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Drifting towards entropy, it seemsEdit

Well, I guess this article is becoming more and more of a mess (starting with the fact that it has the motorway icon at the top, which is never used in the country where the term "freeway" was pioneered, the United States). I'm too busy working on Lawyer as well as keeping up with my professional career to fix this mess, and it looks like everyone else is busy with school or work.

I briefly looked around on CalCat over the weekend and it looks like a few libraries do carry the old AASHTO Highway Definitions book, which would help clear up a lot of the arguments over definitions! Unfortunately, the only library with a copy that's 60 miles of me is the Institute of Transportation Studies Library at UC Berkeley, which has extremely limited public access hours (1-5 pm) and is closed weekends. So I won't be able to get up there for a few months. On the weekdays I'm just too busy with lawyer stuff like depositions. --Coolcaesar 07:50, 15 November 2006 (UTC)

I finally got the Highway Definitions book! Though it's actually a booklet. I'm going to start cleaning up this article and Expressway this weekend as I've been discussing over at Talk:Types of road. --Coolcaesar 06:03, 2 December 2006 (UTC)
"which is never used in the country where the term "freeway" was pioneered, the United States" - What does that matter?
  • Perhaps Freeway is a distinctly US name for an international concept, in which case the article should be renamed a la Airplane to something internationally neutral.
  • Or perhaps freeway is a sufficiently internationally-accepted name for a main article title, in which case every locale with freeways enjoys equal stake in the article.
  • Or finally, as seems to be the settled consensus, perhaps freeway is a distinct concept, not just a distinct name; if so, the article needs to be pruned to be relevant to freeways and not autopistas etc. I think that's clearly the WRONG way to approach it, in that it's totally unlike how Wikipedia handles any other varying names for a concept, but hey -- it looks to me that a bunch of US-based road enthuisasts have been successful in promoting this aberrant view to the point where it is pretty much consensus. I might change my point of view if I could be convinced that freeway were a totally separate concept from motorway, autopista, or what have you.
You want to have your cake and eat it too, by having an article on international limited-access highways remain under this name and retain international content but then privileging the United States based on the name of the article. Indeed, the article is outrageously US-centric, and apparently some of the rationale has to do with nomenclature. I'm too lazy to pull out WP standards at the moment (maybe later) but I'm pretty sure that parlay (name an international concept by the US name, keep international content in the article, then complain about its prominence w/r/t US content) is inherently unWikipedian. - PhilipR 14:56, 3 December 2006 (UTC)
Freeway originated in the US. So why should this not be directed to the US and also include other areas that have adopted this term and also mention the names used by other places that have adopted this concept? Vegaswikian 19:34, 3 December 2006 (UTC)
To the extent that the freeways themselves (rather than the term freeway) originated in the US, your point has some validity. But don't the German Autobahnen predate any US freeways, so that by your rationale the article would need to be Germanocentric? Regardless of who invented the freeway, origin is not the sole determinant in Wikipedia naming conventions. Fixed-wing aircraft were invented in the US (I'm not sure what term the Wright Brothers used) yet Wikipedia found it necessary to adopt a compromise term as a main name for the article. There are plenty of other topics such as football (soccer) where locale of origin is but one consideration in the Wikipedia naming conventions.
The other issue is that articles like Motorway, Autopista, Freeway, Autobahn etc. seem to be organized around documenting the terminology rather than documenting the actual entity. For Wiktionary that would no doubt be the proper way of doing things, but my understanding is that for WP this is pretty non-standard, albeit apparently pretty well-established in this instance. - PhilipR 20:11, 3 December 2006 (UTC)
Pardon my bluntness, but your postings are so out of touch that you have clearly failed to read this entire talk page, as well as Talk:Types of road. I suggest starting from the top of both talk pages and reading down until you understand exactly what is going on. If you go back up several sections, you'll see that SPUI wanted to do precisely what you are implying (that is, using this article to treat the topic generally), and I was sort of siding with that view, but a huge number of other editors objected, particularly User:Zoney. Specifically, many UK-based editors were highly offended by the notion of merging Motorway into this article, even though the term is clearly a minority usage in English (the fact that Hollywood is located in California helps to boost usage of "freeway" over "motorway"). That is why Vegaswikian and I have moved towards a consensus position of keeping separate articles for all similar types of high speed restricted access roads and then carefully trimming down each one to eliminate redundant material already available in the other articles in the group. Wikipedia users interested in the other names for similar roads can find out about them through the footer template and the main Types of road article.
If you want to develop a new consensus in favor of the position that SPUI was advancing, you can certainly join forces with him to advance that position. I am personally neutral on this issue and will side with any position on how to organize the road articles as long as it is coherent and consistent; if you can develop an articulate argument that Freeway should be the blanket term used on Wikipedia for all such roads, I will support you on it. But I have to warn you that you will encounter extreme resistance from Zoney and all other UK-based editors (as well as all French and German editors if you start advocating the merger of autoroute and autobahn into this article). I have to also warn you that I will oppose any merger of Freeway with Expressway (as some non-legal trained editors have unsuccessfully proposed in the past) because the two terms are distinctly different in U.S. federal law (as I have noted in the article's current version) and in six U.S. states. --Coolcaesar 03:33, 4 December 2006 (UTC)
You're right that I got lazy and failed to read a rather longish talk page (any of the 30 items I should be looking at? #24 perhaps?). Is there any practical way to have an informed opinion on this topic without reading several long Talk pages, e.g. is there a summary somewhere? I may just have to come to terms with the fact that Wikipedia is in some ways a hobby only for those with hours of free time, and that participants therefore tend to self-select on that basis. That's not a complaint toward you (after all, it seems reasonable that I should perform due diligence), rather a general gripe I have with Wikipedia. Often the persistent can win disputes through attrition.
Be that as it may, I think you've confirmed that my impression of the status quo is substantially correct, i.e. that some people have built a local semi-consensus for these articles that's radically different from established WP precedent for other issues such as fixed-wing aircraft. If I have time maybe I can try to reestablish consensus with SPUI or maybe it's a fruitless battle, I don't know. I think WP:WINAD is very much on our side, i.e. that articles shouldn't be in 1:1 correspondence with terms but with concepts. But if it's going to be a major battle then I'm afraid I'm just not that motivated to see things done the theoretically "right" way against resistance.
I generally agree about expressway/freeway, btw; I would probably expect a dab from Expressway to the articles on various forms of roads indicated by the term, since you're correct that the meaning varies greatly across locales, particularly across US locales. Regards, PhilipR 05:45, 4 December 2006 (UTC)


Sometimes too much legal technicalities will result in unnecessary headaches. One could try to be nit picky about the definitions of hurricane (tropical storms that plague North America including Hawaii), typhoons (tropical storms that plague Asia-Pacific), and tropical cyclones (tropical storms that plague either Australia or the Indian Subcontinent) when this is totally irrelevant: they are all names of extreme low pressure tropical storms. We could also explore the legal definitions that discriminate "hill" from "mountain" depending which country one is in. And then if you legally declare something as a hill, I'll try to add enough dirt to legally make it a mountain. We could simply say that there is a general class of free-flowing high speed roads, accessible by entry and exit ramps and that such roads has the following counterpart names . . . . An article on freeways shouldn't be as divergent as an article on dumplings. A Chinese dumpling, a British dumpling, and a nice cinnamon-carmel apple dumpling are very different compared to a freeway and an expressway. Oh, yes, didn't the Supreme Court ruled on a case on what is legally a fruit and what is legally a vegitable when such legalities defy scientific common sense? Allentchang 17:03, 18 December 2006 (UTC)

You might be right, but try convincing Zoney and all other European editors of that. Again, as I've repeatedly stated, I will support either position as long as it is internally coherent and consistent, but if you want to push that position, you would probably have to draft a guideline, try to enforce it against the road articles (that is, by posting merge tags on freeway, expressway, motorway, autoroute, autobahn, etc.) and then push the resulting battle all the way through mediation and arbitration.
Are you really ready to do that? That would require hundreds of hours of work. Because I'm neutral, I would insert the occasional brief "I concur" comment but it's really up to you to draft the hundreds of thousands of words necessary to push that position and to rebut all counterarguments. I've filed one request for arbitration so far, which was successful (User:Ericsaindon2 was blocked for his vandalism and repeated insertion of original research) but arbitration and indeed the whole dispute resolution process is incredibly time-consuming. Also, it's possible that ArbCom might agree with the European position that to merge motorway with freeway (even if freeway is the majority term in terms of the number of native English language speakers who use it) would be offensive and insensitive since this is a encyclopedia of global scale.
Finally, you need to look at the articles on Autobahn and Motorway, which are already quite long. Merging those into Freeway would result into a gigantic article and cause many editors to argue for going back to separate articles based on the length issue alone. For example, that's what happened to the formerly huge Transportation section of the Los Angeles, California article, which is now Transportation of Los Angeles!
Essentially all these terms are approximate co-equals, which is why we treat them as such under Types of road. --Coolcaesar 21:06, 18 December 2006 (UTC)
"to merge motorway with freeway (even if freeway is the majority term in terms of the number of native English language speakers who use it)" -- Well, that issue is dealt with by a well established precedent (Airplane, Aeroplane => Fixed-wing aircraft). But I agree that it's a battle not worth the effort. If Wikipedia's powers-that-be want a less-rendundant Wikipedia, let them worry about it. Score one for Wikipedia:Why Wikipedia is not so great. - PhilipR 21:49, 19 December 2006 (UTC)
That compromise actually worked because "fixed-wing aircraft" is frequently used in formal writing, especially histories of aviation, to distinguish all modern aircraft from the movable-wing aircraft that came before (when people thought that the way to fly was to flap their arms like a bird's wings). The problem with freeways/expressways/motorways/autobahns/autoroutes etc. is that although they are all a type of road, there is no universally accepted adjective that can be coupled with "road" like "fixed-wing" can be coupled with "aircraft." Neither "high-speed" nor "restricted access" standing alone are sufficient. "High-speed restricted access road" is ambiguous, as are "high-speed limited access road" and "high-speed controlled access road," and all three run into the requirement that Wikipedia article titles should be in common use. See official policy WP:NAME.--Coolcaesar 21:08, 21 December 2006 (UTC)

Fun to drive an uncongested freeway?Edit

Many rural expressways offer unrelieved monotony. Unless such a highway is in a scenic area it can hardly be "fun" to drive. Easy and swift? Sure. But most are much flatter than the roads that they supplant, much straighter, and of course without the courses through town, one sees little local character. Even the commercial development along freeways is homogenized.

I thus removed the "some find driving an uncongested freeway fun" concept from the freeway article. One ordinarily uses a freeway to get from one place to another quickly, and the highway is rarely a destination in itself. Shunpiking simply to avoid a monotonous stetch of bland expressway happens. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Paul from Michigan (talkcontribs) 06:59, 3 January 2007 (UTC).

