Talk:Freeway/Archive 2

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Archive 1 Archive 2 Archive 3

European signs

I’m pretty sure the signs labelled ‘Swiss on-ramp and "begin freeway" sign’ and ‘Swiss end of freeway/off-ramp sign’ are Vienna convention/European standard sign signifying start/end of motorway. They’re more or less identical to the ones used in Sweden, for instance. However, some countries use a green background while others use blue. I’m not sure exactly how much of that information ought to be in the captions. That aside, I agree with the comments under ‘Planning a massive rewrite’ about the galleries. -Ahruman 19:31, 29 May 2006 (UTC)


This is miscellaneous stuff that was improperly placed above the table of contents. Nova SS 20:17, 30 May 2006 (UTC)

I know that freeways are SUPPOSED to have traffic lights, by I know, at least in Perth, where I live, the Kwinana freeway had traffic lights down half of it. It was still the freeway. Only in the last 6 months have the remaining overpasses been built.

There are also several motorways in the UK with roundabouts on the main line (the M271, the A627(M) and the A601(M) come to mind, and arguably so does the M60 (at J18 all clockwise M60 traffic has to use a roundabout)); some of these have peak-time traffic lights. There are also several single carriageway motorways (A38(M), A601(M), A6144(M) and various link roads between "proper" motorways and ordinary roads) among other non-feats of engineering. Coversely, there are some (almost) fully grade-separated dual carriageway all-purpose roads (for example, the A42) and, bizarrely, some non-motorway "special roads" (to all intents and purposes, these are motorways, but they don't have blue signs or an M in the number).

This article does a fair amount of editorializing and sounds more like chit-chat than an article. I started whacking at it, but it needs more work. Daniel Quinlan 03:53, Nov 1, 2003 (UTC)

The recently-added graf about Santa Clara County expressways is both redundant (the term "expressway" is used there precisely as the definition above it states) and of marginal relevance. I'm inclined to delete it. 21:17, 25 Jan 2004 (UTC)

I put that paragraph in and I think it ought to stay. For most of the article, the distinction between freeways, motorways, expressways, etc. is described as primarily a regional difference in terms that describes fundamentally the same type of roadway. The expressways in Santa Clara County are fundamentally different types of roadways from freeways because they have at-grade intersections, and thus form an exception to the general rule that "expressways" and "freeways" are the same thing in different regional dialects. -- Nohat 00:30, 2004 Jan 26 (UTC)
I believe the definition in the second paragraph makes it quite clear that this is not true in the general case. The expressways in Santa Clara are exactly the same thing as are defined as "expressways" in both civil engineering jargon and U.S. and California law. I'll try to clarify other parts of the article where this is confused. 02:20, 26 Jan 2004 (UTC)
OK, I've now done this. I commented your text out but left it in the article, as I believe this issue is adequately dealt with elsewhere in the article. 02:43, 26 Jan 2004 (UTC)
I see the point about the differences being reflected in civil engineering jargon, but it seems to be the exception to non-civil engineers. Outside of the west coast area of the US, the word expressway (and variants like throughway, turnpike, etc.) are used to refer to what in California are called freeways, but not elsewhere. In other words, I-95 might be called an expressway or a highway or an interstate, but you'll get funny looks if you call it a "freeway" (or "the 95", but that's neither here nor there). "Freeway" is generally regarded as the term used by Californians. Admittedly, I have only driven around in 15 or so different states, but I have never encountered "expressways" like the ones in Santa Clara County, which is why I thought they warranted special mention. If the "Cross Bronx Expressway" were in California, it would be called a freeway. I recognize that technically freeways are a subset of expressways, but I don't think the article adequately deals with clarifying the dichotomy between nomenclatures, and as far as I can tell, roads which are expressways but not freeways are particularly uncommon. I could be wrong though. --Nohat 04:29, 2004 Jan 26 (UTC)
Hrm, nevermind, your changes seem to be OK. I just think that because non-freeway expressways are uncommon, areas where they occur might deserve special mention. --Nohat
I-95 in North Carolina (or I-94 in Michigan, for that matter) is absolutely called a freeway, both officially and in common use (at least when it's not just "the interstate"). In fact, it really is only those states which I've mentioned that don't call a freeway a "freeway". You are correct in suggesting that roads which are technically expressways are less commonly called that; in most places, such roads do not have any particular name (at least not that is known to the public). Perhaps there ought to be a separate expressway article with disambig links back here for the northeast/Chicago sense?
The first superhighway in the US was the Pennsylvania Turnpike, built on the incomplete remains of a railway line started during the age of competition of that system of transportation. ("You won't lower your rates for me to ship on your line--very well, I'll build my own railway" was the motivation. The rates were lowered when it looked as though it would get finished.) That was in 1940; and so, before the Federal Interstate Highway System, a few turnpikes, that is, toll superhighways, were built in the Northeast. These are still called: "Mass Pike," "New Jersey Turnpike," "Garden State Parkway," "Merritt Parkway," etc. They aren't just built to anywhere, and you say which one you are taking; suburbs identify with major cities, rather than being amorphous transportation. By saying "freeway" you're just talking like the Firesign Theatre. Generically, such roads within the US are called "interstates"; worldwide, they are called "superhighways" here in New England or the Middle Atlantic States. -- Sobolewski, June 7, 2005 (there's no datestamp button on this machine!)
Actually, across the West Coast and Southwest states, freeway is the generic term. Superhighway was once common in West Coast publications as late as the mid-1970s but since then has become quite rare. "Interstates" is not the generic term in this region because several states, notably California and Arizona, have long sections of freeway that are not part of the Interstate system and are not up to interstate standard. For example, California State Route 99, the main highway through California's Central Valley, has many areas that are not up to Interstate standard because of poor-quality pavement, narrow shoulders, tight turning radii on ramps, and low overpasses. AASHTO after 1990 became much more hostile to grandfathering in such obsolete roads into the Interstate system, so many local politicians are still debating about where California can find the money to upgrade Highway 99 — the city of Fresno in particular is rather enraged that it is the largest American city that lacks a direct Interstate connection.--Coolcaesar 21:10, 7 Jun 2005 (UTC)
FWIW, to my knowledge, in addition to the areas already mentioned "freeway" is in generic use in Texas and -- I seem to remember -- more of the Midwest than just Michigan. I'm thinking maybe Minnesota uses it, although I could be wrong. Also I believe much of Canada uses it -- isn't the 401 the McDonald-Cartier Freeway? At any rate, I've totally lost sight of the main point -- but then I checked the dates of this discussion and realized it goes back to early 2004! Why don't we start a separate discussion on "Where freeway is in use" or something, because the issue above seems to have long since died, no? -- PhilipR 21:20, 7 Jun 2005 (UTC)
The California meaning of Expressway is used officially by engineers in the whole U.S., and is used in road names at least as far east as Indiana. --SPUI (talk) 21:35, 7 Jun 2005 (UTC)

SPUI re-write contested

In concert with the Wikipedia:Categories for deletion/Log/2006 July 1 nomination to change the entire *pedia transportation category tree, SPUI just re-wrote this entire article. This is just a note to everybody to mark the occasion, and make it easier to find the old content.

