Talk:Controlled-access highway

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Please note that the current article has parts in American English (as Freeway was written) and parts in British English (as Motorway was written). The intended dialect is Oxford English, which uses the "ize" favoured in current usage by American English, but the "our" of British English. This is a compromise to avoid bickering over language dialects. Try to avoid region-specific terms if at all possible (except in the section for specific countries, which should use local terminology (ie railway vs railroad)). The article is going to be rough for a few days, but in my opinion we can come out with a cleaner, crisper article without original research, unsourced statements and trivia littered about. - ʄɭoʏɗiaɲ τ ¢ 03:58, 30 May 2011 (UTC)

I am very happy that this merger has been done, and I think the choice of title is excellent.
I am completely agnostic about what kind of spelling to use, but in my opinion it is ridiculous to suggest blending UK and US spelling as a general compromise in cases like this. (The proposed compromise ends up being more British than American, and is actually extremely close to Canadian spelling.) The most appropriate, and fairest, thing in order to follow the guidelines in WP:ENGVAR would be to go back and see which was started first, Motorway, Freeway or Expressway (or other synonyms I may be missing), and use whatever spelling was originally used there once the article stopped being a stub. The point is that there should only ever have been one article in the first place. Of course, as you say, it is worthwhile to avoid region-specific terms wherever possible in this article. (talk) 02:36, 11 August 2011 (UTC)


This article doesn't mention anything about the Spanish autopistas and autovías, Spain has one of the largest motorway network in the world. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:40, 6 June 2011 (UTC)

A lot of countries aren't mentioned. Feel free to add some info if you can, especially if you know of any good sources on their network and design standards that could be added as well. - ʄɭoʏɗiaɲ τ ¢ 00:30, 21 June 2011 (UTC)

Bit heavy on route mumbering[edit]

Maybe summariZZZZe, maybe point to main articles.... Overall, really good work thanks Floydian. Nankai (talk) 23:54, 15 June 2011 (UTC)

I noticed that Route numbering is redlinked in the lead rather than linked to the section in the article. Is this because somebody intends to split the route numbering section to its own article? If there is no intent to split, I think we should abandon the redlink for an internal section link. Cliff (talk) 13:25, 21 June 2011 (UTC)
I have linked it to Road number. Although that article has a flag noting that it only deals with English-speaking parts of the world, I beleive that it is the correct article to which the Wikilink shoudl point. Martinvl (talk) 18:59, 21 June 2011 (UTC)

Totally needs a photo[edit]

at the top. Any ideas?

That's a fight waiting to happen. For that reason I won't vote for any photo from my country. The italian freeway shot in the article is a very good example methinks. - ʄɭoʏɗiaɲ τ ¢ 10:47, 17 June 2011 (UTC)
Generic controlled-access highway photo.
I agree, but it must be very generic. Just a simple photo of a 4 lane freeway with a few basic features should do the trick. This one is the best contender I've got in my collection to show an example. Feel free to crop/edit it into something suitable if you think it's suitable. Haljackey (talk) 18:13, 17 June 2011 (UTC)
Italian Autostrade sign showing traffic restrictions
Here is another suggestion - by coincidence, also Itlaian. Martinvl (talk) 21:06, 20 June 2011 (UTC)

I am not 100% happy with the picture that is currently in the lede - it does not really convey anything. May I suggest that we look for another picture and in so doing we try to stick to the following guidelines:

  • The picture is photgraphically good
  • The picture illustrates as many features as possible about the subject
  • Editors should not propose pictures from their own country.

Comments? Martinvl (talk) 21:04, 21 June 2011 (UTC)

Works for me. File:A4-passante di mestre dd.png is my pick. - ʄɭoʏɗiaɲ τ ¢ 21:18, 21 June 2011 (UTC)
File:M-6, M-37 interchange completed.jpg, yeah it's from Michigan, US, and therefore in my homestate, but I don't see why we can't start with the photos with which we know best. This is an aerial photo of the M-6/M-37 interchange taken by MDOT while the M-6 South Beltline Freeway was being built. That's only the first one I'll look for, but MDOT was gracious enough to provide their photos, I figured I could at least repay that with a nomination here. Imzadi 1979  22:10, 21 June 2011 (UTC)
That picture looks like a great lead to the Interchange (road) article. The lead photo in this article should focus on the highway itself, not an interchange in my opinion. The photo in the first tumbnail remains my nomination because it's pretty generic and gives a basic layout of what a controlled access highway looks like and shows some basic features like shoulders and rumble strips. Something like this should suffice. Haljackey (talk) 21:17, 24 June 2011 (UTC)
I disagree, interchanges are a key component of a this type of road because that plus no driveway access from adjacent properties is what makes the roadway "limited access". Rumble strips aren't necessary, and for that matter, shoulders aren't either. In addition, the photo I proposed shows that non-intersecting cross roads (Like East Paris Road at the bottom of the photo) are grade separated from the main roadway, something not shown in your proposed photo, which is also a key component to a true limited-access highway. The M-6 photo also shows that the two directions of the freeway are separated by a median (central reservation), which is probably the most common division method over concrete barriers. Imzadi 1979  21:37, 24 June 2011 (UTC)

totally added one...[edit]

...from Slovenia. I like the motion in it (car lights) and the sun in the distance which suggests a "roads to the future/brighter place". It's been there a few days, I suppose somebody would shift it if they didn't like it.Nankai (talk) 08:39, 25 June 2011 (UTC)

Nice choice. It looks good. Cliff (talk) 16:14, 25 June 2011 (UTC)
Yep, I like it. Seems kinda weird how it's 3 lanes one way and 2 another but that extra's a deceleration lane right? Haljackey (talk) 20:51, 25 June 2011 (UTC)

I like it, but I'm not a fan of the motion blue for the lead photo, as it obstructs the image to a degree. I've been browsing through flickr and pulled out a few selections that may work (with some cropping).[1][2][3][4] - ʄɭoʏɗiaɲ τ ¢ 15:40, 26 June 2011 (UTC)

Speed conversion table[edit]

The old article on motorways dispensed with inline speed conversions in favour of a look-up table. Do people feel that this is appropriate for the current article. Martinvl (talk) 21:18, 20 June 2011 (UTC)

