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Motorway section Federal Motorway 9 near Garching with eight lanes.
Motorway with two lanes, each with three lanes and a hard shoulder ( Bundesautobahn 2 , 2006)
German Reichsautobahn , 1943 - advertising photo with KdF car . Dripping engine oil darkly marks the main driving line on the light-colored concrete.
Typical clover-leaf motorway junction , 2004

A motorway is a trunk road that is used for high-speed traffic and long-distance goods transport by motor vehicle .


Motorways normally consist of two directional lanes , each with several lanes . A toll (road usage fee) is levied in many countries for the use of motorways . There is usually an additional hard shoulder (also called hard shoulder or hard shoulder ). On modern motorways, the lanes are separated from each other by a median in which passive protective devices such as steel crash barriers or concrete crash barriers are built. Nowadays, the road surface is paved with concrete or asphalt .

Unlike other categories of road highways always have height-free nodes . The transition from one motorway to another takes place through bridges and underpasses ( motorway intersection or, in Austria, “junction”) or junctions ( motorway triangle , in Switzerland “branching”); Transitions to the subordinate road network are called (motorway) junctions . Depending on the course of the route , one speaks in some cases of ring motorways or city ​​motorways . Tunnels and bridges along the highways are parts of the highways.

Most motorways have motorway service stations and motorway parking spaces in order to meet the supply and disposal needs of motorway users and to give them an opportunity to relax. Often there are also attractions and play equipment for children there. These systems are part of the highways. It is not allowed to stop, park or turn in the lanes of the motorways.

Furthermore, on the shoulder or emergency lane and the emergency stopping bays that hold only permitted in special cases (about a technical fault or at the direction of an executive state authority) to the following traffic not to hinder and not to venture in critical condition. The use of the motorway is forbidden for pedestrians and cyclists in many countries.

Motorway network

The large number of individual motorways together form a road network that extends across national borders. Motorways in Europe , North America and in some Asian countries form a particularly dense network . On continents such as Africa , Australia and South America , motorway sections can only be found in the catchment area of ​​large cities. A spatial development is not available. The reasons for this are the lack of financial means, the low volume of motorized traffic in rural areas and / or the lower population density .


Motorway network in Europe 2012

In most European countries, motorways are a separate type of road, in some countries (e.g. Sweden ) they are counted among the other highways (e.g. European roads ). Motorways are available in all European countries except Iceland , Latvia , Malta , Moldova , Montenegro and the miniature states .

In Europe, new motorways are constantly being built or existing motorway sections expanded. Between 1994 and 2004, the motorway network in the new EU member states grew by 1,000 km and in the old member states by as much as 12,000 km.

With 38.6 km of motorways per 100,000 inhabitants, Cyprus has the highest density of motorways in Europe.

North America

The USA is covered by a very dense motorway network (so-called Interstate Highways ) for the size of the country , some of which are much more spacious than in Europe. While interurban highways are less busy, highways in metropolitan areas suffer from heavy traffic. For this reason, the cross-section of the road is very broad (up to nine lanes per directional lane) and laid out with generous junctions and junctions .

MEX-45 between Aguascalientes and Zacatecas

The interstate highway network is largely systematic. The highways run in north-south direction with the number 5 (i.e. from the west coast to the east 5, 15, 25 etc. to 95 on the east coast), in east-west direction with the number 0 (i.e. from south to north 10, 20, 30, etc. to 90 in the north on the Canadian border). The highway system began in November 1921 with the Federal Aid Highway Act , which was renewed in June 1956 and then led to an intensive expansion of the system. The first major interstate highway was The National Road heading west from Maryland, brought into being by law of March 1806. Construction began in Cumberland, Maryland in July 1811 and reached Vandalia, Illinois in 1839 . The National Highway System (NHS) now covers around 257,000 km, 1.1% of all US roads. The NHS also includes the freeways and expressways , both of which are mostly found in metropolitan areas .

