Germany Road Network

By | October 31, 2022

Germany’s autobahn network.


According to wholevehicles, the first initiatives to build motorways in Germany came from private parties. They were sensitive in the then Weimar Republic. In addition to the financial difficulties at this time, there was also the military aspect. The army command feared that motorways would complicate defenses in the event of an invasion of Germany. The hostile power could advance quickly if special fast routes were built between the cities. Also the NSDAP and Hitler originally had little interest in the idea of ​​the Autobahn. For this reason, many of the then plans from that period were not realized. It remained with the AVUS in Berlin, on the route between Köln and Bonn (the current A555) and in the plans for the highway from Hamburg over Frankfurt to Basel, the HaFraBa. The route between Köln and Bonn is usually regarded as the oldest motorway in Germany, but the federal state of Hesse does not agree. This is due to the definition of what is considered a motorway; the Köln-Bonn road did not have segregated lanes, which is now considered an elementary part of a motorway. The AVUS in Berlin was a race track until 1935 and only received Reichsautobahn status in that year.

The A9 at Dessau in 1939.

After Hitler came to power in 1933, he saw the propagandistic value of the project. Autobahns would forge unity between the corners of the Reich and be good example projects in the media of how unemployment was tackled. At the same time, the system could be a showpiece of the modern achievements of the new order. Under the leadership of Fritz Todt, a network of Reichsautobahnen was quickly started on the basis of the old HaFraBA plans.. The provision of work was widely reported, but in fact the contribution to reducing unemployment was disappointing. It was mainly about the propagandistic value and the public image. In 1935 Hitler was able to open his first Reichsautobahn between Frankfurt and Darmstadt. The construction of Autobahnen continued into World War II, but the network also suffered heavy damage from bombing. In 1942, Germany had the largest highway network in the world. In other countries it was only a few short links. The only countries that had a larger network were a few states of the United States, the Netherlands and Italy. In Italy all pre-war autostradas were single- lane and therefore could not use motorwaysin the strict sense of the word.

After the Second World War, Germany lost all its territories east of the Oder-Neisse border and the Federal Republic (FRG) and the GDR emerged to the west. Both countries had their own policy on motorways. In the GDR it largely remained with the existing network; only the transit routes between the Federal Republic and West Berlin were serviced with West German money. The GDR built the current A24 Hamburg – Berlin with West German money and has taken on the construction of the A10 Berliner Ring and A14 Leipzig – Dresden with its own resources.

In the Federal Republic of Germany, an extensive new construction program was started in the early 1950s, partly on the basis of the existing road plans before the war. Road construction made a significant contribution to the Wirtschaftswunder. Because the Federal Republic, in contrast to Germany before 1945, had a much stronger north-south orientation, plans changed with this new orientation. There were more north-south routes than originally planned. A number of originally planned east-west routes did not materialize. Military considerations also played a role in this. As in the 1920s, people feared an all too rapid advance by foreign troops if fast east-west routes were to be built. Also runs the route Hamburg – Munichfurther west than originally planned. Due to the creation of the German internal border, this route was eventually laid out in such a way that it ran completely through the Federal Republic of Germany.

After the reunification of 1990, much attention was paid to restoring the motorway network in the former GDR. Existing routes were expanded to meet the requirements of modern times, but the necessary completely new motorways were also constructed. In the west, therefore, few motorways were completed in the 1990s. 20 years later, the distribution of infrastructure funds is somewhat more balanced. One of the biggest road challenges facing Germany in the 21st century is the modernization of the highways. Many viaducts and valley bridges from the 60s and 70s of the 20th century are at the end of their life. Moreover, the amount of freight traffic has been seriously underestimated, partly because until the 1990s people still assumed a Europe with the Iron Curtain, in which Germany was a state on the fringes. Many highways from the 1980s were worn out within 20 years. There are very many Baustellen in Germany; in 2011 almost 15 percent of the Autobahnen (1,400 kilometers). In addition, many Autobahnen are no longerLeistungsfähig; they can no longer handle the large amount of (freight) traffic. It was hoped to raise more money with the LKW-Maut for the maintenance and expansion of the motorway network, but for the time being there is a great shortage of money to broaden so many Autobahnen in the short term.

After a large number of new Autobahn sections were opened in the former GDR between 1990 and 2005, the construction of new motorways slowed down considerably. Many missing links hardly made any progress in the planning process, for example, the missing part of the A1 in the Eifel has been included in the road plans with the status ‘high priority’ since the 1980s, but no concrete steps have been taken for 30 years to highway to be built. In 2016, only 2 kilometers of new Autobahn, a piece of second carriageway of the A23 at Itzehoe, opened the smallest extension of the Autobahnen since 1952.