I'm inclined, at the moment, to say no. The only places I found discussions of speeds were in the "Control of access" section and then two mentions in the South African and Spanish sections. If more sections get discussions of speeds, then yes, but so long as we're at only a few limited mentions, I'd leave the in-line conversions in place. Imzadi 1979  22:08, 20 June 2011 (UTC)
Agreed. I removed the table. Baziliscus (talk) 21:38, 12 April 2012 (UTC)

Long distance Australian highways[edit]

I checked the statement about Sydney and Canberra being lnked by a motorway by looking at Google Earth. I am not convinced as there appear to be a number of at-level intersections. In particular, I checked the section between Paddys River and Hanging Rock (34°37′ S, 150°09′W) and did not see any overpasses or underpasses, though there were a number of at-level junctions. The two lanes have sufficient separation (20 m) to accomodate traffic that has to cross one lane of the highway to get to reach the other lane. Martinvl (talk) 08:47, 24 June 2011 (UTC)

...try 34°37′ S, 150°09′E; that's a big W for Wet! Nankai (talk) 07:19, 26 June 2011 (UTC)
I asked my brother who drives it regularly; he says The Hume highway is dual carriageway separated by a nature strip between Sydney and Canberra but the 'freeway' stops a bit north of Marulan, so yes Paddy's River etc do have 'at level' entrances and exits. That said few (no?) roads just cross it in a four-way intersection: in these cases there's usually a bridge. And for larger locations, like at Goulburn and the Federal Highway turnoff to Canberra there are overpasses and on-ramps etc. I'd say if the info in this article alleging that there's a fwy from Sydney to Canberra is not adequately referenced, then it's a candidate for deletion or (preferably) shift to limited-access road. Nankai (talk) 07:05, 26 June 2011 (UTC)
...and I'd say the peppering of the list of intersections in the Hume Highway article with several Japan road sign 201-A.svg cross-roads signs is a dead giveaway. Nankai (talk) 07:12, 26 June 2011 (UTC)
I think that User:Nankai over-reacted by deleting the whole of the section on Australia. I have re-instated it and reworded the sections on long-distance country roads. Martinvl (talk) 07:55, 26 June 2011 (UTC)
The removal of the Hume Highway is a little unfair, what at-grade intersections there are, are all uncontrolled and minor (rural roads for farms, access to very small villages). Every major intersection is an interchange. The Federal Highway is a similar story from Goulburn to Canberra. The NSW government considers both to be of Motorway standard as they will be the M31 and the M23, see here, after conversion to the alphanumeric highway system. The road is designated a freeway north of Berrima as there is absolutely no at-grade access from that point onwards, even for adjoining properties. Ill also point out that Canberra has two freeway grade roads: Tuggeranong Parkway, and the Gungahlin Drive Extension, as well as another under construction: Majura Parkway, with minor at grade access in a rural area it traverses for defence/police. As well as other shorter lengths with interchanges and no at grade access (Such as Adelaide Avenue). Its quite possible to drive from Sydney to Canberra once you are on the highway, without a single stop. The same will be true of Melbourne once the final few towns are bypassed (these are hundreds of kilometres from either Syd or Melb) - Nbound (talk) 12:52, 16 April 2013 (UTC)


Thanks for reverting my change to the intro to put the foreign-language words after the two common English ones; it got reverted as the present wording was "agreed". My aim was to give priority to the language in which Wikipedia is written. Consider Fixed wing aircraft: You probably wouldn't write it like this: "A fixed-wing aircraft, commonly called a flugzeug, hikoki, avion, wakarere, airplane or aeroplane......" Now I know that the two English terms are at the end only because all the words are in alphabetical order, but it just doesn't seem right. We have put the reader through enough of a hoop by naming the article with a technical term not a common one. Let us please discuss this again.Nankai (talk) 08:52, 25 June 2011 (UTC)

I think the big difference from the example you give is that with airplane, those are direct translations into other languages. With these terms, they are the proper names of the motorway networks in those countries. All these terms are relevant in English and in alphabetical order to avoid regional bias. It's pretty safe to assume readers aren't using us a dictionary and looking up this article to find those two terms. The other advantage is that those articles can all be redirected to this one. - ʄɭoʏɗiaɲ τ ¢ 15:09, 25 June 2011 (UTC)
I agree with Floydian. I don't know about the US, but in the UK it is quite normal to use the word autobahn when talking about German controlled access roads, the autoroute when talking about the French ones and so on. Listing the variants in alphabetic order also emphasises that the article is not about controlled access roads in any one country. Martinvl (talk) 15:45, 25 June 2011 (UTC)
As an American, I can confirm that at least for German roads, autobahn is used, and probably considered to have entered the language now. (Autobahns, not autobahnen, etc.) The others aren't as common though, but Rick Steves' travel program did call them autoroutes directly. Imzadi 1979  22:29, 25 June 2011 (UTC)
For us in Ontario, we never refer to the freeways in Quebec as highways or freeways. They're autoroutes (unless they're within Montreal, in which case they may be an expressway). - ʄɭoʏɗiaɲ τ ¢ 02:10, 26 June 2011 (UTC)

Yes yes yes, but you can say (for example, in British English, the kind I speak here in New Zealand) "In Germany a motorway is called an autobahn." People don't go around saying (in English) "In Canada, an autobahn is called a freeway or an autoroute". I can't articulate what I find wrong with the intro, but I'm sure something is. We don't need to be NPOV to the point of obscurity. We also don't need to be multicultural when we are trying to be bicultural (and as we regularly discover in my country, you can really upset one half of a bicultural system by lumping them as just another part of a multicultural system). It's NPOV to not favour (sorry, favor) one type of English on English Wikipedia; it's over-the-top-NPOV to avoid offending several foreign languages as well. So let's have the two English-language terms preceding the geographically/linguistically specific ones. Nankai (talk) 07:00, 26 June 2011 (UTC)

I'm not a native English speaker yet I also thought it was odd to put the non-English terms before the two English terms (motorway, freeway) in the lead. I figured it was the alphabet, but it was still odd. --Joy [shallot] (talk) 14:15, 27 June 2011 (UTC)

Query - "Controlled-access highway"[edit]

I applaud that Freeway and Motorway have been merged, as they do appear to be different words for the same thing. And initially I thought that "Controlled-access highway" appeared to be an acceptable title as I assumed that was the accepted global term for a motorway/freeway. I can't, however, find much information on the term. It appears to be an American legal term for a type of road for which adjoining property owners have controlled or limited rights of access. The controlled access appears to apply to any road/highway to which the local authority wishes to control the access, and this can therefore apply to non-motorway/freeway roads. Example 1, Example 2 Example 3. You'll note that Example 3 also indicates that legally "Controlled-access highway" is the same as Limited-access road.

