The expressway begins in Quezon City at a cloverleaf interchange with EDSA: a logical continuation of Andres Bonifacio Avenue. It then passes through Quezon City, Caloocan City, and Valenzuela City in Metro Manila. Meycauayan City, Marilao, Bocaue, Balagtas, Guiguinto, Malolos City, Plaridel, and Pulilan in Bulacan. San Simon, City of San Fernando, Mexico and Angeles City in Pampanga. The expressway currently ends at Mabalacat and merges with the MacArthur Highway, which continues northward into the rest of Central and Northern Luzon. A planned spur route from the San Simon interchange connecting to the existing Subic-Tipo Highway has been temporarily postponed, because the Spur/NLE exit currently serves as the connection between the expressway and the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway and there is a proposed direct interchange between the North Luzon Expressway and the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway, the latter serving as a direct link between Subic and Clark. The interchange is located at least 3 km north of Sta. Ines Exit. The expressway, including Andres Bonifacio Avenue, has total length of 88 kilometers. The expressway segment has a length of 84 kilometres. Originally controlled by the Philippine National Construction Corporation or PNCC, operation and maintenance of the NLEx was transferred in 2005 to the Manila North Tollways Corporation, a subsidiary of Metro Pacific Investments Corporation (formerly, it was the subsidiary of the Lopez Group of Companies). A major upgrade and rehabilitation has been completed in February 2005 and the road has now similar qualities as a modern French tollway. The main contractor of the rehabilitation work was Leighton Contractors Pty. Ltd (Australia) with Egis Projects, a company belonging to the French Groupe Egis as the main subcontractor for the toll, telecommunication and traffic management systems. To help maintain the safety and quality of the expressway, various rules are in effect, such as restricting the left lane to passing vehicles only and banning overloaded trucks. The tollway has two sections: an open section and a closed section. The open section (within Metro Manila) charges a flat toll based on vehicle class and is employed to reduce the number of toll barriers (and associated bottlenecks) within the metropolis. The closed section is distance-based, charging based on the class of vehicle and distance traveled. Class 1 vehicles can use an electronic toll collection system (called EC Tag) to reduce wait times and congestion at toll barriers. A prepaid magnetic card (the NLE Badge) is provided as an alternative payment for class 2 and 3 vehicles. Both systems connect to accounts that can be replenished in various ways.
The South Luzon Expressway (SLEX), also nicknamed South Superhighway (SSH), and officially known as Radial Road 3 or R-3, is a network of two expressways that connects Metro Manila to the provinces of the CALABARZON region in the Philippines. The first expressway is the Metro Manila Skyway System, operated jointly by the Skyway Operation and Management Corporation (SomCo) and Citra Metro Manila Tollways Corporation (CMMTC). The second expressway, the South Luzon Tollway or Alabang-Calamba-Sto.Tomas Expressway (ACTEx), is jointly operated by the South Luzon Tollway Corporation, a joint venture of the PNCC and the Malaysian company MTD Capital Berhad and the Manila Toll Expressway Systems, Inc. (MATES).
The Apolinario Mabini Superhighway, or the STAR Tollway, is a 2-4 lane expressway connecting Santo Tomas, Batangas to Batangas City, letting the vehicles from the SLEX access the Batangas Port. It is the extension of the Radial Road 3 in CALABARZON.
The Manila-Cavite Expressway, also known as the Coastal Road, Aguinaldo Boulevard and CAVITEX is an 8-16 lane highway connecting the Metro Manila to Cavite, passing through the coast of the Manila Bay. The Road will then follow a reclamated route over the bay as a 4-lane expressway, eventually ending in the covelandia resort in Kawit, Cavite. The road interchanges are currently under construction.