In Germany there are a number of missing links in the Autobahnen network. It has been planned for years to build missing connections such as the A1 through the Eifel and the A44 between Düsseldorf and Velbert, but the planning of many connections is progressing very slowly. Completely new connections, such as the A14 between Magdeburg and Schwerin or the A20 from Bad Segeberg to Westerstede, are repeatedly delayed.

Road construction projects in Germany are extremely slow compared to other countries. Construction time increased sharply after 2000 in particular. It is no longer unusual for one construction segment to take 10 years to complete, while similar projects in other countries take 2 to 4 years. Examples of construction projects that lasted approximately 10 years are the replacement of the Talbrücke Höllenbach of the A1 at Wermelskirchen, the renovation of the Elbtunnel of the A7 in Hamburg, the renovation of the Kanaltunnel Rendsburg, the conversion of the B5 to A23 at Itzehoe, the construction of several segments of the A26 between Stade and Hamburg, the missing link of theA30 at Bad Oeynhausen, the A33 between Borgholzhausen and Bielefeld, a short extension of the A46 at Bestwig, the extension of the A49 from Neuental to Schwalmstadt, the last section of the A66 at Fulda, the A66 on the east side of Frankfurt and construction from the Hochmoselbrücke of the B50.

Road widening in Germany also takes a very long time compared to other countries. Only the projects that are carried out as PPPs run smoothly. Conventionally financed widenings are planned and implemented in many sections, with the result that road users will be inconvenienced for years by road works, each a few kilometers away. Notorious is the widening of the A8 between Karlsruhe and Stuttgart, where work has been carried out on the route for almost 30 years, as well as the A3 between Aschaffenburg and Würzburg, which has been widening for decades, each a short distance away.

In Germany, road works are carried out much slower than, for example, in the Netherlands, Denmark or France. We often only work during office hours and almost never with weekend or night closures. Long-term lanes are regularly closed on major Autobahns, causing major delays, not only during rush hour but for a large part of the day. Due to overdue maintenance, it is often necessary in Germany that the roadway has to be replaced down to the foundation, as opposed to replacing only the top layer. This takes longer, making it necessary to set up a permanent Baustelle. In the Netherlands, for example, there are often no more than 4 or 5 routes where long-term road work is being carried out, while in North Rhine-Westphalia this is often more than 30 routes. The Baustellenplanning is called ‘unplannable’ in this state because of the many road works,

Length of highway network

There are 12,982 kilometers of Autobahn in Germany. Another 2,414 kilometers of road have been extended by autobahnähnlich, bringing the total to 15,396 kilometers as of January 1, 2018. Germany thus has the fifth largest network of motorways in the world, after China, the United States, Spain and France.

Autobahns in Germany
A1 • A2 • A3 • A4 • A5 • A6 • A7 • A8 • A9 • A10 • A11 • A12 • A13 • A14 • A15 • A17 • A19 • A20 • A21 • A23 • A24 • A25 • A26 • A27 • A28 • A29 • A30 •A31 • A33 • A36 • A37 • A38 • A39 • A40 • A42 • A43 • A44 • A45 • A46 • A48 • A49 • A52 • A57 • A59 • A60 • A61 • A62 • A63 • A64 • A65 • A66 • A67 • A70 • A71• A72 • A73 • A81 • A92 • A93 • A94 • A95 • A96 • A98 • A99A100 • A103 • A111 • A113 • A114 • A115 • A117 • A143 • A210 • A215 • A226 • A255 • A261 • A270 • A280 • A281 • A293 • A352 • A369 • A391 • A392 • A445 • A448 • A480 • A485 • A516 •A524 • A535 • A540 • A542 • A544 • A553 • A555 • A559 • A560 • A562 • A565 • A571 • A573 • A602 • A620 • A623 • A643 • A648 • A650 • A656 • A659 • A661 • A671 • A672 • A831 • A861 •A864 • A952 • A980 • A995
Former or planned autobahns in Germany
A16 • A18 • A22 • A32 • A34 • A35 • A36 • A41 • A47 • A50 • A51 • A53 • A54 • A55 • A56 • A69 • A74 • A75 • A77 • A80 • A82 • A83 • A84 • A85 • A86 • A87 • A88• A89 • A90 • A91 • A102 • A104 • A105 • A993

European roads

The following European roads run through Germany;

European roads in Germany
E22 • E26 • E28 • E29 • E30 • E31 • E34 • E35 • E36 • E37 • E40 • E41 • E42 • E43 • E44 • E45 • E47 • E48 • E49 • E50 • E51 • E52 • E53 • E54 • E55 • E56 • E60• E233 • E234 • E251 • E314 • E331 • E422 • E441 • E451 • E531 • E532 • E533 • E552 • E641

Road management

In Germany road management, ownership, financing and planning are split up. Originally, the entire Bundesfernstraßennetz, consisting of the Bundesautobahnen and Bundesstraßen, was owned and financed by the federal government (“bund”), but implementation and day-to-day management lay with the states. Since 2021, Die Autobahn GmbH des Bundes has taken on the management and planning of the Autobahnen, so that this task has been lost to the individual states. This made the role of the states in German traffic policy a lot less important.