Eastern Canada , including Ontario and Québec in particular , has a similarly well-developed motorway network as the United States. Except for the federally administered Trans-Canada Highway , the rest of the road construction is the responsibility of the individual provinces. The Trans-Canada Highway has not yet been developed to consist of multiple lanes outside of metropolitan areas and more densely populated areas.

In Mexico , the country's main cities are connected by highways, with most of the highways being toll roads . The toll roads are in a similar condition to other North American countries. In metropolitan areas, the carreteras are consistently multi-lane, in less densely populated regions sometimes two-lane with two-way traffic.


Japan ( Japanese : 高速 道路 kōsokudōro ) and South Korea ( Korean : 고속도로 gosokdoro ) have high- quality motorway networks . The maximum speed in Japan is officially 100 km / h. Tolls ( ETC - electronic toll control ) are also common for short distances and private use. Many emerging countries in East and Southeast Asia are expanding their motorway networks at great speed.

China ( Chinese  高速公路 , Pinyin gāosùgōnglù ) has overtaken the German motorway network in terms of length through a large-scale expansion program.

Kobe - Awaji - Naruto expressway in Japan with the Akashi Kaikyō Bridge

In Thailand , due to increasing registrations of motor vehicles and a need for high-speed roads with limited access, the government passed a cabinet decision in 1997 setting out a master plan for the construction of highways . In it, some sections of expressways were referred to as Autobahn Motorway . The country currently has two highways and several expressways . The first expressway (the city highway there) has existed in Bangkok since 1981. The maximum speed is 120 km / h.

Malaysia has about 1200 kilometers of motorway. The North-South Expressway connects the northern tip of Malaysia on the border with Thailand with Johor Bahru on the border with Singapore in the south. Most of the motorways are subject to tolls, and the fee is collected on the spot at toll stations.

The first 30 kilometers of the Suai – Beaco motorway in East Timor opened in 2018.

Similar to the European road network, national motorways and motorway-like roads in the Asian region are also connected to form an overall network. The project is known as the Asian Highway Project .



The groundbreaking for the construction of the motorway ring in Bulgaria took place on October 4, 1974. Three motorways with a total length of almost 900 km were to be built to connect Sofia , Varna and Burgas . By the turn of 1990 about 270 km had been completed, in the following 20 years only a further 116 km. Since Bulgaria joined the EU in 2007, the motorway network has grown by around 60 km annually, so that by mid-2014 over 50% of the planned total length of 1182 km is already in operation.


The Danish motorways were planned in the 1960s and built from 1972.


Motorway network in Germany

The world's first motorway-like route was the AVUS in Berlin. It was privately funded and opened in 1921. Their use was chargeable. The AVUS was therefore initially mainly used as a racing and test track and not for public transport.

The term “Autobahn” was first used by Robert Otzen , who suggested in 1929 that instead of the previously common and “unwieldy” term “Nur-Autostraße”, analogous to the railway, “Autobahn” should be used.

Today's A 555 between Cologne and Bonn, which was opened on August 6, 1932 by the mayor of Cologne, Konrad Adenauer , is the first public motorway in Germany - at that time still officially known as the “intersection-free motor vehicle road” . The route was already free of elevations and had two lanes in each direction, which is now the minimum standard for the designation “Autobahn”. However, it did not yet have structurally separate carriageways, another typical characteristic of motorways. Therefore, the section only got the official status of a motorway in 1958 after further expansion.

The construction of the Cologne – Düsseldorf autobahn (today part of the A3 ) was also legally established in 1929 by the Provincial Association of the Prussian Rhine Province . A 2.5 km long section at Opladen was started in 1931 and completed in 1933. The first plan for the construction of a really large and important motorway was the HaFraBa plan (= Hanseatic cities – Frankfurt – Basel), which roughly corresponded to the course of today's A 5 motorway and the northern part of the A 7 . This was drawn up before the National Socialists came to power. From 1933 onwards, the Frankfurt – Darmstadt – Mannheim – Heidelberg line was actually built according to the HaFraBa plans. Associated with HaFraBa is the origin of the word "Autobahn", which was coined in 1932 in the specialist journal of the same name. HaFraBa wrote that the designation “only autostraße” had been discarded in order to express the fact that they wanted to build a “motorway” analogous to the railroad. The myth that the term “Autobahn” and the basic idea behind it go back directly to Hitler is a falsification of history . Documents from the Federal Archives show how the then General Inspector for German Roads , Fritz Todt , dated such intellectual authorship back to 1923 in 1934 and accordingly concluded: "The Reichsautobahn as we are building them now are not considered by the 'HAFRABA' to be considered prepared, but solely as 'The Streets of Adolf Hitler'. "


