Improving mapping of minor roads in India


In India we use highway=trunk,primary,secondary,tertiary,residential,living_street,service. highway=unclassified is used, but only to indicate that a road is missing its classification (which is incorrect, since unclassified is for minor roads. highway=road is the proper way to tag that a road doesn’t have a classification). I propose that we introduce unclassified into the road network. In the hierarchy, it would be trunk > primary > secondary > tertiary > unclassified > residential. The main advantage of adding unclassified would be better tagging of industrial areas. Many industrial areas have roads that would best fit under residential roads in the current classification system, but have too much traffic to justify that classification. This is particularly a problem for cycle routing, since cycle routers assume residential roads are safe for cyclists. Further it would help with road classification in larger business parks. Right now with everything tagged as highway=service within business parks, its not clear which roads are driveways around buildings and which are roads to move traffic around the business park.

To summarize:

  1. Tagging industrial roads as highway=residential causes issues with cycle routing
  2. Tagging all private roads as highway=service is confusing and doesn’t properly distinguish roads
  3. Tagging some roads as highway=tertiary would be inappropriate since they don’t offer the level of service expected from a tertiary road (might not be wide enough, lower speed limits, etc.)

Solutions would be

  1. Use unclassified to tag roads that see more traffic than one would expect in a residential road.
  2. Also use it on ways where the road doesn’t see enough traffic to justify a tertiary tag.
  3. Don’t set all roads with access=private to service. service should be reserved for roads that actually provide access to services.

The wiki explains it well: Tag:highway=unclassified - OpenStreetMap Wiki

An example of such tagging - van Houten industriepark: Way: ‪van Houten Industriepark‬ (‪6319904‬) | OpenStreetMap

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