The federal ministry is the Bundesministerium für Digitales und Verkehr (BMDV). The Ministry is supported by the Fernstraßen-Bundesamt (FBA). Because previously the management, planning and maintenance of motorways was carried out by the states, it has also sometimes been the case that a certain project on one side of the border between the Länder progresses more successfully than on the other side. It is characteristic that road projects carried out as PPPs proceed significantly faster than projects carried out by the states themselves.

Less important roads are managed by local authorities, namely the federal states (Landesstraßen or Staatsstraßen), the Kreise (Kreisstraen) and the municipalities. The Bundesstraßen are owned by the federal government, but are managed and constructed by the individual states.


The budget for the construction, extension, maintenance and management of the Bundesfernstraßen (Bundesautobahnen & Bundesstraßen).

Year Expenses without LKW-Maut LKW maut* Total budget
2012 € 2,443,907,000 €4,666,853,000 €7,110,760,000
2013 € 2,444,215,000 €4,385,607,000 €6,829,882,000
2014 €2,886,178,000 €4,211,790,000 €7,097,968,000
2015 €3,043,000,000 €4,192,212,000 €7,235,212,000
2016 €7,955,108,000

* net expenses (excluding system costs TollCollect and compensation projects (Maut-Harmonisierung)).

Comparison with the Netherlands

Relatively speaking, there is significantly less money available for the main road network (Bundesfernstraßen) in Germany than in the Netherlands. This is partly because the German Bundesfernstraßen network with approximately 52,000 kilometers is relatively much larger than the Dutch national highway network of 3,100 kilometers.

In 2013, the road budget for the main road network in Germany was €72 per inhabitant, in the Netherlands it was €163, which is 2.2 times as much. Expressed in budget per kilometer of main road, the difference is even greater, namely € 111,500 in Germany and € 533,000 in the Netherlands, which is 4.8 times as much.

In Germany there is no infrastructure fund, but road projects are paid from the current budget. If a project turns out to be more expensive or takes longer than expected, it can easily be delayed for years. Characteristic of Germany are the very slow road works, both for new construction and maintenance. Where in the Netherlands a lot of work is done at weekends and nights, in Germany people often only work during office hours to save on personnel costs. As a result, there are many more long-term Baustelles in Germany than in the Netherlands or France.

Another difference with the Netherlands is the lack of personnel capacity to go through procedures for road construction. This was a critical problem in North Rhine-Westphalia in particular in the period 2015-2018. Of the €2.7 billion in extra money for roads in that period, only €128 million ended up in North Rhine-Westphalia, while that state has a huge amount. has to address bottlenecks and broken bridges. This was due to a serious shortage of personnel to establish a Planfeststellungsbeschluß.

Comparison with railways

# Bundesfernstrae* Bundeseisenbahn
Expenses €7.1 billion €10.1 billion
Passenger kilometers 330.4 billion 88.7 billion
Expenditure per 1 billion passenger-kilometre €21 million €114 million

* Bundesfernstrae = Autobahn + Bundesstrae

Problems in German road construction

Broken bridges

An urgent problem in Germany is the poor condition of thousands of large and small bridges, often large talbrücken spanning entire valleys, as well as numerous large river bridges, especially over the Rhine. A large part of this was put into use between 1965 and 1980. In 1965, the maximum permitted axle load in Germany was increased from 10 to 11.5 tons, increasing the pressure on the road surface by 75%. A problem with bridges in general is the poor condition of joint transitions, which are broken down very regularly. In Germany emergency repairs at joint transitions are necessary every day, which leads to a lot of extra congestion.

A problem in Germany is lack of adequate maintenance, in combination with a large number of bridges that are undersized for road use. Many highway bridges were designed in the 1960s to use only 20,000 to 25,000 vehicles per day, even though it was already known at the time that traffic intensities could be significantly higher on 2×2 lanes. In addition, there are many bridges with design errors, many prestressed concrete bridges have too little concrete covering, so that the reinforcement is easily exposed and starts to rust. Many joint transitions are poorly maintained, which means that road salt affects the bridges from the inside. As early as 1980, it was established that concrete bridges were a concern for German engineers.

Since then, (freight) traffic has increased significantly and more and more bridges are overloaded. Many bridges are so weakened that they can no longer be repaired. For example, on the A45 between Dortmund and Gießen, more than 30 talbrücken have to be completely replaced. However, there is not enough money for the large-scale renovation and replacement of bridges, which is also known as a ‘sanierungsstau’. In 2014, there was €40 billion in overdue maintenance and 46% of all autobahn bridges were in poor condition. Municipalities have also built up a backlog of € 118 billion in maintenance of roads and structures. Renovation is required against a growing backlog, in the period 2006-2016 the condition of the road network deteriorated faster than roads are being repaired, despite the extreme amount of road works in that period.