I dispute your deletion. I just opened a similar dispute with another editor over the Transportation in Los Angeles article. I believe both disputes can be resolved with a citation to the L.A. Freeway book by David Brodsly. The book is widely available (see WorldCat) so I should be able to get to a copy and get the page cite in a couple of weeks. --Coolcaesar 11:10, 4 January 2007 (UTC)
This may not mean much, but, anecdotally, I certainly enjoy driving on uncongested freeways. A drive need not be 'scenic' in the usual sense to be inspiring. I know plenty of people around here who (used to) drive on freeways simply for the sake of driving or getting away, rather than with a particular destination in mind (back when gas cost less than $1.00/gal.) That said, I'm not sure what place a statement of whether or not freeway driving is considered to be enjoyable has in this article, anyway. -- (talk) 15:58, 21 May 2008 (UTC)

Bad bad quote, why I took it outEdit

I just deleted the above text from the lead paragraphs. This is totally inappropriate. First of all, Streets & Highways Code section 257 (which is already cited in the right place in the article) is the more appropriate code section. Second, we should not be leading the article with a section that represents only one part of the United States when we are trying to take a worldwide view on Wikipedia. The article, as I've drafted it, already cites and discusses the MUTCD federal definition, which is much broader and more widely accepted. We should move from the general (federal) to the specific (state), not start with a very state-specific quote and then waffle back and forth between the specific and the general. --Coolcaesar 07:32, 30 January 2007 (UTC)

Use of the word freeway in Canada and TaiwanEdit

The word "freeway" [...] is currently in regular use in Canada, Taiwan, Australia, and the United States.


I think the use of the word in Canada is fairly restricted. The Gage Canadian Dictionary gives the word freeway the label Esp.U.S.. Personally, — I'm from Quebec — I've never heard anyone use anything other than expressway and autoroute. I think people in Western Canada use it, but the most common word in Canada, when people don't just say highway, is definitely expressway. I think "Canada" should probably be changed to "parts of Canada". Joeldl 16:24, 15 February 2007 (UTC)

The above is utter nonsense. The word freeway is widely used in Canada and autoroute is never used outside of Quebec. Also, expressway has a totally different meaning than freeway in Canada. Relying on a Canadian dictionary in most instances is a joke. They have become nothing more than social engineering tools to convince Canadians that we are totally different than Americans in every way. They can delude themselves but that doesn't mean they are fooling or convincing the rest of us of their nonsense. Getting back on point, freeway is widely used and acceptable in Canada. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:16, 19 September 2007 (UTC)

"Freeway" is rarely used in Canada. "Highway" is used. (talk) 23:02, 5 April 2008 (UTC)

I think that a dictionary should be considered a more liable source than a post here.--Ernstk (talk) 23:53, 4 December 2007 (UTC)


What does this even mean? Is freeway pronounceable in Chinese? If this just means that they borrowed the word from English, then I would say that the word they use is whatever the pinyin for it is. Joeldl 16:24, 15 February 2007 (UTC)

'Freeway' is the official English translation there. I can show you some images if you want.


I note my name mentioned a few times above. I'd like to offer input on this again. I think this article should restrict itself (and therefore be more coherent) to addressing what a Freeway is in countries that use that terminology.

I do agree that a general piece about "Freeway-like" roads makes sense, and I would suggest that somewhere on Wikipedia there should be content with a summary paragraph each about Freeways (in US, etc.), Motorways, Autobahns, etc and then a comparison section. Considering you would have difficulty finding a generic term for such roads (there is enough complication defining the roads within countries that we have large discussion on Freeway, Motorway, etc. as is) that is why I suggest using Types of road. That article could do with *major* work as it is essentially just a list. A decent taxonomy would be far better, and would be a sort of parent article for this (Freeway) article and others such as Motorway.

zoney talk 16:23, 23 March 2007 (UTC)

  • Well since Types of road was rewritten to kind of serve that purpose, it sounds reasonable. As I recall, the original rewrite to the current form was mostly a gutting to remove a lot of the editorial issues with the previous versions of the article. As you say, the current simple lists could be expanded to tables that included information like the countries where those types of roads are found and other useful comparison data. Since the table would retain the link to the main article, only data worth comparing against other similar roads would need to be included. If you want to try a version of the table on one of these, give it a try. Vegaswikian 18:52, 23 March 2007 (UTC)
Sorry, I'm really too busy. I thought it might be of some use nevertheless to leave some more up to date comments here. zoney talk 19:02, 23 March 2007 (UTC)
The current division between motorway/freeway/expressway is silly. There is no more of a connection between a freeway in Australia and a freeway in the U.S. than there is between a freeway in the U.S. and an expressway in Canada. In fact, the last two are likely to be more similar. These multiple articles seem to all have an initial segment about major highways in general, and then delve into country-specific information. I think there should be a single article covering this type of road in general, in which country-specific information is brief and serves to illustrate the general notion, and country-specific articles elsewhere. There would likely be disagreement about which word to use for the title and in the text, since there seems to be no solution here like fixed-wing aircraft instead of airplane and aeroplane. But I think Wikipedia policy favours the variety of English of the first contributor for non-country-related articles, so the idea would be to go back and see which of the three articles freeway, expressway or motorway was created first, and that would be the word chosen for the "international" part. Otherwise just pick one randomly, because the current division is entirely artificial, as I think the Australia-U.S.-Canada example shows. Joeldl 02:40, 24 March 2007 (UTC)
Is it really possible to have a general section rather than summaries of the main country-specific features? Surely anything that attempts to talk about general features will be a mess of "except for" and "termed X in country Y", and so on. I understand your point about different countries with "Freeways", perhaps there should be "Freeways in country X" for each one, and this article would have summary sections for each? The introduction would refer to the countries using roads called freeways and mention some general characteristics (this would be more possible as you have less "cases" as you are only dealing with the group of countries using "freeways"). zoney talk 13:12, 24 March 2007 (UTC)
Yes, there is no doubt that there should be individual country pages containing most of the country-specific information. I think it's possible for experts to talk about expressways in general (e.g. history, effect on traffic, effect on neighbourhoods, etc.) in a way that is general. Also, including a limited amount of country-specific information is not a bad thing if it illustrates the general concept. It will be up to others to determine what goes on that page, but the principle will be that it's an "international" one. As I said, we'd have to go to the first contributor rule WP:ENGVAR to determine which word to use. The current setup also excludes countries that don't have an official English word (so they won't be covered in any "overview" page) and I think the argument about there being fewer countries per page is a bit artificial, because there is nothing really relating the roads in these countries except the word. The current division is too focused on avoiding conflict about the choice of word at the expense of content. Joeldl 17:09, 24 March 2007 (UTC)
I agree with Zoney that a lot of the non-freeway stuff needs to be purged from the article and I disagree with Joeldl's position. The problem is that there are so many terms in use in English, and with such subtle distinctions between them, that it is nearly impossible to create a single article that takes a worldwide view and fully covers the general category of controlled-access divided highways. The situation with expressway is particularly messy since the U.S. MUTCD and seven states (including my own) define expressways as an intermediate category between arterial roads and freeways, and several states prefer expressway altogether instead of freeway. The mess in British English with classification v. type of road means that the definition of a motorway is difficult to reconcile with the freeway/expressway pigpen. So the result of Joeldl's proposed merge would probably be a 50K unreadable mess, which would immediately cause some editors to demand that it be split up, and we'd be right back where we started. --Coolcaesar 10:15, 25 March 2007 (UTC)
If it was made clear in what sense the word expressway was used from the very start (if that word were chosen), it would not be any more confusing for people from those U.S. states where an expressway is something less than a freeway than it is when an American sees "football" for the hundredth time in Football (soccer). I really think that it's been less a matter of being worried that people could actually be confused than each nationality complaining about using the other's words. There is no need to define freeways, expressways, etc. precisely in the international article (except in brief country-specific paragraphs referring to full articles elsewhere, perhaps), since the role of these roads has a lot in common in all countries. My point earlier was that whatever subtle U.S. distinction you make between freeway and expressway, that's not going to carry over to Australia or Canada in exactly the same way, so even on a page like Expressway or Freeway you can't really try to draw that distinction except doing it in a different way for each country. Currently, Freeway contains information about Autobahns. Why does Freeway get to do this instead of Motorway? In fact, is there something about German Autobahns that allows them to be talked about here that Irish motorways don't have? If we consider all the local words that exist around the world in non-English-speaking countries, are we going to decide to have 50 pages, but talk about Portuguese and Brazilian ones together because they have the same name, even if the roads turn out to be very different? I am proposing a merger but also a split, so in the end it will be quite a manageable length. The country-specific information would need to be cut down considerably (summary and illustrative examples) on the international page, and most of it sent to pages like Motorways of New Zealand, Autobahns of Germany, Autobahns of Austria, etc.Joeldl 11:25, 25 March 2007 (UTC) I should add Freeways of the United States and Motorways of the United Kingdom. Joeldl 11:35, 25 March 2007 (UTC)
Well, if we were to use "expressway," we would offend half the U.S. audience (including a substantial portion of the American civil engineering and law enforcement communities, who are all required to learn the federal MUTCD as part of their training) and the other half if we use "freeway." So there really is no satisfactory way to merge the terms.
I've been editing Wikipedia for about three years now (go look at my contributions) and I've seen freeway and expressway merged and split up in various edit wars because there is no easy way to satisfy the other half of the U.S. population that prefers their definition. Plus a lot of the freeway/expressway content went off to Types of road for a while per Zoney's suggestion, but that really didn't work very well, so I brought some of it back. --Coolcaesar 00:35, 26 March 2007 (UTC)
The fact that freeway is official at the federal level in the U.S. may give it greater status there, but the only word that is universal in Canada is expressway. Although some provinces also now use freeway, mine doesn't and I've never heard it. Older Canadian dictionaries mark freeway as "Esp. U.S." or something similar. So Americans who prefer freeway have no more reason to be offended than Canadians do in provinces where freeway is never used. (There is no federal rule in Canada that I'm aware of.) As far as I'm concerned, that places freeway, expressway and motorway on equal footing. I don't object to the title of the international article being "Controlled-access divided highways" as suggested below, but it is unrealistic to use that expression throughout the article. Therefore the "first used" rule from WP:ENGVAR should apply, and should at least give people a measure of comfort because their word wasn't rejected on the basis of its being judged less suitable, just that usage varies by country and one word had to be chosen. This is not just a U.S./U.S. debate or even a U.S./U.K. one. Joeldl 12:33, 13 April 2007 (UTC)
About the generic term ("Controlled-access divided highways"); assuming that the length of the term is what makes it unrealistic to use throughout the article, the acronym CADH could be substituted in the article once it's defined. --Wiley 15:18, 13 April 2007 (UTC)
Is that acronym attested? Joeldl 01:16, 14 April 2007 (UTC)
The acronym is just a more practical version of the generic (i.e., jurisdiction independent) term. If there's a Wikipedia rule that the acronym form of a term has to be attested, it might be appropriate to ignore that rule in this case. --Wiley 03:02, 14 April 2007 (UTC)
All right. I overreacted. I don't think there's any problem as long as it is made clear that the abbreviation is being introduced by the article (if that is the case). I would be open to using "CADH" as a compromise if that turns out to be necessary. I think it would be a bit sad that we had come to that because it would, for example, be even less intelligible to Americans and Canadians than "motorway" and less intelligible to Britons than "freeway" or "expressway". But I think the most important thing is an appropriate division of the material between articles rather than what words are used, so any compromise on the wording would be a good thing if that allowed things to move forward. Joeldl 03:43, 14 April 2007 (UTC)
  • Just in case the following hasn't already been suggested:
How about having an article with a jurisdiction independent name like controlled-access divided highways for the international material? Aliases whose meaning varies by jurisdiction (such as freeway, expressway, motorway, etc.) could be redirected to it. Detailed material could then be broken out by jurisdiction into separate articles as needed.--Wiley 13:23, 25 March 2007 (UTC)
That has been suggested at least three separate times. I opposed it in the past, but after watching all the road geeks fighting over these terminology issues for three years, I think it is the only compromise everyone can live with. I would support your suggested merge and use of redirects. --Coolcaesar 00:35, 26 March 2007 (UTC)
Don't some of those terms apply in some countries to roads that aren't controlled access? And not necessarily divided highways? The only common factor seems to be that they are a type or class of road usually used for high volumes of traffic. How to have an article solely on that premise? I suggest sticking to Types of road and providing more detail there. zoney talk 15:08, 27 March 2007 (UTC)

