Highway systems by country

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This article describes the highway systems available in selected countries.


Map of Albanian motorways as of 2014.

In Albania, major cities are linked with either new single/dual carriageways or well maintained state roads marked as "SH" (Rrugë Shtetërore).

There is a dual carriageway connecting the port city of Durrës with Tirana, Vlorë, and partially Kukës.

There are three official motorway segments in Albania marked with an "A" (Autostradë):

Thumanë–Milot–Rrëshen–Kalimash (A1),

Levan–Vlorë (A2),

and partly Tirane–Elbasan (A3).

Most rural segments continue to remain in poor condition as their reconstruction has only begun in the late 2000s by the Albanian Development Fund.[1]



About 1,390 km (860 mi) of highways in Algeria are in service and another 1,500 km (930 mi) are under construction.[as of?]


The Tullamarine Freeway showing toll gantries in Melbourne, Australia.

In Australia, road routes are allocated along sections of named roads, often along parts of multiple roads. Unlike many other countries, most highways in Australia tend to be referred to only by their names. State road authorities have separate numbering systems, for internal use only.

The first route marking system was introduced to Australia in the 1950s. National Routes were assigned to significant interstate routes – the most important road links in the country. National Route 1 was designated to a circular route around the Australian coastline. A state route marking system was designed to supplement the national system, for inter-regional and urban routes within states.[2] When the National Highway system was introduced, National Routes along it became National Highway routes with the same numbers, but with distinctive green and gold route markers. Alphanumeric routes were introduced in Tasmania in 1979,[3] and during the 1990s, planning began for nationally consistent route markings, using the alphanumeric system.[4] Alphanumeric routes have been introduced in most states and territories in Australia, partially or completely replacing the previous systems.[5]

National Routes and Highways

In 1955, the Australian National Route Numbering System was introduced to simplify navigation across Australia. The National Route Numbers are marked by white shields that are present in directional signs, distance signs or trailblazers. The general rule was that odd-numbered highways travel in north–south directions and even-numbered highways in east–west directions, with only a few exceptions. National Route 1 was assigned to a network of highways and roads, which together linked all capital cities and coastal towns circumnavigating the mainland. The National Route system initially linked the centres of towns and cities and terminated at the junction of other national routes, however many bypasses have been constructed since then. National Routes often terminated at the metropolitan city limits rather than the individual city centres.[2]

In 1974, the federal government assumed responsibility for funding the nations most important road links, with the introduction of the National Highway.[6] These highways were marked with distinctive green and gold route marker shields instead of the plain National Route shield. Though the National Highway system has been superseded in subsequent legislation, National Highway route markers are still used on many of the routes. Additionally, National Highways and National Routes have been phased out, or are in the process of being phased out, in all states and territories except Western Australia, in favour of the alphanumeric system.[7][8][9]

State Routes

Important urban and inter-regional routes not covered by the National Highway or National Route systems are marked under the State Route system. They can be recognised by blue shield markers. They were practically adopted in all states by the end of the 1980s, and in some states, some less important National Routes were downgraded to State Routes. Each state has or had its own numbering scheme, but do not duplicate National Route numbers in the same state, or nearby routes in another state.[2] As with the National Routes and National Highways, State Routes are being phased out in most states and territories in favour of alphanumeric routes.[7][8][9][10] However, despite the fact that Victoria has fully adopted alphanumeric routes in regional areas, state route numbers are still used extensively within the city of Melbourne as a part of its Metropolitan Route Numbering Scheme.[11]


Metroad route marker

In the 1990s in Sydney and Brisbane, urban route numbering system were streamlined under the Metroad scheme. Metroad route numbers were assigned to the key navigational corridors, along ring and radial routes, and marked by distinctive hexagonal shields.[10] Most Metroads have been completely or partially replaced with alphanumeric routes in Brisbane with currently only have 2 routes; Metroad 2 and Metroad 5, and they have been fully replaced by alphanumerics in Sydney.[10]

Alphanumeric routes

Tasmania introduced an alphanumeric route numbering system in 1979, based on the British system from 1963. The new system aimed to upgrade the signing of destinations, including previously unmarked roads, and to simplify navigation by allowing visitors to follow numbered routes. National Highway 1 was retained as the only route without an alphanumeric designation.[3] In the 1990s Victoria and South Australia also overhauled their systems. While South Australia discarded the National and State Route Numbering Systems, those shield-based schemes were retained in the Melbourne metropolitan area as the Metropolitan Route Numbering Scheme.[11] The route numbers used in the alphanumeric schemes were generally inherited from the original National Route Numbering System, with only a few exceptions, and prefixed with letters denoting their grade. For example, Western Freeway is M8 until Ballarat and continues beyond as A8 Western Highway. They are not used extensively in the Melbourne metropolitan area where the blue-shield metropolitan route system is retained for most routes. (They were phased out for motorways in the early 2010s. New alphanumeric numbers are appearing for other new roads, and cover plates for signs, possibly pointing to a future phase-out of the metropolitan route system altogether.) The National Highways were retained, but with the route numbers changed to alphanumeric designations (later to be passively phased out since 2014).

New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory[a] introduced the alphanumeric system from early 2013.[7] Before being officially announced, new road signs were fitted with such numbers and then being "coverplated" with the existing route number. However, the new system does not distinguish between the former National Highways and other routes.

Alphanumeric routes have also been introduced for many major highways and urban routes in Queensland, although many other roads retain markers from the National Route, National Highway, State and Metroad numbering systems. According to the New South Wales Roads & Maritime Services, the Northern Territory has similarly begun converting their numbered routes to alphanumeric routes, with a "progressive replacement" scheme that sees alphanumeric route markers introduced only when signs are replaced.[10] There are no plans to introduce an alphanumeric route numbering system in Western Australia.[9]

Prefix letters

In the alphanumeric systems, a letter denoting the route's construction standard and function is prefixed to the route number, creating an alphanumeric route designation. One of six letters may be used:

  • "M" routes are primary traffic routes, called motorways in some states. These are typically dual carriageway, freeway-standard highways, but may also be used for rural roads that are nearly at freeway-standard,[12] or at least are dual carriageways.[11]
  • "A" routes are other primary highways, including urban arterials[12] and interstate or interregional single carriageways.[11][12]
  • "B" routes are less significant routes, either as an alternative to an "A" or "M" route, or linking smaller population centres to larger regional centres, but without being a major through-route in the region.[12] These are the major road links in areas without "A" routes.[11]
  • "C" routes link smaller settlements and towns to the rest of the major road network. They are used for roads without the significance of an "M", "A", or "B" route, but where numbering would assist navigation.[12]
  • "D'' routes are detour routes for motorways. There are only two of them, D1 and D5
  • "R" routes are ring routes in South Australia. There is only one route, R1


In contrast to Germany, according to a 2002 amendment of the Austrian federal road act, Bundesstraßen is the official term referring only to autobahns (Bundesstraßen A) and limited-access roads (Schnellstraßen, Bundesstraßen S). The administration of all other former federal highways (Bundesstraßen B) has passed to the federal states (Bundesländer).

Therefore, while officially classified as Landesstraßen, they are still colloquially called Bundesstraßen and have retained their 'B' designation (except for Vorarlberg), followed by the number and a name. They are marked by a blue number sign.



Belgium has the second-highest density highway network in Europe after the Netherlands, at 54.7 km (34.0 mi) per 1,000 km2 (390 sq mi). Most Belgian highways have three lanes with a few exceptions like the ring roads around Brussels and Antwerp, which have five or six lanes in some stretches. Belgium is situated at a crossroads of several countries, and its highways are used by many nationalities. Belgian highways are indicated by the letter "A" and a European number, with E numbers being used most often. Roads that are (part of) a ring road around a city or a town are usually indicated by an R number. Many of the highways in Belgium are illuminated at night, since there is a surplus of nuclear-powered electricity during off-peak hours.

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Motorway on corridor Vc between Sarajevo and Visoko, Bosnia and Herzegovina.

As for Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Pan-European Corridor Vc Motorway, BudapestOsijekSarajevoPloče, is one of the most significant and project of the highest priority; in Bosnia and Herzegovina it coincides with A1 Motorway. The construction works on the road have already begun,[as of?] but intensified beginning of the construction will be a key starter of economic and social activities, and will enable Bosnia and Herzegovina to be connected to main the European traffic network, as well as to global European economic and social structure.

Construction of the motorway, which has a total length of 340 km (210 mi), will provide connections to neighboring countries and regions, have effects on stabilization and development, improvements in transport conditions and quality of life, improvements in economic competitiveness, launching of new projects and enhancement of private investments nationally and internationally.