In 2022, there was talk of 4,000 Autobahn bridges to be replaced in 10 years. In 2022 it was determined that 1,001 bridges of an Autobahn over another road or waterway are in such bad condition that restrictions on use may be necessary before a replacement can be completed. That is why a network of priority corridors has been established, routes that are important for through (freight) traffic where outages must be prevented by giving priority to these bridges. This comprised half of the Autobahnen network. This took into account an increase in use restrictions of Autobahnen, such as a reduced weight limit, reduction of capacity and, in the worst case, a complete closure of a road section, which had already occurred at two locations in 2021.

Problem Bridges

In 2010, the Hochstraße Nord in Ludwigshafen was closed to freight traffic. The diversion route ran on Hochstraße Süd, which, however, was also on the verge of collapse and has been permanently closed to traffic in 2019. In 2013, the Rader Hochbrücke of the A7 near Rendsburg was closed to freight traffic. In 2013, the Deutzer Brücke over the Rhine in Cologne was also closed to freight traffic. Since 2014, the Rheinbrücke Leverkusen of the A1 has been permanently closed to freight traffic. In 2015, a suspension of the Schiersteiner Brücke of the A643 over the Rhine near Mainz broke off, causing a bridge to sag. In 2016 the Fechinger Talbrücke. becameof the A6 at Saarbrücken is acutely closed to traffic. In 2017, the Fuldatalbrücke Bergshausen of the A44 near Kassel was narrowed to 1 lane due to the risk of collapse. In 2018, weighing installations with barriers were installed on the Rheinbrücke Neuenkamp of the A40 in Duisburg. In 2019, the Fleher Brücke of the A46 near Düsseldorf was narrowed due to its poor condition. In 2019, the Mülheimer Brücke of the B51 in Köln was permanently closed to freight traffic. In 2021, the Emschertalbrücke of the A43 in Herne was permanently closed to freight traffic. In 2021 the Salzbachtal Bridge wasof the A66 in Wiesbaden permanently closed due to the risk of collapse and was subsequently blown up. In 2021, the Talbrücke Rahmede of the A45 near Lüdenscheid was also acutely closed due to serious damage.

Bad roads

In 2012, 20% of the Autobahnen and 41% of the Bundesstraßen were in critical condition. In many states a quarter to a third of the Landesstraen are in bad or very bad condition. The German Court of Auditors (Bundesrechnungshof) criticized the poor condition of the German road network in 2015. The ministry has estimated the costs of maintenance and upkeep of the infrastructure far too low for the 2016-2030 period. Although the bridges are the most urgent problem, the condition of the road network is also poor. The road surface of the Autobahnen and Bundesstraßen is still in relatively good condition, but the condition of the secondary and local roads in particular is often bad or even very bad. It is characteristic that the backlog is hardly made up. For years, Germany has had an extremely high number of road works, but the proportion of bad roads has hardly fallen.

Large-scale work is often carried out on Autobahnen that can hardly be termed ‘maintenance’, since it often involves the complete demolition and rebuilding of the motorway. The road surface is often removed down to the sand bed and re-laid. Many works of art are also completely demolished and rebuilt. This is not maintenance, but replacement new construction. Such drastic work is much less common in many other countries, an indication of the years of neglect of Germany’s infrastructure.

Large amount of road works

Germany has an extreme amount of road works compared to other countries. Usually little work is done on the road in winter, so that the number of Baustellen increases sharply every year from April. In the summer there is traffic disruption on almost every Autobahn due to road works. In the period 2010-2015, more than 400 routes were worked on the Autobahn per year, both for widening and renovation. In some summers, more than 600 sections of the Autobahn were being worked simultaneously on the Autobahn, an average of one Baustelle every 20 or 25 kilometres, much more than in other countries. In June 2016, work was carried out on no fewer than 575 routes on the Autobahn, an average of one BaustelleEvery 23 kilometers. In October 2021, a record 900 baustellen were reported simultaneously on the Autobahn.

In the period 2008-2018 a lot of work was done on the road, with every summer between 500 and 700 Baustellen on the Autobahn, however the condition of the road network hardly improves despite the extreme amount of road works, in the same period the share increased. bridge surface in good condition still finishing.

The extreme amount of road works causes major disruption to traffic in the summer: road works often cause traffic jams all day long. The amount of road works makes a longer journey ‘unplanned’, because work is also done on alternate routes. The amount of road works is severely limiting holiday traffic, particularly in the south of Germany and the Hamburg region.

