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Modelling of rural paths / ways

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Rural paths / ways were initially considered out of the scope of the Transport networks data specification in the first drafts available. But this aspect was finally reconsidered in the final TN specification, allowing the modelling of such spatial objects in a generic way - The definition of the "RoadLink" feature type is open enough to take into account these spatial objects:

A linear spatial object that describes the geometry and connectivity of a road network between two points in the network. Road links can represent paths, bicycle roads, single carriageways, multiple carriageway roads and even fictitious trajectories across traffic squares.

The need to model them was confirmed at the beginning of the INSPIRE Annex II & III data specification development process, since rural paths constitute in most cases the only routes to access services in this geographic scope, e.g. energy resources and facilities.

However, it is not clear in the data specification how to characterize these spatial objects to differenciate them from other road link types:

  • As non-catalogued roads / paths (i.e. no code assigned), with access restrictions for certain types of vehicles ?
  • As non-paved roads / paths ?

The final solution should be consistent with the definition agreed for such rural paths / ways.


  • Knut JETLUND

    Pedestrian navigation has become an important usage area for transport networks, and path (both rural and urban, for instance shortcuts through parks) is a central part of these networks. 

    Here in Norway, we have been working with complete networks for bicyclists and pedestrians, and we have added three extra codes for FormOfWay in our SOSI modell: "Path", "Stairs" and "Other".

    • "Path" is used for paths (both rural and urban). Definition, translated from Norwegian: "clearly visible track that is highlighted through years of use or adapted for traffic on foot"
    • "Stairs" is used where we have stairs in the network (this is usefull also for walkways and bicycle roads). Definition, translated from Norwegian: "stairs naturally included in the network"
    • "Other" shall only be used to create continuous routes, for instance where ski trails cross marshes, fields etc. This enables us to create routes for ski trails on top of the network.

    In my opinion, the FormOfWay codes "Path" and "Stairs" is a good solution for extending the network for pedestrians and bicyclists. The value "Other" is a more special value, that I don't think should be included in the INSPIRE specification.

  • Jordi ESCRIU

    I am afraid we have a terminology issue here with "path"...  In fact, I was referring to what in Spain we call "Camino". This is a route / way (generic meaning) which is frequently passing through non-urban areas (but non-exclusively), usually non-paved (but it could be paved and not being a main road), whose width allows the traffic of vehicles (see image attached). This kind of infrastructure is designed by means of a project and maintained by an organization.


    In my opinion, the provision of this type of routes / ways in INSPIRE is crucial to complete the transport network (especially in non-urban areas).

    The provision of pedestrian navigation tracks / routes (either in urban or rural areas) may be considered a subject for additional discussion.

  • Josué Díaz Jiménez

    By Josué Díaz Jiménez

    From my point of view I understand that the model considers the paths where cars and people go through as a "singleCarriageway" (formOfWayValue) "unpaved" (RoadSurfaceCategoryValue). The same applies to "camino"  but "paved". Where cars can't go through you have a "walkway". However, you can fill in the attribute "FunctionalClass" of the FunctionalRoadClass feature type to determine the importance of the link.

    From the point of view of the model, and I agree with it, there is no difference beetwen a road inside a rural area an a urban area, is just a road and you just have to consider its attributes as is and the attributes of the plattform, which are important for the user. 

    At the same time I like the term value "stairs" for FormOfWay I think it could be incorporated too.

    About the term "other", if the term affects just to ski, why don't use ski or slide instead of other, however, I don't know the context enough. Moreover I could say that as a formOfWay you could at the same time use the Feature Type "AccessRestriction" and the value "seasonal" in the attribute "restriction."

  • Knut JETLUND

    I must say that I agree with the last proposal. It seems to me that caminos is a kind of single carriageway, or maybe in some cases a tractorway? 

    Regarding the value "Other": This is used where there are no physical links. It can also be snowmobiletracks etc, and even a connection through a parking area or a square. I don't like the term "other", but it was the best we could come up with at the time smiley.