Kazungula Bridge, connecting Botswana and Zambia

Botswana has a network of roads, of varied quality and capacity, totalling about 31,747 km (19,727 mi). Other than these, 20,000 km (12,000 mi) are paved (including 134 km (83 mi) of motorways).[13] The remaining 11,747 km (7,299 mi) are unpaved. Road distances are shown in kilometers and Botswana speed limits are indicated in kilometers per hour (kph) or by the use of the national speed limit (NSL) symbol. Some vehicle categories have various lower maximum limits enforced by speed limits, for example trucks.[14]


In Brazil, highways (or expressways/freeways) are called rodovia, and Brazilian highways are divided into two types: regional highways (generally of less importance and located entirely within a state) and national highways (of major importance to the country). In Brazil, rodovia is the name given exclusively to roads connecting two or more cities with a sizable distance separating the extremes of the highway. Urban highways for commuting are uncommon in Brazil, and when they are present, they receive different names, depending on the region (Avenida, Marginal, Linha, Via, Eixo, etc.). Very rarely are names other than rodovia used.

Regional highways are named YY-XXX, where YY is the abbreviation of the state where the highway is running in and XXX is a number (e.g. SP-280; where SP means that the highway is running entirely in the state of São Paulo).

National highways are named BR-XXX. National highways connect multiple states altogether, are of major importance to the national economy and/or connect Brazil to other countries. The meaning of the numbers are as follows:

  • 001–100 – the highway runs radially from Brasília. It is an exception to the cases below.
  • 101–200 – the highway runs in a south–north direction.
  • 201–300 – the highway runs in a west–east direction
  • 301–400 – that the highway runs in a diagonal direction (northwest–southeast, for example)
  • 400–499 – another exception – less important highways whose function is to connect a city to an arterial highway nearby.

Often, Brazilian highways receive names (of famous people, etc.) on top of their YY/BR-XXX designation (example: SP-280 is also known as Rodovia Castelo Branco).


The strategic location of the country on the Balkan Peninsula is decisive for the fact that four out of ten land Pan-European corridors run through it, and ten European routes – six A-class and four B-class routes.

Highways in Bulgaria are dual carriageways, grade separated with controlled-access, designed for high speeds. In 2012 legislation amendments defined two types of highways: motorways and expressways. The main differences are that motorways have emergency lanes and the maximum allowed speed limit is 140 km/h (87 mph),[15] while expressways do not and the speed limit is 120 km/h (75 mph).[16]

As of December 2018, 800.5 km (497 mi) of motorways are in service, with another 38.2 km (24 mi) being under various stages of construction. More than 500 km (311 mi) of motorways are planned. Also, several expressways are planned.


Evening traffic on Highway 401, North America's busiest highway, in Canada.
  • In Canada, there is no national standard for nomenclature, although in non-technical contexts highway appears to be most popular in most areas. The general speed limits on most Canadian highways range between 80 km/h (50 mph) and 110 km/h (68 mph) on two-lane highways rural and urban highways and between 80 km/h (50 mph) and 120 km/h (75 mph) on multi-lane, divided highways. Prairie Provinces are known for having higher speed limits than Central Canada and the Maritimes because of the flat geography and more car-dominant way of life; however, British Columbia remains the only province in Canada to have a speed limit of 120 km/h (75 mph) on the Coquihalla Freeway.
  • Canada is the second-largest country in the world in terms of land area, though it only has 1,350,581 km (839,212 mi) of paved roads. This is far less highway and road distance than the United States, which is smaller, but has more than 6,000,000 km (3,700,000 mi) of paved roads and highways. However, Canada still has many more roads and highways than Russia, the largest country in the world in land area, with an estimated just 336,000 kilometres (208,000 miles) of paved roads.
  • The most extensive freeway network in Canada is in the well-populated southeastern Canada, linking southern Ontario, southern Quebec, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and the United States. This makes the freeway network there very well-travelled, requiring these routes to be well-maintained to overcome the frequently harsh winter weather, wide enough to accommodate the high traffic volumes that they carry in large metropolitan areas (such as around Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa, and Detroit) in order to reduce the economic problems and frustrations that result from heavy traffic congestion, and also be safe enough to reduce the number of vehicle accidents.
  • Ontario has some of the busiest freeways in North America. It has all public roads legally defined as highways, though provincially managed roads are known legally as Provincial Highways. In day-to-day usage, the term highway is used for provincial routes or freeways. It is also common for surface routes to be referred to by number (e.g. "Take Highway 10 from Mississauga to Owen Sound"), especially by older generations. The words freeway or expressway are sometimes used to refer to controlled-access, high-speed, grade-separated highways such as the 400-series highways, the Gardiner Expressway, the Don Valley Parkway, the Conestoga Parkway, or the E.C. Row Expressway. The only highway officially labelled as a freeway is the Macdonald–Cartier Freeway, usually known as Highway 401, or simply "the 401", which is North America's busiest freeway, as well as one of the widest in the world at 18 through lanes in the section passing through Toronto.[17][18] The Queen Elizabeth Way was the first intercity divided highway in North America.[19] Nearly all highways in Ontario use parclo interchanges, which were developed by the province. Parclos are used to avoid weaving and to maximize efficiency and safety.
  • In Quebec, major highways are called autoroutes in French, and expressways or autoroutes in English.
  • Nova Scotia numbers its highways by the trunk routes they parallel. For example, Highway 107 parallels Trunk 7. This, to a lesser extent, also applies in Ontario (e.g. Highway 410 and Highway 420 parallel Highway 10 and Highway 20.) Nova Scotia also numbers its highways according to usage: main arterial highways are in the 100s, secondary or old arterial highways are numbered in the double digits from 1 to 28, and collector roads are numbered in the triple digits starting at 200.
  • The Trans-Canada Highway (or Trans-Canada) is a highway that crosses all of Canada from east to west and enters all ten provinces. The Trans-Canada ranges from a two-lane highway as it runs through the mountains of British Columbia with occasional divided highway status as the Province commits to twinning the road, a full divided highway with some sections qualifying as freeway status throughout Alberta and Saskatchewan, a mixture of both throughout Manitoba, a two-lane at-grade highway again as it passes through the sparsely populated areas of northern Ontario, and a multi-lane freeway as it travels through southern Ontario, southern Quebec, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia. There are three or more ferry routes along the Trans-Canada, which allows it to connect to Newfoundland, Prince Edward Island, Haida Gwaii, and Vancouver Island. The Confederation Bridge provides an alternative route from New Brunswick to Prince Edward Island.

Since the Trans-Canada Highway is not yet a divided, multi-lane freeway for its entire length, the section that crosses the western provinces and northern Ontario is considered to be more of an equivalent to the U.S. Route highway network in the neighboring United States. Southern Ontario's 400-series freeways, Quebec's autoroutes, New Brunswick's portion of the Trans-Canada, Nova Scotia's 100-series highways, Alberta's Ring Road system, and Saskatchewan's Ring Road system are provincial equivalents to the American Interstate Highway System. The Canadian freeways interconnect with each other across provincial lines, and also with the American Interstate system. For example, freeways in Québec connect Montreal with the American border, and thence Interstate 87 continues from there to New York City, and likewise, Toronto is connected to the border by Ontario freeways, and thence by Interstate 190 to Buffalo, New York.


Chile has significant highway coverage connecting the whole country, with the exception of the Magallanes region.

China, People's Republic of


National expressways of China are designated with letter G (for 国家高速, guójiā gāosù) followed by 1, 2, or 4 digits. For national expressways, one-digit numbers are used for expressways starting in Beijing. Two-digit odd numbers from G11 to G89 are for north–south long-distance expressways, and even numbers from G10 to G90 are for east–west long-distance expressways. Numbers G91 – G99 denote regional ring routes. Four-digit numbers indicate city ring routes, spur routes and parallel routes. The first two numbers indicates their parent routes, while for the three types of routes, the third digit is 0, an odd number, or an even number, respectively. Provincial city ring routes, spur routes uses two digits. For example, in G1503 (Shanghai Ring Expressway), "15" refers to the G15 Shenyang–Haikou Expressway, which passes through Shanghai, and "0" indicates that the route is a city ring expressway.