An additional problem of the large amount of road works is the large number of accidents in the tailback of traffic jams. In the summer there are serious accidents almost daily in which trucks drive into stationary traffic at full speed. Frequent deaths occur here. A problem at Baustellen is the lack of adequate traffic jam tail protection, for example, few Autobahns have some form of traffic signalling, which is also much less opaque than in the Netherlands or the United Kingdom. Lanes are also frequently closed, which almost guarantees large-scale congestion. In addition, many Baustellen are very narrow, which makes overtaking unsafe. This ensures that relatively small collisions quickly cause a roadblock.

The duration of the road works is significantly longer than, for example, in the Netherlands. Replacing small viaducts and bridges can be done in a few months with prefabricated girders, but in Germany it often takes 3 or 4 years. Renovation of the road surface also often takes months, partly because in many cases the foundation has collapsed and the road has to be renovated down to the sand bed, which in fact amounts to a complete reconstruction of the road. The construction of new motorways is taking longer and longer, in many other countries the construction of a new section of motorway takes about 3 years, in Germany construction times of 8 to 10 years are not uncommon. An important reason is that in Germany no total contracts are awarded, but all parts are put out to tender separately and are usually not carried out simultaneously.

A characteristic of German road works is that the work is often carried out in phases, so that travelers frequently drive through Baustelles where there is no actual work being done. These are also called ‘Geisterbaustellen’. Work carried out in other countries in a matter of weeks often takes months or even a whole season in Germany.

Concrete rot

In the east of Germany, after reunification from the 1990s to the mid-2000s, new Autobahnen with concrete were built on a large scale, and existing ones renovated. A relatively high proportion of the Autobahnen in states such as Berlin, Brandenburg, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Sachsen, Sachsen-Anhalt and Thuringia is made of concrete.

A concrete mix was used on a very large scale, which was already known in the GDR to give an alkaline reaction, which is called Betonkrebs (concrete cancer or concrete rot). After the reunification, however, this fact was ignored by the west German engineers, and from 2005 it became clear that hundreds of kilometers of Autobahn were concreted that the projected lifespan was far from being achieved. After 2010, hundreds of millions of euros had to be spent in the premature replacement of the road surface. This causes a lot of traffic nuisance on many routes, for example in 2016 the A113 in Berlin was narrowed and the maximum speed was reduced to 60 km/h. In 2020, there were even talk of billions of euros in costs to replace this concrete.

Heat damage

Another problem with concrete road surfaces in Germany is heat damage. In the summer, the expansion of the concrete creates so-called ‘blow-ups’, whereby the concrete cracks or rises sharply. This mainly occurs on Autobahnen with an old concrete road surface. The problem is greatest in the south of Germany, especially in Baden-Württemberg and Bayern, where there have also been fatalities. Modern concrete highways are less or not affected by such inconvenience, in contrast to concrete roads from the 1970s-90s. Since 2013, every summer, as a precaution, the maximum speed on concrete motorways has been reduced to 80 km/h for sometimes quite long routes. They want to replace the old concrete more quickly. This costs hundreds of millions.

Extremely long construction time

In Germany, the progress of many road projects is extremely slow. While the construction of a section of highway takes between 2 and 4 years in most countries, construction times of 6, 8 or 10 years are not uncommon in Germany. Building is often done sequentially instead of simultaneously. Not infrequently, bridges arise in the meadows that remain unused for years until the construction of the carriageways themselves begins. In the expansion projects, routes are divided into many sub-routes, all of which follow a separate route law and appeal procedure. With a construction period of 3 years per segment, it can take decades before a longer route is completely widened. Some highways have been worked for 20 or 30 years in a row, each a few kilometers away. Bridge replacement also regularly takes more than twice as long as the original construction time,

