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Old Yesterday, 04:38 PM   #1
usbhub
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A table that shows whether your country has too many or too few highways

A table that shows whether your country has too many or too few highways

Have you ever wondered if your country has too many of too few kilometers of highway in comparison with a different state? Is there a simple parameter that allows us to make a meaningful hierarchy of territories regarding their real need for a certain amount of highway length?

The answer is that if a state has enough vehicles/km (~taxpayers/km) for maintaining the highways in good shape then it can afford them if not it is better to stay with its network of ordinary roads and leave the highways for the future.

see:
Density of cars per km of highway for around 80 countries
(After consulting the preview, it is indicated to press Download for an Excel copy which is useful for various calculations adapted for your country)

As you can remark, the network of highways for: Cuba, Canada, Chile, Oman, Iraq, Croatia, UAE, Macedonia, Cameroon, Syria, Spain, Saudi Arabia, China, El Salvador, Slovenia, Denmark, Morocco, Albania, Hungary appears to be oversized for the number of existent vehicles.

I can personally confirm that: Croatia, Saudi Arabia and Hungary have too many empty stretches of highway. If you stay close to important cities the highways appear to be full, sometimes at peak hours, however, far of towns the highways stay empty most of the year which means they are slowly degraded by heavy trucks being of little use for the majority of people.

I do not have first hand information of the real situations in other countries and I would be interested whether, from your personal experience, you agree, at least in part, with the hierarchy in the list. For instance, if you are from Spain, do you think your country has more highways than it needs of less?

Same table in text format:

Remarks:
Dens1 = the density of cars per square kilometer (cars/km2)
Dens2= the density of highways per square kilometer (m/km2 or km/1000*km2)
Dens3 = the denisty of cars per kilometer of highway (cars/km) = Dens1/Dens2