Provincial expressways are designated with letter S (for 省高速, shěng gāosù) followed by 1 or 2 digits. Similar to the national expressways, one-digit numbers are used for routes starting in the provincial capital. Since 2017, the Chinese route naming standard no longer designates provincial expressways with 4 digit numbers.[20]


  • G, followed by 3 digits, stand for guódào (国道), or China National Highways. S routes stand for shěngdào (省道), or provincial roads.
    • Roads 101 – 199 radiates from Beijing (G roads) or the provincial capital (S roads).
    • Roads 201 – 299 are north–south highways.
    • Roads 301 – 399 are east–west highways.
    • Roads 501 – 599 are spur routes.
  • County roads (xiàndào, 县道) are prefixed with letter X. Township roads (xiāngdào, 乡道) are prefixed with letter Y. Village roads (cūndào, 村道) are prefixed with letter C. Special roads (zhuānyòng dàolù, 专用道路) are prefixed with letter Z.[20]

Hong Kong, China

In Hong Kong, the type of high speed roads is referred to as expressway, but some are referred to as highways or roads ('Yuen Long Highway', 'Tolo Highway', 'Tsuen Wan Road', 'Tuen Mun Road', etc.). Others are named corridors and bypasses. Highways or Routes are numbered 1-10.


Occidente tunnel, Antioquia.

In Colombia, highways are managed by the Colombian Ministry of Transport through the National Institute of Roads. Colombia's road infrastructure is still very underdeveloped with most of the highways presenting a two-lane road for outbound and inbound traffic. Some exceptions are the Autopista Norte, linking Bogota and the towns of Tunja and Sogamoso and the Highways of the Valle del Cauca, an infrastructure improvement project started about a decade ago[as of?] which has not yet been entirely finished.[as of?] Several dual-carriage ways also link cities like Medellin, Pereira, Manizales and Armenia.

Nowadays,[as of?] direct public funding of highways is increasing, focused mostly on connecting Colombia's agricultural and industrial heartland with its Caribbean and Pacific ports through twinning existing roads and the construction of 5,892 km (3,661 mi) of roads.[21]

The most important projects under negotiation or construction are La Ruta del Sol (the Sun Road), a four-lane highway between Bogota and the Caribbean coast; and the Highway between Bogota and Buenaventura (Colombia's largest and busiest port) which includes a 9 km (5.6 mi) tunnel.


Croatia has 11 highways and 13 expressways. The earliest highway in Croatia was built in 1971. The word highway is a common Croatian translation of the term autocesta, which describes a toll highway similar to a freeway or an Autobahn.


Czechia has 17 motorways. The construction of the earliest Czech highway (D1) between Prague and Brno was initiated in 1939, but was twice interrupted and reached Brno only in 1980. The word highway is a common Czech translation of the term dálnice, which describes a toll highway similar to a freeway or an Autobahn.

The road hierarchy in the Czech Republic and Slovakia originates from the Czechoslovak 1961 road act, although both countries have made changes since the dissolution of Czechoslovakia.


Motorways (Czech: dálnice, Slovak: diaľnica) form the trunk of the road network, and similarly to other European countries they include at least 2 lanes in each direction, as well as an emergency lane on the right and auxiliary lanes for entering and leaving the motorway in intersections. In both countries, motorways use white-on-green directional signage. The general speed limit for motorways in both countries is 130 kilometers per hour, which is implicitly decreased to 80 km/h (Czech Republic) or 90 km/h (Slovakia) in urban areas.

In both the Czech Republic and Slovakia, motorways are designated by a number prefixed by the letter D. Both countries also use red rectangular shields with the motorway number in both countries, although in Slovakia the shield includes the D prefix, while in the Czech Republic it only contains the number itself.

In both countries, all motorways and expressways are owned and maintained by the state and the use of most of their sections is paid via electronic vignettes or toll. Bypasses of large towns and other sections that are used for local traffic tend to be exempt from the vignette requirement.


The highway network is divided into three classes, which are distinguished by the number of digits in the highway number. The class number can be optionally mentioned in written text alongside the road number, separated by a slash. First and second class roads in both countries use blue rectangular shields. Slovak third class roads use a white oval highway shield.

  • First class roads (Czech: silnice I. třídy, Slovak: cesta I. triedy) are designated by an up to two-digit number and are owned by the state. Road numbers 61 and above run exclusively on Slovak territory under the original Czechoslovak numbering.
  • Second class roads (Czech: silnice II. třídy, Slovak: cesta II. triedy) are designated by a three-digit number and are owned by the regions. The first digit identifies the general location of the route:
    • 1xx - south Bohemia
    • 2xx - north Bohemia
    • 3xx - east Bohemia, Vysočina
    • 4xx - Moravia and Silesia
    • 5xx - Slovakia
    • 6xx - former first class roads replaced by a motorway (Czech Republic only)
  • Third class roads (Czech: silnice III. třídy, Slovak: cesta III. triedy) are also owned by the regions. In the Czech Republic, these are designated by four to five-digit numbers, where the first three digits are the number of a nearby higher class road, padded by zeroes if less than three digits. Slovakia renumbered these roads in 2015, and now uses a four digit numbering where the first three digits identify the district that the road runs in. The road numbers are not marked on most maps and road signs in the Czech Republic, however, Slovakia started doing so after the reform.

The general speed limit on highways is 90 kilometers per hour, reduced to 50 km/h in urban areas. A section of a highway can also be signed as a road for motor vehicles (Czech: silnice pro motorová vozidla, Slovak: cesta pre motorové vozidlá), which are off-limits for other kinds of traffic. The speed limit on such roads in the Czech Republic is 90 km/h for single carriageways and 110 km/h for double carriageways, reduced to 80 km/h in urban areas.

Local roads

Local roads (Czech: místní komunikace, Slovak: miestna cesta) are public roads that serve local traffic and are not already part of a highway or a motorway. They are owned and maintained by municipalities. Similarly to highways, they are divided into four classes according to their importance, where the first class includes the most important collector roads in cities, while the fourth class includes walk paths and bike roads that are off-limits to automobiles. The Road Act also allows for so-called "express local roads" to be built up to expressway standards to accommodate for fast motor traffic.

In the Czech Republic, a first class local road can be signed as a road for motor vehicles if there are no intersections with other roads, auxiliary lanes are used for entering and exiting the road and access to adjacent buildings is forbidden. Local roads typically use the same directional signage as highways, i.e. white-on-blue signs with local destinations in black-on-white rectangles, although full black-on-white signs are increasingly adopted, notably by Prague.

Utilitarian roads

Utilitarian roads (Czech: účelová komunikace, Slovak: účelová komunikácia) can be owned by any subject, private as well as public. Such roads are often subject of litigations because the legal status is a bit inconsistent and unclear.

    • Publicly accessible utilitarian roads have similar traffic mode as local roads; generally, forest roads and field roads are count among "utilitarian/purpose roads". However, motor vehicles are prohibited at the forest roads by the Forest Act. The national law doesn't concern over compensations or subventions to the owner, and the duty of maintenance is questionable and not stated explicitly by the law.
    • Closed utilitarian roads tend to be located in enclosed objects or facility; outside of them, the owner needs an administrative decision to exclude or restrict the public traffic. Traffic rules applies to such communications, but the owner can permit exceptions.


Until 1938, separate lands of Czechoslovakia have different laws and road systems, inherited from the Austro-Hungarian period. Just in 1938, a unified Czechoslovak road act passed. In 1935, there existed Czechoslovak state roads (not distinguished by class) and several types of non-state public roads:

  • in Bohemia, silnice zemské (land roads), silnice okresní (district roads), silnice a cesty obecní (municipal roads and ways) (there was only one remained 23 km land road in Bohemia, connecting Jilemnice, Vysoké nad Jizerou and Rokytnice nad Jizerou)
  • in Moravia, silnice okresní (district roads) of 1st and 2nd class, silnice a cesty obecní (municipal roads and ways)
  • in Czech Silesia, silnice okresní (district roads) of 1st and 2nd class, silnice a cesty obecní (municipal roads and ways) and veřejné cesty interesentů (public ways of interesents)
  • in Slovakia and Zakarpattia, zemské cesty (land roads, formerly župné cesty, župa roads), príjezdné cesty (access roads), vicinální cesty (vicinal roads), cesty obecné (municipal roads and ways) and cesty interesentů (ways of interesents).

Thus, in the Moravian-Silesian Land existed no land roads, in Slovakia and Zakarpattia were no district roads but existed a special class of "access roads", and in Bohemian and Moravia existed not a status of "public ways of interesents".[22]

Historically, local communications is a successor term for the former obecní silnice (municipal roads) and obecní cesty (municipal ways). The terms "utilitarian communications" replaced the former term cesty interesentů or zájemnické cesty (ways of interesents) since 1961. However, in Bohemia and Moravia, public way on a private plot was concepted as a municipal way before the 1961 reform, and maintained by the municipality.