# Project Length Start Opening up Construction time
Extension and renovation Talbrücke Höllenbach 1 km 2007 2018 11 years
Widening between Kreuz Köln-Nord and Kreuz Köln-West and construction of Einhausung Köln-Lövenich 9 km 2007 2015 8 years
Widening between Seligenstädter Dreieck and Dreieck Würzburg-West 74 km 1987 2019 32 years
Widening between Dreieck Würzburg-West and Kreuz Biebelried 22 km 2007 2019 12 years
Reconstruction Kreuz Aachen 3 km 2009 2021 12 years
Widening along Kaiserslautern 6 km 2010 2019 9 years
Construction of the 4th tube and renovation of the Elbtunnel 3 km 1995 2013 18 years
Widening along Kassel 6 km 2010 2022 12 years
Reconstruction Kirchheimer Dreieck 1 km 2015 2024 9 years
Widening Karlsbad – Pforzheim-West 9 km 2009 2015 6 years
Replacement Petersdorfer Brücke 1 km 2015 2020 5 years
Construction at Nettelsee 4 km 2011 2018 7 years
Construction at Itzehoe and replacement Störbrücke 7 km 2007 2016 9 years
Construction of Stade – Horneburg 11 km 1998 2008 10 years
Horneburg – Jork 5 km 2006 2015 9 years
Jork – Buxtehude 4 km 2009 2022 13 years
Buxtehude – Neu-Wulmstorf 4 km 2013 2022 9 years
Bad Oeynhausen diversion 9 km 2008 2019 11 years
Construction Bielefeld-Zentrum – Halle/Steinhagen 8 km 2009 2018 9 years
Construction Halle/Steinhagen – Borgholzhausen 13 km 2012 2019 7 years
Widening by Recklinghausen 7 km 2014 2030 16 years
Rebuild Kreuz Jackerath – Kreuz Holz 8 km 2012 2018 6 years
Construction Kreuz Ratingen-Ost – Heiligenhaus 4 km 2015 2025 10 years
Construction Heiligenhaus – Velbert 5 km 2010 2018 8 years
Construction Helsa-Ost – Hessisch Lichtenau-West 6 km 2010 2022 12 years
Construction Hessisch Lichtenau/Walburg – Waldkappel-Hasselbach 4 km 2010 2018 8 years
Construction Bestwig – Nuttlar 6 km 2009 2019 10 years
Construction Neuental – Schwalmstadt 12 km 2010 2022 12 years
Widening along Neuss 13 km 1997 2015 18 years
Replacement small bridge at Dormagen after fire 1 km 2012 2018 6 years
Widening along the center of Duisburg 3 km 2001 2014 13 years
Construction Neuhof-Nord – Fulda-Nord, including Tunnel Neuhof 4 km 2005 2014 9 years
Construction of the Riederwald tunnel 2 km 2009 2030 21 years
Replacement Salzbachtalbrücke 1 km 2017 2026 9 years
Construction Borna-Nord – Rötha 10 km 2013 2020 7 years
Construction Rötha – Leipzig 7 km 2015 2026 11 years
Construction Dreieck Hochrhein – Rheinfelden/Minseln 2 km 2009 2021 12 years
Construction Bochum – Kreuz Bochum/Witten 3 km 2011 2021 10 years
Conversion B288 to A524 around Kreuz Duisburg-Süd 3 km 2010 2021 11 years
Replacement Schiersteiner Brücke 2 km 2013 2023 10 years
Construction at the Hinterweidenthal 1 km 2013 2022 9 years
Construction Rosenstein tunnel in Stuttgart 1 km 2014 2022 8 years
Construction Ravensburg-Süd – Untereschach 3 km 2013 2019 6 years
Construction Beselich – Heckholzhausen 3 km 2009 2018 9 years
Construction Kreuz Wittlich – Platten 5 km 2003 2014 11 years
Construction Platten – Longkamp and Hochmoselbrücke 17 km 2010 2019 9 years
Construction of the Düren ring road 6 km 2013 2020 7 years
Renovation Kanaltunnel Rendsburg 1 km 2011 2021 10 years
Berne. bypass 10 km 2009 2021 12 years
Bypass Wetter 5 km 2013 2019 6 years
Construction of the Bad Neuenahr. bypass 2 km 2009 2018 9 years


The German motorways are financed by general car taxes and LKW-maut. No toll is charged for passenger cars. There are a number of private toll roads in Bayern with only a tourist interest. In addition, there are two toll tunnels in Germany, namely the Herrentunnel in Lübeck and the Warnowtunnel in Rostock. Finally, two toll tunnels are planned, namely a new Elbe tunnel on the A20 and a new Weser tunnel on the Bremen A281.

There were plans to introduce a toll vignette for passenger cars, but this did not go ahead in the end.

Traffic intensities



Busiest road sections:

Autobahn Busiest road section 2005 2010
A100 Dreieck Funkturm – Kurfürstendamm 191,400 186.100
A3 Köln-Dellbruck – Kreuz Köln-Ost 165,000 157.100
A5 Frankfurter Kreuz – Zeppelinheim 150,700 145,900
A7 Dreieck Hamburg-Nordwest – Hamburg-Stellingen 137,700 134,300
A8 Dreieck Leonberg – Leonberg Ost 133,000 147,600
A9 Eching – Garching-Nord 131,000 131,800
A2 Hanover-Herrenhausen – Dreieck Hanover-West 129,000 129,800
A40 Dreieck Essen-Ost – Essen-Frillendorf 128,600 117,200
A66 Frankfurt-Hochst – Eschborn 124,000 133,200
A111 Flughafen Tegel – Heckerdamm 121,500 114,700
A81 Kreuz Stuttgart – Sindelfingen Ost 120,500 125,200
A1 Kreuz Hamburg-Süd – Hamburg-Stillhorn 119,000 117,500
A4 Kreuz Köln-Süd – Köln-Poll 117,700 120,500
A57 Kreuz Köln-Nord – Köln-Longerich 115,000 118,500
A99 Aschheim/Ismaning – Kirchheim bei München 114,900 121,200
A46 Kreuz Hilden – Hilden 114.600 111,600
A52 Dreieck Breitscheid – Kreuz Breitscheid 110,900 111,700
A59 Dreieck Sankt Augustin-West – Dreieck Beuel 108,600 115,900
A661 Offenbach-Kaiserlei – Offenbach-Taunusring 107,700 116,800
A565 Bonn-Beuel-Nord – Bonn-Auerberg 101,900 106,500