=============== =========== ========== =========== ========= ======== ======== ========
Country-------- --Highways- ---Cars--- Population- -Surface- Density1 Density2 Density3
--------------- ---(km)---- --(units)- --(people)- --(km2)-- (m/km^2) cars/km2 -cars/km
=============== =========== ========== =========== ========= ======== ======== ========
Cuba----------- --------638 ----607675 ---11204000 ---110860 ----5.76 ----5.48 -----952
Canada--------- ------16900 --21387132 ---34207000 --9976140 ----1.69 ----2.14 ----1266
Chile---------- -------2653 ---3375523 ---17114000 ---756950 -----3.5 ----4.46 ----1272
Oman----------- --------550 ----804233 ----2905000 ---212460 ----2.59 ----3.79 ----1462
Iraq----------- -------2227 ---3391057 ---31467000 ---437072 -----5.1 ----7.76 ----1523
Croatia-------- -------1280 ---1969587 ----4435056 ----56542 ---22.64 ---34.83 ----1539
Arab Emirates-- -------1392 ---2260000 ----4707000 ----82880 ----16.8 ---27.27 ----1624
Macedonia------ --------198 ----355131 ----2058539 ----25713 -----7.7 ---13.81 ----1794
Cameroon------- --------240 ----443018 ---19958000 ---475440 -----0.5 ----0.93 ----1846
Syria---------- -------1103 ---2070357 ---22505000 ---185180 ----5.96 ---11.18 ----1877
Spain---------- ------16214 --31086035 ---46951532 ---504782 ---32.12 ---61.58 ----1917
Saudi Arabia--- -------3348 ---6599216 ---26246000 --1960582 ----1.71 ----3.37 ----1971
China---------- ------97355 ---207 mil --1.339 mld --9596960 ---10.14 ---21.58 ----2127
El Salvador---- --------327 ----715345 ----6194000 ----21040 ---15.54 ------34 ----2188
Slovenia------- --------598 ---1374900 ----2062700 ----20273 ----29.5 ---67.82 ----2299
Denmark-------- -------1340 ---3108962 ----5540241 ----43094 ---31.09 ---72.14 ----2320
Morocco-------- -------1194 ---2791004 ---31892000 ---446550 ----2.67 ----6.25 ----2338
Albania-------- --------170 ----419893 ----3195000 ----28748 ----5.91 ---14.61 ----2470
Hungary-------- -------1361 ---3608834 ---10013628 ----93030 ---14.63 ---38.79 ----2652
Cyprus--------- --------273 ----774492 -----801851 -----9250 ---29.51 ---83.73 ----2837
Cote d'Ivoire-- --------162 ----474873 ---21571000 ---322460 -----0.5 ----1.47 ----2931
Sweden--------- -------1740 ---5231589 ----9366092 ---449964 ----3.87 ---11.63 ----3007
France--------- ------11392 --34276000 ---65447374 ---547030 ---20.83 ---62.66 ----3009
Luxembourg----- --------147 ----444353 -----502207 -----2586 ---56.84 --171.83 ----3023
Venezuela------ -------1256 ---4051705 ---28888000 ---912050 ----1.38 ----4.44 ----3226
Portugal------- -------2647 ---8730885 ---10636888 ----92391 ---28.65 ----94.5 ----3298
United States-- ------75008 -258.9 mil --309975000 --9629091 ----7.79 ---26.89 ----3452
Pakistan------- -------2225 ---7853022 --170260000 ---803940 ----2.77 ----9.77 ----3529
Austria-------- -------1720 ---6091881 ----8372930 ----83858 ---20.51 ---72.65 ----3542
Ireland-------- --------663 ---2416387 ----4459300 ----70280 ----9.43 ---34.38 ----3645
Kuwait--------- --------420 ---1570000 ----3051000 ----17820 ---23.57 ----88.1 ----3738
Greece--------- -------2085 ---7910565 ---11306183 ---131940 ----15.8 ---59.96 ----3794
Germany-------- ------12845 --50184000 ---81757600 ---357021 ---35.98 --140.56 ----3907
Serbia--------- --------618 ---2419569 ----7209764 ----88361 ----6.99 ---27.38 ----3915
Belgium-------- -------1763 ---7050618 ---10827519 ----30510 ---57.78 --231.09 ----3999
Slovakia------- --------580 ---2339358 ----5426645 ----48845 ---11.87 ---47.89 ----4033
Switzerland---- -------1361 ---5524496 ----7782900 ----41290 ---32.96 ---133.8 ----4059
Netherlands---- -------2274 ---9340006 ---16609518 ----41526 ---54.76 --224.92 ----4107
Lithuania------ --------417 ---1910373 ----3329227 ----65200 -----6.4 ----29.3 ----4581
Korea (South)-- -------4044 --19710776 ---49773145 ----98480 ---41.06 --200.15 ----4874
South Africa--- -------1927 ---9587781 ---49991300 --1219912 ----1.58 ----7.86 ----4975