--William Allen Simpson 02:05, 2 July 2006 (UTC)
Hahaha. --SPUI (T - C) 02:11, 2 July 2006 (UTC)
I don't agree 100% with what he did, but overall, I think SPUI's edits have mostly improved the article. I like the shift of general information towards the top of the article as much as possible and the shift of most of the country-specific information downward. --Coolcaesar 06:23, 2 July 2006 (UTC)
The only thing I strongly disagree with is the proposed merge with Autobahn and Motorway. It would be difficult to merge those into this article in a way that is coherent. Look at Lawyer for an example of how difficult it is to write an article that takes a worldwide view. --Coolcaesar 03:14, 3 July 2006 (UTC)
What the hell are you doing, SPUI? Now you've gone and proposed a merge with Autoroute! Please explain how such a merge would actually work rather than just proposing it. If you don't explain how and why, you're not going to get consensus for. It seems to me that autoroute, motorway and autobahn have a lot of information specific to those particular types of roads which would be inappropriate in a general article about freeways. --Coolcaesar 19:10, 3 July 2006 (UTC)
There's very little that's actually "specific to these types of roads" that's not simply specific to one country. Those things can be merged here, while the country-specific stuff can go in for instance Autoroute (Quebec). --SPUI (T - C) 00:58, 4 July 2006 (UTC)
Take a look at Autoroute now - I simply moved the specific stuff into Autoroutes of France and now it basically says "Autoroute is the French word for freeway". --SPUI (T - C) 01:08, 4 July 2006 (UTC)
Ah ha. Now I get it. Now that I see where you are going with this, I think your proposed division of subject matter is all right. So basically this article will be consolidating all information covering freeways in general and then we move all country-specific stuff to articles on national freeway systems. It would have helped if you had explained what you were about to do on the Talk page first, though. --Coolcaesar 03:02, 4 July 2006 (UTC)
Ah - I had figured the HTML comments in Autoroute etc would be enough. --SPUI (T - C) 07:25, 4 July 2006 (UTC)

The move of the content from autoroute is indeed contestable as in plain text, an autoroute is either a turnpike (privately owned and tolled motorway) or a freeway (a free to use dual expressway). The move of most of the information relevant to high speed roads to this article is a good idea, but merging and downright closing the autoroute article is not as it offers the definition of a distinct and specific type of road (See Tor (geography) for a type of Hill). The Autoroute article offers the dictionary definition whilst Autoroutes of France offers an operational definition and listing. Arguably and this seems to be the case with most multi national subjects, the main country (or original country) should not have its country suffix, i.e. Autoroute for France, and Autoroutes of Quebec for Quebec (which should by all means merged into Highways of Canada) and Autoroutes of Luxembourg.

I vote against the merger but generally agree with the recent changes. Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons 08:11, 4 July 2006 (UTC)

A freeway can be tolled. Freeways are free of cross traffic, not free as in beer. --SPUI (T - C) 08:22, 4 July 2006 (UTC)
That may be true, but I'm not changing my vote. Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons 08:26, 4 July 2006 (UTC)
We don't vote on Wikipedia; we discuss and come to consensus. --SPUI (T - C) 08:40, 4 July 2006 (UTC)
  • The bottom line is that this is a mess. A freeway is a type of limited access or controlled access road. Once a clean article is written on a limited access road, then you can determine what changes should be made about all of these other articles. Given the differences in usage by country, it might very well justify country specific articles based on their unique requirements. However they would all be based on the differences from the generic article. Vegaswikian 05:22, 5 July 2006 (UTC)
Well, the way I understand it is, the California (as in the Streets and Highways Code) and federal view (as in the MUTCD) is that controlled access means access is only at controlled interchanges (as in freeways) and limited access means that it's something more limited than arterial roads but not totally controlled (as in expressways). That is, my understanding is that both dichotomies are parallel; please correct me if you feel the situation is otherwise. Yes, I am aware that a few states focus on the controlled access v. limited access dichotomy as opposed to freeway v. expressway. The basic problem is that the terminology is completely screwed up, which is why AASHTO published the Standard Definitions book in 1959 and why I think we should stick with the MUTCD definitions. After all, "freeway" is an indigenous American word and everyone else is just borrowing it (kind of like "hypertext" or "Internet"). --Coolcaesar 05:50, 5 July 2006 (UTC)
Limited access road has been cleaned up; there is no single definition for it. The concept of a freeway - a road free of cross traffic and with access only at interchanges - is a widely-used concept with many general things to say. Splitting it by word is stupid, as it groups roads by (usually) the language or dialect used in the country rather than any actual characteristics of the road. --SPUI (T - C) 13:46, 6 July 2006 (UTC)
Splitting things "by word" is not stupid. It is what an encyclopaedia does. Articles are filed under terms that people might look up. The article explains what the term refers to, is used for, etc. zoney talk 23:56, 6 July 2006 (UTC)
Right, but what SPUI is trying to get across is that motorways, autoroutes, and autobahns are just like freeways in terms of what they look like right now. They are all divided roads with overpasses, underpasses, medians, interchanges, rest areas, and really big signs. The history leading to the construction of motorways, autoroutes, and autobahns differs significantly, but that can be dealt with in the articles on autoroutes and autobahns in particular countries. The point is that freeway is the dominant term in the English language (because Americans outnumber all other native speakers) and Wikipedia should have a centralized article describing the object as it exists around the world in its various forms, with pointers to articles covering local aspects. --Coolcaesar 00:57, 7 July 2006 (UTC)
I'm not even bringing in the numbers here - freeway is the only nonambiguous term I know of that describes all of these roads. Many non-motorways are built to freeway standards, for instance. (Which may in fact be a reason not to merge.) And freeway is not only used in the U.S. - it's also part of Australian English. (Freeways in Victoria, Monash Freeway, Princes Freeway, Graham Farmer Freeway, etc) --SPUI (T - C) 07:28, 7 July 2006 (UTC)
The term "freeway" is not used to describe these other types of roads; motorways, Autobahns, autoroutes. It is used only to describe those roads that people call freeways. You could just as easily (and falsely) say "motorway is the only nonambiguous term I know of that describes all of these roads". zoney talk 10:44, 7 July 2006 (UTC)
The term "freeway" does describe those by definition. A freeway is a road with no cross traffic and access only at interchanges. Not such a road only in the U.S. and Australia, but such a road, period. Unless you have an equivalent term (and motorway is not one, as it only describes those actually designated motorways by the Highways Agency), you'll have to accept the only known term. --SPUI (T - C) 11:24, 7 July 2006 (UTC)
If motorway is "not one", then how does the reverse work? How can the term freeway be applied to things which are not? zoney talk 12:05, 7 July 2006 (UTC)
All motorways are freeways. Not all freeways are motorways. Freeway is a definition based on characteristics of the road, while motorway (like A-road) is a definition based on what the Highways Agency designates as a motorway. --SPUI (T - C) 12:11, 7 July 2006 (UTC)
"All motorways are freeways" - says who? I am certain that there are motorways in the UK that are not remotely like the US concept of a freeway. You are really just making this up as you go along. Just because people from places that call some roads "freeways" call motorways freeways too, does not mean it's an appropriate label.
Furthermore, your comments are a direct admission that freeway and motorway are not interchangeable terms. And that's not even getting started on the entirely separate concept of Autobahns. (I do not myself know that much about autoroutes, so I'll leave that aside for now)
zoney talk 12:40, 7 July 2006 (UTC)
You're wrong - the motorway article makes it clear that motorways are freeways: "Motorways must be accessed at junctions by slip roads off the sides of the main carriageway". On the other hand, the West Cross Route is a freeway but has been downgraded from a motorway to a section of an A road. Unless you have an equivalent term to freeway, you'll have to accept the only known term. --SPUI (T - C) 12:58, 7 July 2006 (UTC)
How is freeway the "only known term"? It is not a term used to describe motorways, the term "motorway" is used for that. Freeway is not some kind of magical generic term. You said yourself, freeway is based on characteristics of the road, while motorway is a classification. Why then do you expect to merge two articles on such different concepts? Only countries using the term "freeway" have definitions for what characterises a freeway. zoney talk 14:23, 7 July 2006 (UTC)
Unless you have an equivalent term to freeway, you'll have to accept the only known term. --SPUI (T - C) 15:31, 7 July 2006 (UTC)
Exactly - there is no equivalent term, because motorway, autoroute and Autobahn are not equivalent. Do you not understand? Freeway is not an all-encompassing term, it is no more valid that choosing Motorway (which I am not suggesting either as a global term). zoney talk 15:55, 7 July 2006 (UTC)
Unless you have an equivalent term to freeway, you'll have to accept the only known term. --SPUI (T - C) 18:05, 7 July 2006 (UTC)
I accept the term freeway as referring to freeways. There is no need for an alternative term to freeway. There is no single term that is generically used to encompass all such high-capacity roads such as freeways, motorways, Autobahns and autoroutes. You are wrong in your suggestion that the term "freeway" is suitable for use in that role. If you are looking for a generic term, you still have not found it. zoney talk 20:01, 7 July 2006 (UTC)
How about Limited Access road? That should suffice. I also oppose all proposed mergers. JohnnyBGood t c VIVA! 23:42, 10 July 2006 (UTC)
Uh... read limited access road. --SPUI (T - C) 23:54, 10 July 2006 (UTC)