Příjezdní komunikace (access communications) to the railway stations were a special class of roads before 1938 in Slovakia nad Zakarpattia. Since 1938, access communications to railway stations, airports and ports should be built as municipal roads or district roads, as was the previous praxis in Bohemia, Moravia and Silesia. Paradoxically, the today's main access road to the main Prague airport (Václav Havel International Airport in Prague-Ruzyně) is a private property of the airport and has a status of a "utilitarian communication".

Czechoslovak act no. 147/1949 Sb. nationalized all previous státní (state), zemské (land), and okresní (district) roads and authorized the government to list other individual roads (vicinal, municipal and others) to be nationalized) or negotiate a transfer of redundant state roads to administration by municipalities. The Czechoslovak act no. 135/1961 Sb. stated a terminology and classification which is in essence continued in today's Czech Republic and Slovakia.


In Cyprus the roads are classified as:

  • A: The motorways of Cyprus (Αυτοκινητόδρομος) are mainly 2 lanes on each side but some areas in Nicosia and Limassol have 3 lanes on each side
  • B: The trunk-roads of Cyprus. These are mainly the old roads the motorways have replaces but not all of them are. These link towns together and also include some ring-roads. Most of these are single-carriageway 2 lane roads but a few of them are 4 lane dual-carriageway.
  • E: These are main roads which go through multiple villages and small towns and are built similarly to B roads. A few of them can also be 4 lane dual-carriageways.
  • F: The small village roads which normally only serve 1 or a few villages. These can be 2 lane roads but also a few of them are 1 lane but wide enough for 2 cars to pass
  • Unclassified: The broadest type of classifications. These can be dirt-roads leading to farms and can also be dual-carriageways. The majority of them are 1 or 2 lane roads in towns or villages.


With the completion of the extremely long highway bridge tunnels of the Great Belt Fixed Link in 1998 and Øresund Bridge in 2000, continental Europe was finally connected by road and rail with capital city Copenhagen and Sweden. This includes the Swedish highway and railroad system. The bridge tunnels are all interconnected with major Danish highways and complete a continuous international road connection from northern Sweden to Gibraltar at the southern edge of Spain and Messina, Italy, at the southern tip of the Italian "boot".

The 18 km (11 mi) Fehmarn Belt Fixed Link has commenced construction in 2017, planning to link Zealand (with Copenhagen) to northern Germany by 2028.


The national highways in Finland are numbered 1–29 and are in total 9,000 km (5,600 mi) long. The numbering system originated in 1938. There are motorways for 881 km (547 mi) around the largest cities, especially in the south near the capital of Helsinki. Highways numbered 1–6 are the main connection roads in Finland.


France has a national highway system dating back to Louis XV (see Corps of Ponts et Chaussées). The chaussées constructed at this time, radiating out from Paris, form the basis for the routes nationales (RN), whose red numbers differ from the yellow numbering used for secondary routes départementales. The RNs numbered from 1 to 20 radiate from Paris to major ports or border crossings. More recently, after the Second World War, France has constructed Autoroutes, ex. A6-A7, which is called Autoroute du Soleil, superhighways (usually toll roads) with a speed limit of 130 km/h (81 mph) (110 km/h (68 mph) in rainy conditions or urban areas). Those autoroutes made some parts of the routes nationales (RN) secondary (routes départementales).


Along with the rest of Europe, France has Motorways or Autoroutes similar to the British network. Unlike in the UK, the network is mostly accessible on payment of a toll, which is usually distance-dependent; there are generally more Toll (péage) Motorways in the South of France. However, sections passing through or close to major towns and cities are usually free. As in the UK, destinations reached via a motorway are shown with white text on a blue background. Junctions are usually numbered, the numbers being shown on signs in a small oval in the corner of the sign.

Route Nationale

Before the construction of Autoroutes, the Routes Nationales were the highest classification of road. They are denoted by a route number beginning N, or occasionally, RN. Going back to a Napoleonic road classification system, these are main roads comparable with British Primary Routes. They are maintained directly by the state and are usually the shortest route between major centres. Many N-Class roads are dual carriageway for some or all of their length, with a few also being given the designation of semi-motorway, where junctions are grade-separated and there is a central reservation with crash barrier. The hard shoulder, or bande d'arrêt d'urgence, is often narrower than on full motorways and there are fewer emergency telephones.

Routes Départementales

France (including overseas territory) is split into 100 departments, the second-highest tier of local government, similar to a UK county or US state. The departments have responsibility for all roads beginning with a letter D, or occasionally RD. These roads vary in quality, from newly built local dual carriageways and downgraded Routes Nationales to winding roads that are barely wide enough for traffic to pass. Generally, they are quieter than the Routes Nationales, and of a reasonable standard.

Routes Communales

In general, each settlement in France is a Commune - akin to a British Civil Parish. This most local level of government is responsible for maintaining all the local roads, which are numbered with a letter C prefix. Except in major towns and cities, where their numbers are usually not marked on signs, they are usually single-track and may be in a state of poor repair due to the large number of roads covered by populations as small as 10.


Aside from highways bearing the designation Autobahn, Germany has many two- and four-lane roads. Federal highways not known as Autobahnen are called Bundesstraßen (Bundesstrassen) and, while usually two-lane roads, they may also be four-lane, limited-access expressways of local or regional importance. Unlike the Autobahnen, though, Bundesstraßen (marked by black numbers on a yellow background) mostly have speed limits (usually 100 km/h (62 mph), but occasionally higher on limited-access segments, and lower in urban areas or near intersections).

A stands for Autobahn (motorway), B for Bundesstraße (literally "federal road"). There are also L roads (Landesstraße for Bundesland; in Saxony S and Bavaria St for Staatsstraße), K roads (Kreisstraße for districts, in some states of Germany K roads are classified as Landesstraßen 2. Ordnung and also carry an L number).

Formerly, B roads were also designated as F for Fernstraße (long-distance road) in East Germany until 1990 and as R for Reichsstraße (imperial road) in the Weimar republic and Nazi-Germany until the Second World War.


In Germany, the normal route number for the German autobahns consists of the letter A and a number:

  • 1-digit-numbers are the most important autobahns;
  • 2- and 3-digit numbers are for connectors of 1-digit-number-autobahns; and
  • north–south routes have odd numbers, and east–west routes have even numbers.


Bundesstraßen are national highways, their numbers consist of the letter B and a number:

  • 1-digit numbers are more important than 2- or 3-digit numbers;
  • the first ten roads span the entire country, the 2-digit roads were assigned sequentially in clusters connecting the major regions, and the 3-digit roads are usually shorter connector roads.
  • short branches of Bundesstraßen are sometimes signed with the letter "a" (e.g. B 27a); and
  • rerouted Bundesstraßen may be given numbers with an appended "n" (e.g. B 7n).

West Berlin once had its own Bundesstraßen with letters.

State roads

State roads are roads operated by the German federal states. They are called Landesstrasse or Staatsstrasse (in Saxony and Bavaria). They are labeled by an initial L or S and a one- to four-digit individual number (e.g. S2 or L240). The federal states sustain their own numbering systems with individual styles of number shields used.



Hungary has seven major motorways (autópálya).

Highways in Hungary

Also, there are other smaller motorway sections that will be linked to the national motorway network in the future.[23] Motorways usually have two traffic lanes and an emergency lane in each direction, divided by a green zone and metallic rail. The speed limit is 130 km/h (81 mph).

Expressways usually have no dividing lane in the middle, but sometimes have a metallic rail. The number of lanes is one per direction, with sections of 1+2 lanes (for easier overtaking). The speed limit is 110 km/h (68 mph). Motorways and expressways cannot be used by vehicles that are not able to reach 60 km/h (37 mph). There is a toll on all motorways, except M0. Trucks and buses have a separate toll system.[24]

Those who wish to travel on these roads have to buy a sticker. Controversially, there is no option to buy a one-day or one-time pass for passenger cars.

Hungarian road categories are as follows:

  • Gyorsforgalmi út (controlled-access highway):
    • Autópálya (motorway): at least 2+2 travel lanes and 1+1 emergency lane, central reservation, no at-grade intersections, speed limit: 130 km/h
    • Autóút (expressway): 1+1 or more travel lanes, optionally emergency lanes and central reservation, some at-grade intersections(only if 1+1 lanes), speed limit: 110 km/h
  • Főút (arterial road or main road) (with one digit in their name, e.g.: 6-os út)
  • Megyei út (county road) (with two digits, e.g.: 16-os út)
  • Helyi út (local road) (with three or more digits)


Main roads usually have one lane per direction, no dividing rail. The speed limit is 110 km/h (68 mph).