The term does not appear to mean motorway/freeway (though it can be applied to a motorway/freeway).

The term is not used outside America.

As the term does not strictly mean motorway/freeway, and is not used outside America, it doesn't seem to be the most appropriate and is slightly misleading readers. It is always rather awkward when different countries use different terms for the same thing, such as Train station, Sidewalk, Automobile; however, we generally work through it and reach an agreement. If there is a big dispute and people cannot settle on using the American or British term, then we do look for a neutral and natural alternative, though we do like to select one that is accurate, and this name does not appear to be.

Over the years there have been a number of solutions proposed:

  1. Use Limited access road as a general article on limited access roads which would include info on dual carriageways/expressways and motorways/freeways, and also on limited access roads around the world, with links to the detailed articles on each - Freeways in America, British motorways, German autobahns, etc
  2. Use a combined title such as Motorways, freeways and autoroutes or Motorway/Freeway
  3. Use Freeway, redirecting motorway to that page
  4. Use Motorway, redirecting freeway to that page
  5. Use a specific neutral name that identifies precisely what a motorway/freeway is, such as Limited access highway with grade separation, Highways with no cross traffic and access only at interchanges, Signal free corridor road
  • I would support proposal #1, which was first put forward by Vegaswikian five years ago: Talk:Freeway/Archive_2#Suggested_way_forward. The current article, while the intro is good, does not define the difference between a limited access dual carriageway and a motorway/Autobahn. In the UK a motorway is a public road that does not have a public right of way, so therefore certain classes of vehicle - such as bicycles - can be banned. In Germany there are also restrictions on certain classes of vehicles. I think that in America the restrictions are variable, and in some states some freeways allow access to bicycles. There is no single definition that is going to cover all countries, but certainly, "limited access road" is a reasonable starting point, and from there the article can lead off into the appropriate detailed sub-articles. SilkTork ✔Tea time 12:05, 4 August 2011 (UTC)
  • I see that the term "full control of access" and "partial control of access" are used in relation to roads in the USA. What is the difference between "full" and "partial"? SilkTork ✔Tea time 17:05, 4 August 2011 (UTC)
I see that as a step backwards in what has been an amazing leap forward. There is no need to duplicate content, that is one of the main points of WP:MERGE. The term is a civil engineering term that appears in many standards (unfortunately I'm not at school for another month, so I can't name them off the top of my head). It is perhaps an American term (most engineering terms are standardized and the American standards have been spreading around the globe since the freeway was born), but it is a geographically neutral term since it is not used by the general public; any term that is, is regional based unfortunately. How many places use the term fixed wing aircraft?
A Limited access road is a different concept. Control of access is a legal means of preventing private driveways from being forced onto a road (as a government is obligated to provide access to residences/businesses from a public right-of-way). Some roads only add certain limitations, which is referred to as partial control of access. When absolutely no private entrances are permitted, and the only access to a road is provided by free-flow interchanges (except at termini), the road has full control of access, and is referred to as a controlled-access highway. While the American Traffic Safety Authority may indicate that any road with some control of access is a controlled-access highway, the vast majority of engineering standards (such as IEEE), used to design the roadways and set the government standards, indicate it is only for roads with full control of access. Limited access road is more akin to partial access. Freeway, which is both the historic and technical term worldwide (but unfortunately the term for the networks (and not the class of road) is more prominent in europe (ie autobahn, autoroute, motorway)), is more akin to controlled access highway - ʄɭoʏɗiaɲ τ ¢ 23:22, 4 August 2011 (UTC)
OK. I think that there has been a development in making the merge and using a new title, and I'm not looking to step it back, but to progress it. I think that approaching the situation from a US engineering viewpoint, while initially appealing, does not allow for the variability, subtly and complexity of the global situation regarding the roads we are discussing. Our readers are not engineers, and while it is useful to inform them that in America engineers make this and that distinction, we need to be a) more global in the base article on the concept, and b) take a wider range of views, and not concentrate on one (especially one that does not apply outside of America, and is only used by engineers). If the situation is variable and complex, then let us point that out and explain it, not attempt a one size fits all definition that is patently not going to work. A step forward was made when people said that motorways in Europe are essentially the same as freeways in America, though with recognisable differences. We need to look at both the points of similarity and the points of difference. If we are looking at this from the control of access angle (and that is one approach, along with possible restrictions on users, grade separation, and central barrier) then we should also consider looking at the Turnpike trust roads as part of that history. And then going back to toll bridges, which were even earlier. Toll bridges and turnpike roads had controlled access. The "only access to a road is provided by free-flow interchanges" situation occurs on some dual carriageways in the UK. In the UK the jump from advanced dual carriageway to motorway occurs with a restriction on who can use the road and that requires an act of parliament. I think we'll find with some research that the level and type of access varies from region to region, and attempting to make a universal division between partial control of access and full control of access would not work. The situation here in the UK is that sometimes the only way you can tell you are on a dual carriageway and not a motorway is purely by the colour of the signs. On some roads, such as the A2/M2 and the A1/A1(M), you move seamlessly from one to the other, though non-motorway traffic is asked to leave before each motorway section. I'm not asking for a step back, but a progression on what has already been done. SilkTork ✔Tea time 09:56, 5 August 2011 (UTC)
This source uses "limited-access" and "access-controlled". This source (quite good on historical perspective in the UK) makes the connection between turnpike roads and motorways. SilkTork ✔Tea time 10:29, 5 August 2011 (UTC)
Why not just do the easy thing and call this article 'Freeways and motorways' (alphabetically listed, as 'f' comes before 'm')? All other terms – autoroute, autobahn, autopista, etc., are non-English language terms for 'motorway'. Auto means 'motor' in French, German, Spanish, etc., and 'route', 'bahn' and 'pista' means either 'way' or 'track' in each respective language. The current term – 'controlled-access highway' is never used in the United Kingdom, and I doubt anywhere else for that matter. GB1931 (talk) 22:14, 25 August 2011 (UTC)
How many countries use fixed-wing aircraft? - ʄɭoʏɗiaɲ τ ¢ 22:26, 25 August 2011 (UTC)
Most, to my knowledge! We certainly use it in Britain. In any case, 'Freeways and motorways' uses everyday English as a title rather than technocratic jargon. GB1931 (talk) 23:38, 25 August 2011 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── The title here is awful and doesn't follow WP:COMMONNAME and there are no POV issues. Motorway, freeway or expressway all seem reasonable titles - one should be picked. Freeway is vastly better than this current title. -- Eraserhead1 <talk> 22:52, 16 October 2011 (UTC)