The first motorway in Finland opened from Helsinki to Espoo in 1962 . At the beginning of 2019, 926 kilometers had been expanded like a motorway. Essentially, these are parts of the four state roads 1 , 4 , 5 and 7 leading from Helsinki .

The motorways do not form their own system, but are integrated into the system of state roads with a total length of 8,570 km. A few autobahn-like sections do not belong to state roads. The short state road 29 is the northernmost motorway in the world.


France's first motorway , the Autoroute de Normandie , was due to be completed in 1940. Due to the Second World War , however, construction was delayed and the line was only opened in 1946. The official designation "Autoroute" (car road) was introduced in 1955. France now has the fifth-longest motorway network in the world and the third-longest in Europe, currently around 11,650 kilometers.


The Autostrada dei Laghi is the first motorway in Italy and at the same time the first in Europe accessible to all . The first section between Milan and Varese was built privately by Piero Puricelli in 1924 and was chargeable. The car road had one lane in each direction and was not yet clear. Special entrances and exits were created. In 1933 Italy already had a motorway network that was 457.5 km long.


Since the founding of the Republic of Croatia, the expansion of the motorway network in Croatia has become increasingly important. The current total length of all motorways (Croatian: Autoceste; singular Autocesta) is 1270.2 km. In addition, 185.6 kilometers of motorway are under construction. The planned motorway network is to be 1670.5 km long.


In Namibia , the A1 was opened for the first time in 2017. In its current stage of development, this has a length of 53 kilometers between Windhoek and Okahandja . In general, all four-lane country roads in Namibia are declared as a freeway . More highways are under construction.


The Netherlands have 57.5 kilometers for the largest share motorway kilometers per 1,000 square kilometers in the European Union . In total, the Netherlands has a motorway network of 2360 km. The oldest Dutch motorway is the A12 between The Hague and Utrecht , the first section of which opened in 1937.


In the 1960s, Norway began planning a comprehensive motorway network, but construction was stopped after only 45 kilometers of the route due to the high construction costs. Instead, it was limited to building highways . It was not until the turn of the millennium that motorway construction picked up again - above all through the expansion of existing expressways. In 2004, the Norwegian motorway network still covered a small 193 km by comparison.

A special feature is that the expansion is usually financed through a toll on the corresponding section, but not the maintenance (" public-private partnership "). As soon as the investment costs have been paid off, there are no tolls.


The highway construction began in Austria with the connection to the German Reich in 1938. That same year, the first sections of the were West highway completed in Salzburg (A 1). In the course of the Second World War , however, the expansion of the motorway network with a total length of 16.8 km came to a standstill and was only resumed after Austria regained its sovereignty with the Austrian State Treaty of 1955. Tolls have been collected since 1997 for use, which was originally free of charge.


After the shift to the west in 1945, Poland only had a few motorway fragments in Pomerania and Silesia, which were still under National Socialist planning . Under the communist leadership, expressways were then built mainly in the metropolitan areas of Poland, but no other motorway routes. The serious construction of a comprehensive motorway network did not begin until the 1980s, although there are still considerable gaps, especially in the northeast and east of the country. On December 1, 2012, the Polish motorway network had a total length of 1342 km.


The Swedish motorways, called Motorvägar in Sweden , did not come into existence until after the Second World War . The first Motorväg with motorway standard , based on the German model, was laid out with a concrete lane between Malmö and Lund and was inaugurated in 1953 by Prince Bertil of Sweden . The section was 17 km long. In 2012, the Swedish motorway network covered around 1,920 km.