The congestion in Germany differs from the Netherlands or Belgium. Although there is rush hour in Germany, due to road works and accidents, long traffic jams continue throughout the day. The number of capacity bottlenecks is relatively small, many of the delays are due to road works. It is not uncommon for a Baustelle to be in a traffic jam throughout the day. During the year, the number of traffic jams is clearly related to the amount of road works.

The state of Nordrhein-Westfalen is particularly sensitive to congestion, where 35% of all traffic jams are located, but Bayern (18%) and Baden-Württemberg (11%) are also traffic-prone states. There are significantly fewer traffic jams in the east of Germany. The states of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Brandenburg, Saxony-Anhalt, Thuringia and Saxony together account for only 7% of traffic jams in Germany.

Congestion has increased sharply in recent years. Between 2013 and 2017, the annual traffic jam length increased by 75%. ​​[49] In 2013, there were 830,000 kilometers of traffic jams, in 2017 this had grown to 1,448,000 kilometers of traffic jams.

In Germany typical weekend congestion occurs, on Friday afternoon it gets busy on the Autobahn early. The bustle continues into the evening. It is often busy in the opposite direction on Sunday afternoons. Weekend congestion is more severe than in the Netherlands. This is partly because there are more people in Germany who work in one of the major cities during the week and are at home at the weekend. As a result, many long journeys are made on Friday afternoon, Sunday afternoon and evening.

During the summer period there are busy holiday trips. This coincides with the start of the summer holiday, which varies from region to region. In general, the north and center of Germany gets a holiday at the beginning of July. The south only gets a holiday at the end of July or even the beginning of August. As a result, all Fridays and Saturdays in July and August are busy. In addition, Germany has to deal with the holiday exodus from the Netherlands and Scandinavia. A classic bottleneck is Munich, although it often gets bogged down all over Germany on Fridays.

Holidaymakers who want to avoid the crowds should drive through Germany on Sunday or Monday. On Sundays, there is a driving ban for freight traffic, which makes the traffic a lot better.

Road numbering


Before a national road numbering system was introduced in Germany, there were already numbered roads in the various predecessors of Germany, such as the Badische Staatsstraßen from 1901. At the time of Napoleon there were already route impériales in Germany from 1811. It is unlikely that these numbers were on signage at the time, but they were on mile markers.

The first national road numbering in Germany was created in 1932 when the Fernverkehrsstraßen were introduced. These were renamed Reichsstraßen in 1934. From the mid-1930s, these road numbers were indicated on signposts. Renumbering was carried out in 1937 and 1938 and the numbering system was extended to what is now Poland, the Czech Republic and Austria. The numbering of the current Bundesstraßen is based on the original numbering of the Fernverkehrsstraßen from 1932.

After 1945, the Reichsstraße was closed and the Bundesstrae was introduced in 1949. In East Germany the Fernverkehrsstraße was reintroduced. The numbering was not adjusted at that time, so that this did not cause any problems in the event of a reunification. However, many songs were canceled in what is now western Poland. These have been renumbered to the Polish droga krajowa. Other numbers that had been extended into Austria were shortened again to the present borders.

As of January 1, 1975, the Bundesautobahnen were numbered. Before that, a different numbering system existed, but this was only administrative. In East Germany, however, the Autobahnen were not numbered. Apart from some occasional adjustments due to double numbering, the numbering of the Autobahnen has not changed substantially since 1975. New numbers have been added. The 1975 system already took into account a possible reunification of Germany, so that the numbers could easily be extended eastwards. The number series A11 to A19 was also reserved for East Germany, although these routes were initially on roads in West Berlin.were awarded. In 1990 the reunification was a fact and the Fernverkehrsstraßen in East Germany were abolished and renamed Bundesstraßen. Almost nothing has changed in the numbering.


Even-numbered roads run roughly east-west, while odd-numbered roads run north-south. However, because the German road network is not built up in the form of a grid, this rule does not always apply. Motorways with a single digit number form the main axes of Germany. Those with two numbers are a category below that; they have a supraregional interest. Roads with a three-digit number have only regional importance; usually these are fairly short Zubringers. An exception is the A661 near Frankfurt am Main which is quite long for an Autobahn with a three digit number.

