where they are as part of the sidewalk-tagging project.

screenshot 2015-12-21 14 59 24 Check out the OSM Sidewalker Map

In the first round we added the missing sidewalk and crossing tags for major cities in US which have a high activity of Strava users who are using maps powered by OSM.

screenshot 2015-12-21 13 29 23

The project included adding footway=sidewalk for highway=footway which runs parallel to the carriageways and footway=crossing for highway=footway which is used for pedestrian crossing.

The number of missing tags added by the mapbox data team:

total tagged

There are more sidewalks in the rest of the world that could use your love. Take a look at our mapping documentation and follow our workflow to add the missing sidewalks tags in your city.

It would be great to hear from you how to make such tools more effecient and easy to use, do share your ideas and feedback that we can incorporate in our future mapping projects.

Comment from robert on 21 December 2015 at 18:48

Separate-way sidewalks make me feel a little nauseous.

Comment from RobJN on 21 December 2015 at 19:52

@robert: Yes, but you can’t stop people mapping them. Good to see mapbox improving the situation and tagging 30,000 ways :-) The online map is good too - I may try to fix a few near me over the holiday period.

Comment from trigpoint on 22 December 2015 at 08:34

@robert Separate-way sidewalks should only be mapped where there is a separation otherwise the break pedestrian routing.

Comment from mvexel on 11 March 2016 at 20:50

Still tons of stuff to do. You can have your own MapRoulette challenge for it now. Add your city and get people to join!

Comment from mvexel on 11 March 2016 at 20:53

I used to be in the ‘map sidewalks separate’ camp. I don’t think it’s bad, but I am not convinced it’s always necessary either. Adding sidewalk=no|right|both|... is much quicker. How does mapping sidewalks as separate geometries aid wheelchair routing in ways that couldn’t be accomplished with the sidewalk tag?

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