The first motorway in Switzerland was the Luzern-Süd arterial road , which bypassed the traffic from Lucerne to Horw . It was opened on June 11, 1955 and is now part of the A2 . On March 8, 1960, the federal law on national highways came into force, which transferred the competences for planning and building roads of national importance to the federal government and in Article 2 describes the motorway as a first-class national road. On June 21, 1960, the federal decree on the national road network followed , in which the desired motorway network is specified. The first road financed by the federal government was the eight-kilometer-long gray wood motorway , which opened on May 10, 1962 and serves to bypass Zollikofen . In 1963 the first longer section of a motorway was opened, the A1 between Geneva and Lausanne . In 1985 the last section of the A2 in Ticino between Biasca and Bellinzona was completed.


Already after the Second World War a road through Yugoslavia was built, which passed four of the six republics (including Serbia) and was named "Road of Fraternity and Unity" ( Autoput Bratstvo i jedinstvo ). With the increasing volume of traffic on the streets of the sub-republics, the car road was converted into an autoput with two lanes. Since Serbia's independence in 2006, many motorways and expressways have been planned and built.


The first motorway in Slovenia was the "Avtocesta Vrhnika - Postojna ". It was opened on December 29, 1972 and is now part of the A1.


The network of Hungarian motorways (Hungarian: autópálya) is 760 km. The first planning for motorways in Hungary dates from 1942. In 1964 the first M7 motorway from Budapest to Lake Balaton was completed. Later construction began to Tatabánya , Győr and towards Vienna. Hungary has a radial motorway network with the center Budapest: M1 ; M2 ; M3 ; M4 ; M5 ; M6 ; M7 and an outer ring: M0 .

United Kingdom

The construction of motorways in the United Kingdom began in 1949 with the Special Roads Act . In it, the British Parliament defined “special roads” (later officially referred to as “motorways”) for which only certain types of vehicle were permitted. The first of these “special roads”, today's M6 at Preston, opened on December 5, 1958. A year later, on November 2, 1959, today's M1 near London was opened to traffic. Since the M6 ​​was quite short at the time and has not been expanded for a long time, the M1 is often referred to as the first motorway in Great Britain.

United States

The Long Island Motor Parkway (LIMP), also known as Vanderbilt Parkway, was a private road connection established from 1908 in New York State, which was reserved as a toll road for automobile traffic and also served as a race track. Their crossing-free construction and the use of divided directional lanes make them a forerunner of the motorways. It was taken over by New York State in 1938 and closed down.


Colors of the motorway signs and the permitted maximum speed in Europe

In order to make it easier for road users to find their way around, long-distance roads are given characteristic signs, which emphasize the importance of the road through color and symbolism. The colors blue and green are permitted according to the Vienna Convention on Road Traffic Signs of 1968. Signs for the beginning and end of a motorway are particularly important because the rights and obligations of road users change.

In order to strive for a uniform color scheme and not give preference to either green or blue signs, the idea of ​​using a different color scheme arose in the 1990s; after experiments with violet (e.g. in certain regions in Germany) an agreement was reached on the red color. Since changing the color of all signs would have resulted in exorbitant costs, on the one hand only a few countries followed the new color scheme (F / CH / PL), on the other hand only the numbering signs were changed to red, the information and traffic signs in the Leave the previous color. So are z. For example, you can still see green numbering signs on certain routes in Switzerland, but these still come from the time when the motorways were designated with the national road number .

Blue signs

Traffic signs for a motorway with blue signs (example Germany)
  • Abu Dhabi (UAE)
  • Algeria
  • Belgium 1
  • Brazil 2
  • Chile
  • Germany 3
  • France 4
  • Iran
  • (Italy) 5
  • Great Britain and northern Ireland
  • Ireland
  • Israel
  • Luxembourg
  • Morocco
  • Namibia
  • Netherlands
  • Norway
  • Austria
  • Pakistan
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Slovakia 1
  • Spain
  • South Africa
  • Thailand (Tollway Section)
  • Czech Republic
  • Tunisia
  • Hungary
  • Belarus
1 However, signs pointing the way to the motorway are green.
2 State highways only (Rodovias Estaduais).
3 Federal highways in the upgraded standard with separate directional lanes are signposted with the yellow motorway symbol.
4th Signs for highways are green.
5 Only applies to routes in the toll-free normal road network with the development standard of a directional lane with a lower permitted maximum speed than on motorways marked with green signs.