This merge suggestion is pretty outrageous. Sure the concepts are roughly similar, but they are not the same. And the "parent article" should not be at Freeway anyway. It's quite biased (even if unintentional) for it to be so. Freeway should describe just those things that are described as Freeways. Not motorways, Autobahns or autoroutes. zoney talk 23:44, 6 July 2006 (UTC)

What do you suggest as a non-ambiguous name for the set of roads that have no cross traffic or non-interchange access? --SPUI (T - C) 07:29, 7 July 2006 (UTC)
I don't know, but I sure know that it does not make sense for people to look up information about motorways, autoroutes and Autobahns under "freeway"! zoney talk 10:46, 7 July 2006 (UTC)
The proposed merger makes no sense. Agathoclea 18:02, 9 July 2006 (UTC)
Personally, I am fine with either the status quo or the proposed merger. I think that a reasonable compromise would be to keep motorway separate for the benefit of UK users but merge autoroute and autobahn into freeway and transfer all country-specific content to appropriate articles on country freeway systems as suggested by SPUI. --Coolcaesar 18:44, 9 July 2006 (UTC)
Motorway is mostly the same details for UK and Ireland, and where it is not, a parent article would need to compare differences anyways. As stands, motorway is not getting too long or requiring content be split from it (it's mostly general, and the country-specific stuff is not getting too long and is useful for comparison). zoney talk 00:25, 10 July 2006 (UTC)
Merging the Autobahn and Freeway articles would be outrageous: Germany and the US do not share the same road classification criteria. Mixsynth 01:59, 11 September 2006 (UTC)

proposal for re-organisation

To get back this whole thing back on the track, I'd like to propose a re-organisation in the following way:

  • expressway will be a generic article that talks about all roads designed for high speeds, i.e. that are grade-separated, have multiple lanes per direction, etc. It should have a section that talks about the categorization of expressways (e.g. that some countries make a distinction between motorways and other expressways, toll vs. non-toll, etc.)

Rationale: Expressway is the term used as the English equivalent of terms used in large countries such as China and India; it also seems to be the most generic. The other options are IMHO not acceptable in an international context: freeway seems too US-centric and ambigous (free of what? tolls? level crossings? speed limits?), motorways are a certain classification/legal status of expressways not used in all countries (and some motorways do not even meet the criteria for expressways but still have the legal status of motorways), super-highway or superhighway seems to be rarely used now.

-- 3247 20:29, 1 October 2006 (UTC)

  • the autobahn is unique to germany and deserves its own article, i would be against any merger 10:37, 14 October 2006 (UTC)
Consider moving this discusion to Talk:Types of road where we have started a general discussion for this complete topic. I think we should have a basic plan to cover the entire set of roads and then move forward. Doing this one by one could create more problems. If we can get Types of road structured correctly, then all of the road types should clearly defined. Vegaswikian 22:10, 1 October 2006 (UTC)

Why I took out the reference to Ontario Tall Walls

First, they are not mentioned in the Public Works article because they didn't exist in 1992. Second, searching on Google brings up only about 3,000 references, implying that they are relatively obscure. I've only seen tall walls on two very dangerous freeway segments in California. Jersey barriers, on the other hand, are very common. We do not need to mention every type of barrier in this article because we already have a link to crash barriers! The point is to keep it light for people who are not road geeks but are merely curious about what a freeway is. --Coolcaesar 03:11, 3 July 2006 (UTC)

Canadian Nomenclature

Does anyone else find it odd that the paragraph opens with a sentence that can be paraphrased as Freeway seems to be winning out in Canadian usage, excepting about two thirds of Canadians, who prefer other terms.? WilyD 15:16, 7 July 2006 (UTC)

Yeah, that's self-contradictory. Does anyone have any solid stats to show what is really going on? --Coolcaesar 16:57, 8 July 2006 (UTC)


I put a link to expressway in the lead paragraph but someone took it out. Please explain or else I'm putting it back. The reason to have a separate link to expressway is so that readers who are more familiar with expressways can see how the definition of expressway is completely screwed up so that no two areas of the world (or the United States, for that matter) agree on what an expressway is. Then they can come back here to read about the more precise and narrowly defined term, freeway. --Coolcaesar 16:57, 8 July 2006 (UTC)

This has to be he most inappropriate name for a move ever

Is this recent move a joke or this new article name actually serious ? Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons 12:32, 11 July 2006 (UTC)

It is WP:POINT Agathoclea 13:23, 11 July 2006 (UTC)
If there's a prize for the worst-named article in Wikipedia, I nominate this! Wasted Time R 14:15, 11 July 2006 (UTC)

Suggested way forward

I suggest this be moved back to freeway, and all the strictly non-US stuff removed. The current content, even if applicable elsewhere, is written from a US POV with all the associated terminology.

I propose a new article that details all road types/classifications used around the world. Call this something as boring as Types of road or Types of dual carriageway (I think the latter is suitable for what this article is trying to do at the moment).

Have short sections about Freeway, Motorway, Autobahn, etc., with a "main article" link at the head of each section linking to Freeway, Motorway, etc.

This would be far more well organised than this article is currently, and would avoid the drive to try and "group" the differing terms. At the same time it would provide the needed "overall view".

Depending on the length, it may make sense to cover *all* terms, including things like Expressway, dual carriageway, 2+1 road under a Types of road article.

zoney talk 16:09, 11 July 2006 (UTC)

I agree. We should move all non-US material to a different article. Freeway is the appropriate term in the US but as I've been trying to explain to User:SPUI calling an Autobahn or Motorway a Freeway is POV pushing a US POV. JohnnyBGood t c VIVA! 17:09, 11 July 2006 (UTC)
Sorry, actually, I err. Freeway should not only discuss the US concept of a freeway, but those other countries that officially have freeways. (as regards places that they are called something else, but other people call them freeways, just noting that usage is sufficient). zoney talk 17:30, 11 July 2006 (UTC)
Actually why not build on something like limited access road so that the various types of roads can be described as they relate to the generic features? I think that article goes back to the beginning of this type of road so it is a logical starting point. Given the number of people who want to split this, the edit history will be useless anywhere. And all of this apparently to prove a point. Split out that material into a primary article and then move the remainder into additional articles including freeway, expressway, motorway and all of the other types that need articles. Vegaswikian 17:42, 11 July 2006 (UTC)
Another reason to support a split is the current size of this article. Its around 40K which is larger then desired. So splitting is the recommended action tather then adding more material. Vegaswikian 17:47, 11 July 2006 (UTC)
Split off the overly-detailed information about "Foo uses freeway but Bar uses expressway". --SPUI (T - C) 18:56, 11 July 2006 (UTC)

This idea is bloody stupid. Are you going to split elevator and lift? --SPUI (T - C) 17:53, 11 July 2006 (UTC)

Lift is british slang for elevator in any reference I can find. Motorway however is not british slang for freeway. Infact Freeway, Motorway, Autobahn are all terms for High speed, divided, limited access road. I think Vegis is correct. We should expand Limited Access Road to encompass all the subordinate terms like Freeway, Motorway, Autobahn and then keep the seperate articles for each of the terms as we had quite nicely 2 weeks ago before SPUI went on a merge/move rampage. JohnnyBGood t c VIVA! 18:04, 11 July 2006 (UTC)
Lift is the british word for elevator. As for limited access road, read the bloody article and understand how ambiguous the term is. --SPUI (T - C) 18:54, 11 July 2006 (UTC)
True, and it also is the term for a different kind of lifting device from an elevator. So it should have a seperate article. As for "Limited Access Road" that article can be easily expanded to remove the ambiguity. I'd also point out that since you wrote the majority of the article the reason it is ambiguous is because you made it such. JohnnyBGood t c VIVA! 18:58, 11 July 2006 (UTC)