Here's a new idea. How about this: Disambiguation pages with links to articles on particular highway systems. The following is not comprehensive, but is merely intended as an illustration of the general pattern:

  • Autobahn
    • Autobahns of Germany
    • Autobahns of Switzerland
  • Autoroute
    • Autoroutes of France
    • Autoroutes, freeways, and expressways of Canada
  • Expressway
    • Autoroutes, freeways, and expressways of Canada
    • Freeways and expressways of the United States
  • Freeway
    • Freeways and motorways of Australia
    • Autoroutes, freeways, and expressways of Canada
    • Freeways and expressways of the United States
  • Motorway
    • Freeways and motorways of Australia
    • Motorways of Ireland
    • Motorways of New Zealand
    • Motorways of Pakistan
    • Motorways of the United Kingdom

And then at the end of each of the disambuigation link lists, have a link to Types of road for readers interested in the big picture. What does everyone think? --Coolcaesar 08:56, 15 May 2007 (UTC)

I like the idea, but it won't work once Wikipedia is "complete" (whatever that means), because there are 200 countries in the world. Maybe it would be best to do it by continent (or other regions), so that the number of countries will be permanently manageable. Also, there is no guarantee that there will be as much controversy within countries as there is between countries, so maybe the editors of those pages should decide on the names. Have a look at this survey: [1], in particular the results of Question 49. Of course, "highway" isn't an acceptable name. Joeldl 11:15, 15 May 2007 (UTC)
I disagree. Wikipedia will always be a work-in-progress. The point is to come up with something that will work for at least the next 10 years until the rest of the world gets online. Right now the English Wikipedia road articles simply don't fit together very well because we have fragments of four or five different organization schemes; I'm simply proposing that we standardize on one. Furthermore, large parts of the developing world are either so impoverished or so sparsely inhabited that they will definitely not have any freeways for the next 10 to 20 years, and a few countries will certainly never have freeways because they don't make economic sense (I'm thinking of some of the small island countries in Polynesia). Plus many countries that have freeway-like roads still have relatively few English-speaking Wikipedia editors who are also interested in transportation, so we won't have to worry about them for a while.
The only thing that's messy about my idea is that we have odd situations where it's not clear whether to use the native word or the English equivalent. For example, most English speakers understand autobahn and a fairly large minority understand autoroute, but terms like autocesta or autopista would get only blank stares. --Coolcaesar 07:06, 23 May 2007 (UTC)
Okay, then we can have a navigation box for all countries that have articles. But to save space in the box, it's probably best to omit the particular word used. In article titles, for non-English-speaking countries, the choice of the foreign term or an English one would be based on recognizability and accuracy criteria. Where an English word is called for, I think the choice between "freeway", "expressway", "motorway" and "autoroute" would have to be based on the first contributor rule in WP:ENGVAR. "Autoroute" is acceptable in English because it is used by English-speakers in Quebec as a synonym for "expressway" (anywhere) (but since they're only 0.2% of the world's English-speaking population and they also say "expressway", there would probably be about a 0.1% chance that a particular article would be called that.) Joeldl 03:41, 24 May 2007 (UTC)

Images at nightEdit

All of the images in this article are of freeways during the day. I think it would be neat to have one of those night-time long exposure images, where you can see an few minutes's worth of traffic streaming by, indicating the volume of traffic during that time. -GTBacchus(talk) 04:01, 25 April 2007 (UTC)

That's a good idea. Pick your favorite from [2] and upload it. --NE2 06:34, 25 April 2007 (UTC)
Are those released under GFDL? -GTBacchus(talk) 13:01, 25 April 2007 (UTC)
If they are, I like Freeway on p. 3 best, but if they are not, maybe we should pick an image from wikimedia commons.--Sefringle 23:02, 28 April 2007 (UTC)

Image galleryEdit

Are we supposed to have an image gallery in the article? Isn't it prefered to just link to a Commons gallery? (Besides, what kind of freeway image gallery doesn't have a single photo of a Southern California freeway? Honestly.) -Branddobbe 20:36, 1 July 2007 (UTC)


"In major cities, guide signs are often mounted on overpasses or overhead gantries so that drivers can see where each lane goes.[citation needed]"

Citations are hardly needed when a fact is common knowledge. Anyone driving on one of these highways can confirm the above claim to be true. Let's cease with the rather liberal use of the "citation needed" tag.Jlujan69 (talk) 14:34, 26 December 2007 (UTC)

Two years later and this is STILL A MESSEdit

This is an example of the tragedy of the commons, I suppose. NO ONE has the time, energy, or desire to fix this hopelessly confused hairball of an article, so it gets worse every year. At least Lawyer is slowly getting better over time because I keep an eye on it and kill off bad edits immediately. --Coolcaesar (talk) 22:54, 28 July 2008 (UTC)

Six weeks later and this is still a mess. Again, this is a situation where everyone has hopelessly conflicting visions of how this article should look like and no one has the time, energy, knowledge or ability to actually fix it. For example, the citations to the articles to which I inserted citations have been severely vandalized so that they are now cited to support assertions that are the opposite of what they were originally cited for! (E.g., the citation to van Hengel, Di Mento, Ryan.) But I don't have the time or energy to take the idiots who vandalized this article to arbitration and get them banned from the encyclopedia.
This is such a great example of everything that is wrong with Wikipedia. Some day I will have to write an article about this issue for some scholarly journal.
That's why I increasingly limit my limited Wikipedia editing time to uploading photos, and monitoring the few articles that I have been able to keep in decent shape, like Lawyer. --Coolcaesar (talk) 01:23, 8 September 2008 (UTC)
You may want to take a look at this rename nomination. It should bring back memories. Vegaswikian (talk) 01:44, 8 September 2008 (UTC)
That's spoken like a true elitist, Coolcaesar. Admittedly working with others is difficult, but that doesn't excuse you from seeking consensus. I'm sure you think that Lawyer benefits from your edits exclusively, but you would be well served to respect the contributions of others and approach edits with a better attitude. -Pjorg (talk) 03:03, 8 September 2008 (UTC)
I'm aware that I may sound elitist, but after four years of monitoring Wikipedia's edit wars, I'm sick and tired of seeing mediocre editors wandering into Wikipedia with no knowledge of the encyclopedia's traditional policies and wrecking perfectly good articles (which is why so many competent editors are fleeing).
What I keep seeing as the problem with many, many articles, including Freeway, is that we have a blind men and an elephant situation. That is, the concept of controlled/limited access roads has so many facets that very few civil engineers or historians of engineering have the time, energy, interest, and sophistication to get a grip on the issue in all its complexity, so as to be able to draft a comprehensive encyclopedia article that neatly summarizes the topic. Such professionals are too busy with their day jobs to waste time contributing to Wikipedia (when they have other higher priorities like trying to raise a family, build roads and bridges, deal with internal politics, etc.).
Thus, we end up with an article edited by a bunch of dilettantes who are not transportation professionals, and most of them have very limited knowledge of the subject. We end up with an incoherent document that swerves violently from one facet of the subject to the next. Look at the chaotic jumble in the first three paragraphs of the Freeway article, for example. It looks like a schizophrenic having a debate with himself!
Another example: Until I got the expressway issue ironed out by tracking down and inserting a lot of citations, we had a lot of problems with numerous ignoramuses on the East Coast who were unaware that federal law and some state laws define "expressway" as a divided highway with partial access control, which means expressways can and do have at-grade intersections. A lot of people apparently can't afford to travel widely and therefore aren't aware of the enormous diversity of transportation law and terminology. The last time I checked, an encyclopedia is supposed to deliver information, not ignorance.
At least, with Lawyer, there are enough Wikipedia editors who are lawyers (and are reasonably knowledgeable about the profession and are also reasonably intelligent people as well) that I've been able to develop consensus in favor of my version. There are several other people who are helping me kill off edits that are clearly linkspam, vandalism, unsourced crazy ranting, or are just far too specific to any one country (in an article that by necessity clearly needs to take a broad worldwide view). --Coolcaesar (talk) 03:38, 8 September 2008 (UTC)


I suggest more information about allowed freeway speeds by country.--Mac (talk) 10:52, 18 September 2008 (UTC)

We've already got Speed limits by country. Admiral Norton (talk) 22:07, 19 September 2008 (UTC)

Move from freewayEdit

Why?Synchronism (talk) 04:53, 7 November 2008 (UTC)


This article seems to list 90% stuff ONLY relating to the USA, nothing about other countries? Huh? --Rsrikanth05 (talk) 11:31, 11 February 2009 (UTC)

The Motorways – Freeway – Expressway debate (again)Edit

This posting appears on the Talk pages of Motorway, Expressway and Freeway. Please respond on the Motorway talk page.

An install-delete battle is breaking out on the Motorways article regarding the description of Pakistan’s motorways. I do not want to take sides, but I would like to resolve this problem and also, at the same time resolve the larger problem of Motorway, Freeways and Expressways.

My proposal is as follows:

1) The section on Pakistan’s motorways be allowed to stand for the time being.
2) A new article entitled Motorways, Freeways and Expressways be written. This article will explain the difference between the various terms using the OECD definition as a starting point. The choice of the OECD definition will ensure a neutral standpoint.
3) Merge the Freeways article and Motorways articles into one, removing country-specific items unless they are noteworthy outside the country concerned. The combined article (which would have the title OECD-preferred name of Motorway) would have a short introduction to the various country-specific articles which would serve as an introduction to the article List of highway systems with full control of access and no cross traffic.
4) Finally point redirect the Expressway article to the Motorway article.

