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Conversion from OpenStreetMap data

The routing data for CycleStreets is based on the maps provided by the IconOpenStreetMap (OSM) project.

We are very grateful to GeoFabrik for providing extracts of the planet database.

Latest update of OSM data

UK and Ireland

Cycle routing for UK & Ireland is built daily and published by 2pm.

Other areas

CycleStreets routing covers many other countries and cities, but these are published on a less frequent basis.

The background map tiles are another matter - we do not produce these ourselves but take them from various sources. The OpenCycleMap tiles are updated at the end of the working week.

CycleStreets is now using ODbL licensed data.

How CycleStreets interprets OSM data

Icon CycleStreets bases its cycle routing on map data from OSM. The ways in OSM are described by tags, and these are interpreted as streets with various types of cycling provison.

Cycle Routing Tags

The following sections describe the main tags that are used to build CycleStreets routing. The usage column is a count of the number of ways with those tags after the processing described here has been applied.

Highway Tag

Defined: Icon http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Highway | Usage statistics

Cycleway Tag

Defined: Icon http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Cycleway | Usage statistics

The following table summarizes the most common values:

Tag Description
cycleway=lane OSM: A lane is a cycle track that lies within the roadway (known as "bike lanes" in the United States).
cycleway=opposite OSM: The route may be cycled in the direction opposite of other traffic, but does not have a dedicated lane.
cycleway=opposite_lane OSM: The route is a lane, but bicycles may go in the direction opposite of other traffic. Only applies where oneway=yes.
cycleway=opposite_share_busway A contraflow bus lane which is also a contraflow cycle lane.
cycleway=opposite_track OSM: The track may be cycled in the direction opposite of other traffic.
cycleway=segregated When pedestrians and cyclists are separated from each other. The use of this tag needs further investigation - as there seems to be various ways of indicating this in OSM.
cycleway=share_busway A special lane reserved for public transport on which cyclist are also allowed to bike.
cycleway=shared Where the cycleway is shared with other users. The use of this tag needs further investigation - as there seems to be various ways of indicating this in OSM.
cycleway=shared_lane Cyclists share a lane with motor vehicles, and there are markings indicating that motorists and cyclists should share this lane. The road markings are usually there to highlight a cycle route or to remind drivers that you can cycle there.
cycleway=track OSM: A track is a cycle path that is separated from cars.

Access Tag

Defined: Icon http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Access | Usage statistics | Access restrictions

OSM: "Use access tags to describe the allowed or preferred level of access along a footpath, road or any other kind of way element. For describing the legal accessibility of an element. Use the access=* key to describe a general access restriction (all transport modes). This may be tightened or relaxed by adding keys which describe access for more specific modes of transport. These keys each have a place in an implied tree structure in which keys become narrower in scope as they branch out from the root."

The following table summarizes how the access tag is used on OSM ways for the UK and Ireland in December 2010.

Tag Description
access=designated OSM: A way marked for a particular use. Normally the designation is with the particular use, such as foot=designated or bicycle=designated.
access=destination OSM: The public has right of access only if this is the only road to your destination. This route should only be used as a means of getting to or from a specific point. It should not be used for transit to somewhere else.
access=no OSM: Access by this transport mode is not permitted, public does not have a right of way. This route is prohibited and will not appear in CycleStreets (unless overruled in the foot or bicycle tag).
access=permissive It is generally accepted that you are allowed to use this route without asking for permission. But perhaps this should include a note in itinerary listing.
access=private OSM: The owner may give permission on an individual basis. Passing through here requires special permission. Definitely should be noted in itinerary listings.
access=yes OSM: The public has an official, legally-enshrined right of access, i.e. it's a right of way. This is assumed, if not already present, and means that this way is open to the public.

The access tag can be overruled by the foot or bicycle tag, see below.

Bicycle Tag

Defined: Icon http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Bicycle | Usage statistics

The following table summarizes how the bicycle tag is used on OSM ways for the UK and Ireland in December 2010.