I find it interesting that "Superhighway" is not mentioned in this article, yet many people on this talk page use "superhighway" as the general term for all these roads (as do I). I haven't seen any information that leads me to believe that Superhighway is not the correct term for these roads. SPUI says it is ambiguously used, yet that might be a good thing for the purpose of naming this article. It is not commonly used, but when it is, it seems to be used as the general term for these roads. Since it is not commonly used in any specific region, it isn't the best term for any region, but it may be the best "common denominator" for all regions. The rise of the term "Information Superhighway" may also have improved people's understanding of the term to be "the fastest of roads with full control of access and no cross traffic." The online definitions I have found also seem to support using this word for this article. -- Samuel Wantman 00:05, 12 July 2006 (UTC)

The term superhighway is not used for motorways in Ireland, the UK, or probably other countries that have motorways. Furthermore, even if people in the US use it to describe Autobahn, autoroute, etc. - other English speaking countries do not. And finally, it's stretching it to suggest it's precise enough to only refer to freeways, and not other types of road in the US.
It's kidding yourself to think it's a suitable term.
I still say the best thing is to have a page about different types of road. Then it can be made clear for example, what is different between freeways and other dual carriageways in the US, and motorways/Autobahns/autoroutes can also be discussed and compared without categorising them as freeways.
zoney talk 10:26, 12 July 2006 (UTC)
Superhighway has also been applied to four-lane highways with no control of access. The best name may in fact be "highway with full control of access and no cross traffic". --SPUI (T - C) 10:28, 12 July 2006 (UTC)
I don't think this is a good idea. I think it would be far preferable to move this article to Freeways in the United States, remove the non-US content, and add it to a new article Types of road; that deals with freeways (all types, US or not), motorways, Autobahns, autoroutes, etc. Other terms like Expressway can also be detailed. Each section can link to the appropriate article.
This article as stands, is mostly about the US situation, or at best, from a US point of view. The world stuff is as if it's "tacked on". It's not enough that some of the "characteristics" and such are applicable elsewhere - that is just coincidence, the section does not read as designed to be universal (and if it were, it would be far too messy with too many clauses, exceptions and gotchas).
zoney talk 12:41, 12 July 2006 (UTC)
Also, the term "superhighway" is becoming archaic in American English on the West Coast, especially spoken English. I know it is still alive in some other parts of the country, but in California one would get a funny look for using it. The only people I have seen consistently using it (in print or person) are all over the age of 50. Most Americans west of the Mississippi simply use the word freeway, which is the term endorsed by the MUTCD anyway. --Coolcaesar 20:34, 13 July 2006 (UTC)
The following discussion is an archived debate of the proposal. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the debate was no consensus. As the general article, it is more important. Information should be split from it, not the other way around. Obviously the article needs work to de-US it, but that is no reason to move it.--liquidGhoul 03:56, 21 July 2006 (UTC)

Requested move, and related split

FreewayFreeways in the United States – Most of the article is US-specific. There are attempts to create a parent article for freeway, motorway, autobahn, autoroute. This is better created on a fresh article rather than amending an article that covers the US quite well. Therefore, a separate but related request is to split some of the article to Types of road (or alternative title) - particularly the section Nomenclature but also some paragraphs that are not US-specific in other sections (these are minimal at best). zoney talk 13:02, 12 July 2006 (UTC) (Copied from the entry on the WP:RM page).


Add an opinion, then sign your opinion with ~~~~
  • There is certainly enough here that relates to more than the U.S. I specifically rewrote the intro and general characteristics, and most parts of those apply to the whole world. If this is moved I will copy-paste all of that back into whatever article is about freeways worldwide. --SPUI (T - C) 13:11, 12 July 2006 (UTC)
    • How about not having an article that applies worldwide but only articles for specific regions, all of these have detail of the concept of the road + specificies of the country's highway code and practice. Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons 14:29, 20 July 2006 (UTC)
  • I concur with Zoney's suggestion above. Matthew 01:32, 13 July 2006 (UTC)


Add any additional comments

An alternative would have been to split the US-specific content, and rename this article. However, as the majority of the article pertains to the US, and is reasonably comprehensive, the requested move makes more sense.

Also some effort is needed to properly organise a "generic" or "parent" article about different types of road, or freeway-like roads. This is better done on a new separate article. Also when such an article is created, it can be renamed if necessary (the naming of such an article is an issue).

Finally, even if a generic article remained at "Freeway", there is so much information about freeways in the US, that a new article is necessary. Again, I say a split would not make sense when the majority of the content can be used in a Freeways in the United States article.

zoney talk 13:07, 12 July 2006 (UTC)

I agree with SPUI that some of the article as stands applies to more than the US. However, if one reads the article, it is clear that these are amendments to a largely US-specific article. Some sections such as "general characteristics" unsurprisingly have information that applies to roads elsewhere in the world (US roads are not entirely dissimilar from others), but nevertheless, are US-focussed. Rather than edit the bottom out of these sections, they should form part of a US-specific article. A new article about road types around the world can make use of such information (even copy some sentences), but would not be composed in the same fashion.
zoney talk 13:19, 12 July 2006 (UTC)
Then we have an article fork: "Freeways in the U.S. have foo characteristics." "Freeways in general have foo characteristics." --SPUI (T - C) 13:40, 12 July 2006 (UTC)
No - most of the article apart from Nomenclature should stay as is. I don't suggest copying wholesale from what is left either. See Types of road, which I have created to demonstrate my suggestion (it can still be renamed, deleted, etc. if the outcome of this discussion demands it).
I think it is not sensible to attempt to be precise in detailing characteristics of freeway-like roads in general terms (i.e. for all countries). It is far better in my opinion to leave that to each local article, as the emphasis will differ, as will the particulars. Even if there are shared concepts, it is not necessary to merge such information. zoney talk 13:54, 12 July 2006 (UTC)
Yeah, it should stay as it is - at its current location. Show me any US-focused piece in the general characteristics. --SPUI (T - C) 14:05, 12 July 2006 (UTC)
Apart from anything else, article length dictates this! zoney talk 13:55, 12 July 2006 (UTC)
What length? --SPUI (T - C) 14:05, 12 July 2006 (UTC)
With the appropriate information included on systems around the world, the article would be too long combined with the earlier sections. zoney talk 14:39, 12 July 2006 (UTC)

The following is an analysis of the section General characteristics, and its being a poor "general rule" section for all countries - while it is almost universally applicable to the US. Sections objected to are in bold, analysis is in italics. Note that I do not object to the section as written; if it were used in an article Freeways in the United States (some generalisations that attempt to extend to other countries would need removed). zoney talk 14:39, 12 July 2006 (UTC)