Freeway is the universal term, its just a case of people living in countries with a national network of freeways known as Motorway feeling that it is the European equivalent to the "North American freeway". - ʄɭoʏɗiaɲ τ ¢ 23:16, 16 October 2011 (UTC)
Agree with use of common names. Common name for this merged article is Freeway/Motorway. Thanks.Thomas Paine1776 (talk) 07:51, 8 November 2011 (UTC)
  • I am reverting your undiscussed move. The title violates the MOS by having a slash. Also, while there is a large degree of agreement that the current title is not common, there has been no agreement on a title to move it to. You have also inserted factual inaccuracies into both this article and limited-access road. - ʄɭoʏɗiaɲ τ ¢ 08:13, 8 November 2011 (UTC)

Improved the article for accuracy. Its currently rated a C so, it needed attention. No one had actually objected to using the WP:Common Name and no new comments had been made since mid-October to this section. You seem to be saying that motorway is a name and that Europeans also use the term Freeway to describe motorways. Perhaps it could it be Freeway (Motorway) if / should not be used in titles? 'Controlled-access highway' is not the common name and should not be the title of the artilce. If you want to title the article "Freeway", I would support that, which is what I meant to do. Thanks. Thomas Paine1776 (talk) 08:28, 8 November 2011 (UTC)

There's a significant leap between "controlled-access highway is not the most common name" and "Freeway/Motorway is the most common name". The latter is not true, because it conflicts with both the common name policy (as few people use both names divided with a slash) and the manual of style (that frowns upon both slashes and excess capitalization). --Joy [shallot] (talk) 08:57, 8 November 2011 (UTC)
Agree that the common universal name is "Freeway." The article should be titled Freeway. The other was simply an accomodation. Meant to title it Freeway. Thomas Paine1776 (talk) 09:03, 8 November 2011 (UTC)
Totally and absolutely disagree that an article taking a world-wide view should have include the word "freeway" without including the word "motorway". Martinvl (talk) 11:03, 8 November 2011 (UTC)
Again though, Motorway is used incorrectly most of the world over. The networks are called Motorway
I believe that controlled-access highway is still the best compromise, but if we have to go with one or the other, I would pick freeway over motorway because freeway is used far more widely than motorway (American English has a larger number of native speakers) and concisely describes the nature of the road (in the sense that traffic is free-flowing because access controls prohibit intersections at grade). The critical flaw with the term "motorway," which is why the U.S. never used it, is that the term when read literally describes any roadway for motorized vehicles, which essentially means any road. --Coolcaesar (talk) 12:58, 8 November 2011 (UTC)
I agree with CoolCeasar that the current title is the best, even if most users get there by redirects. The alternative that I favour is "Freeways, Motorways and Expressways", but if this title is adopted, then we will have to define the scope of the article in the lede, noting that the words "Freeway", "Expressway" and "Motorway" have different meanings in differnet jurisdictions. Martinvl (talk) 14:39, 8 November 2011 (UTC)
I still believe that Freeway is the best alternative. I have a bit of North American bias, but my reasoning is the same that the article isn't called Interstate. There are freeways in Europe, Africa, and Asia which are not referred to as Motorways, because only roads which form part of the numbered network are known as that. However, over 50 years the term Motorway has become synonymous with the definition of freeway. - ʄɭoʏɗiaɲ τ ¢ 16:31, 8 November 2011 (UTC)
Agree. Freeway is the most common universal name. The current title is confusing. The title should be changed to Freeway.Thomas Paine1776 (talk) 18:30, 15 November 2011 (UTC)
I disagree. What about autobahn? "Auto" comes from "Automobile" while "Motor" comes from "Motor car". "Auto" and "Motor" are therefore synonymous. "Bahn" means "Route" or "way". Thus "Autobahn" translates to "Motorway". Likewise with "Autopiste" (Spanish), "Autoroute" (French), "Autorstrada" (Italian & Polish), "Motorväg" (Swedish), "Autostrada" (Polish). The odd language out in Europe is Dutch - the "snelweg" part of "Autosnelweg" translates as "expressway".
A lot of trouble has been taken to ensure that when the articles "Motorway" and "Freewy" were combined, the result would reflect evenly on both sides of the pond. We now have somebody who has "1776" embedded into his username taking what appears to be a very strong American line rather than looking to see how the balance can be kept. Martinvl (talk) 19:39, 15 November 2011 (UTC)
I disagree too. I agree with Martinvl that a lot of effort went into achieving consensus on a compromise on terminology. "Freeway" is a North American term. "Motorway" is a term understood in most other English-speaking countries. -- de Facto (talk). 20:11, 15 November 2011 (UTC)
Only roads that are assigned as a Motorway are Motorways in any one of those countries. Freeway is applied more generally in North America than other countries, but it means any road with the features of a controlled access highway. - ʄɭoʏɗiaɲ τ ¢ 21:02, 15 November 2011 (UTC)