Mexico--------- -------6144 --30904659 --108396211 --1972550 ----3.11 ---15.67 ----5030
Belarus-------- --------750 ---3829244 ----9471900 ---207600 ----3.61 ---18.45 ----5106
Uruguay-------- --------252 ---1287012 ----3372000 ---176200 ----1.43 -----7.3 ----5107
Mauritius------ ---------75 ----384115 ----1297000 -----2040 ---36.76 --188.29 ----5122
Bulgaria------- --------625 ---3284837 ----7576751 ---110910 ----5.64 ---29.62 ----5256
Tunisia-------- --------262 ---1489075 ---10432500 ---163610 -----1.6 -----9.1 ----5683
United Kingdom- -------6016 --35170629 ---62041708 ---244820 ---24.57 --143.66 ----5846
Singapore------ --------161 ----945829 ----4987600 ------693 --232.32 -1364.83 ----5875
Brazil--------- ------11000 --64817974 --193364000 --8511965 ----1.29 ----7.61 ----5893
Egypt---------- --------988 ---5853728 ---78848000 --1001450 ----0.99 ----5.85 ----5925
Gabon---------- ---------30 ----195000 ----1501000 ---267667 ----0.11 ----0.73 ----6500
Estonia-------- ---------99 ----664644 ----1340021 ----45226 ----2.19 ----14.7 ----6714
Zambia--------- ---------50 ----337513 ---13257000 ---752614 ----0.07 ----0.45 ----6750
Czech Republic- -------1050 ---7262647 ---10512397 ----78866 ---13.31 ---92.09 ----6917
Argentina------ -------2000 --14163125 ---40518951 --2766890 ----0.72 ----5.12 ----7082
Turkey--------- -------2100 --15095603 ---72561312 ---780580 ----2.69 ---19.34 ----7188
Finland-------- --------739 ---5331582 ----5366100 ---337030 ----2.19 ---15.82 ----7215
Romania-------- --------647 ---5027936 ---21466174 ---237500 ----2.72 ---21.17 ----7771
Italy---------- -------6661 --52586499 ---60340328 ---301230 ---22.11 --174.57 ----7895
Iceland-------- ---------37 ----296479 -----317900 ---103000 ----0.36 ----2.88 ----8013
Poland--------- -------2549 --22024697 ---38167329 ---312685 ----8.15 ---70.44 ----8641
Kenya---------- --------153 ---1389864 ---40863000 ---582650 ----0.26 ----2.39 ----9084
Australia------ -------1700 --16061098 ---23480970 --7686850 ----0.22 ----2.09 ----9448
Lebanon-------- --------145 ---1525738 ----4255000 ----10400 ---13.94 --146.71 ---10522
Malaysia------- -------1821 --20188565 ---28306700 ---329750 ----5.52 ---61.22 ---11087
Peru----------- --------276 ---3155614 ---29461933 --1285220 ----0.21 ----2.46 ---11433
Japan---------- -------7383 --89871090 --127380000 ---377835 ---19.54 --237.86 ---12173
Bosnia--------- ---------64 ----815232 ----3760000 ----51129 ----1.25 ---15.94 ---12738
Jamaica-------- ---------33 ----502265 ----2730000 ----10991 -------3 ----45.7 ---15220
Bahrain-------- ---------30 ----462015 -----807000 ------665 ---45.11 --694.76 ---15401
Norway--------- --------194 ---3134652 ----4896700 ---324220 -----0.6 ----9.67 ---16158
Israel--------- --------146 ---2458716 ----7602400 ----20770 ----7.03 --118.38 ---16841
New Zealand---- --------171 ---3227000 ----4383600 ---268680 ----0.64 ---12.01 ---18871
Sri Lanka------ --------180 ---3954311 ---20410000 ----65610 ----2.74 ---60.27 ---21968
Iran----------- --------751 --20657627 ---75078000 --1648000 ----0.46 ---12.53 ---27507
Guatemala------ ---------75 ---2118516 ---14377000 ---108890 ----0.69 ---19.46 ---28247
Russia--------- -------1400 --43325312 --141927297 ---17 mil ----0.08 ----2.54 ---30947
Ghana---------- ---------35 ---1122700 ---24333000 ---239460 ----0.15 ----4.69 ---32077
Senegal-------- ----------7 ----326352 ---12861000 ---196190 ----0.04 ----1.66 ---46622
Georgia-------- ---------13 ----736470 ----4436000 ----69700 ----0.19 ---10.57 ---56652
Ukraine-------- --------200 --14427680 ---45871738 ---603700 ----0.33 ----23.9 ---72138
India---------- -------1208 -114.9 mil --1.184 mld --3287590 ----0.37 ---34.97 ---95159
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Old Yesterday, 05:00 PM   #2
ChrisZwolle
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By 'highway' I think you mean 'motorway', and not the actual definition of highway; any (major) public highway?

