Sweden Road Network

By | December 14, 2022

According to wholevehicles, Sweden has a fairly dense road network in the south given the size of the population, and a thin to very thin road network in the north. Most of the highways are in the south; the number of highways north of Stockholm is quite limited. The country has 2,191 kilometers of highway, the majority of which is made up of the E4 and E6 from the south to Stockholm and Norway respectively. The largest Swedish cities have a highway and express road network, especially Stockholm, Gothenburg and Malmö. The road network is divided into European roads (sing. europaväg plural europavägar), national roads (sing. riksväg, plural riksvägar) and provincial roads (sing. länsvägplural länsvägar). National roads and provincial roads can also be developed as motorways (single motorväg, plural motorvägar), but E-roads are by no means always highways.

Road numbering

The main road network consists of European roads, the E-roads. Then come the national highways, which have no prefixhave only a number. They could be abbreviated to “RV”. There is only one single digit highway, the RV 9, as the old RV 1 – RV 9 have now become mostly European roads. Provincial roads have three digits and are zoned by province. These can be subdivided into primary provincial roads, secondary provincial roads and tertiary provincial roads. The primary provincial roads have 3 digits. The secondary numbers are given a letter (AZ) before the number, for example länsväg C 600 at Uppsala. Primary provincial roads run from the number 100 – 404, secondary from 500 – 2999 and tertiary provincial roads from 3000 to 9999. The secondary and tertiary numbers are reused per province. Primary numbers run throughout Sweden.

Prefix

A prefix is ​​only used on the signage for European roads, namely an [E]. Other roads only have a number on the signs without a prefix, but you can use [RV] and [LV] in written language. The terms riksväg and länsväg are often abbreviated to ‘väg’.

Motorway network

The Swedish highways are mainly located in the south and center of the country, up to approximately the Oslo – Gävle line. To the north of this, only incidental sections of the E4 have been developed as a highway. In the south, the A4 and E6 are through highways, and parts of the E18, E20, E22 and E65 have been developed as highways. Longer other roads that have been developed as highways are, for example, the RV 40, RV 73, LV 222 and LV 229. Some highways have no number.

What is striking about the highway network is that gas stations are rarely located directly on the highway, but at connections, similar to what happens in the United States. The road markings are white. A central barrier is sometimes missing in places where the central reservation is somewhat wider. Some roads have an iron cable as the middle conductor, also called a cable barrier.

History

Sweden’s first highways were built in the 1950s. The first highways to open were the E22 around Malmö in 1953 and the E18 near Stockholm in 1957. In 1957 the highway class was introduced and the first sections of the E22 were also given highway classification. Parts of the E18 near Stockholm opened in 1958 and 1959. In the 1960s, highway construction accelerated and continued into the 1970s. Nowadays, mainly shorter pieces are built, which run underground in the cities. In 2006-2007 opened 78 kilometers of the E4 between Uppsala and Gävle. In 1967 the E4. openedby Stockholm, called the Essingeleden. This was the first 2×3 lane highway. In the 1990s, the road was widened to 2×4 lanes.

In September 1967, Sweden switched from driving on the left to driving on the right.

Motorcycle traffic clothing

A motor trafikled is a motorway in Sweden. These roads often have 2+1 lanes and often have a cable barrier as a lane separation. Constructively, it is often one lane, in many cases it concerns converted roads that originally had a very wide lane. In 2015, Sweden had 410 kilometers of motorcycle traffic, of which 390 kilometers with a cable barrier. The speed limit is often 100 or 110 km/h on these roads, usually 100 km/h on at-grade 2+1 roads and 110 km/h on grade-separated 2+1 roads.

Nodes

Junctions in Sweden
Adolfsberg • Arlanda • Bräckemotet • Bulltofta • Fredriksberg • Gävle Västra • Gräsnäs • Gullbergsmotet • Häggvik • Helsingborg Södra • Järnbrottsmotet • Kista • Kronetorp • Kropp • Kungens Kurva • LjungaretsOllentsk • Mölndborg • Mölndborg • _ _ _ _• Saltskog Östra • Sunnanå

Tunnels

Tunnels in Sweden
Tunnel förbifart Stockholm • Götatunneln • Löttingetunneln • Lundbytunneln • Marieholmstunneln • Muskötunneln • Norra länken • Söderledstunneln • Södra länken • Tingstadstunneln • Törnskogstunneln

Congestion

In Sweden traffic is mainly in and around the three largest cities, but the traffic intensities outside are very low. In the north of Sweden there is no traffic at all and there are very deserted roads.