I'm American, and I've never used the word "freeway" in my life. As far as I'm aware, the whole eastern seaboard uses just plain "highway", which is what I use. I know that is ambiguous, and obviously can't realistically be used here, but still. Don't say that all Americans use "freeway". That is a false representation. Furthermore, I don't think freeway should be used at all in this case. It is used by a relatively small proportion of the population (the West Coast only, as I'm aware). Motorway seems more appropriate, because multiple English speaking countries use it. Examples: Ireland, Australia, New Zealand and various other Commonwealth countries. It is also unambiguous (a motorway is always the type of road we are talking about). Another problem I have with "freeway" is that it implies that there are no tolls on the road, hence the name "freeway". A lot of these "controlled-access highways" have tolls on them, and hence, really are not "freeways"...hence, I support motorway being used. (talk) 19:41, 16 November 2011 (UTC)

This artcile describes a class of road that is defined in terms of the facilities it give to traffic, the financing of such roads forms a small section in the artcile as a whole, so whther the road is a toll road or a "freeway" is immaterial - it should be remembered that some countries have "shadow tolls" - a private company builds and operates the road and the government pays them a toll on behalf of every vehicle that uses the road (collected from car taxes of course). AS far as this artcile is concerned, toll booths are just another feature found on some controlled access highways - along woth tunnels, bridges etc. Martinvl (talk) 21:16, 16 November 2011 (UTC)
Remember too that English doesn't have the gratis/libre distinction like other languages. Freeways are free in the libre sense as in "freedom of movement", not the gratis sense of "free of charge". No freeway is free to drive on: if a motorist isn't directly paying tolls he is paying fuel taxes, vehicle registrations or any number of other taxes or fees indirectly to drive along that road. A "turnpike" or a "tollway" is just a subclass of freeway, which is itself a regional term for a controlled-access highway, the term for the article title. That last term is also a sub-class of highways in general. Imzadi 1979  21:25, 16 November 2011 (UTC)
Thanks for clearing that up. I always assumed that freeway meant "free from tolls" in contrast to a "tollway". Neither of these words are words I use, or anyone I've known uses. I've only heard them via television and from when I was in California...regardless, I still think freeway as a "common name" is very misleading. It isn't even used by the majority the US. And when I was in Canada, they didn't use it either (autoroutes in Quebec, highways in Ontario). I've never heard it used in common parlance anywhere other than California. If we are trying to pick a "common name" then motorway is in fact very common (I live in Scotland at the moment, but am American), especially in comparison to something like freeway (which isn't used by many people, proportionate to the world). So I say, stick with what we've got, even if it isn't that great, or switch it to motorway (which is a term with no ambiguity, and that is used by a good deal of the world). (talk) 22:59, 16 November 2011 (UTC)
A freeway is a class of highway; it has specific attributes that differentiate it from other designs. As a generic term though, "controlled-access highway" encompasses all of the various regional names for what is really the same transportation concept.
As for the usages, I dispute what you say about the word never being used outside of television or California. I live in the Grand Rapids area of Michigan, and we have the Ford Freeway (I-196, named for the former president), the Henry Freeway (M-6, not a common name but named for the late Congressman), and it's quite common to hear the newscasters talking about traffic on the US 131 freeway, etc. In Detroit there's the Lodge Freeway, the other Ford Freeway (named for Henry's son), the Reuther Freeway, the Southfield Freeway, etc. I hear people using the word in casual conversation a lot in talking about traveling, or wishing the Upper Peninsula of Michigan had a freeway, etc. It might not be your experience, but we can't use your personal experiences as a source, nor can we use mine. Imzadi 1979  23:34, 16 November 2011 (UTC)
In Ontario, all roads are highways, from a street to a freeway. The term freeway is well understood to refer to high speed divided highways, at least in southern Ontario. Autoroute is French and one of the terms in the lead for just that reason. - ʄɭoʏɗiaɲ τ ¢ 23:31, 16 November 2011 (UTC)

At least make an historiographical section of the name "controlled-access highway". I doubt anyone outside a very specialised field will have heard of this term (I haven't), and it would probably be a good idea to provide a brief history of when, how and why this name became common among professionals. --Saddhiyama (talk) 23:16, 30 November 2012 (UTC)

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South Africa[edit]

The South Africa section is a little misleading in my opinion, as it implies that the definition of freeway is markedly different from other countries when I don't believe it is. The rules that apply to South African freeways are generally similar to those that apply to British motorways. In the UK too there is no absolute requirement for a motorway to be dual carriageway, though the vast majority are. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:43, 19 September 2011 (UTC)

The OECD definition requires that motorways be dual carriageways; the Aston Expressway ceased being called a motorway when the central reservation was removed - it now consists of 7 lanes which are configured as 3+1+3, 4+1+2 or 2+1+4 lanes using overhead lights at different times of the day. There is always one empty lane separating opposing streams of traffic. Martinvl (talk) 14:43, 8 November 2011 (UTC)
The Aston Expressway is still classed as a motorway as far as I can tell (certainly the Wikipedia article says it is), two further clues being the blue signs (reserved for motorways, as opposed to green for all other roads) and designation of A38(M), where M stands for motorway. So I still think that the South African use is similar to most other designations of freeways and motorways, such as the ban on pedestrians, animal-hauled vehicles, vehicles with less than a certain engine size etc. The only significant difference is the existence of a significant length of single carriageway freeways, which are rare but not completely unknown elsewhere (eg the A38(M)). — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:56, 21 February 2013 (UTC)

Disproportionate number of pictures...[edit]

Am I the only one with the feeling that there is a disproportionate number of pictures of Canadian highways? There are many in each section not only compared to world roads, but compared to the U.S. with the largest and most extensive road network there are only two...what gives? Dillan.Murray (talk) 05:15, 20 November 2011 (UTC)

I think it's merely a coincidence. If you can find high quality images from other countries that help show the characteristics that controlled-access highways have, I'm all for it! Haljackey (talk) 00:15, 25 November 2011 (UTC)
I agree as well. The US has the largest amount of CAH or freeways, followed by China and Germany. Canada should certainly be included (especially the large road in Ontario), but we should add some more picture diversity reflective of reality. I'll see what I have from my travels. -lonely traveler December 5th, 2011 18:05 (UTC)


Aren't parkways controlled acces highways, then the parkways in new york were built in the 20's and 30's, and are the nations first Freeways, though they weren't the first to alow commercial traffic.--J intela (talk) 21:01, 24 November 2011 (UTC)

