August 19, 2022

A motorway is a trunk road that serves express traffic and long-distance freight traffic with motor vehicles.


Motorways usually consist of two carriageways with at least two lanes each. However, there are also motorways in Germany with more than two carriageways, such as the A9 at Kindinger Berg, where the motorway consists of 3 carriageways over a long stretch. In many countries, a toll (road user fee) is charged for using motorways. As a rule, there is an additional hard shoulder (also called hard shoulder or emergency lane). In modern motorways, the lanes are separated from each other by a central reservation in which passive protective devices such as steel crash barriers or concrete protective walls are erected. The pavement is now paved with concrete or asphalt. In contrast to other road categories, motorways always have level-free junctions. The transition from one motorway to another takes place via bridges and underpasses (motorway junction or in Austria “knots”) or junctions (motorway triangle, in Switzerland “junction”); Transitions to the secondary road network are called (motorway) junctions. Depending on the course of the route, one sometimes speaks of ring roads or city highways. Tunnels and bridges in the course of the highways are parts of the highways. Most highways have highway service stations and highway parking lots to meet the supply and disposal needs of highway users and give them an opportunity to relax. Often there are also attractions and playground equipment for children. These facilities are part of the Autobahn. Stopping, parking and turning around are not permitted in motorway lanes. Furthermore, stopping is only permitted on the hard shoulder or breakdown lane and in the emergency bays in special cases (e.g. a technical defect or on the instructions of an executive state body) in order not to impede the following traffic and not to put one's life in danger. Pedestrians and cyclists are prohibited from using the Autobahn 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 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. There is no area development. The reasons for this are the lack of financial resources, the low volume of motorized traffic in rural areas and/or the lower population density.


In most European countries, motorways form their own type of road, in some countries (e.g. Sweden) they are counted among the other trunk roads (e.g. European roads). Motorways are present in all European countries except Iceland, Latvia, Malta, Moldova, Montenegro and the mini-states. In Europe, new motorways are constantly being built or existing motorway sections are being 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 motorway for every 100,000 inhabitants, Cyprus has the highest density of motorways in Europe.

North America

The USA is covered by a very dense network of motorways (so-called Interstate Highways) for the size of the country, some of which are much more spacious than in Europe. While interurban freeways are less busy, freeways in metropolitan areas suffer from heavy traffic. The road cross section will be off