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API usage policy

CycleStreets encourages widespread use of our API.

This policy sets out our acceptable use policy and usage limits.

We offer SLA contracts for commercial and bulk use. Where a contract has been signed, the terms of that contract take precedence over requirements shown here.

If you have any questions or concerns on any of these points, please do us contact us. We are prepared to be flexible where possible.

    API availability

  1. An API license key is required to make use of our API.
  2. License keys are granted at our option.
  3. License keys are specific to an application (project). If you have multiple applications (projects), you should request a key for each one.

  4. We welcome use by both free or commercial systems, and for open or closed source systems.
  5. API use is intended for genuine user requests (and testing associated with development of an application). We also support bulk purposes (e.g. for cycling matrix creation), but we expect you to contact us to discuss consultancy options.
  6. We reserve the right to withdraw API license keys where abuse is detected. We make contact the API keyholder to discuss such issues with them.
  7. API users may log in at any time to their control panel where their usage metrics are displayed.
  8. Unused license keys may be removed after 3 months of inactivity if necessary. We will check with the API keyholder that they are not intending to use the key.
  9. Free usage tier

  10. We strongly wish to encourage use of the API for innovative uses that encourage cycling. For this reason, we offer substantial use of the API without charge up to the limits noted in the appendix below.
  11. We are likely to give significant flexibility regarding usage levels to startups, non-profit organisations with little funding, and independent researchers. We very much wish to encourage their activity.
  12. We offer the option to pay for an assured quality level beyond a certain amount of route-planning. At present this threshold is 10,000km of route planning per day for free apps, and 5,000km per day for paid apps. Typical route scenarios based on these figures are shown in the appendix. These figures are measured as as-the-crow-flies distance route planning per day, calculated on a monthly basis. These figures are likely to increase over time as the routing engine is developed.
  13. As a not-for-profit social enterprise, we welcome (without obligation) donations towards our hosting costs.
  14. Large organisations, including consultancy companies, funded research organisations, local authorities, and governmental bodies, are expected to obtain a paid SLA key, following any initial evaluation. Our funds are not intended to subsidise organisations who have the means to pay for resources used.
  15. Paid/SLA contracts

  16. We offer SLA contracts for commercial and bulk use. Please contact us for further details.
  17. Where a contract has been signed, the terms of that contract take precedence over requirements shown here.
  18. Attribution and other obligations

  19. You must include in your application a clear attribution statement: © OpenStreetMap contributors. This is because we make use of data from OpenStreetMap, whose data is licensed under the Open Database License. Please ensure you have read and understand their license. For further information, see .
  20. Your application must mention in the credits (or elsewhere in the body of the application) that routing is provided by CycleStreets and include a link to You are welcome to include our logo [download a copy here] if you wish.
  21. You must advise the user that they follow the routes provided at their own risk. Like any automated routing engine, routing quality cannot be guaranteed, although we make best efforts to give suitable routes for cyclists. As such, the routing results we provide are in the form of suggestions.
  22. Where user contributions (principally photographs/videos from the Photomap) are displayed, you are required to display the associated attribution/copyright data supplied by the API.
  23. Keyholders are expected to keep their license key private insofar as this is technically feasible. For instance, publishing a key in a public repository of a distributed application is not acceptable.
  24. We expect mobile application developers to take reasonable steps to ensure that their mobile interface cannot be run via a desktop browser in a way which would lead to large amounts of spurious route planning. We reserve the right to suspend usage from individual client devices where evidence of such attacks arises.
  25. Bulk downloads

  26. Our APIs are aimed at providing access to individual resource objects, e.g. a photo. The collection of objects within each API are covered by a database right. API access is not granted, unless specifically authorised, for bulk downloading of resources in order to replicate a full or substantial part of the database.
  27. Caching

  28. Caching of route results is permitted.
  29. Applications involving automated re-planning while following a route

  30. Mobile applications whose feature-set involves route planning with automated and regular re-planning during a route (i.e. a satnav-style application) normally require use of an SLA license key.
  31. SLA license keys require payment, based on either a rate per 100,000 routes or a fixed amount to be agreed by negotiation dependent on expected usage.
  32. Uptime

  33. We aim to meet at least 99.9% uptime. (Our performance has historically exceeded this comfortably, e.g. 99.997% in February 2022.)
  34. Maintenance which requires taking the site temporarily off-line is usually carried out between midnight and 8am UK time. Interruptions between these times should still be rare.
  35. Feedback

  36. API users are encouraged to include a feedback mechanism in their app so that users can give feedback to us about planned route quality, even if this is only a ‘good/bad route button’. An API method is provided for this.
  37. Changes to the API and deprecation policy

  38. We are always willing to consider changes to the output format of the API, as we aim to provide optimised output where possible. Please contact us if you have any suggestions.
  39. We welcome the opportunity to undertake consultancy work to implement more complex changes, for instance specialised options such as customised routing modes. Please contact us if you wish to discuss possibilities.
  40. It is our intention to continue to support API parameters and output formats from the time they are published onwards. If, in exceptional cases, we need to withdraw particular aspects of the published API that we know are in use, we will give developers a minimum of 3 months' notice.
  41. We encourage developers to migrate to the latest stable API specification as we roll out changes, so that we can phase out deprecated options more easily.
  42. User privacy

  43. Our privacy policy applies for use of the API.
  44. Our privacy policy notes that server logs have standard IP default logging enabled for the purposes only of site security. If this problematic for your uses, you are welcome to proxy requests via your own server(s), so that we only see the IP of your server(s).

    Our use of funds raised

  45. Any income generated as a result of API use is used towards development and improvement of the system, in line with the not-for-profit clause in the governing documents of CycleStreets Ltd, and to ensure that our hosting capacity caters for the traffic generated by API users.

Appendix: journey length scenarios

10,000km of journey planning is equivalent to:

Scenario Probable average km per route How many in quota % of quota per planned route
Short, in-town route 1km 10,000 0.01%
City route 3km 3,333 0.03%
Cross-city route 6km 1,667 0.06%
Long-distance route 50 km 200 0.50%
London cycle hire routes 2km 5,000 0.02%
Entire diameter of London 35km 286 0.35%

5,000km of journey planning is equivalent to:

Scenario Probable average km per route How many in quota % of quota per planned route
Short, in-town route 1km 5,000 0.02%
City route 3km 1,667 0.06%
Cross-city route 6 km 833 0.12%
Long-distance route 50km 100 1.00%
London cycle hire routes 2km 2,500 0.04%
Entire diameter of London 35km 143 0.70%

Version 4; last updated: February 2022.

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