The routes with two and three digit numbers are grouped by region. The numbers starting with 1 start or end in the former GDR, those with a 2 in Niedersachsen or Schleswig-Holstein, with a 3 in Niedersachsen and North Rhine-Westphalia, with a 4 in North Rhine-Westphalia, with a 5 in North Rhine-Westphalia. Westphalia, with a 6 in Rheinland-Pfalz, Saarland and Hesse, with a 7 in Bayern, Thuringia and Sachsen, with an 8 in Baden-Württemberg and with a 9 in Bayern.

In contrast to the Netherlands, Germany does not have integrated numbering of A-roads and N or B-roads. Parts of the B1 have been expanded as Autobahn and then have a completely different A number. Also roads of local authorities often have numbers. These are the Landesstraen and the Kreisstraen. However, these are purely administrative. They do not appear on the signs, but they do appear on hectometre posts.

Autobahnen numbers are signposted with a blue hexagon with a white border. It only contains the number and not the prefix. The same applies to Bundesstraen. Only the B number appears in the yellow rectangle with a black border.


Signage on the German motorway is in white letters on a blue background. References to motorways from non-motorways have also been carried out in that color scheme. The signage on non-motorways has a yellow background with black letters. However, references from the motorway to a non-motorway are not made in yellow, but in the color scheme of the motorways (white-on-blue).

Road numbers generally appear on road signs in Germany, although only the numbers of Autobahnen and Bundesstraen are signposted. As a rule, E numbers appear on motorways only on distance signs and not on the directional signage. Sometimes an E number appears on a front signpost or decision signpost. If an E-route runs over the underlying road network, the E numbers are usually on all signs.

On Autobahnen the exits are numbered. We work with ascending numbers. Numbering based on kilometer posts would be extremely difficult in Germany, because the mileage of many (older) motorways is not linked to the start and end of the road number, but to fixed starting points such as Berlin, Köln and Munich.

The font used on German signage is DIN1451. Directions for signage are laid down in two documents, namely the Richtlinien für die wegweisende Beschilderung auf Autobahnen (RWBA) and the Richtlinien für die wegweisende Beschilderung auf Nicht-Autobahnen (RWBNA). These are universally binding; every road manager must adhere to it. However, the guideline is not exhaustive; the gaps in the guideline are always filled in slightly differently by each federal state. The most notable difference can be seen in Hesse, which uses short arrows (instead of the combo arrows used elsewhere) and aligns targets to the left.

Speed ​​limits

In Germany, a maximum of 50 km/h within the built-up area and 100 km/h outside the built-up area applies. There is no speed limit on Autobahnen, but a recommended speed of 130 km/h. This recommended speed applies on all roads outside built-up areas insofar as the road consists of two carriageways with at least two lanes each, unless a maximum speed is imposed by means of signage.

The maximum speeds on Autobahnen are individually set by the states. Nearly all states have recommended speed limits only, but if there is a speed limit it may vary by state, some states use a maximum speed of 120 km/h, other states 130 km/h on restricted Autobahn stretches.

Lorries are formally not allowed to go faster than 60 km/h outside built-up areas, but in practice this seems to be followed varyingly. On Kraftfahrstraßen and Autobahnen, trucks are allowed a maximum speed of 80 km/h. Some light vehicles with a trailer are allowed to reach 100 km/h after a TÜV approval.

Road construction procedures

Road safety

Year Road fatalities
2010 3.651
2011 4.009
2012 3.601
2013 3.340
2014 3.368
2015 3.475
2016 3.214
2017 3,180
2018 3.275
2019 3.059

In 2010 there were 45 road deaths per 1 million inhabitants in Germany, a decrease of 48 percent compared to 2001. This makes Germany one of the safer countries in the European Union. As in many other countries, there has been a stagnation in the decline in road deaths since 2013. Germany has the highest number of road deaths in the European Union in absolute numbers, slightly more than large countries such as France, Italy or the United Kingdom. However, relative safety is better than in most countries, with 43 road deaths per 1 million inhabitants in 2015.

The number of road deaths on the German Autobahn is significantly higher than on the Dutch motorway. In 2015, 414 people died on the Autobahn in Germany, on which 237 billion vehicle kilometers were traveled. That is a ratio of 2 deaths per 1 billion vehicle kilometers. In 2016, 80 people died on national roads in the Netherlands, where 70 billion vehicle kilometers were traveled. That is a rate of 1.1 deaths per 1 billion vehicle kilometers. As a result, 82% more deaths occur on the motorway in Germany than in the Netherlands.

Modal split

The modal split in Germany in 2018 (passenger kilometers).

Modality Part
Car 84.1%
Train 8.8%
Local public transport 7.1%

Germany Road Network