Freeways, by definition, have no cross traffic in the form of other roads, railroads or multi-use trails. Elimination of cross traffic is typically achieved with grade separation using underpasses and overpasses. In addition to sidewalks attached to roads that cross a freeway, specialized pedestrian bridges or underground tunnels may also be provided. These structures enable pedestrians and cyclists to cross the freeway without a long detour to the nearest motor vehicle crossing. Movable bridges are occasionally present on freeways, requiring drivers to yield to river traffic. (What "definition" is this? It's different in each country as to what their "equivalent" of the freeway is. And using the term freeway is particularly erroneous combined with this - other countries do not define what a freeway is, they define what a Motorway, Autobahn, Autoroute, etc. is. Also note US terminology, "railroads, sideways". Moveable bridges is a very rare and specific item to throw into such a general section.)
Access is typically provided only at interchanges, though lower-standard right-in/right-out access can be used for direct connections to side roads or driveways to adjacent property. In ideal cases, sophisticated interchanges allow for smooth, uninterrupted transitions between intersecting freeways. However, sometimes it is necessary to exit onto a surface road to transfer from one freeway to another.[2] Exits are sometimes numbered to help drivers identify their exit. (Typically? That's not really explanatory. In some countries, it is always - in others, not. There's little point to trying to give a general rule)
Two-lane freeways, often undivided, are sometimes built when traffic volumes are low or right-of-way is limited; they may be designed for easy conversion to one side of a four-lane freeway. Otherwise, freeways typically have at least two lanes in each direction; some busy ones can have as many as 16 lanes[3] or up to 18 for short distances.[4] These wide freeways may use separate collector and express lanes to separate through traffic from local traffic, or special high-occupancy vehicle lanes, either as a special restriction on the innermost lane or a separate roadway, to encourage carpooling. These HOV lanes, or roadways open to all traffic, can be reversible lanes, providing more capacity in the direction of heavy traffic, and reversing direction before traffic switches. Sometimes a collector/distributor road, a shorter version of a local lane, shifts weaving between closely-spaced interchanges to a separate roadway or altogether eliminates it. (No evidence of applicability to elsewhere in the world other than the US, even if it may incidentally apply in some locations)
Freeways can have frontage roads, normal surface roads parallel to and on either side of the freeway, to provide access to adjacent properties. Frontage roads typically have one-way traffic flow in urban areas and two-way traffic flow in rural areas.[citation needed] (ditto - the "citation needed" says it all - frontage road is not necessarily a term in use outside the US)
Except on some two-lane freeways (and very rarely on wider freeways), a median separates the opposite directions of traffic. This strip may be as simple as a grassy area, or may include a crash barrier such as a Jersey barrier to prevent head-on collisions.[5] On some freeways, the two carriageways are built on different alignments; this may be done to make use of available corridors in a mountainous area or to provide narrower corridors through dense urban areas.
Speed limits are generally higher than on similar non-freeways, and are sometimes nonexistent (for instance on some German Autobahns). Because the high speeds reduce decision time, freeways are usually equipped with a larger number of guide signs than other roads, and the signs themselves are physically larger. In major cities, guide signs are often mounted on overpasses or overhead gantries so that drivers can see where each lane goes. (Generally higher - again, this is probably true, but is written here as some kind of guess. The latter point again just guesses as to the general rule - sure it's mostly true, but it differs significantly between countries)
In most[citation needed] parts of the world, there are public rest areas or service areas on freeways. Many countries also provide emergency phones alongside freeways at regular intervals. (again with the citation needed - "sure it's true in the US at least, let's stick it in")

The sections Effects and controversy and History are now appropriately tagged as not a worldwide view. There is little point to tearing them apart to create general "around the world" sections, as they are perfectly good US-specific sections. Again, I say there is not so much point in splitting them, rather than moving the entire article and splitting the non-US stuff.

zoney talk 14:42, 12 July 2006 (UTC)

I asked for information/facts that are US-specific, not terms. We have to choose one term over another; see Wikipedia:Manual of Style#Disputes over style issues. If you refuse to accept this I'll just have to ignore you. --SPUI (T - C) 16:03, 12 July 2006 (UTC)
Most of what I've highlighted above is not to do with terms, but rather definitions. As for the terms, I have made it clear that freeway does not directly correspond with motorway, autobahn, autoroute, etc. As you yourself have said, these differ as to whether they are a type of road, a classification, or both. It is only for the first instance that you can use a term from elsewhere (namely freeway) that means roughly the same thing as a term used somewhere else. For precise definitions of classification schemes, that is incorrect. This section attempts to define what a <freeway-like-road> is using the word "freeway". That just doesn't make sense if you are extending the explanation to cover classifications such as motorway (and incidentally, I think it is better not to extend the explanation, I think it is better to explain them separately).
As for ignoring me on the alleged basis of my not accepting preferred style; that would be exceedingly ignorant of you.
zoney talk 21:18, 12 July 2006 (UTC)
Reviewing the article and the discussion above, I am reasonably convinced that this is a meritless recommendation. Kelly Martin (talk) 13:12, 16 July 2006 (UTC)
I don't find the article appallingly US-centric at all, but perhaps Australian freeways are just similar to their US counterparts? It seems to me we have a good core for a decent non-biased article here, and would be best off just splitting away the stuff that applies only to the USA, rather than starting again. fuddlemark (befuddle me!) 14:38, 16 July 2006 (UTC)
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of the debate. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

Comments at Wikipedia:Requested moves

The following is moved from Wikipedia:Requested moves, that page is not for discussion. zoney talk 22:13, 12 July 2006 (UTC)

Zoney is arguing that simply because the article uses U.S. English, it should be moved, and a content fork should be made with British English. --SPUI (T - C) 16:05, 12 July 2006 (UTC)
Nonsense. Please note actual rationale. Inconsequential whether British or US English used. Please keep discussion to Talk:Freeway. zoney talk 22:11, 12 July 2006 (UTC)

Do you think you could avoid "British English" as the default name for English As She Is Spoke Outside the USA? fuddlemark (befuddle me!) 14:40, 16 July 2006 (UTC)

Another suggestion: High-speed roads

Like the eskimos who have umpteen words for snow, we seem to have many words for these roads and there is clearly not one that works in all places and has a precise enough definition. So we have to either:

  • not use a single term,
  • divide up the article into several,
  • or incorporate more information into this article to come up with a more general article.

I don't think there's been much discsussion about the third option, and perhaps it is the best option. I'm suggestion that this article be renamed High-speed roads and that it also mention the types of roads that are not technically "freeways" or "motorways". If someone is interested in these roads, they would be interested in the distinctions and differences between them. The roads without controlled access are only high speed roads in rural areas without heavy traffic. The reason someone comes to this page is probably because they are interested in the broader subject and/or trying to understand the differences between all these roads. Making the article broader would be helpful. -- Samuel Wantman 07:06, 13 July 2006 (UTC)

What is high-speed? A two-lane Farm to Market Road in Texas with 70 mph speed limit? An old congested urban freeway with 30 mph speed limit? --SPUI (T - C) 11:18, 13 July 2006 (UTC)
I concur with SPUI that the concept is totally unworkable. Also, "high-speed road" is a term that no one actually uses in ordinary speech, unless one is referring to the literal translation of the Chinese word for freeway. Wikipedia policy is to base article titles on terms which people commonly use (see Wikipedia:Naming conventions).
At this point, with Zoney and the other UK editors indicating that they are really offended by merging motorway-related information into this article, I am increasingly inclined to go the other way. That is, I suggest purging all information out of freeway that is not directly relevant to freeways in places where the term is actually used. This would imply that we need to strictly limit the scope of the freeway article to the United States and some parts of Australia. Similarly, we need to purge all road terms (motorway, autoroute, autobahn) of information not specific to the areas in which they are used (if a term is specific to one part of the world). Then we can use Types of road as the primary home for all the information on nomenclature complexity (not only for freeways or expressways but all kinds of roads). The advantage of this approach is that Types of road can incorporate discussions of weird usages like "trail" and show how they fit into the road network as a whole. Many developers use (or abuse) the word trail for arterial roads, and Alberta in particular has freeways which are called "trails."
We can also have a footer template to help users get to and from Types of road and the other articles on other types of roads around the world. --Coolcaesar 20:48, 13 July 2006 (UTC)
Which is a good idea and still can be done. The issue could be how you arrange these. My personal opinion would be to put controlled access and limited access at the top. Followed by a section on high speed road types that meet the general concept for those roads and finally a section for the low speed road types that meet the limited access definition. Vegaswikian 19:41, 14 July 2006 (UTC)
I would refrain from using controlled access and limited access, because they are so poorly defined that the MUTCD only uses them in a couple of spots. Yes, I am aware a few states use controlled access and limited access as their terms, but then the definitions vary widely between those states. In contrast, freeway and expressway are heavily used throughout the MUTCD and in the laws of six states, as was pointed out in the text that I drafted (which SPUI split off to Types of road). Also, non-road geeks---that is, most people---prefer freeway and expressway. --Coolcaesar 20:00, 14 July 2006 (UTC)
How would you suggest that the nav template be arranged? Vegaswikian 20:02, 14 July 2006 (UTC)

Probably something like this (this is just a quick brainstorming proposal and not set in stone):

Types of roads
(horizontal line)
Small or short: Alley Lane Cul-de-sac
Through traffic, without access controls or with limited access controls: Road Street Highway Arterial road 2+1 road Dual carriageway Expressway
High speed with controlled access: Freeway Autobahn Motorway Autoroute

I know this needs work, let's see what everyone else thinks. --Coolcaesar 16:37, 16 July 2006 (UTC)

