Many developed countries have some of the best roads in the world. The German autobahn system, for example, is a dream come true for motorists: hundreds of miles of asphalt to be conquered at over 120 miles per hour or even faster. Generally, Germany has better roads than most countries in Europe, but Singapore, Switzerland and the Netherlands have even better. Having good roads does not mean that the entire country is covered. The Road Connectivity Index ranks Switzerland 40th and the Netherlands 24th in road connectivity. The United States ranks 11th in road quality but takes the top spot in the connectivity index. Saudi Arabia and Spain rank second and third, respectively. France is the only country that appears in the top 10 countries with quality roads and extensive connectivity. The following are countries with the best road connectivity.
Road Network In The United States
The United States has the best road connectivity in the world, with over 4.2 million miles traversing the country, including Hawaii and Alaska. The 48,254 miles of interstate highways account for just over 1% of the road network but carry one-quarter of the traffic. The interstate highways and a further 175,000 miles of major roads make up the national highway system that carries most of the traffic in the United States. Local governments maintain about 77% of roads. State highway agencies maintain 19% while the federal government maintains the rest. Despite the broad coverage, the United States is not the country with the best roads. About 200,000 miles of major highways are in mediocre condition and need substantive repairs. About 7.6% of bridges are structurally deficient. Congestion and traffic jams cost American drivers more than $160 billion annually. In 2018 drivers purchased an extra 3.1 billion gallons of fuel to navigate traffic jams.
Road Network In Saudi Arabia
There are about 137,554 miles of roads in Saudi Arabia, of which only 30,000 miles are paved, including 2,420 miles of expressway. The network seems like just a fraction compared to other countries like China and the United States, but it covers much of the country considering the smaller size of Saudi Arabia. Roads vary from eight-laned express highways connecting major cities to the minor two-lane roads in rural areas. Although Saudi Arabia ranks second in road connectivity, it ranks a devastating 30th in the quality of roads. Major and city highways are well maintained, unlike in rural areas. Highways in Saudi Arabia are constructed to resist high temperatures and absorb the strong sunshine making them more expensive than in the West. Saudi Arabia encourages its citizens to use the road network by lowering taxes on motor vehicles and maintaining fuel costs of less than $0.6 per liter. Highway 10 is the world’s longest straight road, stretching for about 120 miles between Al Batha and Haradh. In 2018, Saudi Arabia increased the speed limit of some of its major highways from 75 to 87 miles per hour.
Road Connectivity In Spain
There are about 425,000 miles of road in Spain, of which 17,000 miles consist of high-capacity roads. There are two types of highways in Spain, autovias, and autopistas. Autopistas are highways reserved for vehicles traveling at speeds of over 35 miles per hour. Most but not all are tolled. Autovias are reserved for slower vehicles such as heavy trucks and farm machinery. The General Roads Directorate manages the high capacity roads in the country except those in Basque and Navarre, the only autonomous regions with full authority over roads in their territories. In the 1980s, Spain formed several autonomous communities that led to the transfer of roads from the federal government to regional authorities. This move helped improve the road networks in rural areas that had been neglected in the past.
Road Connectivity In Sweden
There are about 360,000 miles of road in Sweden. This is an extensive coverage considering the small size of the country. Regional governments manage most of the roads except national highways that are under the federal government. National roads are numbered from 1 through 99 and pass through several counties. The only county without a national highway is Gotland County. Most roads in the country are either single or double lane, but those in major cities may be larger. Sweden has quality roads with good lighting in the dark. They are less congested and more comfortable to drive due to the Swedish culture of owning a few vehicles per family. Even rural roads are of impeccable quality. Sweden has embraced green energy, and it is common to encounter electric cars on the road. In 2018, the country began constructing electrified roads to recharge passenger and commercial vehicles while driving.
Road Connectivity In South Africa
South Africa has about 470,000 miles of road network, the longest of any African country. The South African National Road Agency is responsible for constructing and maintaining national roads while local authorities maintain the rest. About 20% of federal highways in the country are toll roads maintained by the government or private investors. Despite the extensive coverage, most of South Africa is rural and not entirely well served with quality roads. Road Connectivity in FranceFrance is the only country that appears in the top 10 countries with the best road connectivity and quality of roads. There are about 590,000 miles of road in the country. The autoroute or motorway network consists of freeways with toll stations except around major cities. There are about 7,500 motorways operated by the national government and private companies. While most countries have expansive but poorly maintained road networks, France has some of the best roads in the world.