We cannot have Autobahns anyway because they are German.
These controlled access highways are generally known as Freeways or Motorways or sometimes known as Expressways; Autobahns in Germany; Autocesta in France; Autopista in Spain; Autoestrada in Portugal and Autostrada in Italy.
They are controlled access highways and by definition termed as
A road, specially designed and built for motor traffic which does not serve properties bordering on it, and which:
- is provided, except at special points or temporarily, with separate carriageways for the two directions of traffic, separated from each other, either by a dividing strip not intended for traffic, or exceptionally by other means;
- does not cross at level with any road, railway or tramway track, or footpath;
- is specially signposted as a motorway and is reserved for specific categories of road motor vehicles.
Going by this definition we are on an intended schedule to have a network of Expressways like the NE 1 - National Expressway 1 - between Ahmedabad and Vadodara.
Then there are other by-pass/link roads like Yamuna Eway or the Mumbai-Pune Eway.
However after seeing Highways in Germany, France, some other European countries, South Korea etc, I would say that in terms of Infrastructure, our roads like NE 1 and Yamuna E ways are 70 to 75% of an International Freeway.
Things which degrade our Expressways are - Entry and Exits are not designed and built properly, crossings are not eliminated fully, dividers have some abrupt gaps which is a big risk, Speed restrictors are not scientifically designed, Toll booths act as a major chocking point and spoil the very purpose of saving time.
Then the facilities for rest, refreshment and fuelling - These points are not planned, designed and constructed properly, so is the exit to these spots and entry back to the highway.
Even if the Government could invest or facilitate the Infrastructure development through PPP route, then the big question is about our Civic sense and road sense and this is one area where the difference is huge and we are not even 10% of those countries where excellent highways are available.
In South Korea, where there is a network of 10 lane National Highways which they proudly say is the backbone of their development (For them Highways came first and then came Industry, development and then only those vehicles and traffic - similar cases could be seen in US and Germany), 2 lanes are kept free - The first lane
(or the fast lane as we call it here) is reserved for buses.
Cars or other vehicles do not take this lane even if it is free and no buses are visible in the horizon. They don't take the first lane even for overtaking. Last lane is kept free for emergency services.
It is the road users who decide the standard of a highway and help to make it world class. We road users need to respect and follow rules, respect other road users, show civic and road sense and above all show commonsense and rest assured we can make our highways world class.
Note: An undivided 2 lane highway in Germany with heavy traffic felt much more free, safe and uncluttered than our six lane highways.