Road management

The Swedish trunk road network is managed by Trafikverket. Trafikverket manages all E-roads, riksvägar and länsvägar. In addition, Trafikverket also manages all railways. Partly because of this, the national government manages a very large road network of 98,500 kilometers. In addition, 41,600 kilometers of road are under municipal management. The provinces (län) do not have their own road authority, but they do have a länsstyrelse, an administrative council. The provinces in Sweden are only administrative and do not have their own government. They are executive agencies of the national government.

Winter management

Trafikverket keeps the almost 100,000 kilometers of road as free of snow and ice as possible. The extent to which a road must be free of snow and ice depends on its function and traffic intensity. On secondary roads, it is acceptable for a layer of snow and ice to remain on them. The snow shoveling and salting of the roads is outsourced to external contractors. The costs of winter maintenance are approximately SEK 2 billion (€ 210 million) per year. On about 20% of the roads salt is used to keep them passable, elsewhere sand is mainly used to save costs and relieve the burden on the environment. The smoothness of secondary roads on which sand has been spread is periodically measured and extra sand is sprinkled where necessary.

Signage

The signage on the highways is in green, with white letters. Signage on other roads is with blue signs. Exit signage is in blue, but all signs are green at junctions with other highways. Local targets are shown in white signs with black letters. Connections are called a “trafikplats” and are announced in advance without a distance indication. Exit signs have a striking shape, with the sign protruding at the top right in the direction of the exit. Exit numbers are indicated by a yellow shield with a black exit symbol and the exit number. Distance signs are also green, and contain a number of main targets with the road number above them. Distances that are indicated are regularly many hundreds of kilometers due to the size of the country.

Connections and junctions are announced 1 kilometer away. Portal signs are used at important connections, with rather thin portal constructions and standing arrows. Nodes are also numbered. In Sweden exonyms are used, Copenhagen (København) is indicated as “Köpenhamn”. Double numberings are indicated, and one can then encounter separate distance signs for both road numbers. Municipal boundaries are usually marked along the highways. The signage is in capital script, similar to France.

Road numbers that are indirectly referenced have a broken band. The divergence board is similar to the Dutch one, but has blue arrows instead of green ones. At exits, the available services are indicated, because in Sweden gas stations and other facilities are rarely located directly on the highway. The center is indicated by a black “C” in a white square. The hospital has no symbol, it says “sjukhus” on the signs in a white area. Cardinal directions are not written in full, but abbreviated, for example “Landskrona N”.

Road signs have a yellow background, unlike a white background in most other European countries. This is because of snow.

Speed ​​limits

A speed limit of 50 km/h applies within built-up areas, and 70 km/h as standard outside the area, although 80 or 90 km/h usually applies on two-lane roads, in northern Sweden sometimes also 100 and in the past also 110. 110 km/h, but there are some routes where one experiments with 120 km/h. Vehicles with a trailer are allowed a maximum speed of 80 km/h. In principle, there is no deviating maximum speed on motorways (motor trafficked) compared to other outlying roads (i.e. standard 70 km/h), but most motorways are limited to 100 km/h, sometimes also 110 km/h.

It was planned to introduce a more unambiguous speed policy from 2017 onwards. The following speed limits were planned:

  • 40 km/h: built-up area
  • 60 km/h: outside built-up areas and on major city roads
  • 80 km/h: main roads with center line
  • 100 km/h: 2+1 roads and quiet single carriageway roads with center line (<4.000 mvt/24h)

It is policy to reduce the speed limit on two-lane roads without a center conductor and a traffic intensity of more than 2,000 vehicles per day from 90 to 80 km/h. After 2015, the speed limit was reduced on thousands of kilometers of road, in combination with the installation of a very large number of speed cameras. On regular single-lane roads, 100 km/h is almost nowhere to be found and 90 km/h has also become a lot rarer, especially in southern and central Sweden. However, some speed reductions were later reversed due to objections from municipalities.