Green signage

Road signs for a motorway with green signs (example Switzerland)
  • Albania
  • Argentina
  • Azerbaijan
  • Australia
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Brazil 1
  • Bulgaria
  • China
  • Denmark
  • Dubai (UAE)
  • Finland
  • Greece
  • Italy
  • Iran 2
  • Iraq
  • Japan
  • Canada
  • Kosovo
  • Croatia
  • Lithuania
  • Malaysia
  • Mexico
  • Montenegro
  • New Zealand
  • North Macedonia
  • Peru
  • Romania
  • Russia
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • Serbia
  • Slovenia
  • South Korea
  • Taiwan
  • Thailand (Freeway Section)
  • Turkey
  • Ukraine
  • United States 3
  • Vietnam (Expressway)
  • Cyprus
1 Federal motorways only (Rodovias Federais).
2 City highways only.
3 Interstate highways are identified by a blue escutcheon with a white number and a red horizontal stripe above the number.

Traffic rules

Almost all countries have introduced a speed limit between 100 and 130 km / h for motorways. In general, the speed must be adapted to the road, traffic, visibility and weather conditions (for example snow or fog ) and the properties of the vehicle and load. In Europe, Germany is the only country in which the speed on motorways is not generally limited; there is a motorway speed limit regulation , but it is only a recommendation.

In most countries, vehicles that cannot reach a certain minimum speed due to their design (45 to 80 km / h, depending on the country) are excluded from the use of the motorway, as they would disproportionately hinder the flow of traffic and thus increase the risk of accidents.

Rescue lane between two lanes on the BAB 66 using the hard shoulder

Stopping, turning, reversing and driving up and down in unmarked areas on the motorway is generally prohibited. Exceptions to the stopping ban are the motorway parking lots and motorway service stations . Road users whose vehicle breaks down wait on the furthest edge of the lane (or on the hard shoulder, if available).

In traffic situations that lead to a backwater, an emergency lane must be formed in Germany, Austria and other countries . The road users in the left lane have to steer their vehicles all the way to the left edge of the lane. Road users in the right lane have to steer their vehicles all the way to the right edge of the lane. This creates a lane reserved for emergency vehicles between the two vehicle columns. If there are several lanes, the emergency lane is always to the right of the lane furthest to the left.

Traffic volume

Motorways are structurally designed to withstand high traffic volumes. The highest traffic flow of up to 2600 cars per hour and lane occurs - due to the reduced safety distance  - at around 85 km / h when the speeds of the individual vehicles adapt to one another. An even higher load then leads to a traffic jam . With a subjectively “free route”, however, only around 1,800 cars per hour and lane can pass. The theoretical model for the relationship between speed and passability of a road is provided by the fundamental diagram of the traffic flow .

Traffic safety

Game protection fences prevent dangerous game movements

Motorways make up a small proportion of the total number of accidents. In 2014, 31% of the total number of kilometers traveled in Germany was on the autobahn, but the proportion of road deaths was only 11%. The fatality rate on the autobahn was 1.6 deaths per billion vehicle kilometers in comparison, significantly lower than the value of 4.6 in total traffic or 6.5 on extra-urban highways. In addition to the risk of colliding with another vehicle, there is also the risk of a wildlife accident if highways are not fenced off by game protection fences . These accidents, some of which are severe, occur particularly in forest areas.