  • 'Through traffic, accessible to all' is a little vague, how about 'without access controls or with limited access controls'. The definition have been the issue so allowing grouping with multiple definitions might help get consensus. Vegaswikian 17:31, 16 July 2006 (UTC)
    • Okay, how about this: I'm revising to controlled access and limited access. Also, I'm transferring Dual carriageway and expressway up to the middle category because of their vague nature. --Coolcaesar 01:38, 17 July 2006 (UTC)
      • Looks reasonable. Where does Toll road go or is it a modifier for the other cases? Also does anyone know what California calls their private toll roads, a freeway? And finally what is the classification for a freeway in California that also has toll lanes? Vegaswikian 02:01, 17 July 2006 (UTC)

I believe it is easier to attempt to distinguish road types by the volumes of traffic they are designed to carry. I think the format as stands on Types of road is the best option so far. zoney talk 09:26, 17 July 2006 (UTC)

How's something like {{Types of road}} (with appropriate expansion of course)? --SPUI (T - C) 10:13, 17 July 2006 (UTC)

  • I did fill it in and tried to used headings that may avoid some of the phrases that have been consensus issues. Let's get this filled out and working. I think if we do, it can lead to consensus on the rest of the issues since we can see the issues in one place. I'm not happy with all of the headings, but like SPUI basically said, it's a start. Vegaswikian 18:22, 17 July 2006 (UTC)
  • As to the name of the template, is this confusing with the other type of road classification that would cover ice road and gravel road? They are both type classifications. One solution would be to include the second set in the template so that all of the road typing is in one template. Vegaswikian 18:39, 17 July 2006 (UTC)
    • Non-motorway/freeway/etc routes that are described as dual carriageway are still often fully grade-separated. Also the heading that dual carriageway is currently under is inaccurate for another reason - the term when used as a road type rather than classification, applies to roads like motorways, freeways, etc.
    • A separate issue - this template is far far too large for adding to the bottom of all the pages about those kind of roads.
    • zoney talk 23:02, 17 July 2006 (UTC)
      • The size and layout can be adjusted if we have consensus on the contents. What change could be made to deal with the placement of dual carriageway? Vegaswikian 23:29, 17 July 2006 (UTC)
        • Can someone explain the difference between types of road and road classification? It sounds like there is a difference here between American English and British English that I'm just not understanding. --Coolcaesar 03:04, 18 July 2006 (UTC)

FYI: From the Highway Performance Monitoring System Field Manual:

  • Public Road: ... any road or street ... open to public travel.
  • Highway: The term highway includes roads, streets, and parkways ...
  • Divided Highway: A multi-lane facility with a ... median ...
  • Expressway: A divided highway facility with partial control of access and two or more lanes for the exclusive use of through traffic in each direction; includes grade separations at most major intersections.
  • Freeway: A divided highway facility with full control of access ...

-- Wiley 10:05, 18 July 2006 (UTC)

I already know those definitions, since they're just like the definitions in the MUTCD. What I'm referring to is the distinction that Zoney and some of the other UK editors keep making between types of road and road classification as if they're two separate things. I've never seen that in American English. --Coolcaesar 12:31, 18 July 2006 (UTC)
According to OVERSEAS ROAD NOTE, type refers to the construction and surface of the road (gravel, for example). The British Roads FAQ states that "There are three tiers of classification: motorways, A-roads and B-roads." --Wiley 19:11, 18 July 2006 (UTC)
It's non-trivial to say the least. In Ireland, there are between three and four classifications of road. There are national roads, regional roads, and local roads. National roads are further divided into national primary roads and national secondary roads. Motorways are not a separate class as such, but rather a designation or restriction on parts or all of routes (currently there are coincidentally no motorways that are not part or all of a national primary route). Dual carriageway is used as a road type description (for roads of any class that have two carriageways). zoney talk 21:58, 19 July 2006 (UTC)

Technical language

The language in the introduction tends to use too much jargon and technical terms. While there are some links for these terms, it nevertheless makes for difficult reading. The heavyweight language and definitions need to come later in the article. The introduction would be more user-friendly with less technical terms and more plain descriptions. For some useful guidelines: Wikipedia:Make technical articles accessible SilkTork 21:36, 14 July 2006 (UTC)

The older drafts of the article (around March 2006) tended to be less technical. Unfortunately, a lot of road geeks have edited it since then! --Coolcaesar 22:35, 14 July 2006 (UTC)

Continue discussion on a possible name chage

Copied from the survey above that was closed as no consensus. Vegaswikian 06:51, 21 July 2006 (UTC)

  • There is certainly enough here that relates to more than the U.S. I specifically rewrote the intro and general characteristics, and most parts of those apply to the whole world. If this is moved I will copy-paste all of that back into whatever article is about freeways worldwide. --SPUI (T - C) 13:11, 12 July 2006 (UTC)
    • How about not having an article that applies worldwide but only articles for specific regions, all of these have detail of the concept of the road + specificies of the country's highway code and practice. Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons 14:29, 20 July 2006 (UTC)
      • I think we really need the parent article to tie all of the others together. Otherwise you will get merge requests since they are similar. The issue is the name. Everyone proposed gets shot down. Any suggestions for a geographic netrual name? Vegaswikian 18:42, 20 July 2006 (UTC)
        • I already tried highway with full control of access and no cross traffic, but was reverted. --SPUI (T - C) 21:34, 20 July 2006 (UTC)
          • Too confusing and long. Why not Access controlled highway? Vegaswikian 00:36, 21 July 2006 (UTC)
            • Too ambiguous. See controlled access highway. --SPUI (T - C) 06:42, 21 July 2006 (UTC)
            • End of copy. New comments below.
              • Given the number of issues with that article it is not a good point of reference. The problem is that a lot of changes are being made without a clear idea of how this all fits together. Consensus has not been reached on what terms should be used and what they mean. So selecting an umbrella name that defines some of these concepts in a netural way can only help to move the entire process forward. Vegaswikian 06:51, 21 July 2006 (UTC)
                • I think we need to focus on what is easily recognizable. I do not want to settle on a politically correct compromise which is used nowhere and satisfies no one. Besides, such a name would directly conflict with the Wikipedia:Naming conventions policy; please read it first before replying. --Coolcaesar 07:00, 21 July 2006 (UTC)

My suggested solution is still to use Types of road as a parent article, and improve that. I do not think there is a suitable term to group roads/classifications such as freeways, motorways, autobahns, etc. under. zoney talk 12:13, 21 July 2006 (UTC)

Can we get rid of Category:highways with full control of access and no cross traffic

Now we have gotten rid of Highways with full control of access and no cross traffic, can we now get rid of Category:highways with full control of access and no cross traffic ? The previously ridiculously named article is also just as ridiculous as a category. There is no need for a category for highways with full control of access and no cross traffic when I'm sure Category:Types of roads is accurate and non ambiguous as it is.

The whole highways with full control of access and no cross traffic thing has to stop, it's ridiculous, long and what ? Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons 17:30, 21 July 2006 (UTC)

--William Allen Simpson 18:47, 21 July 2006 (UTC)
Are you going to accept calling these all freeways? --SPUI (T - C) 18:58, 21 July 2006 (UTC)
I'd prefer sticking with Limited Access Roads. Sure it's not perfect, but it seems to work. Unless anyone would object to "Freeways and Motorways" a and then redirect both to it? JohnnyBGood t c VIVA! 20:31, 21 July 2006 (UTC)
Ok, again, how about no category specifically for dual carriage way high speed with middle barrier and slip roads roads and have all the different types of ditto in Types of roads. Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons 20:56, 21 July 2006 (UTC)

I object to "Freeways and Motorways", too narrow, and the current name includes many countries. However, I like having this page, to describe the term Freeway, and given cogent examples. I like having the other terms (such as Motorway, Expressway), too. They all fit nicely under Category:Limited-access roads (edit | talk | history | links | watch | logs).