Car taxes

Like most countries in Europe, the use and ownership of a car in Sweden is taxed in several ways.

Registration Tax

In Sweden, there is no registration tax when a vehicle is registered for the first time, such as the Registration Issue in Denmark or the BPM in the Netherlands. Only 25% VAT is levied on it. Swedish cars therefore cost more than half of what they cost in Denmark. Partly for this reason, many Danes have moved to Sweden (Malmö region) because of the lower car and housing costs.

Road tax

A road tax (Swedish: Fordonsskatt) is levied in Sweden. The tax depends on the weight, fuel type and emissions. Newer vehicles that were registered after 2006 only pay according to the degree of emissions.

The tax consists of two parts; a fixed amount of 360 SEK per year, plus 22 SEK per gram of CO2 (from 111 grams) per kilometer. A petrol car that emits 150 grams per kilometer therefore costs 1218 SEK or about € 120 per year. For diesel cars, a factor of 2.37 applies, plus a surcharge of 250 SEK if the vehicle was registered after 2007. For vehicles from before 2007, a surcharge of SEK 500 applies.

Fuel tax

Between 1924 and 1995, the tax was levied through a fuel tax called Bensinskatt. This was replaced in 1995 by an Energy Tax (Swedish: Energiskatt) and Carbon Dioxide Tax (Swedish: Koldioxidskatt), but is still popularly referred to as Bensinskatt. In addition, there is the Dieselskatt for diesel vehicles. Before 1990 no VAT was charged on fuel, since then it has been. Both taxes together form the general fuel excise tax.

In 2018, an excise duty of SEK 6.74 per liter of petrol (€0.66 per litre). This is somewhat lower than in the Netherlands.

Toll

A portal of the congestion charge on the E6 in Gothenburg. At that time the levy was 8 crowns.

Trucks must purchase a Eurovignette for use on all Motorvägar and E-roads. Passenger cars do not have to pay a general toll, but there is toll on the bridges in the E6 to Norway and the E20 to Denmark. There is also a congestion charge in Stockholm since 2007 and a congestion charge in Gothenburg since 2013. A toll must also be paid on some bridges.

Comparison with the Netherlands

Compared to the Netherlands, both road tax and petrol excise duties are somewhat lower in Sweden.

Road safety

Year Road fatalities
2010 266
2011 319
2012 285
2013 260
2014 270
2015 259
2016 270
2017 253
2018 324
2019 221
2020 204
2021 192

In 2010 there were 28 road deaths per 1 million inhabitants in Sweden. In percentage terms, Sweden has achieved the fourth largest reduction in the European Union compared to 2001, a decrease of 54 percent. Sweden was the safest country in the EU at the time. In 2015, there were 27 road deaths per 1 million inhabitants, the second lowest in the European Union and slightly higher than neighboring Norway. Since 2010, Sweden no longer has a clear downward trend and in 2018 there was a large increase.

In 1997 the ‘vision zero’ was introduced, with which the policy was initiated to reduce the number of road deaths to zero. An interim target was 220 road deaths by the year 2020, but since 2010 there has been no clear decrease in the number of road deaths. In 2018, there was an increase of almost 30%, despite the installation of more than 500 speed cameras in the previous 3 years.

Speed ​​Cameras

Announcement of a speed camera at the E22.

A speed camera on the E20 near Mariestad.

Sweden is known for the large amount of speed checks on the national roads. In October 2020, there were over 2,000 speed cameras along Swedish national roads, with 500 installed between 2015-2017 alone and another 400 between 2018 and 2020. Speed ​​cameras are most commonly found in South and Eastern Sweden and less in the interior of central and northern Sweden. On many main roads there is a speed camera every 10 or 15 kilometers, on some stretches even every few kilometers.

Speed ​​cameras are always announced in advance with a road sign in Sweden. Within 200 to 500 meters a speed camera follows, which flashes from the front. Speed ​​cameras are for the most part located on level, single-lane roads with a maximum speed between 70 and 90 km/h. There are also speed cameras in built-up areas. There are very few speed cameras on 2+1 roads and motorways. Speed ​​cameras have been installed in tunnels since 2018.

Sweden Road Network