A nice attempt at comparison. I don't know where you got the figures for motorway length, but not all of them are correct. For instance, Canada has much less motorways (around 7,200 km) while Saudi Arabia has closer to 9,000 km. The U.S. figure includes only Interstate Highways while they have another 22,000 km of other freeways. The figure for Turkey seems to include only the 'otoyol' and not dual carriageways, while the Brazilian figure seems to include all dual carriageways.

Comparing accurately is quite difficult.
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Old Yesterday, 05:07 PM   #3
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Yes, but is the premise itself valid?

I've been waiting for a reaction from someone more knowledgeable than I am....
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Old Yesterday, 05:12 PM   #4
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Here is the site where I took the figures for motorway length:
http://www.nationmaster.com/country-...otorway-length
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Old Yesterday, 05:31 PM   #5
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Road infrastructure is more complex. Motorway lengths are not a good base. Hungary is a transit country. It needs it's long motorways through rural area. The Netherlands has a lot of wide motorways (2x4, 2x5 lanes), Hungary only 2x2 but both count identical in your calculation. Germany has a lot of expressways which are not included in 12,800km motorway network. Etc.
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Old Yesterday, 05:38 PM   #6
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The nationmaster data has no consistency. For one country they only count roads with official motorway status, in another they count all expressways as well and in other countries they count all divided highways as well (which is for example why the Canadian figure is so high).

I don't think you can really judge whether a country has too few or too many highways by just looking at statistical data. In some countries, a few motorway corridors can serve most cities (Italy, UK), while in others you need a very large network to connect all larger cities (Spain, Germany, United States).

Some cities have very extensive suburban motorway networks (Madrid, Paris) while others have a small to non-existent suburban network (London, Rome, Warsaw). The Netherlands and Belgium are examples that fall in between; dense networks for a country, but small for an urban area.

In other countries, building new links is more cost-efficient than widening existing ones, resulting in a fairly large network relative to population size.

Another factor is that countries like to connect all sizable cities by motorway. That can result in a motorway for 20,000 vehicles per day, but also in a motorway with 60,000 or 80,0000 vehicles per day. It's the same statistically, but very different in usage.
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Old Yesterday, 05:50 PM   #7
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BTW Poland has over 3 000 km highways (motorways+expressways) now
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Old Yesterday, 06:05 PM   #8
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As I was looking at the figures, I thought of Interstate 29, passing through sparsely populated areas of North Dakota and ending right at the U.S.-Canadian border...50 miles or so short of a city of 600,000.

Yes, that's just one example, but I-15's in a similar situation...serving sparsely populated areas of the U.S. then not connecting to Calgary. So the notion that Canada has two many highways seems inconsistent with those two examples.

Then I saw the idea of enough taxpayers to support maintenance and realized that in federal states like the U.S. and Canada, I'm not sure to what extent that notion is valid. (Are the U.S. states/Canadian provinces responsible for their highways, financially speaking? Are there federal subsidies to them? I don't know. I do know that the building of the Interstates was federally financed and I'd guess that's why Montana and North Dakota have freeways in the middle of nowhere while Alberta and Manitoba don't....)

Nothing against the original poster, but I think this is one of those things that can't be resolved by simple math.
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Old Yesterday, 06:05 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Luki_SL View Post
BTW Poland has over 3 000 km highways (motorways+expressways) now
Expressways do not have a clear definition. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Limited-access_road which states: "The precise definition of these terms varies by jurisdiction." So, we do not know if an expressway in Poland is identical to a German, US, Canadian, Spanish, Japanese or Chinese one.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Penn's Woods View Post
So the notion that Canada has two many highways seems inconsistent with those two examples.
Another source ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of...d_network_size ) says: "Canada has 16900 km of motorways".
However, if the figure is wrong and Canada has much less km then we can simply ignore it in the table till we find the right figure. For some countries there can be mistakes.

Last edited by usbhub; Yesterday at 06:20 PM.
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Old Yesterday, 06:24 PM   #10
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Yep, expresways vary from country to country. In many cases they are four-lane highways, but they may or may not be access-controlled, and in some countries there are also super-two expressways (Netherlands, Japan, Mexico, Spain, Portugal). In fact, the term expressway even varies within countries, for example the U.S. MUTCD defines an expressway as a four-lane divided highway, but the term is used in the eastern United States to indicate what would otherwise be called a freeway. Motorways in many Asian countries are called expressways in English (Japan, China, Malaysia, Philippines, Korea, India, etc.)

The most common definition for a motorway is a 'four-lane divided highway with full control of access', i.e. only access through grade-separated interchanges. This includes expressways in many countries.
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Old Yesterday, 06:30 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by usbhub View Post
till we find the right figure.
You'll never find the "right" figure.