--William Allen Simpson 20:59, 21 July 2006 (UTC)
Do you object to elevator? --SPUI (T - C) 21:21, 21 July 2006 (UTC)

What's wrong with having a "Freeways and motroways" category as a subcategory of "Limited access roads"? --Polaron | Talk 21:31, 21 July 2006 (UTC)

Nothing in my opinion. Though I'd also hope the limited-access cat would disappear due to the ambiguity of the term. --SPUI (T - C) 21:37, 21 July 2006 (UTC)
Well an advantage of the ambiguity is that more things will fit under it. However putting a subcat for "Freeways and Motorways" under Limited access roads would accomplish the goals of both parties I think. JohnnyBGood t c VIVA!
I believe everything in the list at Limited access road along with any that should be added to that list should be the subcats. It includes the ones mentioned above and many more. Vegaswikian 22:39, 21 July 2006 (UTC)
I would support and agree with that. JohnnyBGood t c VIVA! 22:43, 21 July 2006 (UTC)
Would you split Category:elevators? --SPUI (T - C) 22:45, 21 July 2006 (UTC)
I might split the two or three "lift" articles out but everything else under the "elevator" category is an elevator according to the article titles. But we're comparing apples and oranges here anyway so I don't see how it's relevant. JohnnyBGood t c VIVA! 22:47, 21 July 2006 (UTC)
"I might split the two or three "lift" articles out" - this is where you're wrong. We don't split stuff by dialect of English. --SPUI (T - C) 22:55, 21 July 2006 (UTC)
Not when they're the same thing no. Lift is by definition in any english dictionary a British term for elevator. However the same does not apply to something like say Motorway to Freeway. Infact Motorway is generally termed as either a high speed limited access road in it's own right or as a British term for Expressway, not Freeway. JohnnyBGood t c VIVA! 22:58, 21 July 2006 (UTC)
Motorways are a subset of freeways. The concept of highways with full access control and no cross traffic is a common one that transcends dialect and language boundaries. --SPUI (T - C) 23:00, 21 July 2006 (UTC)
I disagree. Setting aside the fact that Motorway may actually be the older term. Motorways are most definitely not freeways. There are fundamental differences in their design alone that make the assertion that they are impossible. JohnnyBGood t c VIVA! 23:02, 21 July 2006 (UTC)
Uh, a freeway is a highway with full access control and no cross traffic. Motorways fit the bill. --SPUI (T - C) 23:09, 21 July 2006 (UTC)
The same could be said for the opposite too. Your definition of Motorway could cover a Freeway as well. JohnnyBGood t c VIVA! 00:46, 25 July 2006 (UTC)

Other definitions

  • From [1]:
    1. 'A major divided highway designed for high-speed travel, having few or no intersections. Also called freeway, limited access highway, superhighway, thruway.
  • From [2]:
    1. 'See expressway.
    2. A highway without tolls.'
  • From [3]:
    1. 'an expressway with fully controlled access
    2. a toll-free highway'
  • From [4]:
    'The success of the parkway system led to the introduction of the freeway, which is a divided highway with no conflicting traffic movements and no access from adjoining properties. In Germany between ... '
  • From [5]:
    1. 'roads Same as expressway
    2. toll-free road: a highway that can be used without paying a toll'
    Those sources seem to agree for the most part that an expressway and a freeway are similar but are different. They also support that free, as in without tolls, is also a valid definition. Vegaswikian 17:45, 23 July 2006 (UTC)

"A highway/road without tolls" is as ambiguous as you can get - ambiguous enough to bring into question the suitability of said definition. The cul-de-sac I live on is a road without tolls, but no one would ever consider it a freeway. I move that we limit ourselves to definitions that engineers, governments and the like use. --SPUI (T - C) 21:58, 23 July 2006 (UTC)

Australian state governments frequently mean 'a road without tolls' when naming a road a freeway (toll roads called motorway or even tollway) - see List of freeways in Australia 23:39, 21 November 2006 (UTC)

Clarencevilletrojan just made some really inept edits

It looks like Clarencevilletrojan is a newbie who is unfamiliar with the history of this article. The "at-grade freeways" he describes are actually expressways under both federal law and the law of his own state. See the text in Types of road which was copied from the old version of this article (and which I originally drafted and provided the legal citations for).

However, Clarencevilletrojan's confusion is understandable in light of the fact that we have come to a stalemate on the issue of how to deal with freeways, expressways, motorways, and the like. I believe we need to resolve the debate soon before any more newbies wander into the situation and make the road-related articles even more of a mess than they already are. --Coolcaesar 05:25, 29 July 2006 (UTC)

Oops. He was only modifying text that was posted by an earlier user. I am tracing back and will find out who the responsible clown was in a minute. --Coolcaesar 05:27, 29 July 2006 (UTC)

Got it. It's this edit [6] by on 18 July 2006. Appears to be inept at best, possible vandalism at worst. Also, I believe this confusion illustrates how the explanation moved to Types of road needs to come back here for the benefit of newbies who do not understand federal transportation law. Any objections? If no one objects, I'm fixing this mess next week. --Coolcaesar 05:30, 29 July 2006 (UTC)

It demonstrates how Freeways in the United States should be an article in its own right. A general article on freeway-like roads (which is not a clearly defined grouping, and as such is not sensible), should not go into the specifics of US federal law, etc. zoney talk 16:58, 6 August 2006 (UTC)
Right, but then if you split that off, the incident just noted above indicates that we will have a lot of dumb newbies putting U.S.-specific information right back into the article, much of which will not be correct. It seems to me, then, that the only workable long-term solution would be to turn freeway into a very general disambiguation article (two paragraphs at most explaining the terminology issue) with links to Freeways in the United States and Freeways in Australia, followed by a See also section with links to expressways, motorways, autobahns, etc. How about that? --Coolcaesar 17:38, 6 August 2006 (UTC)
As types of roads states, these names mean different things in different places. We have to accept that fact and the fact that there is a common usage for the name and a meaning that is codified in some way. I'm not convinced that we need an article for a road type in every country. We should be able to write an article on a freeway and then explain the differences in the various countries. We have to clearly address what the common and the codified usage is. For me, this means a high level article to put all of these in perspective. An article that allows a reader to understand the global meaning of a term and yet understand how this affects roads in a single country. This may mean using terms to group these types of roads that don't have a globally accepted definition. But as long as they help the reader understand, this should not be a problem. Rewriting types of road to be that top article would be an undertaking, but may be the logical starting point. While that rewrite is going on, we would need to remember that material should not be deleted, but moved into the other articles that would be cleaned up next. Those other articles would be listed as the main articles and cleaned up next. This is not a job for one person, but for a team who, while not always in agreement, are at least working on the same page to the same game plan. Vegaswikian 18:23, 6 August 2006 (UTC)
And it's been almost two weeks. What game plan are we going with? I agree with you that we should be able to treat freeways in one article, expressways in another, motorways in another, and so on, with Types of road as the unifying parent article (along with an appropriate footer template). Do we have agreement on that? --Coolcaesar 05:49, 20 August 2006 (UTC)
Seems reasonable. One question concerns the structure of types of road. Is that article layed out correctly? If the article has an acceptable layout, then I guess the next step is dealing with the citations. This is really two parts. The first determining if everything really needs citations and for those that do, locate them. Without a strong top article, it will be impossible to move forward past this one article. Should this discussion move to talk:types of road to get the ball rolling? Vegaswikian 06:07, 20 August 2006 (UTC)
Certainly. --Coolcaesar 06:30, 20 August 2006 (UTC)

Drifting towards entropy, it seems

Well, I guess this article is becoming more and more of a mess (starting with the fact that it has the motorway icon at the top, which is never used in the country where the term "freeway" was pioneered, the United States). I'm too busy working on Lawyer as well as keeping up with my professional career to fix this mess, and it looks like everyone else is busy with school or work.