    My suggestion is that we add the two code values "Path" and "Stairs" to the FormOfWay code list. This will enable an extended use of the transport network.

  • Jordi ESCRIU

    I closely know the capabilities of the INSPIRE TN data model, since I participated as co-editor of the data specification. And I feel that further improvement is necessary especially for code lists, since there was quite limited time for terminology discussions inside the TWG.

    The distinction of "caminos" from the rest of the road network may be important for certain use cases (may be not for others). It depends on oneself proffessional background.

    From my perspective the "FormOfWay" transperty property shall be used to categorize road link infrastructures by its general technical or physical characterístics. The English concept for "camino" may be considered as one of the values / categories in the code list, in the same way that "tractor" (fromEuroRoads project - quite similar to "camino", but probably more difficult to understand) or "walkway" are currently included.

    As regards the proposed "stairs" value, I would prefer to include it as an "AccessRestriction" assigned to a "walkway" road link, rather than an extra value for "FormOfWay".

  • Jordi ESCRIU

    Regarding "camino", may be we should go for a better definition for the "tractor" value, currently:

    Arranged road only usable for a tractor (farm vehicle or forest machine) or terrain vehicle (a vehicle with higher ground clearance, big wheels and 4 wheel drive).

    It should be better to describe the characteristics of the infrastructure / road link (that is the purpose for "FormOfWay"), avoiding the link to vehicle types.


  • Josué Díaz Jiménez

    By Josué Díaz Jiménez

    I think we all are very grateful with all of you that were involve in the creation of the data model as we see all the effort involved.

    I completely agree with you about the term tractor.

    The term "camino" applies to a wide range of different type of ways and roads, paved and upaved, walkways, paths, tractors, singlecarriageway...It's kind of a hodgepodge for all the links outside the urban areas, but this links are so different one to other. The solutioni about tractor it look the best.

    About "stairs" we have too public elevators and escalators involved and I dont consider neither one or other as an restriction of access in the way as AccessRestriction does. I think that go through stairs is a FormOfWay itself. Obviously, just an opinion ;).

  • Knut JETLUND

    I like the suggested new definition for "tractor", it gives a broader use of the code value. 

    It might also be an idea to take a look at how caminos are categorized in OpenStreetMap - are they "track"? I think OSM "track" is quite similar to FormOfWay "tractor". OSM is of course in no way the truth, but it might give some ideas about how people consider the links. 

    About stairs, elevators and escalators: i would say that they are their own kind of link, and they may connect two links of FormOfWay walkway, bicycleRoad or pedestrianZone, or connect one of them them with other values. They are definately retrictions as well, but I think that they are so technically and physically different from other links that they should have their own FormOfWay value.

    And I am really happy that we are finaly starting these discussions smiley! Looking forward to more discussions to come!

  • Jordi ESCRIU

    I am also happy with all your opinions smiley

    The definition referred above (Arranged road only usable for a tractor (farm vehicle or forest machine) or terrain vehicle (a vehicle with higher ground clearance, big wheels and 4 wheel drive) is the current definition of "tractor" value in the data specification, so it is not a new one!

    I was proposing to search for a new definition describing more the "camino / tractor" infrastructure and avoiding the use of specific vehicles type terms (e.g. 4 wheel drive vehicles may also circulate by main roads, and conversely normal cars may circulate by caminos most of times).

    I am afraid that I am not the best one to propose a new one, because the terminology issue!

    For me the term "track" is more understandable than "tractor".

  • Knut JETLUND

    Whoops, sorry for the confusion on the definition of "tractor", I didn't read neither your topic or the specification good enough blush. I can see what you mean now - and I agree that both the name and the definition should be revised. And this should probably be done for other values too, probably in a multilingual/international discussion. We have som other issues on the FormOfWay code list as well, like you have mentioned in the other discussion on