In addition, you can't equalize motorways with an AADT of 200,000 AADT or 2,000 vehicles/day.
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Old Yesterday, 06:50 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisZwolle View Post
Yep, expresways vary from country to country. In many cases they are four-lane highways, but they may or may not be access-controlled, and in some countries there are also super-two expressways (Netherlands, Japan, Mexico, Spain, Portugal). In fact, the term expressway even varies within countries, for example the U.S. MUTCD defines an expressway as a four-lane divided highway, but the term is used in the eastern United States to indicate what would otherwise be called a freeway. Motorways in many Asian countries are called expressways in English (Japan, China, Malaysia, Philippines, Korea, India, etc.)

The most common definition for a motorway is a 'four-lane divided highway with full control of access', i.e. only access through grade-separated interchanges. This includes expressways in many countries.
I finally convinced you of that. ;-)

Seriously, I've taken to using the word "motorway" around here to avoid the expressway/freeway issue. But among Americans I don't, because we don't use the word.
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Old Yesterday, 07:10 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MichiH View Post
You'll never find the "right" figure.
In addition, you can't equalize motorways with an AADT of 200,000 AADT or 2,000 vehicles/day.
A +/- 10% error will not be a big problem. The country will change its place with a few positions.
If Canada has 7200 km and not 16900 km then the number of cars per km of motorway will be 2970 instead of 1266 which will move Canada close to France and no so far from US.

Regarding the traffic the point is that a motorway visited by only 2000 vehicles a day is not justified.
If the 200 000 car a day motorway is 2x2 then I can equalize it with a (2x2, 2000 vehicle a day) if it is 2x4 the it should count as 2 x (2x2, 2000 vehicle a day). To take into account the width of motorways and transform everything in its 2x2 equivalent I need data for each country which I haven't found till now.
Anyway, by supposing that a maximum of 10-15% of the total length of motorways in a country might be something different from a 2x2, that will not change the hierarchy too much.

Last edited by usbhub; Yesterday at 07:21 PM.
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Old Yesterday, 07:21 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by usbhub View Post
Regarding the traffic the point is that a motorway visited by only 2000 vehicles a day is not justified.
But it exists!

A section on German A565 (2,400), a section on German A20 (2,500), a section on German A480 (3,200). There are more examples east of Germany, in Spain, in Portugal,...
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Old Yesterday, 07:25 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by usbhub View Post
To take into account the width of motorways and transform everything in its 2x2 equivalent I need data for each country which I haven't found till now.
Well, if you want to start counting... Here you can see the number of lanes on German Autobahns: http://autobahnatlas-online.de/Strecken_e.htm (Legend).
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Old Yesterday, 07:47 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MichiH View Post
But it exists!
There are more examples ... in Spain, in Portugal
Here is the problem, Spain and Portugal have oversized motorway networks.
Two motorways going in parallel from Lisbon to Porto, sometimes coming as close as 500 m apart (see: http://goo.gl/maps/7oKWS ) and none of them being full of cars (as Google Street View or satellite pictures show) tells that something is wrong with Portugal regarding its network of highways. They built too much.
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Old Yesterday, 08:01 PM   #17
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Ok, factor it into your calculation instead of counting the length of the so-called "motorway" network only.

Edit: According to your calculation, Portugal does not have too much motorways (3298). It's almost on the same level like Serbia (3915) or Germany (3907). In addition, Serbia and Germany on the same level....

Last edited by MichiH; Yesterday at 08:07 PM.
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Old Yesterday, 08:55 PM   #18
usbhub
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The table I posted does not have a clear level that separates the countries with too many km of highways from the rest.

This remark:
"analysts see Portugal’s empty stretches of motorway as evidence of ill-advised public spending"
Source: http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/59949c24-0...44feabdc0.html

could mean that the list of states possessing highways beyond their real needs can go from Cuba down to at least Portugal.
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Old Yesterday, 09:20 PM   #19
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In Portugal's case they introduced tolls on nearly all motorways. I believe traffic went down by 40% on some stretches where they introduced tolls.
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Old Yesterday, 09:37 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by usbhub View Post
The answer is that if a state has enough vehicles/km (~taxpayers/km) for maintaining the highways in good shape then it can afford them if not it is better to stay with its network of ordinary roads and leave the highways for the future.
That depends on how wealthy the taxpayers are, doesn't it? I'm not sure Cuba can afford its motorway network, but Denmark can, no? On the other hand, can Côte d'Ivoire really afford its motorways?
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