The Long Island Parkway is the first in the world to not allow properties to abut the highway. However, it did not feature interchanges (nor did the first Autopista in Italy), which were pioneered by the Germans in the early '30s. The Pennsylvania Turnpike is the first true freeway in America, opened in 1940. - ʄɭoʏɗiaɲ τ ¢ 15:45, 25 November 2011 (UTC)

Roads in Great Britain (or 'Roads in the United Kingdom')?[edit]

Is there a clear logic for heading the section 'Great Britain' and linking it to Roads in Great Britain (an article which doesn't exist) rather than as United Kingdom and Roads in the United Kingdom (which does, and which makes suitable references to Northern Ireland)? PeterEastern (talk) 03:22, 10 February 2012 (UTC)

Speed limit table[edit]

I have rescued the mph to km/h conversion chart that I prepared for the mototrway article. I propose removing all the "convert" functions in the text (unless there are violent objections) - the actual conversions will be available in the lookup table for those who really need them. Martinvl (talk) 16:09, 21 February 2012 (UTC)

This article is about highways, not about units of speed. The conversion table is not necessary or particularly helpful here. I removed it. Baziliscus (talk) 21:44, 12 April 2012 (UTC)
I have reinstated - having continual in-line conversions makes for disruptive reading and by having a lookup table for the most commonly used figures reduces this disruption. This was accepted without dissent in the old motorway article. Martinvl (talk) 05:19, 13 April 2012 (UTC)
Agree with Martinvl on this one. Use native units in the prose (ie metric in the Canadian section, imperial in the US and UK sections), then provide a conversion table. - ʄɭoʏɗiaɲ τ ¢ 05:23, 13 April 2012 (UTC)
I like the inline conversions better. The table makes a mess of things; huge white space and all that. Plus, having the correct conversion as you read is more convenient, rather than having to page back to check the table every time. Please get rid of the table and put the conversions inline again. That also seems to be the more standard way to handle different unit systems across most Wikipedia articles. Indeed, I've not seen a chart like this used on nearly any other article. Please remove it. --Jayron32 05:26, 13 April 2012 (UTC)
I agree with Jayron on this one, plus we still have inline conversions in several places yet in the article. There aren't that many, and it's not like most sections have that many repetitive references to speeds. Eight speeds in 6,982 words is not excessive, so the table isn't needed with that few mentions of speed limits in the article. Imzadi 1979  06:29, 13 April 2012 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── It looks like we have three choices for mph - km/h conversions:

  • Use the "convert" facility only.
  • Use the look-up table only
  • Have both look-up table and "convert" facility.

Judging by discussion so far, it looks like the best compromise is to have both, otherwise we have a 2-2 split. Any comments? Martinvl (talk) 10:04, 13 April 2012 (UTC)

Yes, don't rush. This discussion has only been active for about 13 hours. In the meantime, please restore the conversions to the article prose. The current state is sloppy with some measurements converted inline, and some not. (When the table was removed, all of the needed inline conversions were present already, but when it was stored, only about half of the conversions were removed.) Imzadi 1979  10:13, 13 April 2012 (UTC)
No we don't have a 2-2 split. Martinvl and Floydian would like to keep the table, while Jayron, Imzadi and myself would like to remove it. Jayron's arguments above are convincing. There's no suggestion of conversion tables here: . Remove the table. Baziliscus (talk) 14:44, 13 April 2012 (UTC)
If you want to follow MOSNUM to the letter, then we need to adopt the convention of giving one unit or the other priority throughout the article and as this is an international article (rather than a US or a UK article), then all distances should be given in kilometres followed by miles in parethesis and only published speed limits follow the units of origin. On the other hand why not just leave things as they are? Martinvl (talk) 14:56, 13 April 2012 (UTC)
We appear to be at a bit of an impasse. Perhaps we should convert this discussion to an RFC to invite more outside comment from other editors. Any objections to doing that? --Jayron32 20:06, 13 April 2012 (UTC)
I'd say ignore all rules to the exact lettering of the MOS; Each country section should use its native units (and the general section in metric since it is international... I'd say to leave this open for about 48 hours before starting an RfC, as this article is watched by a good number of editors. - ʄɭoʏɗiaɲ τ ¢ 21:29, 13 April 2012 (UTC)
Based on what the MOS actually says, Floydian's right on the money here. It says: "In cases where the primary measurement in the article is different from the primary measurement in the source... [i]n some cases it may be useful to avoid this by taking the unit used by the source as primary." For the US and UK, the primary measurement would remain miles or mph while the rest of the article can use km or km/h. There is no issue with that.
Now I'd like to remind those in favor of retaining the table that we have exactly eight listed speeds in over 6,000 words of text. We have 14 lengths in the article, most of which use odd numbers so a conversion table is of no utility. Most of the speeds listed in the table aren't in use in the article, so it's taking up more space than necessary for very limited (and tedious) utility. Why should we make our readers bounce back and forth between the body of a long article to the top of it to get a conversion, and then search through the table to find the right number when over half of the numbers in that table are inapplicable to the text? In short, jettison the table and keep things inline. If at some future date we have dozens or hundreds of speeds in use in the text, we can revisit the issue. Imzadi 1979  00:08, 14 April 2012 (UTC)
I'm not terribly attached to it in light of those numbers. - ʄɭoʏɗiaɲ τ ¢ 02:24, 14 April 2012 (UTC)
Your thoughts, Martinvl? Baziliscus (talk) 17:13, 17 April 2012 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── I will admit that I am influenced by the fact that I have considerable driving experience in both metric and imperial countries and that the way to learn the conversions and to use them in the real world is to use a look-up table before getting behind the wheel rather than to have everything handed to you on a plate. After a period, you will get to know that 50 km/h is 30 mph etc. BTW, I have to go out on some personal business in a few minutes - I am currently working on the Continent, the km/h display on my speedo is not very good and all the signs are in km/h. That is why I like to encourage people to be able to work these things out for themselves. (I believe that Wikipedia is meant to be educational as well as informative). Martinvl (talk) 18:50, 17 April 2012 (UTC)