As a rule, motorways in Germany and Austria are only illuminated at night in inner-city areas (city motorways) and at accident-prone entrances and exits . Like other road tunnels, motorway tunnels are always illuminated. In many other countries (such as France or the UK), most major highways and all motorway junctions are illuminated. There are some countries like Belgium, Luxembourg or the United Arab Emirates, where almost all motorways are lit up at night. In the course of energy savings and complex maintenance, as well as so-called light pollution , the lighting is gradually being discontinued in some of these countries.

Deaths per billion vehicle kilometers 1 in an international comparison (2010)
country Highway All
Speed ​​limit
(km / h) (2003)
BelgiumBelgium Belgium 4.1 9.6 - - 120
DenmarkDenmark Denmark 1.9 5.6 29,454 25% 130
GermanyGermany Germany 1.9 5.2 48.710 31% no 2
FinlandFinland Finland 0.6 5.1 22,780 10% 120
FranceFrance France 2.4 7.1 31,979 21% 130 (110 when it rains)
IrelandIreland Ireland - 4.5 26,730 4% 120
JapanJapan Japan 1.7 7.7 26,152 9% 100
LuxembourgLuxembourg Luxembourg - - - - 130 (110 when it rains)
NetherlandsNetherlands Netherlands - 4.3 66,734 41% 130 3
AustriaAustria Austria 2.3 - 30,077 23% 130 (100 Immissionsschutzgesetz on some routes)
PortugalPortugal Portugal - - - - 120
SwedenSweden Sweden - 3.2 24,183 21% 110 (120 on some routes)
SwitzerlandSwitzerland Switzerland 1.0 5.3 43,641 33% 120
SlovakiaSlovakia Slovakia - - - - 130
SloveniaSlovenia Slovenia 3.8 7.7 15,643 19% 130
Czech RepublicCzech Republic Czech Republic 3.4 16.2 25,714 11% 130
HungaryHungary Hungary - - - - 130
United StatesUnited States United States - 6.8 39,634 24% 97/105/113/121/129 5
United KingdomUnited Kingdom United Kingdom - 4.6 85,536 23% 113 4
1Some of the data are values ​​from the years 1999 to 2004. The basis for the number of traffic fatalities is the 30-day recording period. The figures given are only comparable taking into account the recording methods that are relevant for the countries, so that correction factors are used. The period between the accident and the death of the person is very important as it determines whether or not they are included in the statistics. These periods vary from country to country.
2 Recommended speed 130 km / h
3 Since September 1, 2012, previously 120 km / h
4thExact value: 70 mph (112.65 km / h)
5In the United States, regulations vary from state to state. Rounded from 60/65/70/75/80 mph



In many countries you have to pay a user fee (so-called toll) for driving on the motorway. This can be done depending on the time in the form of a vignette or depending on the route by paying at toll stations, as is common in numerous other European countries.

In Austria, trucks have been obliged to pay a toll since January 1, 2004, which is settled using GO boxes and a decimeter wave system installed along the motorway . In order to prevent people from turning to country roads, trucks are often banned from driving on parallel roads. In Switzerland, the HVF applies on all roads, so there is no evasion of heavy traffic on country roads. In Germany, a truck toll has been in effect since January 1, 2005 , which is collected either at machines using the routes to be specified there in advance or automatically using built-in toll devices with satellite support . The survey is carried out by the company Toll Collect .


Photo of a German Autobahn at night.

The highways have also stimulated cultural debate. One example is the construction of motorway churches . Examples in the field of music are the album Autobahn by the music group Kraftwerk and the song Deutschland Autobahn by the US country singer Dave Dudley , whose grandparents came from Germany. In the film The Big Lebowski (1998), a trio of German nihilists appears who, as a group called Autobahn (a Kraftwerk blend) , are said to have released their first techno LP entitled Nagelbett at the end of the 1970s . Some discos on or near a motorway also bear the name of this motorway, for example a Kassel discotheque called A7 on the A 7 . The German comedy Superstau takes place almost entirely on a motorway.

The Swiss Highway 1 was a song by Toni Vescolli dedicated, entitled N1 carries and has appeared 1983rd It describes the general love-hate relationship with the A1, which at that time was still known as Nationalstrasse 1 (short form N1).