Any comments? Martinvl (talk) 12:35, 29 October 2009 (UTC)

I have incorporated the OECD definition of motorway into the "Legal Definitions" section of the article. Martinvl (talk) 21:34, 20 November 2009 (UTC)
And I'm countermanding your edit immediately because it confuses readers (that is, the question it brings to mind is "What the hell is this doing here in an article on freeways?") and makes this article even longer than it already is. The freeway-expressway definition mess is discussed in both articles because of the massive internal confusion on this issue within the United States (which is a common problem in many areas of American law because of the unique dual-sovereign nature of American federalism). In contrast, there are no countries where both motorway and freeway are in simultaneous use as legal definitions. Anyone interested in the motorway definition can read it there. Also, you haven't responded to the points I made at Talk:Motorway almost a month ago. --Coolcaesar (talk) 05:53, 21 November 2009 (UTC)
Assuming there's nothing sketchy going on with on List of OECD countries by road network size, the OECD does use "motorway" to include U.S. freeways. Given that, and their definition, they're definitely talking about the concept covered in this article, and not the one in the motorway article ("roads specifically called motorways", which is more analogous to an Interstate than a freeway). --NE2 06:29, 21 November 2009 (UTC)
If this article is about US Freeways, what is the discussion about South African and Canadian freeways doing in it? If it is about freeways worldwide, does a better authoritative definition exist to link the various article than the one that I published? Regarding Coolcaesar's question of confusing readers - the article currently covers three countries, the United States, Canada and South Africa. Having spent almost half my life in South Africa, I can assure everybody that no South African reader would be confused by equating the two words. I cannot however speak for US or Canadian readers. Martinvl (talk) 11:08, 21 November 2009 (UTC)
Coolcaesar's stated there are no countries where both motorway and freeway are in simultaneous use as legal definitions. May I cite South Africa. A search on Google using the filter "" revealed the use of both terms, with the N3 usually being referred to as a "motorway". There are historic reasons for this that I can go into, but won't. Moreover, the Afrikaans word word (which has equal standing in South African law) is snelweg - the Afrikaans word snel meaning "fast" or "express" and weg meaning "road" or "way" (cw with the Dutch word autosnelweg). —Preceding unsigned comment added by Martinvl (talkcontribs) 12:57, 22 November 2009 (UTC)


This unsighted comment is merely propaganda:

and growing popular support for high-speed mass transit in lieu of new freeways.

This is merely opinion without a poll, study, or at least something. People need to keep their personal beliefs out of Wikipedia. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:36, 6 December 2009 (UTC)

The improper motorway material in this article needs to goEdit

Having personally driven on both, I can say that motorways are both legally and physically different from freeways in many, many ways. Conflating the two concepts is inaccurate, misleading, and plain wrong; it's like conflating the concepts of trams and light rail, which are certainly related but are also clearly distinguishable. The OECD definition is inappropriate. I plan to excise it from the article soon. --Coolcaesar (talk) 22:22, 16 January 2010 (UTC)

This article is about a type of road built for high speeds with no grade crossings. I assume motorways are like that. If the title is the problem, we can think of how best to address that but describing various implementations of high speed roads with no cross traffic is entirely appropriate for the article on that topic. --Polaron | Talk 00:37, 17 January 2010 (UTC)
This article is about freeways worldwide, not just about US freeways. IfCoolcaesar can find an internationally agreed definition of what a freeway is, then my all means replace the motorway definition with that definition. Until then, leave it - it give an internationally-recognised point of reference. Martinvl (talk) 07:56, 17 January 2010 (UTC)
They are certainly comparable. Physically, they are the same concept regardless of handedness. It shouldn't need to be said that every road is different in some way. Functionally and legally however, there are many national and even more sub-national differences and variations. 'Freeway' is a technical and legal term, as is 'motorway', but 'motorway' has a second sense that freeway does not: a top-level route classification with Interstate Highway as its American counterpart. That the terms are used interchangeably in many English speaking parts of the world attests to their similarity, but shouldn't be used as a reason to discount long-established legal and technical definitions used in the US. On that note, it really doesn't make sense to use a definition of a different term to define this one. Could you imagine the hubbub of introducing a definition of freeway (even a UN backed one) to authoritatively define the scope of the motorway article as you have done here? It wouldn't fly for a lot of reasons either.Synchronism (talk) 06:21, 21 January 2010 (UTC)
What is a freeway? For that matter, what is a motorway or an Expressway? AS an experiment I did a Google search on “N3 freeway Pietermaritzburg”, “N3 motorway Pietermaritzburg” and “N3 snelweg Pietermaritzburg”. (“Snelweg” is an Afrikaans word which literally translates as “Expressway”). All three searches gave a significant number of hits, so is the N3 a motorway, a freeway or an expressway in the vicinity of Pietermaritzburg?
If one looks at the words involved, one will see that autobahn (German), autoroute (French) and autostrade (Italian) translate to “motorway” rather than “freeway”. This suggests to me that “Freeway” is an American term and “Motorway” is a British term for the same thing. As I said earlier, if the Freeway article is about US freeways, then use US definitions, but if it is about world-wide freeways, then use a world-wide definition and the only word-wide definition that I know of is the OECD definition.
In the previous statement it was noted that the OECD definition of “Motorway” defined roads of such a high quality that it could only apply to Interstate Highways. Never having been to the US, I am unable to comment, but if you want to compare different types of freeway, then the OECD definition provides a useful, neutral, well-worded reference point.
BTW, I have driven on Motorways/Freeways/Expressways in at least 10 different countries and I have seen the differences in roads that OECD class at "motorways/autoroutes". Martinvl (talk) 12:10, 21 January 2010 (UTC)
Not all Interstate Highways are freeways, not all freeways are Interstate Highways, just as not all UK motorway routes are built to motorway standards, and not all motorway standard roads are motorway routes. South Africa appears to use the term freeway [3] synonymously with 'motorway', why should the world adopt SA's standard, when all relevant definitions can be included and given due weight?Synchronism (talk) 12:36, 21 January 2010 (UTC)
I am not suggesting that we use the South African definition – I was demonstrating by example that the assertion “Motorways and Freeways are Different” is not always true. I assert that there is such a large variation in the legal definitions of both freeways and motorways and that the overlap in these definitions is so large that it makes sense to use a single, concise, internationally-agreed definition as a point of reference and to compare other definitions to that one. Moreover, given the Wikipedia policy of verifiability (WP:VERIFY), the definition that I have found meets Wikipedia’s policy. Martinvl (talk) 21:17, 21 January 2010 (UTC)
I'll point out that if there is consensus to merge the material and have sections for the different named roads, then Freeway would be the base article since it was started over two years before Motorway. Motorway began as a redirect to freeway 4 months after the article was created. I'll also add that trying to develop a neutral name for this article was tried without success; Highways with full control of access and no cross traffic, Highway with full control of access and no cross traffic, Highways with no cross traffic and access only at interchanges, Freeway-standard road and Full access controlled highway among others. Vegaswikian (talk) 22:05, 21 January 2010 (UTC)
The problem, as Synchronism pointed out, is that motorways are also a roadway network in a way that freeways are not. This is why some countries, like the UK, have insane road numbers like A1(M). The smarter way, as the U.S. and many other countries have recognized, is that some roads will simply never make sense financially to link into a national controlled access network, so there is no need to indicate controlled access sections in their numbering. Rather, they can be upgraded piecemeal and then if funding eventually comes together, the last few gaps can be closed and the number for the entire route can be changed. This is what Nevada is doing, for example, with U.S. 395 between Reno and Carson City, which will probably become Interstate 580 when completed in 2016.
Also, motorways have shorter overpasses, tighter ramp geometry, narrower shoulders, narrower lanes, and less forgiving barriers than freeways. A Jersey barrier will take a little rubber off the tires; the metal barriers commonly seen on motorways will eat a BIG chunk out of the sheet metal. The signage is also less user-friendly on motorways; the U.S. and Canada went to very large overhead signs on freeways and expressways because of the realization that at high speeds, a sign needs to present a LOT of whitespace around the text to make the sign stand out against the background visual clutter. Plus, there are a lot more wide twelve-lane (and wider) freeways than wide twelve-lane motorways. --Coolcaesar (talk) 06:08, 1 March 2010 (UTC)
Coolcaesar's Please provide reputable references to your statements, move of which look like unsubstantiated over-generalisations to me. Also, statements such as " ... like the UK, have insane road numbers like A1(M). The smarter way, as the U.S. ..." is a point of view and has no place an encyclopedia. As a Brit, I look for an appology for the latter statement. Martinvl (talk) 15:45, 1 March 2010 (UTC)
Only some countries, primarily the UK, use motorway as a road classification or network, and in the UK's case there are roads that are not classified as as part of the motorway network that nevertheless fall within the broader OECD definition of motorway.
Other countries, such as South Africa, use road classification systems in which the relative importance of the road is emphasised rather than its standard. For example there are national roads (prefix N), regional (prefix R) and metropolitan (prefix M) roads.
Coolcaesar, your alleged differences in characteristics between a motorway and a freeway simply tell us about differences between roads in the UK and USA, not that there is a difference between the two terms. For example roads in the USA may be built to a higher standard than in the UK generally because they carry more traffic, because space is less limited, perhaps because funds are less tight etc, but there is undoubtedly a large overlap. As for concrete versus steel crash barriers all new motorways in the UK have been built with concrete barriers. Does this mean that a road in the UK with concrete crash barrier, long overpasses etc is objectively a freeway while a lesser US freeway is objectively a motorway? Logically it doesn't make sense and shows why the two things are fundamentally the same and should be merged. The only real difficulty is deciding on a name in my opinion. Let the country-specific stuff go on individual pages such as "UK motorway network" etc. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:18, 9 April 2010 (UTC)
I finally realized the most obvious reason why conflating the two concepts strikes me as inherently idiotic. Nearly every road I have seen that is labeled a freeway or expressway has traffic driving on the right. And EVERY motorway I have ever seen has the traffic on the left. In sociological or anthropological terms, they're culturally embedded terms that cannot be truly understood apart from their cultural milieu. It's like how German words like "geist" and "Gesellschaft" have entire books in English devoted to them because they are so embedded in German culture, history, and philosophy. --Coolcaesar (talk) 09:19, 25 May 2010 (UTC)
I agree with the IP above's comment and I think the idea that most of the differences one can muster about freeways and motorways actually relates to the differences about roads generally in different jurisdictions encompasses driving on the left or the right. The R/L question is obviously not a defining difference, nor is it one of the more qualitative differences as it is simply a binary distinction. I think its pretty well established there are substantial enough differences in official use of these terms to the point that having separate articles is appropriate, even though colloquially and technically they are the same concept. If that premise can be accepted then I believe we'll be closer to figuring this out. A logical solution to this debate would accommodate the need to use at least one of these terms to host an article about a particular kind of infrastructure common to ALL the populous developing and developed areas of the world. Or, a solution might instead recommend hosting that information elsewhere at a less intuitive (for some) title like Limited access roads, however there are more problems to be addressed if that road is taken.
Perhaps in poetry the translation of these terms will suffer, if they carry socioculturally loaded meanings with the authors, but I don't buy your (Coolcaesar's) reasoning that they are culturally embedded in countries that drive on the L or the R. Poetry aside, very little if anything about the semantics of the word itself is lost in most contexts when you substitute one for the other and the audience is competent. Perhaps it might feel odd to say one instead of the other as it might not serve well to mark the user's identity as a speaker of a certain dialect, but that doesn't really change the meaning of the word as it is intended. What's more is that 'freeway' is not necessarily (and perhaps hardly even) the most common word for this type of road in the states, in fact the different terms used there when viewed as isoglosses do correlate with some dialect differences, and to understand the meaning of some road term term used by a random speaker (i.e. any highway, a limited access highway, a fully-controlled access highway) it is helpful to have some context of the speaker's sociocultural background. By using a differential term for a type of road, a person is usually saying more about who they are and where they come from than the local variations that exist in road infrastructure. We don't have different articles for different terms for roads in US dialect regions though, such compartmentalization has the potential to favor certain POVs and make for messy epistemology. If these articles were written and developed from purely sociological and anthropological perspectives then, yes, it would make a bit more sense to compartmentalize information under culturally authentic titles (if they exist), but they are not, though road articles throughout the encyclopedia in general do need more of these perspectives.
The gesellschaft/gemeinschaft dichotomy is often used to describe cultural dynamics outside of Germany. Even if English terms caught on that were not 100% equivalent, it would be weak pedagogy to simply ignore the similarities and box the ideas separately. Now, there might be some correlations between these terms' (the road terms') distributions and traffic handedness, but to say that this embodies conceptual and terminological distinctions based on the 'culture of traffic handedness' is a bit of a stretch, and not only because traffic handedness is generally a reflection of past culture and politics but because it is such a stretch to even presume that the two traffic handedness groups form discrete cultural communities. It would be foolish not to assume that there is interplay between driving and culture, but it would also be foolish to take this assumption so far that one posits that wherever there exists even a minor terminological or technological difference there is a deeper cultural difference, without further exposition. Cultural sensitivity does not have to be upheld by standing by inauthentic 'cultural' differences, the best way cultural sensitivity can be brought to this topic from a global perspective is not to simply compartmentalize (which does away with the global perspective) or to impose definitions (culturally insensitive), but to explain it all as comprehensively as possible in one place, it remains to be seen where that will be. Synchronism (talk) 22:48, 30 May 2010 (UTC)