County roads have less traffic than main roads; the speed limit is 90 km/h (56 mph).



National Highway 44 (India) (longest Highway of India), India.

In India, highway refers to one of the many National Highways and State Highways that run up to a total length of over 300,000 km (190,000 mi) consisting mostly of two-lane paved roads, changing into higher lanes mostly around cities. National Highways are designated NH followed by a number. As of 2009, the major cities in India – Ahmedabad, Pune, Jaipur, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Nagpur, Visakhapatnam, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, and Delhi – are connected by the Golden Quadrilateral or North-South and East-West Corridor, consisting of four- to six-lane roads. Other major cities are connected to it by the National Highways.

An expressway refers to any access controlled road with grade-separated intersections and make up a very small portion of India's highway network, at about 4,219.27 km (2,621.73 mi) length.[25] Expressways are separate from the highway network, except for the Delhi-Gurgaon Expressway, which is part of NH 8.The longest expressway in India is the Mumbai-Nagpur Expressway (Phase-II) at 600 km (370 mi).


The Indonesian national route system exists solely on Java. The tolled expressways built parallel to the national route, for example, the Jakarta-Merak Toll Road that parallels National Highway 1 from Merak Harbour to Jakarta. Urban expressways are also built, for example Jakarta's Inner and Outer ring roads. The main cities in Java are also well-connected by the toll road network, including Cipularang Toll Road in West Java connecting Jakarta and Bandung and the Trans-Java Toll Road that connects Jakarta and Surabaya. It also connects to Cirebon (Cikopo–Palimanan Toll Road), Semarang (Batang-Semarang Toll Road), Surakarta (Semarang-Solo Toll Road) and several towns on both Central and East Java, especially the North Coast in Central Java.

There is a plan to connect Lampung to Aceh in Sumatra Island through the Trans-Sumatra Toll Road network. Also, Balikpapan and Samarinda in East Kalimantan have been connected by the toll road in 2019.

For national route numbering, every main island has its own number. For both national routes and toll roads, numbering starts at 1 on every main island and continues to the small surrounding islands. The numbering is considered by these provision:

  • The road sections that parallel to the coastline are given an odd number start from 1 (one) in every main island.
  • The next numbering starts from left-right then top-down until the roads on the island have been mapped.
  • The road sections that cross the island are numbered even, starting with the number 2 (two).
  • Especially for Sulawesi Island, route numbering starts from the bottom of the island to the top of the island.


The Republic of Ireland has the sixth-densest motorway network in Europe. There are National primary roads ('N' roads) and Regional roads ('R' roads). The maximum speed is 120 km/h (75 mph) on motorways. The main Inter Urban route Motorways connecting Dublin by motorway to the cities of Cork, Limerick, Waterford and Galway, as well as other projects, have increased the total motorway network in the state to approximately 1,017 km (632 mi).

R is used for Regional road and L for Local road.


In Iran the term highway, commonly known as autobahn (Persian: اتوبان/بزرگراه), is applied to roads constructed with particular standards. The conventional speed limit of 120 km/h is in place for most highways. There are two types of highway in Iran:

  1. Inner-city highways, which can be found in larger cities such as Tehran. Their main purpose is to prevent congestion and pass traffic through cities.
  2. Intra-city highways, which connect different parts of the country together.




The A3 in Italy.

In Italy the term highway can be applied to superstrada (can be translated as expressway; it is toll-free) and autostrada (Italian term for motorway: the majority of the system has a mandatory toll). Italy was the first country in the world to build such roads, with the first being the Autostrada dei Laghi (Autostrada of the Lakes) from Milan to Varese, built in 1921 and finished in 1924. This system of early motorways was extended between the early 1930s and early 1970s. Nowadays the Autostrade is a comprehensive system of about 6,500 km (4,000 mi) of modern motorways with a maximum speed limit of 130 km/h (81 mph).



C stands for circular, E stands for expressway. These designations are used on most expressways in Japan outside of the urban systems.

The expressways, or kōsokudōro (high-speed roads), of Japan consist of a huge network of freeway-standard toll roads. Once government-owned, they have been turned over to private companies. Most expressways are four lanes with a central reservation, or median. The speed limits, with certain regulations and great flexibility, usually include a maximum speed of 100 km/h (62 mph), and a minimum speed of 50 km/h (31 mph).



The highest level of major roads in Malaysia, expressway (lebuhraya), has full access control, grade-separated junctions, and is mostly tolled. The expressways link the major state capitals in Peninsular Malaysia and major cities in Klang Valley.

Highways are a lower level with limited access control, some at-grade junctions or roundabouts, and generally with two lanes in each separated direction. These are generally untolled and funded by the federal government; hence the first one is called Federal Highway linking Klang and Kuala Lumpur.

The trunk roads linking major cities and towns in the country are called federal trunk roads, and are generally two-lane single carriageway roads, in places with a third climbing lane for slow lorries.


  • All expressways (classified as an expressway by the Malaysian government) has a route number beginning with 'E', followed by a number.
  • All federal roads can have any route number except those stated below. (e.g. Malaysia Federal Route 1)
  • Industrial roads has a four-digit route number beginning with '3'.
  • Roads build by the Federal Land Development Authority has a four-digit route number starting with '1' or '2'.
  • Institutional facilities roads follow the normal numbering of federal roads.
  • All state roads begins with a letter other than 'E', followed by a number.
Starting Letter State
A Perak
B Selangor
C Pahang
D Kelantan
J Johor
K Kedah
M Melaka
N Negeri Sembilan
P Penang
R Perlis
T Terengganu



  • All major roads in Sabah are federal roads. The route numbers are usually three-digits beginning with '5'.
  • Route 1, 13 and 22 belong to the Pan Borneo Highway.
  • Institutional roads route numbers have three-digits beginning with '6'.
  • State roads normally begins with the letter 'SA', but some roads such as the Sapi-Nangoh Highway starts with the letter 'R'. Papar Spur-Pengalat-Lok Kawi Road and Beluran Road begin with the letter 'A' which is derived from the old route numbering scheme, though both of them are state roads.


  • Federal roads in Sarawak are divided into sections. They have a main route number of '1', referring to the whole stretch of the route, followed by a dash (-) and the section number.
  • Other roads can have any route number and are also divided into sections.
  • All state roads begin with the letter 'Q' followed by a number. Like federal roads, state roads may also be divided into sections.


  • All federal roads in Labuan have a three-digit number beginning with '7'.



Morocco has more than 1800km of Highways. Many have been constructed from 2000 to 2015 to link major Moroccan cities. Now that Large and Medium cities have access to highways, the Moroccan highway agency is planning to link smaller cities to the network.

New Zealand

State Highway 1 in South Auckland, New Zealand

In New Zealand, both motorway and an expressway have at least two lanes of traffic in either direction separated by a median, with no access to adjacent properties. The distinction depends on the type of traffic allowed to use the route. Non-vehicular traffic and farm equipment are prohibited from motorways, while pedestrians, cyclists, tractors, and farm animals are legally entitled to use expressways such as the Waikato Expressway south of the Bombay Hills and the Tauranga expressway system, although this is rare. New Zealand's main routes are designated state highways as they are funded by the central government. State Highway 1 is the only route to run through both the North and South Islands, and runs (in order north–south) from Cape Reinga to Wellington in the North Island, and from Picton to Bluff in the South Island. State Highways 2–5 are main routes in the North Island, State Highways 6–9 in the South Island, and state highways numbered from 10 onwards are generally found in numerical order from north to south. State highways usually incorporate different standards of roads, for example, State Highway 1 from Auckland to Hamilton incorporates the Northern and Southern Motorways in the Auckland area, the Waikato Expressway, and a rural road before passing through the streets of Hamilton. The term freeway is rarely used relating to New Zealand roads.


The Autosnelweg system is in constant development. Most of its parts are owned and funded by the government, but in recent times Public-private partnership come more and more into practice, such as in a part of the A59 between Oss and 's-Hertogenbosch. The Netherlands has the highest density highway network of Europe at 56.5 km (35.1 mi) per 1,000 km2 (390 sq mi), followed by Belgium. The Autosnelwegen, the main corridors, are designated with an A while secondary connecting roads have an N number. Sections of the A network are also part of the International E-road network connecting with neighboring Belgium, Germany and England, the latter by ferry. The speed limit is 130 km/h (81 mph), unless noted otherwise, and 120 km/h (75 mph), 100 km/h (62 mph) during the day, or 80 km/h (50 mph) in various locations. This is done to reduce exhaust emissions and to limit noise in surrounding residential areas.


