Routing options

Table of contents

The routing options, what do they do?

When you pin viapoints in the RoutePlanner, a route is calculated between those viapoints using a particular routing method. The most classic routing methods are shortest and fastest way. An additional interesting option in the recreational world is the nicest route. Read here how we determine that at RouteYou.

How routing is done also depends on how the trip is done: on foot, by regular bike, by mountain bike, by horse, by motorcycle, and so on. Therefore, RouteYou offers numerous options that link a specific mode (walking, cycling, ...) and the desired routing method: shortest, fastest or nicest.

An overview of the routing options

Attention (!) Not all routing options are available in every country.

Background information on some of the routing options

Each part of the routable network has been classified according to suitability for bicycles, pedestrians, motorised vehicles,... It does not only allow you to calculate the shortest and fastest but also the nicest route.

Nicest route

In addition to the fastest and shortest, we also offer an advanced routing algorithm based on more than 38 parameters to calculate the "nicest" route between two points. That "nicest" depends on your mode choice: hiking, road cycling, mountain biking, motorcycling, ... . There can be much discussion about "most suitable" and "nicest". Therefore, we realize that this is more art than science. Nevertheless, after research we came to the conclusion that professionally designed routes tend to follow specific features of roads and avoid other features. We were able to link more than 85% of this to our ever-growing set of more than 38 parameters: for example, road width, road importance, road crowding, through or along forest areas, along rivers, near lakes, near or through parks, built-up areas, industrial areas, and so on. We hope you find this useful and that it will help you plan a suitable route more quickly.

If you do not agree with our calculation of "suitability," you can modify the route at any time. After all, "Des goûts et des couleurs on ne discute pas".

Road bike with support vehicle

A routing option for road cyclists with a support vehicle (nicest & shortest) is offered. You'll find that option under the route type "Race Cycling route".

This routing option is different from the regular road bike routings (nicest or shortest) because those options give preference to car-free roads. Of course, that is not so convenient if you need to stay with the cyclists with a support vehicle. You could also choose "Motor - nicest", but that may send you over stretches where you can go through by car or motorcycle but not by bicycle. Hence this separate routing option.

Node-to-node cycling - avoid climbs

The routing option "Node-to-node cycling - avoid climbs" allows you to avoid as many climbs as possible. Important here is the "as much as possible" approach. After all, it doesn't mean you won't get any "uphill". Of course, if you have to cross a mountain or hill, you have to go up one way or another. But this option steers you along the least steep side. We also take into account the direction of the slope. Steep downhill is not penalized. Steep upward is. So you may well end up with a different option on the way up versus the way back.

Here is a nice example of the effect of this routing. If you want to cycle from the south of Schepdaal to the north of Schepdaal, you have to go up the sturdy ridge over which the Ninoofsesteenweg (red line) runs. As you can see, there are two node routes. One through Sint-Getrudis-Pede with a more than tough climb, and one along the western part of Schepdaal where there are also slopes but slightly less steep. So you get a slightly longer option but with less steep slopes.

Shortest - OSM

Shortest - OSM stands for "the shortest route along paths known in OpenStreetmap".

With that option, we draw the shortest path along roads and paths known in the OpenStreetMap map. CAUTION! That means we do not take into account whether it is allowed or not (e.g. one-way streets, unpaved, highways,...). If you use this you better know the area well!

TIP! For users who want to redraw a known route from a map, the Shortest OSM option is a very convenient solution.
For example, if you use the option 'Recreational Cycling - nicest' we sometimes send you through sections that we think are better for cycling. And that can be confusing if you know exactly which way you want your route to go.


Relationship routing options and surface

The routing options take many aspects into account, but a very important element is the surface.

In terms of subsoil, we distinguish 4 categories:

In the following matrix you can see which sections

  Paved - good condition Paved - bad condition Unpaved- good condition Unpaved- bad condition
Race cycling (nicest and shortest) PREFERRED  ALLOWED  NOT ALLOWED NOT ALLOWED
Recreational cycling (nicest and shortest) PREFERRED  ALLOWED  PREFERRED  NOT ALLOWED

An example to illustrate how to read the table: 

Note! This is only one of many parameters used in the routing options. For example, read more about the nicest routing here.

In which areas are which routing options available?

Routing Area

Recreational cycling - nicest, shortest
Hiking - nicest, shortest
Mountainbike - nicest, shortest
Race cycling - nicest, shortest
Motor - nicest, shortest, fastest
Gravel bike - nicest, shortest
Inline skating - nicest,shortest
Shortest - OSM (exept Africa)

Recreational cycling - nicest (only paved)
Race cycling (with car) - nicest, shortest




Recreational cycling - node network
Hiking - node network


Race cycling - shortest (avoid climbs)


Setting the routing option

In the RoutePlanner, under the Plan module, you will find the "Routing" option. Here you can select the type of routing you want. The list is long but depending on your choice at the " Routetype" section, the available list will be shortened. We only show the routing options that are appropriate for the chosen Routetype. 

If you add a viapoint or move it, you will see the effect. The route will be (re)calculated according to the selected routing option.

What happens if you change routing?

If you change routing during or after creating a route, you will be asked if you wish to apply the new routing to:

Apply to the entire route

>> In this case, the entire route will be recalculated according to the new routing.

Suppose you had already mapped out a route A to B to C to D. If you choose the first option where the new routing is applied to the entire route, then each section of the route already created (A-B, B-C, C-D) will be recalculated according to the newly chosen routing. 

Apply to the following changes

>> Only the section of route that you still intend to plan or modify will be (re)calculated according to the new routing.

Suppose you already planned a route A to B to C to D and you choose the second option where the new routing is only applied to the next changes.
Then depending on your actions this may have a different effect:

The possibilities:



The routing does not follow the path I desire.

If you wish to go via small (unpaved) paths, it is best to choose "shortest - OSM". Attention! In this case, it does not take into account the restrictions of a path such as one-way streets or paths with limited access, and so on. The system follows the available network regardless of the modes you plan for. 

If you want full control to plan your route and also go through paths that are not (yet) included in the network, you can also switch to "manual" routing.

Is there a difference between the routing option "race cycling - nicest" and "recreational cycling (paved only) - nicest"?

It's true that both the routing option 'race cycling - nicest' and 'recreational cycling (paved only) - nicest' send you over paved stretches of road. But what is the difference? 

I get the message 'The selected points are too far apart'. Why?

With some routing options, it takes a little more time to calculate the nicest path. Therefore, we limit the distance between two viapoints to avoid a long wait. You can solve this by adding an extra viapoint to limit the distance between viapoints to a maximum of 300 km.

I can't get certain routing options to show up in the RoutePlanner. Why is that?

What type of routing should I use for a car

The best routing to use for a car is the option:

The path calculated for Motor are roads you can always enter by car. So depending on your goal, you select, shortest, fasters or nicest. For leasure purposes (e.g. a tour to do with oldtimes cars,...) we advize you to select Motor - nicest (read here more about it). The moment you save the route, you can still indicate if it is a car route, or specifically an oldtime route,...

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