[unindent]Every freeway on which I have driven requires that one drives on the left! (They were in SOuth Africa). On the other hand I have driven on the left on some motorways and on the right on others (auto=motor; bahn/route=way which implies that "autobahn" and "autoroute" are direct translations of "motorway"). I think that the real difference is whether or not policitians and lawyers want to be bound by definitions that were not of their making. Martinvl (talk) 11:48, 25 May 2010 (UTC)

Legality Somewhat DefinedEdit

Feel free to goad your perusal click-clicks into this eye candy for the brave. I'm a lawyer, ho-hum. Tee hee hee, I like ancient Rome but cannot understand what an alphabetical prefix is on an English Motorway. oops! This one's dedicated to the Hume Freeway and it's prestige as the supreme freeway (or autoroute) in Victoria, Australia.

When is the road classification "freeway" no longer a "freeway"? Well, it either is or it isn't. For instance, if the democratic and statutory authority for road classification declares a road a freeway, then that road becomes a freeway. This is especially credible when the roads authority operates under the auspices of a democratically elected government; a stable and envious one moreso (such as a Westminster-style government). These political procedures conquer roads classification in social and political legitimacy all throughout the world. Oftentimes there are many different roads that meet the classification of "freeway", however the most common occurence is that of a limited access road with no adjoining private properties that consists of grade-separated intersections with all other roads. However, often enough this is not the case: In the state of Victoria, Australia -there is a section of the Mornington Penninsula Freeway that is a two-lane, two-way road that spans two round-a-bouts. There are freeways in the United States that have traffic lights and private properties abutting them too. It remains that the roads authorities are those that classify the status of a road; as they are the officials and are emboldened by legal resolve. For a mere spectator that is otherwise an insignificant part of the government body to dictate the terms of this legal classification; it is at worst opinionated drivel and at best as an agent provocatuer. (talk) 12:46, 19 May 2010 (UTC)M31:::LIKEaMoFo

Merger proposalEdit

I propose that Motorway be merged into Freeway. This is in line with the Wikipedia policy at wp:merge which states:

There are several good reasons to merge a page:
1. Duplicate – There are two or more pages on exactly the same subject and having the same scope.
2. Overlap – There are two or more pages on related subjects that have a large overlap. Wikipedia is not a dictionary; there does not need to be a separate entry for every concept in the universe. For example, "Flammable" and "Non-flammable" can both be explained in an article on Flammability.

The existence of two articles is like having two articles for cellphone and mobile phone (they are merged). I think a read of Wikipedia:Systemic bias would also inform this merger discussion. In good faith, Nankai (talk) 05:25, 12 January 2011 (UTC)

Also, I note that the article starts with Not to be confused with highway. It's interesting that it doesn't say "not to be confused with motorway".Nankai (talk) 05:27, 12 January 2011 (UTC)

I support this. These two terms are just two similar. Then again road terms can mean something different depending on where you are (for example expressway could mean intersections in one country and interchanges in another), but in most cases motorway is just another word for freeway. Haljackey (talk) 06:00, 12 January 2011 (UTC)
Cautious support, but motorways and freeways are two different concepts - freeways are free of tolls while motorways are built to s specific standard. Martinvl (talk) 06:36, 12 January 2011 (UTC)
Freeways may be free of tolls, but they are free because they are free of at grade crossings. Vegaswikian (talk) 07:16, 12 January 2011 (UTC)
We have a number of overlapping articles:
Each of these are slightly different. May I suggest that the article Freeway be trimmed back and renamed North American freeways, Motorways be merged into British motorways and that the country specific information that would be lost is reassigned to to articles specific to the countries concerned. Suggestions for the way in which Dual Carriageway and Expressway should be handled. There should be an article High Capacity Roads which draws all four articles together in a non-country specific manner. Martinvl (talk) 12:20, 12 January 2011 (UTC)
In the US at least, one difference between freeway and expressway is the presence of at grade intersections. I think that there are also differences by state. So we should be careful about what moves are proposed. I'd also suggest a reading of the previous discussions on this topic that used long names to describe the concept of how the road was used and accessed. I'll try and add a few links if I can find those old discussions. But naming of these articles has a pot holed history. Vegaswikian (talk) 19:48, 12 January 2011 (UTC)
My understanding is that the legal definition of a freeway and an expressway in the US varies from state to state - and that some states do not have a legal definition of expressways at all. Martinvl (talk) 20:31, 12 January 2011 (UTC)
I left a note on the talk page for an editor who seems to be up on the legal issues. With any luck he will have some time to drop by this discussion to leave us with some accurate facts. Vegaswikian (talk) 20:37, 12 January 2011 (UTC)
The Traffic Engineers Handbook is an international manual, and it defines both expressway and freeway in general terms. A freeway has unrestricted flow and complete control-of-access; expressways have opposite flows seperated by a barrier or grass strip (median/central reservation) and some control-of-access.
Legally, without control-of-access, a municipality is obliged to provide driveway access to a lot. This is from memory; I will verify with the text tomorrow. - ʄɭoʏɗiaɲ τ ¢ 05:05, 13 January 2011 (UTC)
You left highway out of your list. If anything happens with dual carriageway, it probably should be merged into highway, at least partially, since it is a divided highway. Other parts of that may be better placed it the freeway/motorway/whatever article if the consensus is to make significant changes. Vegaswikian (talk) 21:46, 12 January 2011 (UTC)

Hello all, I have added/will continue to add the words support and oppose in bold text throughout this discussion. Please change the annotation on your comment if you disagree with my interpretation! Nankai (talk) 20:42, 12 January 2011 (UTC)

Please undo your actions. You will confuse the closing admin, and are putting a vote in the mouth of users that may simply be commenting, including both a support and oppose with vegaswikian. - ʄɭoʏɗiaɲ τ ¢ 20:47, 12 January 2011 (UTC)
Correct. Modifying others comments is not acceptable. And considering that I have yet to decide on a stance here, while waiting for more opinions, classifying my comments as !votes is completely wrong. Vegaswikian (talk) 21:40, 12 January 2011 (UTC)
Sorry chaps. I didn't mean to cause any trouble there. I will no longer add words such as support or oppose to any other person's comments. Be assured I was acting in good faith. Nankai (talk) 23:51, 12 January 2011 (UTC) - by the way, what or who is a closing admin?Nankai (talk) 23:55, 12 January 2011 (UTC)
At some point an administrator will get involved to determine the consensus from the discussion and close the discussion. Of course it is valid to wind up with a close of No Consensus if that is where we wind up. Also remember that consensus is not determined by counting opinions. It is determined by the strength of the arguments presented. I did notice that this is not formally announced at WP:RM which would be the best way to do a move proposal. However, so far it seems to be a discussion to try and see how to proceed. So a formal nomination may not be needed yet. Vegaswikian (talk) 00:48, 13 January 2011 (UTC)
  • Absolute support The common argument against the merger of road types is that "This one is used in this country and means this, while this term is used in this country and means this", or that "This term means different things in different jurisdictions". I find this a non-sensical argument. We do not have two articles for track and rails. We do not have seperate articles for railways and railroads; nor should we have seperate articles for motorway and freeway. They are the same thing; there are simply variations in the actual term used, and the specifications of the roadway. The concept, however, is identical. There is no reason we can't have one article describing freeways and motorways (aka high speed, grade seperated highways with no impedement to travelling), one describing expressways (a divided road with some control of access), and one describing a divided roadway (aka a dual carriageway). These articles are almost entirely a synthesis of original research by road geeks. Almost none of the terms are linked to legal documents, and the whole mess is a horrible trashing of the policies of wikipedia. If these moves are not performed here and now, then I will be performing massive overhauls of the articles in question per WP:BRD using the Traffic Engineers Handbook, by the Institute of Traffic Engineers. - ʄɭoʏɗiaɲ τ ¢ 20:44, 12 January 2011 (UTC)
Floydian, in proposing to use the Traffic Engineers Handbook, by the Institute of Traffic Engineers as the basis for any overhaul of the articles, is implicitly propsing to give the artuicles a decidedly US bias. If one reads the articles Freeway and Motorway, the cannot help but notice that Freeway is a US-biased article and Motorway is a UK-biased article. Any article that combiens the two into one should look at commonality between the two and also at the rules pertaining to French autoroutes, German Autobahns and Italian Autopiste. One shoudl also note that in South Adfrica the term "Freeway" is translated into Afrikaans as "Snelweg" ("Snel" = "fast" or "express" and "weg" = "way", "road" or "thoroughfare"). Martinvl (talk) 08:25, 13 January 2011 (UTC)
And in response to that point, I'll point out that the differences between freeways, motorways, autoroutes, autobahns, and autopistes are why a merger is a bad idea. All we'll end up with is a ten-headed hydra monster of an article packed with original research and synthesis in violation of WP:NOR, that will be so unwieldy and convoluted that it will have to be split up. Also, the correct book title is Traffic Engineering Handbook. --Coolcaesar (talk) 11:51, 13 January 2011 (UTC)
The institute of transportation engineers (ITE) is an international organization with engineers in 90 countries world-wide,[4] so your comments on US bias are unfounded and based on past experience with editors. Besides, if there is a superceding legal document in Great Britain, we can use that as well! Tell me, though: What is the differences between an autobahn and a motorway, without getting into measurements or specifications? Or a motorway and a freeway. In fact, can any of you evevn offer me a seperate definition for each term? I bet you'll get the same thing each time. The only things changing are the examples and the country. - ʄɭoʏɗiaɲ τ ¢ 13:38, 13 January 2011 (UTC)
The ITE is a US-centred organisation. It has ten districts - eight in the US, one in Canada and one to service the rest of the world. Europe is a single chapter in the International district. On a slightly different topic, the only internationally accepted definition of a motorway/freeway etc that I have come across is the OECD one which is in both the motorway and the freeway articles. Martinvl (talk) 13:51, 13 January 2011 (UTC)
The British have the Institution of Highways and Transportation as a professional body for Highway engineers - it probalby does a similar job in the UK as the ITE does in the US. Martinvl (talk) 19:55, 13 January 2011 (UTC)
That would be perfect. Would there be any way for you or a member of UKRD to obtain one of their recent-ish manuals? These should define all the names, specifications, purposes, and criteria for the various types of roadway in Britain so that we can internationalize things and not have 20 articles on 5 types of roads. - ʄɭoʏɗiaɲ τ ¢ 23:34, 13 January 2011 (UTC)
The British road geek site here has a page full of links. You could try them. Martinvl (talk) 06:20, 14 January 2011 (UTC)
Looks like the official glossary of civil engineering terms is BS 6100 subsection 2.4.1. Unfortunately every result I am finding is purchasing it as a publication... for about $150! - ʄɭoʏɗiaɲ τ ¢ 07:30, 14 January 2011 (UTC)
Try WorldCat. It always amazes me to discover that some obscure book is at a library within driving distance. Although the problem with European standards in general is that their publishers like to charge exorbitant amounts for them. Bernard Aboba famously mocked this in one of his books, and discussed the slightly more open approach of most American standards publishers. --Coolcaesar (talk) 00:00, 16 January 2011 (UTC)
Nearest result: University College in Dublin, or Auckland University, New Zealand. A hop, skip and jump! If I post the exact text here for scrutiny, could we come to an agreement on a worldwide definition for the interim? Then there can be by-country headers that go in-depth on the standards, the size of the network, and the nomenclature of that part of the world. - ʄɭoʏɗiaɲ τ ¢ 01:42, 16 January 2011 (UTC)

