The autoroute (French: [otoʁut] (listen), highway or motorway) system in France consists largely of toll roads (76% of the total). It is a network of 11,882 km (7,383 mi) of motorways as of 2014. On road signs, autoroute destinations are shown in blue, while destinations reached through a combination of autoroutes are shown with an added autoroute logo. Toll autoroutes are signalled with the word péage (toll or toll plaza).
|Source: Observatoire national interministériel de la sécurité routière.|
|Network length (Privately managed & national statistics)|
|Source ASFA., ASFA 2018; Eurostat (road_if_motorwa serie)|
Unlike other motorway systems, there is no systematic numbering system, but there is a clustering of Autoroute numbers based on region.
A1, A3, A4, A5, A6, A10, A13, A14, A15, A16 radiate clockwise from Paris with A2, A11, and A12 branching from A1, A10, and A13, respectively. A7 begins in Lyon, where A6 ends. A8 and A9 begin from the A7.
The 20s are found in northern France. The 30s are found in eastern France. The 40s are found near the Alps. The 50s are in the southeast, near the French Riviera. The 60s are found in southern France. The 70s are found in the centre of the country. The 80s are found in western France.
Some of the autoroutes are often given a name, even if these are not very used:
The status of motorways in France has been the subject of debate through years, from their construction until recently. Originally, the autoroutes were built by private companies mandated by the French government and followed strict construction rules as described below. They are operated and maintained by mixed companies held in part by private interests and in part by the state. Those companies hold concessions, which means that autoroutes belong to the French state and their administration to semi-private companies. Vinci controls around 4,380 km (2,720 mi) of motorway. The different companies are as follows:
Only in the Brittany region do most of the autoroutes belong to the government. They are operated by the regional council and are free from tolls.
France has the following speed limits for limited access roads classified as motorways:
Limited access roads classified as express roads have lower speed limit (90 or 110 km/h, 55 or 70 mph).
In normal conditions, there is a minimum speed of 80 km/h (50 mph) in the leftmost lane. There is no minimum speed on the others lanes, however the speed must be adapted to the conditions and not constitute a hazard by being too low.
The autoroutes are designed to increase driver safety and allow for higher speed limits (130 km/h or 80 mph) than on regular roads (80 km/h or 50 mph) without increasing the risk of accidents.
The safety features include:
Fatalities on motorways have decreased between 2002 and 2016.
|Source ASFA · |
On French motorways, in 2016, 121 fatal accidents are direct/initial accidents representing 82% of fatal accidents, 16 (11%) fatal accidents occurs after a previous accident, and 10 (7%) fatal accidents occur after an incident.
Three scenarios catch two-thirds of initial accidents:
Most of fatalities occur by night.
|Fatal accident by Light condition||Fatal accident cause|
|Source Sécurité routière||Source ASFA|
Several factor of accidents are more highly probable by night in proportion to the traffic, although inattentiveness remains risky during the day.
|Influence of time on the risk of accident (% of accidents divided by % of traffic)|
Young drivers between 18 and 34 years old represent 19% of motorway drivers, but they are overrepresented in fatal motor vehicle collisions and are involved in more than half of fatal accidents.
|Involvement of young drivers in 2016, in fatal accidents|
|young drivers in dangerous manoeuvre||young drivers in inattentiveness||young drivers in excessive speeding|
Although pedestrians are forbidden on motorways in conformity with the Vienna Convention, they are still sometimes killed on motorways.
In case a vehicle on a carriage cannot move, motorways safety rules remains applicable: it is forbidden for a pedestrian to travel on the motorway by article 421-2 from the "Code de la route" law. For this reason, in case of accident or breakdown, it is advised to turn on hazard warning lights, wear high-visibility clothing, and go in a safer place such as the other side from the traffic barrier where there is no traffic. Since 2008, it is clarified that warning triangles are no longer mandatory when they would endanger the driver of the disabled vehicle.
|Pedestrians killed in 2016|
|Place where pedestrians are killed||Reason for pedestrian presence|
The toll roads were granted as concessions to mixed-economy corporations; the free roads are directly administered by the national government. Tolls are either based on a flat-rate for access to the road or on the distance driven. The latter case is the most common for long distances; users take a ticket from an automatic machine when they enter the autoroute, and pay according to the distance when exiting; toll booths accept multiple payment methods.
In 2005, the Villepin government proposed a controversial plan to sell all of the state's holdings in autoroute companies to private investors. Critics contend that the price announced is well below the profit forecasts for these companies, and thus that the government sacrifices the future to solve current budgetary problems.