Tag Description
bicycle=designated OSM: The way is a preferred/designated route for a specific vehicle type or types. Basically this means that it is part of a cycle route.
bicycle=destination OSM: The public has right of access only if this is the only road to your destination. Same as access=destination.
bicycle=dismount Riders are either required or requested to dismount along this section or route. Use of this tag is expected to grow now that it is accessible in the OSM Potlatch 2 online editor.
bicycle=no OSM: Access by this transport mode is not permitted, public does not have a right of way. This is interpreted to mean that bicycles are not welcome here, neither ridden nor pushed.
bicycle=permissive OSM: The owner gives general permission for access. Same interpretation as for the access tag.
bicycle=private OSM: The owner may give permission on an individual basis. Same interpretation as for the access tag.
bicycle=use_sidepath Most often used in countries that have mandatory cycleways - i.e. where riders are expected to use a parallel cycleway if it exists. Treated here as cycle-able, but rather hostile. http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Tag:bicycle%3Duse_sidepath
bicycle=yes Cycling is permitted, overriding the access tag.

Foot Tag

Defined: Icon http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Key:foot | Usage statistics

The following table summarises how the foot tag is used on OSM ways for the UK and Ireland in December 2010.

Tag Description
foot=designated OSM: The way is a preferred/designated route for walking. Means that it is part of a walking route.
foot=destination OSM: The public has right of access only if this is the only road to your destination. This route should only be used as a means of getting to or from a specific point. It should not be used for transit to somewhere else.
foot=no OSM: Access by this transport mode is not permitted, public does not have a right of way. Not for walking. If the way also has bicycle=yes there is usually a separate way nearby for walking.
foot=permissive OSM: The owner gives general permission for access. Same interpretation as for the access tag.
foot=private OSM: The owner may give permission on an individual basis. Same interpretation as for the access tag.
foot=yes OSM: The public has an official, legally-enshrined right of access, i.e. it's a right of way. Use of this tag is very high because of a feature of Potlatch 1.

Oneway Tag

Defined: Icon http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Key:oneway | Usage statistics

The following table summarises how the oneway tag is used on OSM ways for the UK and Ireland in December 2010.

Tag Description
oneway=-1 OSM: Oneway streets are streets where you are only allowed to ride in one direction. This value (-1) means that the direction of flow has the opposite sense to the direction of the way. If bicycles are allowed to ride in the opposite direction tag with one of the values of cycleway=*
oneway=no OSM: Oneway streets are streets where you are only allowed to ride in one direction. This value means that it is not a one way street.
oneway=yes OSM: Oneway streets are streets where you are only allowed to ride in one direction. This value means that the direction of flow is with the direction of the way. If bicycles are allowed to ride in the opposite direction tag with one of the values of cycleway=*

Ways that are marked as oneway=yes, but which also have the following tags are imported as 2-way streets, for cycling:

An example: http://www.openstreetmap.org/way/4937416

Process the Way tags

This page is a work in progress, and may be incomplete [Late Jan 2011].

The procedure applied to the extracted planet data is a script of SQL statements (see Icon Conversion from OSM - sieving) and is explained below.

  1. Create a table (called map_wayFixed) to hold the way tags that are of interest to cycle routing.
  2. Create a row in the table for each way in the extracted planet data.
  3. Copy the original tags to the tags field.
  4. Fill the highway, cycleway, access, bicycle, foot, oneway fields from their respective OSM tags.

At this point the highway field has a wider range of values than the recognised values in the table above. Some of the values will be spelling mistakes, which can be corrected, and other values mean that the way is not relevant to cycle routing. The repair phase, next, narrows the range to the recognised values.

Repair

The sieving script continues with the following steps.

  1. Maintain the Icon repair table. This contains entries that record how often the fields contain unrecognised values.
  2. Entries in the repair table are used to provide common fixes for old or deprecated tag values, such as replacing the invalid combination: oneway=true with oneway=yes.
  3. This method is also used to ignore ways that cannot be routed over, such as replacing cycleway=bmx_track with highway=ignore.

The result of this step is that the way fields have a well defined set of values.

Implied tags

The sieving script continues by adding all of the implied tags in the highway table for the recognized fields.

Special recognition

Some special case rules are applied:

Bike routes

Defined: Icon http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Cycle_routes

There are various methods for marking cycle routes in OSM, either in relations or on the ways directly. The script looks for:

Traffic Signals

Icon http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Tag:highway%3Dtraffic_signals

Nodes tagged highway=traffic_signals are interpreted by default as a traffic light controlled junction.

Nodes tagged crossing=traffic_signals are interpreted as traffic light controlled crossings, such as a pelican or toucan crossing.

Crossings

Icon http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Crossing

These are nodes tagged with highway=crossing specify the crossing type with crossing=*. CycleStreets does not yet [Jan 2011] make use of this information.

Nodes tagged with crossing=toucan imply bicycle=yes.

We welcome your feedback, especially to report bugs or give us route feedback.

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