I work on public transport journey planning software. We use OSM data heavily, 
but primarily for the parts of journeys outside public transportation: the 
first- or last-mile or transfer segments. In my experience we rarely use OSM 
data directly for the transit part of routing. We use data loaded from GTFS or 
Netex feeds, which are provided by the public transportation operators or 
regional authorities. Public transport entities or tags from OSM are generally 
used as a sanity check or backup source of information, for example to 
determine from which road it is easiest to reach a stop, when that stop is 
physically located halfway between two candidate roads.

These data sources do have a concept of stop hierarchies. GTFS groups stops 
into stations, and Netex allows more complex hierarchies. If data of this kind 
are imported into OSM, or if the data in OSM are expected to resemble the 
conceptual model used in exchanging public transport data, then I'd expect 
these groupings to be present. I can confirm that the groupings are meaningful 
and useful in routing applications, both when finding paths and when presenting 
those paths to the end user.

We mostly work in places where operators provide detailed data about their 
services. In places where there is no such official data, or where mappers have 
created a better data set than the official one, someone might want to route on 
the user-generated data in OpenStreetMap. The station groupings would be useful 
in that case. Even for purely visual (non-routing) map display, I can imagine 
the station groupings would assist in layout and labeling.


> On 1 Aug 2019, at 15:11, Joseph Eisenberg <joseph.eisenb...@gmail.com> wrote:
> I'm trying to find out if the type=public_transport +
> public_transport=stop_area relation or *=stop_area_group relation is
> used by any developer or database user.
> These relations are supposed to group together features like all the
> platforms in a bus station or train station. However, it seems like
> these relations may not be necessary or useful for routing
> applications.
> Has anyone looked into them or know of any current use cases?
> Joseph
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