Abuja Highway Panoramic

The Federal Highway System of Nigeria, also known as Trunk A national roads, connects economic and political centers within the country; in addition it links Nigeria with neighboring countries.These roads are constructed and maintained by the Federal Government of Nigeria through the Federal Ministry of Works and the Federal Roads Maintenance Agency. In 1974, some roads previously maintained by the states were transferred to the federal government. This created a classification called Trunk F roads. The road system in Nigeria is classified for administrative purposes as Trunk Road A, or federal roads, Trunk Road B and Trunk Road C. This system of road classification began in 1946. The Trunk Road A or federal roads are roads under the federal government ownership and they are developed and maintained by the federal government. As of April 2003, federal roads constitute 17% of the total road network in Nigeria.

North Macedonia

A1/A2/A4 Interchange at Miladinovci, North Macedonia

The total length of Macedonian motorways as of spring 2021 is 317 km (197 mi), with another 70 km (43 mi) under construction (57 km (35 mi) from Kicevo to Ohrid and 13 km (8.1 mi) from Skopje Ring Road to the border with Kosovo). An additional 60 km (37 mi) are planned to begin construction in 2022.

The three motorway sections are A1 (part of E-75), which connects the northern (Serbia) to the southern border (Greece); A2 (part of E-65) connects Skopje, Tetovo and Gostivar (Kicevo and Ohrid by 2023); A3 connects Skopje to the eastern town of Stip.


Norway has a national highway system, numbered 2–899. Some main highways are also European highways and have an E before the number. The highways are often relatively narrow and curvy. Near the larger cities, especially around Oslo and Trondheim, there are motorways. Norway has also been engaged in recent decades in drilling extremely long highway tunnels through the mountain ranges, and some of these, now the world's longest, are so long that they have hollowed-out caverns in the midst of them for motorists to stop and take rests.



Pakistan has its own network of highways and motorways. Motorways extending from M1 to M11 will eventually connect the whole length of the country from Peshawar to Karachi. The M2, the first motorway, was built in 1997 with the contract being awarded to the Korean firm Daewoo. It linked the federal capital Islamabad with Punjab's provincial capital Lahore. The network was then extended to Faisalabad and then to Multan with the M4. The M1 highway to the capital of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Peshawar, was completed in October 2007. M4, M5, M6, and M7 have been planned and are also being built by local and foreign firms. They will connect Faisalabad, Multan, Dera Ghazi Khan, and Rotadero (Larkana) to Karachi. N5 links Karachi to other cities. Entry on all Pakistani highways is restricted to fast-moving wheelers only. Slow-moving traffic and two-wheelers (such as motorcycles and bicycles) are not allowed and construction and agricultural machinery is also restricted. M9 and M10 are also functional, connecting Karachi to Hayderabad. The LSM (Lahore Sialkot Motorway), which is 103 km (64 mi), is called M-11. Expressways are similar to motorways with fewer access restrictions and are owned, maintained and operated either federally or provincially.


The Philippines' new route numbering system, started in 2014, for its network of expressways (limited access roads) and national roads (of the primary and secondary types), uses E and N, respectively.


Portugal roads' categories are as follows:


Polish public roads are grouped into categories related to administrative division. Poland has 383,313 km (238,180 mi) of public roads, of which 122,080 km (75,860 mi) are unpaved (2008):

Polish motorways and expressways are part of the national road network.


A1 motorway Sebeș – Orăștie segment, Romania.
The orange highways will run next to the green European roads.

In Romania the roads are classified as:

  • Autostrăzi (A) - Motorways
  • Drumuri naționale și europene (DN, E) - National and European roads
  • Drumuri naționale (DN) - National roads
  • Drumuri județene (DJ) - County roads
  • Drumuri comunale (DC) - Communal roads

Romania currently has eight operational highways, adding up to 982 km (610 mi); they are being extended[as of?] and additionally, other motorways are planned to be built by 2030.


Russia has many highways, but only a small number of them are currently[as of?] motorways. Examples of Russian motorways are Moscow and Saint Petersburg Ring Roads. Highways and motorways are free in Russia and only two motorways, Western High Speed Diameter and Moscow-Saint Petersburg toll motorway, have tolls. Russians themselves often translate the Russian name for 'highway' (Автомобильные дороги lit.'automobile roads') into motorway in English, which is incorrect.

Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia has a total highway length of 73,000 km (45,000 mi). Highways in Saudi Arabia vary from ten-laned roads to small four-laned roads. The city highways, such as the roads in Riyadh, and other major highways are well-maintained. The roads are constructed so they resist the summer's extremely high heat and do not reflect the strong sun.


N stands for "national" roads while R is for "regional" roads.


Highway network (Serbia), Map of Serbian Highways.

The highways in Serbia are classified as IA state roads and the common name for highway is auto-put, which functions based on a toll pay system and controlled access. Serbia currently[as of?] has a total of 876 km (544 mi) of highways (the total length of public roads is 40,845 km (25,380 mi)), while 1,154 km (717 mi) are planned. Because of its geographical position, it is very important for the transit of capital, goods and services through Europe and the Balkans, especially. It is also one of the most important countries in the Balkans for Pan-european corridors (E65, E70, E75, E80, E661, E662, E761, E763, E771, E851).

Signs on Serbian highways are green and the speed limit is 130 km/h (81 mph). The history of Serbian highways starts with socialist Yugoslavia, when increased production influenced the increase of transit on public roads. The first highway to be built was Brotherhood and Unity Highway which encompassed Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia and Macedonia. The highway was part of the Pan-European Corridor X and was built around the 1970s.


The Bukit Timah Expressway in Singapore.

The expressways of Singapore are all dual carriageways with grade-separated access. They usually have three lanes in each direction, although there are two- or five-lane carriageways in some places. There are nine expressways, with the newest one, the Marina Coastal Expressway, constructed with modern technology under the water.

Construction on the first expressway, the Pan Island Expressway, started in 1966. The other expressways were completed in stages, with the first phase of the Kallang-Paya Lebar Expressway being the most recently completed, in 2007. Today,[as of?] there are 164 km (102 mi) of expressways in Singapore.[26]


The highways in Slovakia are divided into motorways (diaľnica) and expressways (rýchlostné cesty). The first modern highway in Slovakia should have been in the 1930s – a planned motorway connecting Prague with northern parts of Slovakia; however, the construction of Slovak motorways was not started until the 1970s.

Slovakia, as well as the Czech Republic before 2016, also operates a complementary expressway network (Czech: rychlostní silnice, Slovak: rychlostná cesta), which consists of limited access highways that don't fully meet the motorway standards. They are designated by a number prefixed by the letter R. Slovak expressways use similar highway shields as motorways, albeit with the different prefix. The term "motor vehicle road" (Czech: silnice pro motorová vozidla, Slovak: cesta pre motorové vozidlá) has also been used variably to refer to the network, although in both countries this term is now used for a separate category of roads. As of December 2018, 486 km (302 mi) of motorways and 265 km (165 mi) of expressways are in service, with another 120 km (75 mi) being under various stages of construction.

The same rules of the road as on motorways (prefixed by the letter D) also apply on expressways, including the speed limits and the white-on-green signage, although they used to be legally distinct from proper motorways and instead considered to be a part of the regular highway network. This led the Czech Republic to discontinue the system in 2016, when most former expressways were upgraded to motorway status, while Slovakia passed an amendment in 2020 that redefined expressways as a type of motorway.


Highway Network (Slovenia), Map of Slovenian Highways.

The highways in Slovenia are central state roads and are divided into motorways (Slovene: avtocesta, AC) and expressways (hitra cesta, HC). Motorways are dual carriageways with a speed limit of 130 km/h (81 mph). They have white-on-green road signs as in Italy, Croatia and other countries nearby. Expressways are secondary highways, also dual carriageways, but often without the hard shoulder. They have a speed limit of 110 km/h (68 mph) and have white-on-blue road signs.

South Africa

Colloquially, the terms freeway, highway, and motorway are used synonymously. The term expressway is not common in South Africa. A freeway, highway or motorway refers to a divided dual carriageway with limited access, and at least two lanes in either direction. A central island, usually either with drainage, foliage, or high-impact barriers, provides a visible separation between the carriageways in opposite directions. As in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, and Japan, South Africans drive on the left-hand side of the road and nearly all steering wheels are on the right-hand side of vehicles.

