The Frontier Centre for Public Policy today released a new study from transportation expert Wendell Cox, visiting professor at France’s Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers, in Paris. In his paper for the Frontier Centre, A Canadian Autobahn–Creating A World Class Highway System for the Nation, Cox looks at motorways and autoroutes in Asia, Europe, South America and North America and compares them to Canada. (Motorways are fully grade-separated roadways that permit traffic to flow generally uninterrupted between urban areas, without at-grade cross traffic.)
In his comparison to Canada’s highway infrastructure system, Prof. Cox found the following:
- The United States, Europe and Japan have motorway systems that reach virtually all of their major urban areas. China is developing a motorway system that will eventually equal the length of the world’s most extensive system, in the US. Mexico and Brazil have also developed substantial motorway systems.
- Motorways have been shown to have a significant positive impact on national and local economies, principally because saving time improves productivity. Moreover, motorways are far safer than conventional roads because there are no grade crossings.
- Canada is largely unconnected by world-class highways (motorways or autoroutes ). On average, metropolitan areas are connected to less than one-quarter of other metropolitan areas.
It is proposed that a national motorway and pre-motorway be established. A new Canadian “autobahn” system would include the following components:
- Development of a transcontinental motorway, with upgrades in all sections not already to motorway standards. The route should completed within 10 years.
- All existing and future intercity motorways.
- Upgrades to additional routes: Additional routes would be upgraded to motorway or pre-motorway standard (above). Completion of these roadways would connect all of the nation’s present metropolitan areas to all others as well as to the U.S. interstate highway system and further to the expressway system of Mexico. The additional routes should be completed within 15 years.
- The longest of these would be the Yellowhead route, Edmonton and Calgary to the Canada-U.S. border, Ottawa to Sudbury and across the island of Newfoundland. These improvements should be completed within 15 years.
“The first priority would be upgrading of all segments of the transcontinental route highway from Halifax to Vancouver to motorway standards,” writes Prof. Cox. “This would substantially improve connectivity in the nation. The average metropolitan area would be connected to 52% of the other metropolitan areas, which is more than double the present 21%.”
The Frontier Centre’s policy paper, A Canadian Autobahn–Creating A World Class Highway System for the Nation, can be downloaded here: www.fcpp.org/publication.php/3030
For more information and to arrange an interview with the study’s author, contact: