Searching for driving directions using Google Maps, I found a number of instructions which are labelled Restricted Usage Road. Another couple of Google Searches says this could mean any of a number of things such the road being private or being limited to certain types of vehicles.

How does one find out what Restricted Usage Road means for a particular road?

For example, when looking for directions from Sun Moon Lake to Alishan National Scenic Area, I got this:

enter image description here

  • 3
    You could try using Street View (if it has coverage in the area) to look for regulatory signs at the entrances to that road. Jan 25, 2017 at 18:36

4 Answers 4


Assuming I'm looking at the right set of directions, here's what I see:

Google Maps directions

Here, the restricted usage road is the first 110m segment to get from the starting place at Sun Moon Lake to the road. Let's look at that on Street View:

Street View with gate

Note the gate preventing you from driving into the pedestrian pathway where there's a viewing area to see the lake, some shops, etc... Instead, one drives on to the parking area just down the road. Presumably, that road is restricted just for authorized deliveries to the shops and maintenance activities (and the Street View car, which managed to go down there), while normal visitors park in the parking area and walk down the path. Google Maps doesn't know this, and so it started the directions as close to the lake as possible: on the restricted road.

Note that I've never actually been there; this answer is based solely on the map and Street View, and conditions may have changed since those images were captured.

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    I have been there recently, and Zach is correct. This is a tiny road, which barely fits a small size car, and is only used for deliveries. It is also pretty steep slope, which is not obvious from the street map.
    – George Y.
    Jan 26, 2017 at 1:52
  • 1
    @GeorgeY. Personal experience. I love it! Thanks. Jan 26, 2017 at 2:09
  • You're welcome. The lake is amazing, highly recommending it!
    – George Y.
    Jan 26, 2017 at 2:27
  • So, the answer is to use Street View :) Thanks guys. Going there soon!
    – Itai
    Jan 27, 2017 at 0:46

It is only the first 110m (I marked in red) that is restricted - that is access between the waterfront and the main road (21A, blue) is private:

enter image description here

The distance from the top of the red direct to the bend in the main road is little over 100 feet.


In addition to what you can get from Google, there are other map sources: Bing, Apple, Mapquest, and OpenStreetMap. Maybe others. None of them are any more reliable than Google, but you might get a better idea by comparing all than by just looking at one.

In OpenStreetMap, each section of a "way" may have one or more tags giving details about the characteristics of that section. It's "crowd-sourced," so it may not be very reliable, but rarely are any editors motivated to deceive you.

  • You're right, and in this case OpenStreetMap has it tagged as a service road which is a big hint at least. The answer would benefit from saying how you can inspect a feature with OSM (click the mouse-pointer+question-mark icon on the right, click the feature. You'll probably get a short list; hover over items to identify the right one, click for more info). Without debating reliability, OSM, being open, does at least allow you to see everything they know about a feature, though some is easiest to see with an editor account, free &anonymous Mar 23, 2021 at 12:35
  • With Google maps, if the restriction is at the start or end, dragging the pin to the next junction (or maybe the one after) can be helpful, in that it becomes clear that the restriction is within the site you might be visiting Mar 23, 2021 at 12:37
  • “How” depends on the platform.
    – WGroleau
    Mar 23, 2021 at 14:49
  • Well, the "inspect feature" tool is useful for most problems that could be covered by this question, and provides useful pointers for the others. The tags are meant to make sense to humans, though the meanings aren't always transparent Mar 23, 2021 at 15:18
  • Like every other function, whether “inspect feature” even exists depends on what app you’re using,
    – WGroleau
    Mar 23, 2021 at 17:22

Google does not know why some roads are restricted or if they do know, they do not care.

In my area there is a big factory where there are through roads on the grounds, but nobody is allowed on the grounds but factory staff which has good reasons to be there. So also no off duty staff and usually the staff has to use the nearest entrance to where they need to be, not crossing the grounds for an exit on the far end.
Google does suggest using the roads through the factory grounds as 'restricted roads' at times.

On the other hand, a lot of roads in the Netherlands are through roads for cyclists but cars are only allowed for access. Most of the time there is a block in the road somewhere that can be taken out for emergency vehicles. Often those stay out for the gritting crew in winter.
Those roads will also show up in Google map routes with 'restricted road' warnings, even when you have the right to use them to reach an address on the road or use them on a bike without the restrictions affecting you.

So if Google mentions a restricted road you will have to check whether it affects you. Street view is a good help.
Something as big as a factory will show up on the map, with clear boundaries. But a sign on the side of the road will not show up on the map, you can often get a clue on the satellite view as well as on street view if offered for the area.

But in some cases you just can not get information online and will have to sort out which part of the route is not available by checking out parts of the route and see where the warnings are for. And see if there are alternatives for that part of the route.

  • 1
    Yeah. I had particular trouble in Hanoi when all the instructions kept pointing me to go through what I found out was a military compound walled-in with armed guards et every entry and they didn't speak any English, so I kept going and going around but it took easily an hour more than Google had said for something that was less than 20km.
    – Itai
    Feb 24, 2018 at 14:49

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