Might have found a copy at the University of Toronto library. Will update when I check it out. In the interim I'm going to start sandboxing a new article. Now here is the biggie - can we find a common global term so we don't have to bicker over freeway vs motorway (for example, controlled-access highway). - ʄɭoʏɗiaɲ τ ¢ 15:31, 17 January 2011 (UTC)

Is it up to us to create a worldwide definition, or is it up to use to look for an authoritative definition that already exists? The OECD have already published a definition for use in statistical reports for the words motorway (English) and Autoroute (French). I suggest that the top-level article should be called "Motorway/Autoroute" as that is terminology used by OECD. The text of the definition is:'
French Equivalent: Autoroute.
Road, specially designed and built for motor traffic, which does not serve properties bordering on it, and which:
(a) 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;
(b) does not cross at level with any road, railway or tramway track, or footpath;
(c) is specially sign-posted as a motorway and is reserved for specific categories of road motor vehicles.
Entry and exit lanes of motorways are included irrespectively of the location of the sign-posts. Urban motorways are also included.
I think that this definition is comprehensive enough to eliminate virtually all roads that are not motorways or freeways, while being general enough to include those roads that are. In the case of the UK, clause (c) differentiate motorways from other high-speed roads.
Martinvl (talk) 16:08, 17 January 2011 (UTC)
I think in this case we should draw from all three references, as all of them contain very technical definitions, and OECD is not authoratative in the same manner as BS and ITE. We are going to encounter resistance to redirecting freeway to motorway or vice-versa, especially given the tensions between US and UK road editors (less so with Jeni retired, but still); there is also the possibility of redirecting both to motorways and freeways, or a similar title that favours neither, but still follows WP:COMMONNAME. No need to bring the term autoroute in to the title, that's the title at the French Wikipedia; but a section on these roads in France would include it. - ʄɭoʏɗiaɲ τ ¢ 16:58, 17 January 2011 (UTC)
I have no strong views about the title of a merger article, other than that it should be international in flavour, rather than UK-biased or US-biased.
I would be surprised if the the UK source provided a comprehensive definition of a motorway (as opposed what to expect to find on a motorway). British politicians are devious beasts and often frame the law in such a way that it needs a skilled lawyer to understand what it really means. (I don't have any experience of US politicians - I leave you to comment on that). The point that I am making is that the formal definition of a UK motorway is buried deep inside mountains of legislation (or on the other hand a road is a motorway if the government says that it is a motorway - UK law does describe a motorway as a "special road"). On example is the provison of a hard shoulder. The OECD definition makes no provision for a hard shoulder - UK motorways normally have one, but in recent years certain motorways have been widened to incorporate the hard shoulder in one form or another. On the other hand the OECD definition is clear, concise and more importantly, country-neutral. It suffices for all the countries where I have driven on motorways/ freeways/ autobahnen/ autosnelwegen/ autopiste/ autoroutes etc/uzw/ezv - UK, South Africa, Germany, France, Spain, Sweden, Italy, Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Switzerland. Martinvl (talk) 21:15, 17 January 2011 (UTC)
I'm copying the definitions from the T.E.H. so we can compare. Its definition isn't much different, but is worded in the context of lighting:
  1. Freeway: This is a divided major roadway with full control of access and with no crossings at grade. This definition applies to toll as well as nontoll roads. [The summary preceding this makes mention that freeways / expressways are intended for vehicular traffic only]
    1. Freeway A: This designated roadways with greater visual complexity and high traffic volumes. Usually this type of freeway will be found in metropolitan areas in or near the central core and will operate through much of the early evening hours of darkness at or near design capacity.
    2. Freeway B: This designates all other divided roadways with full control of access where lighting is needed.
Summarizing both, the common ground is:
  1. Divided directions of travel (the dividing strip is known as a median or central reservation (Outside NA))
  2. No at-grade crossings what-so-ever
  3. Access provided at selected and marked points
The point you add seems to indicated that motorways are a specific legal term in Britain that refers to a freeway designated as part of the motorway network, and that roads that fulfill 1–3 are known as "high-speed roads", if I'm correct. - ʄɭoʏɗiaɲ τ ¢ 22:03, 17 January 2011 (UTC)
After talking to a few people, that seems to be the case, and a motorway is akin to an interstate in the US; that is to say it is a freeway designated in the motorway network. - ʄɭoʏɗiaɲ τ ¢ 00:32, 18 January 2011 (UTC)
  • Support - Freeways and motorways are the same concept, this is just a difference in US and UK spelling. Dough4872 00:11, 18 January 2011 (UTC)
  • Support the concept of a merger. I think we can at least agree that far. We may need to give this the same treatment as fixed-wing aircraft vs. airplane or aeroplane as far as the title. As for "motorways", at least as the UK goes, is like the US Interstates. An Interstate here is always a freeway* but a freeway is not always an Interstate. In other countries like Australia or New Zealand that use the term, it's pretty much a generic term akin to freeway here. The key for me is 1) agree to a concept on a merger and then 2) implement the merger in a sensible fashion. Imzadi 1979  03:13, 18 January 2011 (UTC)
  • Comment From what I can see, the major difference between the term motorway and freeway is the historic origin - freeways were free of tolls, the first motorways (or rather autostrade) were tolled while the autobahn was built with a specific military purpose in mind. Today they are indistinguishable. I have heard that when the M1 was first built, it was designed so that in times of emergency, the Royal Air Force could take sections over for use as runways. Martinvl (talk) 06:30, 18 January 2011 (UTC)
    • Actually, the free in freeway has to do with free movement of traffic, and not free of charge. This misconception is often perpetuated by calling tolled freeways tollways. The first long-distance freeways in the US were tolled, like the Pennsylvania Turnpike. Imzadi 1979  08:02, 18 January 2011 (UTC)
comment That is a good point, but I wonder of the first long-distance freeways in the US to be called "freeways" were tolled?Nankai (talk) 22:51, 19 January 2011 (UTC)
  • Support if we are talking about a single article to cover all fast motor-vehicle-only roads. However care will be needed in the choice of concepts covered and terminology used if the article is to be inclusive of national variations. In the UK: not all motorway is dual-carriageway (divided highway), not all dual-carriageways are motorway, not all motorway has hard-shoulders, non-motorway may have hard-shoulders, not all motoray junctions are grade-separated (some even have traffic-light control) and only certain types of vehicles (all motorised) and drivers are permitted to use motorways - all other types are excluded (unlike most other roads which are public rights of way). -- de Facto (talk). 09:41, 18 January 2011 (UTC)
    • There is a similar variation here in the US. In Michigan, motorcycles under 150cc, bicycles, pedestrians and farm machinery can not use freeways. In some states in the Western US, bicyclists may use freeways. We even have an Interstate Highway (I-180) that isn't a freeway, so any merged article will need to acknowledge that there are exceptions, but the general rule is... Imzadi 1979  10:00, 18 January 2011 (UTC)
  • Support I would add that the generic autobahn, autopista, etc articles should be folded in as well one article can easily cover the various terminogoly for the concept of a freeway.St8fan (talk) 11:07, 18 January 2011 (UTC)
agree with above comment please note that there is a current proposal at Talk:Autobahn to split the article to country-specific articles on motorways/autobahnen of those (German-speaking) countries; generic matrial from Autobahn would probably end up on Freeway.Nankai (talk) 22:51, 19 January 2011 (UTC)
  • Comment If we stick to the OECD definition, this can easily be done and the text can note that the restictions do vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. We also need to agree how to handle differences in US/UK English, but that is something that can be looked at later.Martinvl (talk) 12:04, 18 January 2011 (UTC)
  • Comment I am ambivalent about a merger but as I have previously noted, I oppose the inclusion of the OECD definition. For one thing, the OECD does not specialize in transportation---it's about economics. For another, the OECD is primarily European Union-centric, as Canada and the U.S. did not join until later. Most Americans don't even know what the OECD is, because its presence in the North America economy is so minimal. --Coolcaesar (talk) 08:44, 19 January 2011 (UTC)
Do you oppose the OECD definition because it is (in your view at any rate) EU-centric or because it is not for for purpose? If it is the former, I would draw to attention that the current secretary-general is Mexican and his predecessor was Canadian, also that the US and Canada have been members for half a century. If it is the latter, where is the definition defective? Martinvl (talk) 11:59, 19 January 2011 (UTC)
Since there are multiple reliable resources on the definition, we should be analyzing all three and formulating one ourselves that combine the aspects of all three. - ʄɭoʏɗiaɲ τ ¢ 15:09, 19 January 2011 (UTC)
As far as I can see, UK legislation defines a motorway as a special road that may only specified classes of vehicle. This is of course binding on road users. In addition, there are sets of regulations that define how a motorway should be built, but not what a motorway is. For legal purposes each motorway requires specific parliamentary approval. This does not really help Wikipedia which is why I like the OECD definition – it is country-neutral and covers most, if not all designated motorways in the UK while at the same time getting the reverse true most, if not all of the time. Martinvl (talk) 12:17, 20 January 2011 (UTC)
Aside from the additional rule, the ITE definition is also global (just switching the term motorway for freeway). - ʄɭoʏɗiaɲ τ ¢ 16:41, 20 January 2011 (UTC)

Moving forwardEdit

It seems the consensus is pretty clear - chop nine of those hydra heads off and make one article that covers the global concept of a divided high-speed controlled-access road. Comparing both definitions available to us (gonna try and check out the British Standards today):

ITE OECD British Standards
  1. Freeway: This is a divided major roadway with full control of access and with no crossings at grade. This definition applies to toll as well as nontoll roads. [The summary preceding this makes mention that freeways / expressways are intended for vehicular traffic only]
    1. Freeway A: This designated roadways with greater visual complexity and high traffic volumes. Usually this type of freeway will be found in metropolitan areas in or near the central core and will operate through much of the early evening hours of darkness at or near design capacity.
    2. Freeway B: This designates all other divided roadways with full control of access where lighting is needed.
Road, specially designed and built for motor traffic, which does not serve properties bordering on it, and which:
(a) 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;
(b) does not cross at level with any road, railway or tramway track, or footpath;
(c) is specially sign-posted as a motorway and is reserved for specific categories of road motor vehicles.
Entry and exit lanes of motorways are included irrespectively of the location of the sign-posts. Urban motorways are also included.
  • motorway Limited access dual carriageway road not crossed on the same level by other traffic lanes, for the exclusive use of certain classes of motor vehicles.
I like the technicality of the OECD definition. I like the simplicity of wording in the ITE definition. The OECD definition seems bulky at times, eg "is reserved for specific categories of road motor vehicles."
So here's my basic premise:

A controlled-access highway, known by various terms worldwide, including autobahn, autopista, autoroute, freeway, motorway and sometimes expressway, is a highway designed and built specifically for high-speed vehicular traffic. Its primary purpose is to provide an unhindered flow of traffic, with no traffic signals, intersections or property access. Access is provided by slip roads or ramps, which allow for acceleration and deceleration between the highway and arterial thoroughfares and collector roads. The opposing directions of travel are separated in some form, either by a strip of grass or boulders, or by a wooden, metal or concrete barrier, referred to as a median or central reservation. A controlled-access highway is free of any at-grade crossings with other roads, railways or pedestrian paths; overpasses and underpasses provide access across the highway.

Germany pioneered the controlled-access highway (then referred to as a Dual Highway) following the First World War and rapidly assembled a sprawling network of Autobahns in anticipation of their use in the war effort. Italy followed shortly thereafter, opening its first Autopista in 1925. In North America, a similar concept, known as a parkway, was developed on Long Island. These parkways did not perform the same function as a modern highway, but were divided and designed specifically for automobiles. Ontario and Pennsylvania opened the first North American freeways in 1940. Britain, heavily influenced by the railroad, did not build its first motorway until the mid-1950s.

Any thoughts? I've stuck with "highway" as the noun, since its the least geospecific. - ʄɭoʏɗiaɲ τ ¢ 16:33, 20 January 2011 (UTC)
I like Floyian's paragraph - I suggest that it be used (give or take a few words) as the lede to the article. I also agree with the use of the word "highway" as being geo-neutral and I like the fact that the various alternatives are arranged in alphabetic order (again geo-neutral). I woudl include the French "autoroute" in the list, particularly because it is used in the OECD definitions appear in both English and French.
Both definitions could be included in the introductory section, followed by a discussion to show that they are essentially the same. That would set the scene for the rest of the article. Since it is unlikely that a formal British definition of a "motorway" will be found, I am happy for the OECD definition to double as as the British/European definition. Martinvl (talk) 18:47, 20 January 2011 (UTC)
Still planning on reading the British Standards tonight. I'll post the definitions once I've got them. Autoroute has been added to the mix. - ʄɭoʏɗiaɲ τ ¢ 21:25, 20 January 2011 (UTC)
  • Support. Combining all these terms into one comprehensive article is a sensible thing to do, not to mention far less confusing to the average reader. Haljackey (talk) 18:57, 20 January 2011 (UTC)
  • Support, I support this largely for reasons already listed here. Having one comprehensive article is better than these overlapping articles. Of course this is also about spelling differences and some minor design differences. But those can be explained to readers. -- (talk) 14:48, 1 February 2011 (UTC)
  • Support. I really like controlled-access highway as the title. –Fredddie 21:40, 20 January 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose. An expressway is also controlled access and this article is not about that. Personally I'd go with freeway as the title for two reasons. The ITE definition is probably the better one and OECD excludes non motor vehicles which is not correct in all cases. Since the ITE definition is for freeway, let that prevail. Vegaswikian (talk) 21:41, 20 January 2011 (UTC)
An expressway is defined seperately by BOTH ITE and OECD as just a divided road with some control of access. You're confusing the designation of a roadway for private access (control of access) and a full control of access roadway (controlled-access highway) - ʄɭoʏɗiaɲ τ ¢ 03:55, 21 January 2011 (UTC)
  • Comment. The definition looks good. There are just a couple of points that I'd like to clarify. 1) Can we replace "vehicular traffic" with something like "motor vehicles"; to make it clear that human and animal powered vehicles are excluded (if indeed they are other than in the UK)? 2) Can we find another word instead of "ramp" which is more commonly used to mean a transverse ridge, bump or similar obstacle in the UK, where slip road is the term commonly used for motorway accesses. 3) Rather than the word "divided", perhaps "separated" would be more apposite in the phrase "... opposite directions of travel are divided...". -- de Facto (talk). 22:00, 20 January 2011 (UTC)
  • (ec) Support with some comments. I'd drop the workd "turnpike" from the list. While most current usages of the word in the US are for tolled freeways, there are turnpikes that date back to Revolutionary and early American times that are decidedly not freeways, and they still carry the name. Second comment, we're going to probably need to mention "expressway" in some capacity later on in the article. The concept is related, but not the same. Maybe a discussion in the specifications or something just to alert readers to the difference. We probably should mention in the US/North American section that some states officially use "expressway" in the names of freeways (yes, I'm talking about you, Illinois) even though they are freeways. that should satisfy Vegaswikian's objection. I would not merge expressway into this article at this time. If desired, we can after the initial article is fleshed out. Third, I'd suggest that the whole article use Oxford English as the WP:ENGVAR, and establish that up front on the new talk page. Let's avoid squabbles now. Having said that, if someone makes a contribution to the article with American spellings, just silently switch it later, without undue comment, as part of any copyediting done to the article. If you call attention to switching the spellings of words, you could make the situation worse. Of course if reverted back, a nice polite note that we're using Oxford English should suffice, even if the change is in a mention of the US. (I picked Oxford because it uses the -ize spellings common in the US but is otherwise "British" or "Commonwealth" in nature, so a bit of a compromise.) Imzadi 1979  22:01, 20 January 2011 (UTC)
I agree with this concept. That's essentially Canadian English, and would save from language arguments. - ʄɭoʏɗiaɲ τ ¢ 22:46, 20 January 2011 (UTC)
    • Following up to de Facto's comments that ECed mine, I'm not sure about "vehicular traffic" vs. "motor vehicles". In most states in the US, motorcycles under 150cc engine size are banned from freeways, as are farming implements (tractors, combines, etc) so we have to figure out a neutral way to work that in somewhere. I'd insert the word/link for "slip road" with ramp, because that's similar to the variation between median and central reservation. (i.e. calling it a slip road only will confuse Americans, but calling it a ramp will confuse Britons). One last comment, but can someone check to see if any variation of English spells "acceleration" with two Ls and fix the spelling accordingly when this lead is implemented? Imzadi 1979  22:16, 20 January 2011 (UTC)
    • May I suggest that there be a UK/US vocabulary section near the start of the article and before works starts, it is decided by lottery whether to use UK or US English as the default. I could easily define a lottery - it will need two participants and a judge. (I have enough mathermatical background to ensure that such a lottery would be fair assuming of course that there is no collusion). Martinvl (talk) 22:30, 20 January 2011 (UTC)
    • (ec)The article should remain in American English. This is what was used when the concept was at full access controlled highway and highway with full control of access and no cross traffic which were the previous names used for this article. The freeway article dates back to January 6, 2002 in using American English (noting at that time that the British equivalent is motorway). Motorway did not appear as anything other then a redirect until March 10, 2004. So let's not introduce changing the established version of English being used. Vegaswikian (talk) 22:33, 20 January 2011 (UTC)
      • The article introduction will be written without geospecific wording. Individual country sections should be written in the appropriate variation of english per the MOS. - ʄɭoʏɗiaɲ τ ¢ 22:42, 20 January 2011 (UTC)
        • That is not what is being proposed with Third, I'd suggest that the whole article use Oxford English as the WP:ENGVAR. Yes, it should be as language neutral as possible but the default, based on the established history of the articles, should be American English. Vegaswikian (talk) 00:17, 21 January 2011 (UTC)
      • (ec) I don't think we need a vocabulary section, if the article is written properly. I should hope that readers are generally intelligent enough to infer word meanings from context, especially when a term is used side-by-side with its counterpart from other variations of English. As for which variation to use, Vegaswikian, what was in use before is persuasive, but we're creating something new here, and consensus is free to change that going forward. I suggested Oxford British English as a compromise. Most of the world does not use American spellings, and this is to be an article of global scope. It would be arrogant to assert that American English should trump other variations on what is essentially going to be a totally new article at a new article title. I'm an American living in Michigan, and I'm suggesting that we use Oxford British English because 1) it is similar to British or Commonwealth English which are global in scope, but 2) it does use some spelling conventions in common with American English. I want to decide this in advance so when the new article is created, there are no ENGVAR wars. Basically, policy cedes the choice to consensus for the article, and we're free to make our choice now. As to the title, I prefer "controlled-access highway" over both "freeway" and "motorway" (preserving those as redirects) for the same reasons that the article is at "fixed-wing aircraft" with redirects from "airplane" and "aeroplane". We should use a term that's neutral as the title, and redirect the variation-specific titles to it. Imzadi 1979  22:50, 20 January 2011 (UTC)
  • (edit conflict)Some adjustments have been made. No need to oppose based on the title at this point folks, lets save that to the very end, as the rest of the content doesn't depend on the title and introductory sentence. - ʄɭoʏɗiaɲ τ ¢ 22:42, 20 January 2011 (UTC)
    Also, just for reference, the order that slip road vs ramp and median vs central reservation are in was determined by what order sounds most appropriate when spoken. - ʄɭoʏɗiaɲ τ ¢ 22:49, 20 January 2011 (UTC)
  • Comment A number of asian countries use the term expressway for fully controlled highways it wouldn't make sense to link to article like Expressways of Japan and not have the term included in the definition. So in order to be inclusive it should be included by simply adding "sometimes expressway". A futher explanation about the use of word can be addressed later in the article. I'd also drop the term tollway, because to me that is type of freeway and not a general term. Otherwise I think it is good start.St8fan (talk) 00:12, 21 January 2011 (UTC)
  • The motorway definition from British Standards 6100, ss 2.4.1 has been added to the chart. It's less specific than the OECD definition. - ʄɭoʏɗiaɲ τ ¢ 04:48, 21 January 2011 (UTC)
  • Expressways: A number of contributors have concerns as to whether or not expressways will be included. My view is that we start with the definition(s) as per the above table and then note that different jurisdictions have different names for the same thing - highlighting that Illinois expressways do not meet the criteria, but South African snelweë and Dutch autosnelwegen (Afrikaans/Dutch: snel = fast and weg (plural weë/wegen) are included, along with Japanese, Chinese and Indian expressways. (I can't vouch for the Asian countries, I can vouch for South Africa and the Netherlands). BTW, there should not be any country-specific section, though of course different countries will be mentioned to highlight different concepts and the impact of different underlying legal regimes. Martinvl (talk) 06:22, 21 January 2011 (UTC)
    • You mean that Illinois' expressways are really freeways, then yes. (What is called the Kennedy Expressway near Chicago is part of Interstate 90 through the area. Michigan used to call the freeways in the Detroit are "expressways", but since the 1950s the names have all switched.) Imzadi 1979  06:56, 21 January 2011 (UTC)
      • If the Kennedy Expressway (I have never been to the US, let alone travelled that road) is a "Limited access dual carriageway road not crossed on the same level by other traffic lanes, for the exclusive use of certain classes of motor vehicles", then yes, for purposes of this article it is a freeway/motorway irrespsective of its name. If however any type of traffic including bicycles are permitted to use it, it is not, for purposes of this article, a motorway/freeway. However, unless it has any specific features worth highlighting, it should not get a mention. We must remember that the article will be covering roads in over 100 jurisdictions (50 US states, 27 EU member states before we start counting the individual jurisdictions in Canada, Australia, Japan, India, China, South Africa etc). Martinvl (talk) 08:14, 21 January 2011 (UTC)
        • Then we have an issue to discuss. Illinois assigns names to its freeways using "Expressway", but they are freeways in every sense of the word. New York and other East Coast states do the same, calling what are technically freeways as expressways, to the consternation of those of us who know the difference. Second problem: Western states do not always prohibit bicycles from their freeways. Many of the Interstates were built on top of existing roads, completely replacing them, without an alternative for non-motorized traffic. Eastern states usually built the new freeway somewhat adjacent to the old road, meaning non-motorized traffic retained an alternative route. So even in discussing what classes of traffic are generally prohibited from these types of roadways, we have exceptions to mention. That doesn't negate the fact that, in general, a freeway/motorway/autoroute/etc are the same concept of a road. That the general concept has exceptions (names that don't have a 1:1 match, exceptions in certain cases for otherwise banned traffic) only needs to be discussed somewhere in the article, even if it's just one sentence. Imzadi 1979  08:26, 21 January 2011 (UTC)
          • regarding expressways versus freeways, just remember Wikipedia is not a dictionary. The article expressway should not be about roads called "Expressway", it should be about highways that have somewhat lesser degrees of grade separation and median barriers than freeways. No more should the article Motorway be about roads called "Motorway". This is easy for me to understand, because in New Zealand where I live, there are several highways called (and legally gazetted as) motorways: some are freeways and some are 2-4 lane undivided expressways, of which latter a few are called Expressway or Bypass (or something other than motorway) while still legally being motorways; while some other expressways possibly exist that are not motorways in New Zealand law. Meanwhile, in Japan, the term the term expressway used widely in English translation there encompasses freeways and narrower, curvier expressways. If you have clarity that the point of discussion is types of road not names for types of road (a good job for Wiktionary), there should be no problem.Nankai (talk) 23:30, 23 January 2011 (UTC)
          • If you visit A1 road (Great Britain) you will find a road that has eleven sections - six sections of non-motorway separated by five sections of motorways. Apart from the first and last sections on non-motorway, all the non-motorway section meet the European motorway standard apart from restrictions on certain type of traffic. This road could well be used as a case study when comparing with a Western US freeway (which does allow bicycles). Martinvl (talk) 11:39, 21 January 2011 (UTC)
            • What I meant was having an introduction, general specifications, and then a section that has subheaders for each country which list notable examples and exceptions and legalities associated with that country. There are always exceptions with roads, but this article is a general overview. - ʄɭoʏɗiaɲ τ ¢ 13:57, 21 January 2011 (UTC)
              • I would try to avoid having a subsection on Ruritania (or any other country). If there is something specific about Ruritainian autobahnen that is worthy of mention, then it should be mentioned in the relevant section (junction design, emergency phone design etc). Martinvl (talk) 15:26, 21 January 2011 (UTC)
                • Indeed. I'd advocate Canada and USA combining into a North America header, as the terms and specifications are generally set on a north American level. Britain could be separate perhaps, just because of their unique design. Continental Europe, Asia and Oceania. - ʄɭoʏɗiaɲ τ ¢ 17:19, 21 January 2011 (UTC)
  • Comment Another thing I'd like to see the current freeway article become Freeways in the United States, there is need as we have freeways that are non-Interstate and the history and construction of freeways in this country predate the Interstate System. The article is already pretty US focused anyway.St8fan (talk) 04:21, 22 January 2011 (UTC)
    • That's another discussion, separate than what is proposed here. Feel free to start a proposal at a different venue to create such an article. WT:USRD would be full of editors willing to discuss such a thing. However I would wait to see how the newly merged article shapes up. Imzadi 1979  08:55, 24 January 2011 (UTC)
  • Do we have consensus to move forward yet? I think it's fairly clear from the discussion that everyone is in favour of making a singular article to cover this type of road. Let's begin a sandbox article if so. - ʄɭoʏɗiaɲ τ ¢ 01:58, 24 January 2011 (UTC)
    • I think that we are nearly there. The article Highways has a long list of links to national road systems in its See Also section. I think that this list should be inlcuded in the merged article that we are talking about and that one of our guiding principals when making reference to a specific country should be "Why am I including this text in the article "Motorways and Freeways" when in fact it is available in the national article". Martinvl (talk) 06:33, 24 January 2011 (UTC)
      • Many of those links in that list though direct to this article's current subsections. Some aren't all that specifically applicable to freeways as a concept. I think we can add any links though as we see fit after the new article's groundwork is laid and the article is fleshed out. Remember, anything that's already linked in the body of the article should not be tacked on a second time in the See also list, and many of those links might be incorporated in the new writing, and some related articles from that list might even be incorporated into the new article and redirected here in some fashion. As an example, if a name/term for a freeway/motorway is specific to one country, we might link like: "In Croatia, a highway of this type is called a autocesta." in the middle of a running prose discussion of the controlled-access highways in Europe. With that link done like that, it wouldn't be proper to include it down below in a See also section. Another example would be something like "Macedonia is building a system of avtopat using concepts inherited from the former Yugoslavia." I agree with using the links, but we'll have to see how the article shakes up to know how much of the list will need to be copied. Imzadi 1979  08:55, 24 January 2011 (UTC)
  • Update Just so everyone knows, I'm working on a sandbox version that I will present in several weeks. Hold tight :) - ʄɭoʏɗiaɲ τ ¢ 09:07, 6 February 2011 (UTC)