Freeways are designated with one of three labels: N (in reference to national roads), R (short for route, in reference to provincial roads), and M (in reference to metropolitan roads). This has more to do with the location of a road and its function than anything else. In addition, "N" roads usually run the length of the country over long distances, "R" roads usually inter-connect cities and towns within a province, and "M" roads carry heavy traffic in metropolitan areas. Route markings also determine who paid for the road: "N" was paid for by national government, "R" by provincial government, and "M" by local government. In recent years, some "R" roads have been re-designated as "N" roads, so that control and funding comes from the South African National Roads Agency.

South Korea

Expressways in South Korea were originally numbered in order of construction. Since August 24, 2001, they have been numbered in a scheme somewhat similar to that of the Interstate Highway System in the United States:

  • Arterial routes are designated by two-digit route numbers, with north–south routes having odd numbers, and east–west routes having even numbers. Primary routes (i.e. major thoroughfares) have five and zero as their last digits respectively, while lesser (secondary) routes have various final digits.
  • Branch routes have three-digit route numbers, where the first two digits match the route number of an arterial route.
  • Belt lines have three-digit route numbers where the first digit matches the respective city's postal code.
  • Route numbers in the range 70–99 are not used in South Korea and are reserved for designations in the event of Korean reunification.
  • The Gyeongbu Expressway kept its Route 1 designation, as it is South Korea's first and most important expressway.


An older highway in Spain

Spain's national highway system dates back to the era of King Carlos III. The roads built at this time, radiating from Madrid, form the basis for the carreteras nacionales radiales, numbered clockwise from I to VI, which radiate from Madrid to major ports or border crossings. In the 1960s Spain started to construct autopistas (toll highways) and autovías (freeways), and in 2016 had 17,109 km (10,631 mi) of highways, the biggest network in Europe and the fourth in the world, only after the USA, India, and China.

  • A, followed by one or two digits, stands for "autovía" (dual carriageway).
  • AP stands for "autopista de peaje" (toll motorway)
  • N stands for "nacional" (national), single carriageway road owned by the national Government. National roads 1 to 6 are radial roads linking Madrid with major cities or borders with France and Portugal. All other roads are numbered with three digits.

Other letters refer to the code of the region or city that is served by the road. See for example M-30, with M standing for Madrid.

Sri Lanka

Southern Expressway (E01) is the first expressway in Sri Lanka. It runs from Kottawa (township in Suburban Colombo) to Matara (126 km (78 mi)) and the construction of the section from Kottawa to Pinnaduwa (Galle) was completed as a dual expressway with four lanes and declared open in November 2011. Galle Port access road has been built to connect Galle city to Pinnaduwa interchange. The designed speed of the expressway is 120 km/h (75 mph). The operational speed of the expressway is 100 km/h (62 mph). The Southern Expressway will be extended up to Hambantota connecting Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport and the Magampura Mahinda Rajapaksa Port.

The second expressway to be declared open in Sri Lanka was the Colombo–Katunayake Expressway (E03) that was opened to the public in October 2013, which also connects Sri Lanka's premier international airport, Bandaranaike International Airport, with capital Colombo.

Colombo Outer Circular Expressway (E02), which is currently under construction, is designed to link the major expressways connected to Sri Lanka's commercial hub, Colombo, bypassing the traffic within the city limits.


The first freeway in Sweden was built between the cities of Malmö and Lund in the Skåne County in southern Sweden. Swedish roads are divided into three classes; motorväg, which is a 4–8 lane motorway with a speed limit of 110–120 km/h (68–75 mph), riksväg, which is a state highway with 2–4 lanes and a speed limit of 70–100 km/h (43–62 mph), and länsväg, which is a "county route" with two lanes and a 70–90 km/h (43–56 mph) speed limit. The authority responsible for the roads in Sweden is the Swedish Transport Administration (Trafikverket).


The term Autobahn (German)/Autoroute (French)/Autostrada (Italian) is used for normal highways where there is a central physical structure separating two different directional carriageways. This is often translated into English as motorways.

In express routes where there is no central physical structure separating two different directional carriageways but crossings are still motorway-like otherwise, and traffic lights are not present, the road is instead called an Autostrasse/Semi-autoroute/Semi-autostrada, usually translated into English as expressway. They often have a lower speed limit than motorways.


The construction of Taiwan's national highways began in 1971 and the design is heavily based on the American Interstate Highway System. The northern section between Keelung City and Zhongli City (now Zhongli District, Taoyuan) was completed in 1974. The construction of the first freeway (No. 1) was completed in 1978. The freeway runs from the northern port city of Keelung to the southern port city of Kaohsiung. There was an 8.6 km (5.3 mi) branch (No. 1A) connecting the Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport.

Construction on the other freeways began in the late 1980s. The north section of the second north–south freeway (No. 3) between Xizhi City and Hsinchu City was completed in 1997. The No. 1A Branch was extended to link No. 3 Freeway at Yingge, and renamed as No. 2 Freeway. Three other short freeways (No. 4, No. 8, and No. 10) were built to link the two north–south freeways in Taichung County (now part of Taichung City), Tainan County (now part of Tainan City), and Kaohsiung County (now part of Kaohsiung City), respectively. The entire No. 3 Freeway was completed in January, 2004.

To ease the congestion of No. 1 Freeway in the Taipei metropolitan area, a 20 km (12 mi) elevated bridge was built in 1997 on top of the original freeway between Xizhi City and Wugu, to serve as a bypass for traffic not exiting/entering the freeway within the city limits of Taipei.

The construction of a freeway connecting the Taipei metropolitan area and Yilan County began in 1991 and was completed in June 2006. It includes a 12.9 km (8.0 mi) tunnel (Hsuehshan Tunnel), which is the fifth-longest road tunnel in the world. An extension from Yilan County to Hualien County is planned.[as of?] However, its construction is being delayed due to environmental concerns.


Motorways (Thai: ทางหลวงพิเศษ, RTGS: thang luang phiset) in Thailand make up an intercity toll controlled-access highway network that currently[as of?] spans 145 km (90 mi). It is to be greatly extended to 4,154.7 km (2,581.6 mi) according to the master plan. Thailand's motorway network is considered to be separate from Thailand's expressway network, which is the system of expressways, usually elevated, within Greater Bangkok. Thailand also has a provincial highway network.


Turkey's main highway is E80 (formerly E5), which runs from Edirne to the capital Ankara. Turkey's highways now run non-stop between Edirne and Şanlıurfa.

  • O stands for "Otoyol" (motorway)
  • D stands for "Devlet Yolu" (expressways/major highways)
  • I stands for "Il Yolu" (provincial roads/minor highways)

United Kingdom

The United Kingdom has two road numbering schemes, one for Great Britain and the other for Northern Ireland. Both schemes follow the same principles, but the numbers are independent and the same road number may be duplicated between the two schemes.

A, B, unnumbered, and unclassified roads

Examples of UK road numbers
Primary route
Non-primary A road
B road

In the United Kingdom, road numbers consist of a number up to 4 digits, prefixed with the letters A or B.[27] The main road from London to Edinburgh was designated the A1 in 1921; the "A" indicates a "trunk" or "principal" road, between regional towns and cities.[28] In Great Britain, the A1, A2, A3, A4, A5 and A6 radiate out from London, or nearby, (in clockwise order) to points around the coast. Some A-roads, or sections of A-roads, are dual carriageway, without being full motorways; some sections upgraded to motorway standards are designated in the form A1(M). B roads are minor roads; they may connect small towns and villages, or offer an alternate route to major roads. Classified unnumbered roads, unofficially called C roads, are smaller roads typically connecting unclassified roads with A and B roads. Unclassified roads are roads intended for local traffic; 60% of UK roads are unclassified,[27] and the 200,000 miles of B, unnumbered, and unclassified roads constitute 87% of total road length in the UK.[28]

All classified roads in England and Wales starting in the zone between the A1 and the A2 begin with the figure 1 (e.g. A137, B1412), etc. Scotland is similarly divided into zones by the A7, A8 and A9 which radiate out from Edinburgh. Zones are not used in Northern Ireland.


Motorways are classified as "special roads", and are numbered in a similar, but not identical, manner. Motorways are either M-class or upgraded A-road, A(M) class. M-class motorways are labelled in the form Mx, as a higher grade of motorway, and A(M) roads are labelled in the form Ax(M), where x is the designation of the road, dependent on the zone. For example, the M25 is the London Orbital Motorway, and the A1(M) is the upgraded A1 dual carriageway.[29]

United States

Interstate 75/Interstate 85 in Atlanta, Georgia, is a typical urban freeway in United States.