|Mode of payment|
|Number||Length (km)||Length (mi)||Southern or western terminus||Northern or eastern terminus||Route name||Formed||Removed||Notes|
|A1||211||131||Paris (Porte de la Chapelle)||Lille||Autoroute du Nord||1954||current||Part of E 15 / E 17 / E 19|
|A2||77.6||48.2||Combles||Belgium||—||—||Part of E 19|
|A3||18.4||11.4||Paris (Porte de Bagnolet)||Gonesse||1969||current||Part of E 15|
|A4||482||300||Paris (Porte de Bercy)||Strasbourg||Autoroute de l'Est||1970||current||Part of E 25 / E 50|
|A5||225||140||Vert-Saint-Denis (Seine-et-Marne)||Langres||1983||current||Part of E 17 / E 54|
|A6||466.3||289.7||Lyon||Paris||Autoroute du Sud, Autoroute du Soleil||1960||current||Part of E 15 / E 21 / E 60|
|A7||312||194||Marseille||Lyon||Autoroute du Soleil||1951||current||Part of E 15 / E 80 / E 714|
|A8||224||139||La Fare-les-Oliviers||Italy||La Provençale||1961||current||Part of E 74 / E 80|
|A9||280||170||Le Perthus||Orange||La Languedocienne, La Catalane||1960||current||Part of E 15 / E 80|
|A10||557||346||Bordeaux||Rungis||L'Aquitaine||1960||current||Part of E 5|
|A11||347||216||Nantes||Ponthévrard||L'Océane||1966||current||Part of E 50 / E 60 / E 501|
|A12||8.5||5.3||Trappes||Rocquencourt||Autoroute de Bretagne||1950||current|
|A13||226||140||Caen (Porte de Paris)||Paris (Porte d'Auteuil)||Autoroute de Normandie||1940||current||Part of E 5 / E 46|
|A16||319||198||L'Isle-Adam||Belgium||L'Européenne||1991||current||Part of E 40 / E 44 / E 401 / E 402|
|A19||131||81||Orléans (A10 at Artenay)||Sens||L'Éco Autoroute||1993||current||Part of E 511|
|A20||428||266||Montauban||Vierzon||L'Occitane||1992||current||Part of E 9|
|A22||15.8||9.8||Villeneuve-d'Ascq||Belgium||Autoroute du Nord||1972||current||Part of E 17|
|A24||—||—||Amiens||Belgium||1980||2011||Proposed, but never built|
|A25||62.7||39.0||Lesquin||Dunkirk||1963||current||Part of E 42|
|A26||395||245||Troyes||Calais||Autoroute des Anglais||1976||current||Part of E 15 / E 17 / E 50|
|A27||13.7||8.5||Lesquin||Belgium||1973||current||Part of E 42|
|A28||366.5||227.7||Abbeville||Tours||Autoroute des Estuaires||2005||current||Part of E 44 / E 402 / E 502|
|A29||183||114||Le Havre||Saint-Quentin||1995||current||Part of E 44 / E 402|
|A33||—||—||Nancy||Hudiviller||—||—||Local autoroute around Nancy|
|A40||—||—||Mâcon||Mont Blanc Tunnel||Autoroute Blanche, Autoroute des Titans||—||—||Part of E62|
|A42||—||—||Lyon||Bourg-en-Bresse||—||—||Part of E611|
|A44||—||—||Bypassing Lyon to the west||—||—|
|A46||—||—||Anse||Givors (bypassing Lyon by east)||—||—|
|A47||—||—||Lyon||Saint-Étienne||—||—||Part of E70|
|A51||—||—||Marseille||Grenoble, Val de Durance||—||—|
|A52||—||—||A8||A50||Great ring of Marseilles||—||—|
|A54||—||—||Nîmes||Salon Sud (link with A7)||—||—|
|A56||—||—||Link between A54 and A55 from Salon to Fos freight port||proposed||—|
|A57||—||—||Toulon||Vidauban, link with A8||—||—|
|A61||—||—||Toulouse||Narbonne||Autoroute des Deux Mers||—||—||Part of E80|
|A62||—||—||Bordeaux||Toulouse||Autoroute des Deux Mers||—||—||Part of E72|
|A63||—||—||Bordeaux||Biriatou||Autoroute de la Côte Basque||—||—||Part of E05/E70|
|A64||—||—||Toulouse||Bayonne||La Pyrénéenne||—||—||Part of E80|
|A65||—||—||Bordeaux||Pau||—||—||Part of E7|
|A66||—||—||Toulouse||Pamiers||—||—||Part of E9|
|A71||—||—||Orléans (A10)||Clermont-Ferrand (A75)||L'Arverne||—||—|
|A75||—||—||Clermont-Ferrand||Béziers (A0)||La Méridienne||—||—|
|A77||—||—||Poligny (A6)||Challuy||Autoroute de l'Arbre||—||—|
|A81||94.8||58.9||Le Mans||Le Gravelle||1982||current|
|A84||170.5||105.9||Caen (Porte de Bretagne)||Rennes||Autoroute des Estuaires||2003||current||Part of E 3 / E 46 / E 401|
|A88||117.7||73.1||Caen (Porte d'Espagne)||Sees||2010||current|
|A89||544||338||Lyon||Bordeaux||1991||current||Part of E 70|
|A507||—||—||Ring of Marseilles||proposed||—|
|A557||—||—||One-direction ring of Marseilles downtown||—||—|
The FM 107.7 radio coverage is available in 2017 on 8902 kilometres of the (ASFA) network. This is list of highways that are updated in 107.7 FM every 15 minutes, live 24/7 (if the highway is said alone, it means that the station covers all around it):
99% of the privately managed network is protected by natural fencing.
Privately managed motorways have 1764 wildlife crossing structures.