Ok, let's look at the numbers for a moment. There are 18 separate conversions listed in the table. (The 50 mph=80 km/h is listed twice.) There are 8 times that speeds are listed in the body of the article that only use 7 of those 18 conversions. Readers don't need to learn the conversions, in fact, they just need to read the article. I don't know how others read items, but I gloss over the measurement system that doesn't apply, even though I'm familiar with both. If the inline conversions are removed in favor of a length table, it will be more tedious to ready, particularly when there are so few speeds listed. Essentially we'd be forcing readers to jump up to the top of the article to convert an item and make them find their place again after the conversion. With junction lists on highway articles, we've mandated a conversion key so that a reader can convert a measurement, but those numbers are all in one section, not spread throughout the article. (And the few lengths/distances are converted inline in the prose anyway.) Imzadi 1979  22:23, 17 April 2012 (UTC)
The table came from the old Matorways article which had far more speed limits than the current article which brings me to ask whether we need the section Regional Variations - it occupies about half of the article. Coulld we reduce it to a list made up of "main articles"? That will remove the need for the look-up table. Martinvl (talk) 04:00, 18 April 2012 (UTC)
We could condense that stuff down a bit, but we still don't need the look-up table now. Imzadi 1979  04:55, 18 April 2012 (UTC)
I am willing to go with consensus regarding the lookup table. Meanwhile let's look at cutting down the regional stuff - do we really want a paragraph on each of the 28 OECD countries (plus those non-OECD countries that have motorways)? Martinvl (talk) 08:27, 18 April 2012 (UTC)
The table is gone. As for anything else, I'd suggest framing a new discussion thread. Imzadi 1979  22:16, 18 April 2012 (UTC)
Thanks Martinvl and everyone! Baziliscus (talk) 18:20, 19 April 2012 (UTC)

Autobahn, autopista, autoroute, autostrada, autosnelweg[edit]

I think these words should be removed from the lead for the same reason that you wouldn't say, in the article about foxes, that they're known by various terms worldwide, including Fuchs, zorro, renard, volpe, or vos. Does anyone have a problem with me removing the foreign-language words? Baziliscus (talk) 21:50, 12 April 2012 (UTC)

Yes, but if you visit a country where foxes are known natively as renard, you would still call them foxes. You would not call an Autobahn "the freeway". Likewise, if I drive from Ontario into Quebec, I am not on Highway 20, I'm on Autoroute 20. These terms are all proper nouns that are not translated and are often used in the naming of national freeway networks. - ʄɭoʏɗiaɲ τ ¢ 05:25, 13 April 2012 (UTC)
Agree with Floydian on retention. Several of those terms redirect here, and if some don't, they should. Imzadi 1979  06:30, 13 April 2012 (UTC)
Agree with both Floydian and Imzadi. I don't know about the US, but we Brits use the word "Auhobahn" in everyday speech when refering to German motorways, likewise Autoroute for French ones etc. Martinvl (talk) 06:49, 13 April 2012 (UTC)
We Yanks call the German ones "Autobahns", and many know enough to call them Autoroutes whether they're in Quebec or France. Imzadi 1979  07:25, 13 April 2012 (UTC)

OK. Baziliscus (talk) 14:17, 13 April 2012 (UTC)

Regional variations[edit]

Do we really need this section? On looking at it, I get the feeling that very few, if any of the sections convey much information yet this section takes up nearly half the artcile. The information should be in the preceding parts of the artcile. Likewise I feel that a number of the pictures do not convey any information - each picture should illustrate at last one item that is of interest outside the country concerned.

What should we do with the infornation which is there? I suggest that it be "repatriated" to the national articles concerned and that the section be condensed to a list of wikilinks. Martinvl (talk) 18:44, 19 April 2012 (UTC)

When I merged the numerous articles together, I believe that I created that section just to cram all the regionally applicable information. I don't think that I ever went through and cleaned it up. I think it makes sense for this article to discuss the basics of freeways in each country very briefly while linking to the main article for the country (ie Motorways in the United Kingdom, Autopistas of Italy, etc.). In this way, this article almost serves as a global portal to the freeway/motorway networks around the world.... Just my 2c though. - ʄɭoʏɗiaɲ τ ¢ 19:07, 19 April 2012 (UTC)

The information in this section needs to be assessed as well. One example: Portugal was not the third country in Europe to have controlled-access highways (the first 40k or so of the Dutch A12 came in use a few years earlier). There may be other errors in this section as well. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:44, 2 September 2015 (UTC)

Picture Rationalisation[edit]

De Lucht Rest Area on the Dutch A2

I have had a look at the pictures and I feel that they could do with a good deal of pruning and possibly a few added, such as the one to the right. I have listed the pictures in this article and added my comments.

  • Interstate 80, California - adds nothing -
  • Freeway Interchange, California - does illustrate the concept very well
  • Highway 401 - WOw, what a lot of lanes! illustrates a very big motorway.
  • French A10 - Any comment would be biased - I added this one.
  • M25 - The only thing of significance is the bit in the caption about the word "Motorway", but the picture does not show that.
  • Interstate 75 - Caption is good
  • Highway lighting - good
  • Interstate H1 - OK, President Obama was born close to this location, but otherwise, what is its significance?
  • M6 - Illustrates the motorway start point
  • Lugano - Maybe a real picture in place of this one.
  • Brazil - Wow! Move to lede?
  • China - doesn't tell me much
  • Reichsautobahn - Of historic significnace
  • Mumbai-Pune Expressway - doesn't add anything special
  • M8 - The text about the yellow lines could be added to the M6 picture
  • Japanese bridge - DOesn't add much
  • Aukland - If it were closer up, it would be a better illustration of an interchange
  • Pakistan - Doesn't tell me anything
  • Poland? - Caption would help - it tells me nothing.
  • Johannesburg - view of the M2 eastbound taken from the middle of its junction with the M1. How do I know this? Not from the caption, but because many years ago I drove over the bridge daily. For me, a little nostalgia, but that is not what Wikipedia is about, so for anybody else, it tels them nothing.#
  • M40 Autopista - picture tells me nothing
  • I787 - One of many pictures showing a bit of a junction, otherwise doesn't tell me much.

