A controlled-access highway is a highway designed exclusively for high-speed vehicular traffic, with all traffic flow and ingress/egress regulated. They are known by various terms worldwide, including autobahn, autopista, autoroute, autostrada, autosnelweg, freeway, motorway, and sometimes less precise terms such as expressway, parkway, or turnpike.
A controlled-access highway provides an unhindered flow of traffic, with no traffic signals, intersections or property access. They are free of any at-grade crossings with other roads, railways, or pedestrian paths, which are instead carried by overpasses and underpasses across the highway. Entrance and exit to the highway are provided at interchanges by slip roads (ramps), which allow for speed changes between the highway and arterial thoroughfares and collector roads. On the highway, opposing directions of travel are physically separated by a central reservation (median), such as a strip of grass or boulders, or by a traffic barrier.
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