The construction costs of motorways are heavily dependent on the conditions of the respective route. Simple routes result in costs of around four to six million euros per kilometer of motorway, while complex routes, for example with bridges and tunnels, are many times higher. In addition to the pure construction costs, there are also costs for the planning process, for expert opinions and consulting services by external engineers, approval procedures and accompanying investments, e.g. for noise barriers , greenery and variable message signs .

According to an example calculation, the average costs in Germany are 26.8 million euros per kilometer of motorway, of which a quarter are pure construction costs and three quarters are additional costs. For example, the new construction of the German A20 from 1992 to 2005 costs around 1.9 billion euros with a length of 322 km, which corresponds to 6 million euros per kilometer of motorway. In contrast, the 84 km long Swiss A 16 cost 6.5 billion Swiss francs (77.38 million francs per kilometer) due to numerous engineering structures.

Motorway construction and nature conservation

The new construction of a motorway separates previously connected habitats (new construction of the German A 7 north of Pfronten , 2005)

Motorways and their new construction or expansion are criticized by local residents, nature and environmental initiatives. Among other things, environmentalists see the construction of the motorway as the wrong signal in terms of traffic policy , since it promotes motorized individual transport and thus the additional emission of climate-damaging emissions . They also warn of additional noise pollution for the area around the motorway.

Conservationists, on the other hand, particularly criticize the land consumption and the increasing fragmentation of the landscape , which is being promoted by new motorways. In addition, there is criticism that the species as the habitat protection in the transport planning often plays only a minor role. For these reasons, environmental protection organizations and nature conservation associations are trying to prevent the construction of further motorways or to enforce more environmentally friendly routes when building new ones through educational work, but also with the help of the right of association .

In addition, motorways actively promote urban sprawl . Due to the shortened route and the shortening of travel times, it is z. B. Enabling workers to move away from their jobs. This in turn leads to more traffic on the motorways, which in turn leads to a need for new roads or for road expansion. So are z. For example, in Los Angeles even eight-lane highways are regularly affected by traffic jams. Another example is commercial areas on highways outside of cities. As a rule, these cannot be reached by other means of transport, which results in a further increase in private transport.

One way of reducing the negative impact of motorways on the environment is to use route bundling . A motorway is being built next to an existing traffic route (e.g. a railway line ). This principle reduces the area fragmentation and new noise generation. Another means of trying to reduce the effects of landscape fragmentation is the construction of green bridges .

See also


Portal: Streets  - Overview of Wikipedia content on streets

European motorway networks

Other motorway networks


→ For literature on the Autobahn in Germany, see: Autobahn (Germany) #Literatur .

  • Bernd Kreuzer: Tempo 130. Cultural and planning history of the motorways in Upper Austria . Trauner, Linz 2005, ISBN 3-85487-783-8 .
  • Maxwell G. Lay: The History of the Road. From the beaten path to the motorway . Campus, Frankfurt am Main and New York 1994, ISBN 3-593-35132-3 .
  • History and recent figures from Reiner Ruppmann: The European motorway network: Still a beacon of hope or primarily functional area for the transit economy? , in: Zeitschrift für Weltgeschichte (ZWG), part 1: 14th year 2013, issue 2, pages 81–107; Part 2: 14th year 2014, issue 1, pages 163–180.