My immediate proposals are:

  • Remove the lede picture and to move the Brazillian picture there.
  • Look for a good aerial picture of an interchange and remove Californian interchange, Aukland, Johannesburg, Poland and I787.
  • Add the picture of the Dutch rest area.
  • Remove the Irish I8 picuture and extend the caption for the I6 picture.
  • See how things look and take it from there.

As policy for this article, I feel that there should not be any pictures from a particular country just because that country is there - each picture should be meaningful to the article as a whole. Having said that, addiitonal comments about specifics in a particular country can be added to the main caption such as the yellow lines in Ireland as an adjunct to the "Start of motorway sign", or the broken lines in France as an adjunct to the hard shoulder and emergency telephone.

Any comments? Martinvl (talk) 20:16, 19 April 2012 (UTC)

Having a more coherant look to the article by wisely choosing pictures with purpose is a good idea. I have no direct and specific comment on which pictures, and for what puposes, as yet, but I agree with they general concept that the pictures need to be chosen based on quality and relevence. --Jayron32 20:29, 19 April 2012 (UTC)
Highway 402
I'd definitely disagree on the Brazil photo being the lede picture. It is a very amazing and unique example, whereas the lead should feature a familiar example. The Highway 402 image to the right was the lede until it was changed with an edit summary of "edit", and is a great rural example (although I really like the image posted above). If we are to show an urban freeway, I'd rather something like I-787, to the right.
US 131, M-6 and 68th Street in Wyoming, Michigan
If you're looking for a aerial good interchange photo, there's this one of the cloverleaf interchange between U.S. Route 131 and M-6 (Michigan highway) that also includes ramps to and from 68th Street there in Wyoming, Michigan. Imzadi 1979  22:58, 19 April 2012 (UTC)

Name of article[edit]

I will duplicate this post in a seperate section, since my post in an older wection was most likely never noticed: At least make an historiographical section of the name "controlled-access highway". I doubt anyone outside a very specialised field will have heard of this term (I haven't), and it would probably be a good idea to provide a brief history of when, how and why this name became common among professionals. --Saddhiyama (talk) 23:16, 30 November 2012 (UTC)

  • I completely agree. Since Motorway and Freeway both redirect here, they're both good options. --BDD (talk) 20:38, 2 January 2013 (UTC)
    • Something to remember is that the article title was chosen following the example of fixed-wing aircraft, which would have the slightly less technical names "airplane" and "aeroplane" in American and British English. Both of those terms redirect to the article which was titled with a term that doesn't have and WP:ENGVAR concerns. Imzadi 1979  22:48, 2 January 2013 (UTC)


Please revert this edit. The person who reverted this stated he removed the edit since it was "not comparable", but I do think it is necessairy to mention it. This, as, allthough the function is different (mixed use by cyclists and motorists), it often does use regular motorways which are simply converted (by adding signs and coloring the road partially in red) KVDP (talk) 10:07, 16 April 2014 (UTC)

Where you've attempted to add it, you mention that it is a motorway converted for bicycle traffic (which fyi would still be a segregated cycle facility). However, that article begins with "A bicycle boulevard is a low-speed street..." which is contradictory to the first sentence of this article. - Floydian τ ¢ 14:21, 16 April 2014 (UTC)

No pics of British motorways?[edit]

Surprised the English language Wikipedia article has no pictures of British motorways. (talk) 02:05, 20 July 2015 (UTC)

German Autobahn: contradiction with separate article[edit]

"Germany began to build its first 30-kilometre (19 mi) autobahn controlled-access highway without speed limits (then referred to as a dual highway) in 1932 between Cologne and Bonn (now A555). It then rapidly constructed a nationwide system of such roads in anticipation of their use in the Second World War."

The second sentence has no given source and is contradicted by sourced quotes in the linked autobahn article. It is a common myth and should be either researched or removed? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:05, 1 October 2015 (UTC)

Safety Graph:Chart; density effect on motorway[edit]

Here after some chart to illustrate fact that motorway safety is also dependent on density factor.

Number of million kilometers per death which can be traveled depending on traffic density in European countries with more than 2000 kilometers motorway networks.

Source for those data are:

According to some people, traffic density generates speed reduction, which in turn reduces death per (billion) kilometers.

Why remove map of European motorways?[edit]

Why to remove map of European motorways? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:25, 22 May 2016 (UTC)

Why to remove length of European motorways? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:26, 22 May 2016 (UTC)

This is designed to be a high-level overview article on the concept of a "controlled-access highway", "freeway", "motorway", etc. Frankly, there too much specialized detail in here now, and it needs to be pruned. Additional articles on the implementation of this type of roadway in various regions or specific countries could be created, but this article should be a general overview. Imzadi 1979  17:48, 22 May 2016 (UTC)
I can understand there are too much specialized detail in here.
A possible solution might be to move some content to a new article; for instance Motorways in Europe.
  • The content which might be moved might be the content relative to European countries, those countries which participate to the International E-road network project (which define a same concept of motorway in their treaties).
  • Then, this content might be replaced with a summary of the European articles.
The consequence would be that the many maps and many photos of many European countries would be replaced by few photos and one single map of European motorways, with a link to Motorways in Europe for interested people.
This will give room for other information such as what are freeways and expressways in the Arab Mashreq International Road Network as defined by — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:38, 26 May 2016 (UTC)

I fully agree with IP And motorways in Europe (including the UK, and the motorways in the UK) have the same set of rules and differs quite a lot from American Highways/Expressways, as I have understood it. Mainly a different view on how to use the lanes. In Europe is the traffic supposed to be divided by the vehicle's various speed. While Americans want the drivers to NOT change lanes, not for overtakings anyway, and the speed is not faster in the "inner" lanes, as they are in Europe. Also outside Germany. A rather notable difference, would I say. And I think the old "Motorway" article are called back for. (together with remaining parts of this article under current name) Boeing720 (talk) 01:05, 19 January 2017 (UTC)

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Antwerp has no motorway ring ?[edit]

I have driven there myself, and at least in the mid 1990's did a four lane motorway surround the city (except for the harbour area). According to Google maps, is it still there. But perhaps a second motorway ring has been discussed ? (About the traffic there then, did it compare to London Orbital or M25, at the same time. Boeing720 (talk) 00:49, 19 January 2017 (UTC)