I briefly looked around on CalCat over the weekend and it looks like a few libraries do carry the old AASHTO Highway Definitions book, which would help clear up a lot of the arguments over definitions! Unfortunately, the only library with a copy that's 60 miles of me is the Institute of Transportation Studies Library at UC Berkeley, which has extremely limited public access hours (1-5 pm) and is closed weekends. So I won't be able to get up there for a few months. On the weekdays I'm just too busy with lawyer stuff like depositions. --Coolcaesar 07:50, 15 November 2006 (UTC)

I finally got the Highway Definitions book! Though it's actually a booklet. I'm going to start cleaning up this article and Expressway this weekend as I've been discussing over at Talk:Types of road. --Coolcaesar 06:03, 2 December 2006 (UTC)
"which is never used in the country where the term "freeway" was pioneered, the United States" - What does that matter?
  • Perhaps Freeway is a distinctly US name for an international concept, in which case the article should be renamed a la Airplane to something internationally neutral.
  • Or perhaps freeway is a sufficiently internationally-accepted name for a main article title, in which case every locale with freeways enjoys equal stake in the article.
  • Or finally, as seems to be the settled consensus, perhaps freeway is a distinct concept, not just a distinct name; if so, the article needs to be pruned to be relevant to freeways and not autopistas etc. I think that's clearly the WRONG way to approach it, in that it's totally unlike how Wikipedia handles any other varying names for a concept, but hey -- it looks to me that a bunch of US-based road enthuisasts have been successful in promoting this aberrant view to the point where it is pretty much consensus. I might change my point of view if I could be convinced that freeway were a totally separate concept from motorway, autopista, or what have you.
You want to have your cake and eat it too, by having an article on international limited-access highways remain under this name and retain international content but then privileging the United States based on the name of the article. Indeed, the article is outrageously US-centric, and apparently some of the rationale has to do with nomenclature. I'm too lazy to pull out WP standards at the moment (maybe later) but I'm pretty sure that parlay (name an international concept by the US name, keep international content in the article, then complain about its prominence w/r/t US content) is inherently unWikipedian. - PhilipR 14:56, 3 December 2006 (UTC)
Freeway originated in the US. So why should this not be directed to the US and also include other areas that have adopted this term and also mention the names used by other places that have adopted this concept? Vegaswikian 19:34, 3 December 2006 (UTC)
To the extent that the freeways themselves (rather than the term freeway) originated in the US, your point has some validity. But don't the German Autobahnen predate any US freeways, so that by your rationale the article would need to be Germanocentric? Regardless of who invented the freeway, origin is not the sole determinant in Wikipedia naming conventions. Fixed-wing aircraft were invented in the US (I'm not sure what term the Wright Brothers used) yet Wikipedia found it necessary to adopt a compromise term as a main name for the article. There are plenty of other topics such as football (soccer) where locale of origin is but one consideration in the Wikipedia naming conventions.
The other issue is that articles like Motorway, Autopista, Freeway, Autobahn etc. seem to be organized around documenting the terminology rather than documenting the actual entity. For Wiktionary that would no doubt be the proper way of doing things, but my understanding is that for WP this is pretty non-standard, albeit apparently pretty well-established in this instance. - PhilipR 20:11, 3 December 2006 (UTC)
Pardon my bluntness, but your postings are so out of touch that you have clearly failed to read this entire talk page, as well as Talk:Types of road. I suggest starting from the top of both talk pages and reading down until you understand exactly what is going on. If you go back up several sections, you'll see that SPUI wanted to do precisely what you are implying (that is, using this article to treat the topic generally), and I was sort of siding with that view, but a huge number of other editors objected, particularly User:Zoney. Specifically, many UK-based editors were highly offended by the notion of merging Motorway into this article, even though the term is clearly a minority usage in English (the fact that Hollywood is located in California helps to boost usage of "freeway" over "motorway"). That is why Vegaswikian and I have moved towards a consensus position of keeping separate articles for all similar types of high speed restricted access roads and then carefully trimming down each one to eliminate redundant material already available in the other articles in the group. Wikipedia users interested in the other names for similar roads can find out about them through the footer template and the main Types of road article.
If you want to develop a new consensus in favor of the position that SPUI was advancing, you can certainly join forces with him to advance that position. I am personally neutral on this issue and will side with any position on how to organize the road articles as long as it is coherent and consistent; if you can develop an articulate argument that Freeway should be the blanket term used on Wikipedia for all such roads, I will support you on it. But I have to warn you that you will encounter extreme resistance from Zoney and all other UK-based editors (as well as all French and German editors if you start advocating the merger of autoroute and autobahn into this article). I have to also warn you that I will oppose any merger of Freeway with Expressway (as some non-legal trained editors have unsuccessfully proposed in the past) because the two terms are distinctly different in U.S. federal law (as I have noted in the article's current version) and in six U.S. states. --Coolcaesar 03:33, 4 December 2006 (UTC)
You're right that I got lazy and failed to read a rather longish talk page (any of the 30 items I should be looking at? #24 perhaps?). Is there any practical way to have an informed opinion on this topic without reading several long Talk pages, e.g. is there a summary somewhere? I may just have to come to terms with the fact that Wikipedia is in some ways a hobby only for those with hours of free time, and that participants therefore tend to self-select on that basis. That's not a complaint toward you (after all, it seems reasonable that I should perform due diligence), rather a general gripe I have with Wikipedia. Often the persistent can win disputes through attrition.
Be that as it may, I think you've confirmed that my impression of the status quo is substantially correct, i.e. that some people have built a local semi-consensus for these articles that's radically different from established WP precedent for other issues such as fixed-wing aircraft. If I have time maybe I can try to reestablish consensus with SPUI or maybe it's a fruitless battle, I don't know. I think WP:WINAD is very much on our side, i.e. that articles shouldn't be in 1:1 correspondence with terms but with concepts. But if it's going to be a major battle then I'm afraid I'm just not that motivated to see things done the theoretically "right" way against resistance.
I generally agree about expressway/freeway, btw; I would probably expect a dab from Expressway to the articles on various forms of roads indicated by the term, since you're correct that the meaning varies greatly across locales, particularly across US locales. Regards, PhilipR 05:45, 4 December 2006 (UTC)


Sometimes too much legal technicalities will result in unnecessary headaches. One could try to be nit picky about the definitions of hurricane (tropical storms that plague North America including Hawaii), typhoons (tropical storms that plague Asia-Pacific), and tropical cyclones (tropical storms that plague either Australia or the Indian Subcontinent) when this is totally irrelevant: they are all names of extreme low pressure tropical storms. We could also explore the legal definitions that discriminate "hill" from "mountain" depending which country one is in. And then if you legally declare something as a hill, I'll try to add enough dirt to legally make it a mountain. We could simply say that there is a general class of free-flowing high speed roads, accessible by entry and exit ramps and that such roads has the following counterpart names . . . . An article on freeways shouldn't be as divergent as an article on dumplings. A Chinese dumpling, a British dumpling, and a nice cinnamon-carmel apple dumpling are very different compared to a freeway and an expressway. Oh, yes, didn't the Supreme Court ruled on a case on what is legally a fruit and what is legally a vegitable when such legalities defy scientific common sense? Allentchang 17:03, 18 December 2006 (UTC)

You might be right, but try convincing Zoney and all other European editors of that. Again, as I've repeatedly stated, I will support either position as long as it is internally coherent and consistent, but if you want to push that position, you would probably have to draft a guideline, try to enforce it against the road articles (that is, by posting merge tags on freeway, expressway, motorway, autoroute, autobahn, etc.) and then push the resulting battle all the way through mediation and arbitration.
Are you really ready to do that? That would require hundreds of hours of work. Because I'm neutral, I would insert the occasional brief "I concur" comment but it's really up to you to draft the hundreds of thousands of words necessary to push that position and to rebut all counterarguments. I've filed one request for arbitration so far, which was successful (User:Ericsaindon2 was blocked for his vandalism and repeated insertion of original research) but arbitration and indeed the whole dispute resolution process is incredibly time-consuming. Also, it's possible that ArbCom might agree with the European position that to merge motorway with freeway (even if freeway is the majority term in terms of the number of native English language speakers who use it) would be offensive and insensitive since this is a encyclopedia of global scale.
Finally, you need to look at the articles on Autobahn and Motorway, which are already quite long. Merging those into Freeway would result into a gigantic article and cause many editors to argue for going back to separate articles based on the length issue alone. For example, that's what happened to the formerly huge Transportation section of the Los Angeles, California article, which is now Transportation of Los Angeles!
Essentially all these terms are approximate co-equals, which is why we treat them as such under Types of road. --Coolcaesar 21:06, 18 December 2006 (UTC)