I'm jumping into this kind of late, but there's another reference (from the states) you may want. It defines the following.

Expressway—a divided highway with partial control of access.
Freeway—a divided highway with full control of access.
Highway—a general term for denoting a public way for purposes of travel by vehicular travel,

including the entire area within the right-of-way. The reference is the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) from the U.S. Department of transportation. Here. Cliff (talk) 06:54, 19 March 2011 (UTC)

Comment - This is still controversial. Do not call me naugty here. The term expressway is used here in the Philippines, equally with freeway and motorway. This is a controversial thing. We have to need another long discussion here to solve the dispute. Kiddie Techie Talk 07:35 1 May 2011 (UTC)

You're several months late here, and I doubt you'll get that discussion rolling again. It'd be relatively easy to explain that in the phillipeans, the term expressway is synonymous with freeway. Each country will be able to have its own section. The point isn't to remove information specific to any countries, but rather to condense the remaining information down into a single article instead of 3 or 4. - ʄɭoʏɗiaɲ τ ¢ 13:57, 1 May 2011 (UTC)

It still isn't clear wich name should be used. It now says merging motorway into freeway? Wouldn't it be better to merge freeway into motorway instead of naming the article freeway. A motorway has a trafficsign and a clear defenition used all over europe and the rest of the world, while freeway is just a loose term. Just because the US doesn't use motorway and the roadsign for it, doesn't mean that the article should be named freeway right, that's a little bit of US arrogance. Their's a clear definition and road sign for a moterway and another for an expressway, used all over europe and the world, and I think since those are clear they should be the main articles. The fact that the US doesn't use them is no argument if you ask me. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Thug n g (talkcontribs) 13:22, 13 May 2011 (UTC)

Your argument can easily be turned on its head. Motorway is intellectually incoherent because it doesn't accurately describe the road itself; from the looks of it, it should be a term applicable to all roads used by motorized vehicles regardless of level of access control (as distinguished from roads that don't allow motorized vehicles or are too small for them). That's why the U.S. never adopted "motorway" for controlled-access roads, because it makes no sense. Furthermore, the term freeway has two precise meanings as currently delineated and cited in the article as it stands, if you had read it carefully. Finally, the term freeway is in active use by well over 100 million people in the western United States, as well as parts of Australia and other countries allied with the U.S. --Coolcaesar (talk) 01:37, 15 May 2011 (UTC)
The term "Motorway" is akin to "Interstate"; they are used to denote roads which form part of the highest level of service roadways. There are some exceptions of both that are not freeways (or even divided). A freeway or controlled-access highway is any public road with no private access (driveways), no at-grade intersections, stop signs, signals or other impediments to free-flow (only interchanges) and the opposite directions of travel divided in some manner. I have no restraints, should there be enough content to warrant forking it, in creating "Motorways in X" articles. - ʄɭoʏɗiaɲ τ ¢ 05:43, 15 May 2011 (UTC)

Personal confusionEdit

I saw Australia confusing here. What is the term do Australians consider? Motor way or free way? Or both? I don't want to remove the Australia here in this topic because it will earn criticism. Just an explanation. Kiddie Techie Talk 06:27, 1 May 2011 (UTC)

Performing this transitionEdit

I've made a good start on the basic framework for the proposed merge. User:Floydian/Controlled-access highway is the result. Feel free to fill in any countries you are familiar with. Thoughts / comments? There is a lot of rambling across several articles to compress into useful to-the-point information, so I'm finding it troublesome to progress at a reasonable speed. - ʄɭoʏɗiaɲ τ ¢ 21:51, 25 May 2011 (UTC)

The draft article will do me, and well done Floydian. I like the title, which can be compared to Fixed-wing aircraft (to avoid the airplane/aeroplane argument). I note that many of the comments on this talk page are about what a combined article should be called, not disputing that there should only be one article about a type of road with a diverse range of names.Nankai (talk) 03:46, 15 June 2011 (UTC)
Thank you :) I've actually already performed the merger (just to be bold and bring people in), but left these talk pages because there is a lot of discussion on both. I hope the title sticks, as unlike Fixed-wing aircraft, controlled-access highway is the actual engineering term. - ʄɭoʏɗiaɲ τ ¢ 20:34, 15 June 2011 (UTC)
Return to "Freeway" page.