Thailand - Highway classification’s wiki revision - paths vs tracks

The goal of this proposal is to solve the common issue where minor roads including tracks are downgraded to paths due to obstacles, vegetation, and the perception they may not be passable by 4-wheel vehicles.

Background: when tracks are downgraded to paths without additional info (smoothness, tracktype, width), we lose the information that this is a wide “path” which:

  • may still be passable for specialized off-road vehicles like heavy-duty 4WDs and other off-road vehicles (please lookup smoothness=very_horrible)
  • is a lot easier to navigate for 2-wheel vehicles (MTB, dirt bike) than a narrow nature trail.

There is a common misconception that a track becomes a path if it’s not passable by a motorcar, while the wiki clearly mentions that the width is the determining factor and not its passability and surface conditions):

Also indicating that a track is not passable is most of the time done subjectively without direct experience. Hence using the width factor is a lot more objective and easier to identify.

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Proposals:

  1. rename section “Urban and Local Road wide enough for motor cars” to “Urban and Local Road wide enough for 4-wheel vehicles (>= 2 m)

  2. rename section “Urban and Local Road that a motor car cannot pass” to “Pathways not wide enough for 4-wheel vehicles (< 2 m) or with access restricted legally to only pedestrians, cyclists or horseriders”

  3. Add following statements below section “General notes and exceptions”:

    a. If a road’s access is obstructed by an object, do not downgrade it to path/footway, instead add the object at the approximate location (e.g. barrier=gate, obstacle=fallen_tree, obstacle=hole …)

    b. When a track’s surface is seasonally overgrown, it may look like a path. If the path’s surface looks wide enough (2 meters), keep it as a highway=track and document its firmness with tracktype=grade4/grade5.

    c. If a path/trail is wide enough (>= 2 meters), it may still be passable by specialized off-road vehicles, and it should be then tagged instead as highway=track with the corresponding smoothness=horrible/very_horrible

    d. Unless sign-posted, do not use legal access tags (motor_vehicle=yes/no, motorcar=yes/no, 4wd_only=yes/no) to document a road’s suitability for motor vehicles. Instead use the appropriate smoothness tag value (e.g. very_bad: high clearance only, horrible: 4WD only, very_horrible: specialized off-road only).

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Ce sujet de discussion accompagne la publication sur https://community.openstreetmap.org/t/thailand-highway-classification-s-wiki-revision-paths-vs-tracks/4648