In the United States, numbered highways belong to one of three or more systems of numbered routes, depending on the state. There are two national-level route numbering systems, the older United States Numbered Highway System laid out in 1920s, and the newer Interstate Highway System started in the 1950s. Additionally, every state in the U.S. maintains its own set of numbered state highways. Some states have other systems as well, either a system of numbered county highways or secondary state highways. A few cities also have numbered city highways; for example, the city of Charlotte, North Carolina, maintains Charlotte Route 4.

The U.S. Highway System, indicated by a white shield with black numbers, is based on a numbering grid, with odd routes running generally north–south and even routes running east–west. Primary routes have a one- or two-digit number, and are supplemented by spur routes that add a hundreds digit to their parent route. Routes increase from east-to-west and north-to-south, such that U.S. Route 1 follows the Atlantic Seaboard fall line, while U.S. Route 101 does the same at the Pacific Ocean Coast. Likewise U.S. Route 2 runs near the Canadian border, while U.S. Route 98 follows the Gulf Coast. Major cross-country routes end in either a "1" or a "0". For example, U.S. Route 20 is a route that runs over 3,000 miles (4,800 km) from Boston, Massachusetts, to Newport, Oregon, while U.S. Route 41 spans the country from Miami, Florida, to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Routes like U.S. Route 141 and U.S. Route 441 branch off U.S. Route 41. U.S. Route 66, known as the "Mother Road", was a cultural touchstone that inspired literature, songs, and other media from its creation in 1926 until it was superseded by segments of the Interstate Highway System. Parts of the road have been designated "Historic Route 66".[30]

The Interstate Highway System, indicated by a red and blue shield with white numbers, is a system of entirely freeways (unlike the U.S. Highway System, which is mostly undivided surface roads). The Interstate System is also based on a grid, with east–west routes bearing even numbers and north–south routes bearing odd numbers. In order to prevent confusion with the earlier U.S. Highway System, however, the Interstates are numbered in the opposite direction, such that the lowest routes numbers are in the south and west, and the highest numbers in the north and east. Major routes end in either a "0" or a "5"; for example Interstate 10 spans the country from Jacksonville, Florida, to Santa Monica, California, while Interstate 35 goes from the Mexican border to the Great Lakes. Like with U.S. Highways, subsidiary routes are numbered by adding a hundreds digit to the parent route. Because of the large number of these routes, three-digit numbers may be repeated within the system, but unique to each state. Additionally, the parity of the hundreds digit tells the nature of the spur route: odd hundreds digits like Interstate 393 only connect to the system at one end (forming "spurs"), while an even hundreds digit like Interstate 440 indicates that the highway connects to another Interstate at both ends (forming loops).

The numbering system for state highways varies widely from state to state. Each state decides how to number its own routes. Some maintain systems similar to the national road systems, based on a grid. Others number highways regionally, with similar numbers occurring in the same area of the state. Still others have no discernible system, with no connection between a route's location and its number.

In addition to numbers, route numbers also use suffixed letters and banners appended to the tops of signs to indicate alternate routes to the main highway. For example, U.S. Route 1A is the name given to many highways which are either older alignments of U.S. Route 1 or provide an alternate route either around or through a city along U.S. Route 1's route. Banners are sometimes used to indicate alternate routes. Words like "Alternate", "Business", or "Bypass" can be added to a sign to indicate such a situation.


The following abbreviations appear on guide signs and kilometer posts:

cao tốc (expressway)
quốc lộ (national road)
TL or ĐT
tỉnh lộ or đường tỉnh (provincial road)
hương lộ or huyện lộ (rural district road)
đường cặp kênh (canal towpath)


Yemen has one of the oldest highway routes in the region. The first highway route was between Aden and Hadromout, with a two-lane highway. Currently, Yemen has 71,300 km (44,300 mi) of roads, of which only 6,200 km (3,900 mi) are paved.



Zimbabwe has one of the better road networks in Africa that had been poorly maintained until recently. There has been an introduction of toll gates and the dualization of most of the major roads.


  1. ^ "Fondi Shqiptar i Zhvillimit". Fondi Shqiptar i Zhvillimit (in Albanian). Retrieved 2022-08-23.
  2. ^ a b c National Association of Australian State Road Authorities (1976), Guide to the publication and policies of N.A.A.S.R.A. : current at December 1975 (10th ed.), Sydney
  3. ^ a b Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water & Environment (January 2014). "Tasmanian Road Route Codes: Route descriptions and focal points" (PDF). Version 2.7. Government of Tasmania. pp. 6, 60–64. Archived (PDF) from the original on 14 July 2014. Retrieved 10 April 2014.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  4. ^ Austroads (1997), Towards a Nationally Consistent Approach to Route Marking
  5. ^ "Questions and answers: A better way to navigate NSW roads" (PDF). Roads & Maritime Services. Government of New South Wales. 25 February 2013. p. 9. Archived (PDF) from the original on 17 November 2013. Retrieved 17 November 2013. Most States and Territories in Australia are moving to an alpha-numeric road numbering system.
  6. ^ "A History of Australian Road and Rail" (PDF). Department of Infrastructure and Transport, Australian Government. Archived from the original (PDF) on 17 March 2012. Retrieved 28 March 2013.
  7. ^ a b c Roads & Maritime Services (26 November 2012). "Alpha-numeric route numbers". Retrieved 17 December 2012.
  8. ^ a b "Mutcd 2003 Amend 8 Part 15D" (PDF). Department of Transport & Main Roads. Retrieved 3 October 2013.
  9. ^ a b c "Route Numbering". Guidelines for Direction Signs in the Perth Metropolitan Area. Main Roads Western Australia. 21 September 2011. Archived from the original on 21 October 2013. Retrieved 17 November 2013. Main Roads has chosen to retain the shield numbering system
  10. ^ a b c d "Questions and answers: A better way to navigate NSW roads" (PDF). Roads & Maritime Services. New South Wales Government. Archived (PDF) from the original on 16 May 2014. Retrieved 16 May 2014.
  11. ^ a b c d e "Direction Signs and Route Numbering (non-Freeway)" (PDF). Traffic Engineering Manual, Chapter 2 - Edition 1. VicRoads. 2001. pp. 21–35. Archived (PDF) from the original on 6 April 2016. Retrieved 10 May 2014.
  12. ^ a b c d e "Part 15: Direction signs, information signs and route numbering" (PDF). Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices. Department of Transport & Main Roads. 14 March 2014. pp. 55–56. Archived (PDF) from the original on 18 April 2014. Retrieved 18 April 2014.
  13. ^ Africa., Automobile Association of South (1994), Motoring in Botswana, The Association, OCLC 50939190, retrieved 2022-05-19
  14. ^ Mupimpila, C (2010-09-30). "Internalising the Externalities of Public Transport in Botswana". Botswana Journal of Economics. 5 (7). doi:10.4314/boje.v5i7.60307. ISSN 1810-0163.
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  17. ^ Ministry of Transportation (Ontario) (August 6, 2002). "Ontario government investing $401 million to upgrade Highway 401". Archived from the original on 2007-09-14. Retrieved 2006-12-20.
  18. ^ Brian Gray (2004-04-10). "GTA Economy Dinged by Every Crash on the 401 – North America's Busiest Freeway". Toronto Sun, transcribed at Urban Planet. Retrieved 2007-03-18. The "phenomenal" number of vehicles on Hwy. 401 as it cuts through Toronto makes it the busiest freeway in North America...
  19. ^ "QEW - North America's First Intercity Divided Highway | JOURNEYS INTO".
  20. ^ a b The Standardization Administration of the People's Republic of China (2017). Highway route marking scheme and national highway numbering, GB/T 917-2017 [公路路线标识规则和国道编号 GB/T 917-2017]. Beijing: Standards Press of China.
  21. ^ "Colombia prioritises infrastructure plans". Financial Times. 27 September 2015.
  22. ^ Vládní návrh zákona o veřejných silnicích a veřejných cestách a o silniční a cestní policii (silniční zákon), governmental proposal of the Road Act, 1935, reasoning report
  23. ^ "NIF Zrt" (in Hungarian). Retrieved 2022-08-23.
  24. ^ "Unknown". motorway.hu (in Hungarian).
  25. ^ "India - the World Factbook". 15 January 2022.
  26. ^ (PDF) https://www.lta.gov.sg/content/dam/ltagov/who_we_are/statistics_and_publications/statistics/pdf/Road-Length-km.pdf. {{cite news}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)
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  1. ^ The only numbered roads in the Australian Capital Territory are interstate highways from NSW and their interconnecting thoroughfares, as the Australian Capital Territory does not number its other highway or freeway grade roads.

Further reading