Web links

Commons : Autobahn  album with pictures, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: Autobahn  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. European Environment Agency (Ed.): EEA Briefing 3/2004 - Transport and Environment in Europe ( Memento of July 17, 2006 in the Internet Archive ). Copenhagen 2004
  2. oe24.at: Austria has the third densest motorway network in the EU , November 19, 2007, accessed on February 15, 2017.
  3. "A legend made of concrete" , Die Welt , August 6, 2007
  4. a b "75 Years of the Autobahn - Die Roll-Bahn" ( memento of October 13, 2007 in the Internet Archive ), Süddeutsche Zeitung , July 28, 2007
  5. ^ Decree of the Prussian State Ministry of August 23, 1929 on the granting of the right of expropriation to the Provincial Association of the Rhine Province for the construction of a motor vehicle road from Cologne to Düsseldorf; Announced by the Official Gazette of the Düsseldorf Government, year 1929, No. 36, p. 205, of September 7, 1929 and by the Official Gazette of the Cologne Government, year 1929, No. 37, p. 155, of September 14, 1929
  6. wabweb.net: History of the Autobahn in Germany ( Memento from January 12, 2012 in the Internet Archive ) , accessed on May 6, 2011
  7. Files of the Reich Chancellery, Hitler Government 1933–1938, Part I, 1933/1934, edited for the Historical Commission of Bavarian Sciences by Konrad Repgen, for the Federal Archives by Hans Booms, Boppard 1983; Documents 91 (p. 305), 92 (p. 306), 211 (p. 740); On the history of the Autobahn ( Memento from April 3, 2009 in the Internet Archive ) Article on the HaFraBa project
  8. ^ Richard Vahrenkamp : Working Paper in the History of Mobility No. 3/2001. The autobahn as infrastructure and autobahn construction 1933–1943 in Germany. University of Kassel, as of January 3, 2009. | The word "Autobahn" was created in December 1932
  9. Motorways: A Street Fairy Tale. Spiegel , January 16, 1963, accessed July 28, 2014 .
  10. Very, very good advice. A dispute between Fritz Todt and Piero Puricelli over the authorship of the autobahns almost led to a scandal between Hitler and Mussolini. Retrieved November 24, 2018 (scans illegible!). Same article in the web archive. Retrieved on November 24, 2018 (Switches directly to the readable (!) Scan of the document R4601 / 1107 from the Federal Archives of October 15, 1937 on the concept and meaning of motorways in Europe in the gallery: “... Reichsautobahnen remain. .. a German creation ... "
  11. ^ Dieter Stockmann: Autobahn history. Arbeitsgemeinschaft Autobahngeschichte e. V.
  12. Statistical data  ( page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. of Eurostat@1@ 2Template: Dead Link / epp.eurostat.ec.europa.eu  
  13. Traffic notes: Start of motorway construction in Austria (1938–1942) ( Memento from October 5, 2009 in the Internet Archive ), as of July 25, 2008
  14. Traffic notes: Start of motorway construction in Austria (from 1954) ( Memento from October 5, 2009 in the Internet Archive ), as of July 25, 2008
  15. https://www.ris.bka.gv.at/Dokumente/BgblPdf/1996_201_0/1996_201_0.pdf
  16. 30 years of the main road Lucerne-South . In: Schweizerische Bauzeitung . tape 103 , no. 26 , 1985, pp. 664 ( digitized magazines ).
  17. SR 725.11 Federal Act on National Highways. Retrieved December 23, 2012 .
  18. SR 725.113.11 Federal Decree on the National Road Network. (PDF; 511 kB) Accessed December 23, 2012 .
  19. ^ Opening of the Grauholz motorway in May 1962. (No longer available online.) Swiss radio and television , archived from the original on March 2, 2014 ; Retrieved December 23, 2012 .
  20. The construction of the highways. (No longer available online.) SRG SSR , archived from the original on April 9, 2014 ; Retrieved December 23, 2012 .
  21. Swiss radio and television: Consequences of the opening of the Gotthard motorway in Ticino ( Memento from October 6, 2014 in the Internet Archive )
  22. Country Info Hungary | ÖAMTC. Retrieved June 30, 2018 .
  23. opsi.gov.uk Text of the Special Roads Act of 1949
  24. "Slowed down. Formulas for the traffic jam " , Die Zeit , June 18, 2003, No. 26
  25. Traffic and accident data: Brief summary of developments in Germany. (PDF) Federal Highway Research Institute, September 2015, accessed on January 28, 2016 .
  26. IRTAD data set. (No longer available online.) International Road Traffic and Accident Database (IRTAD), archived from the original on November 26, 2012 ; accessed on October 22, 2012 (English).
  27. Steffen Hung: Toni Vescoli - N1 - hitparade.ch. Retrieved October 23, 2017 .