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Author Topic: Asian Highway Network  (Read 2216 times)

SkyPesos

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Asian Highway Network
« on: April 25, 2021, 12:27:02 AM »

TIL that apparently, a continent wide highway system for Asia exists. I thought only Europe had something like this with the E routes. It may be because it's not signed at all in some countries, as I haven't came across an Asian highway signage in China yet, only the national GXX number. Here's the map of the highway system on Wikipedia:


The numbering system seems to be clustered, like many state route systems in the US. It use single digit numbers for continent-wide routes, then double digits for a region.
1x, 2x: Southeast Asia
3x: Northeast Asia
4x, 5x: Indian Subcontinent
6x, 7x, 8x: Central Asia and Middle East

List of single-digit routes
AH1 (20,557 km): Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, China, North Korea, Japan. Connects with European highway E80 at west end.
Highways used in China: G7211 Vietnam border-Nanning, G80 Nanning-Guangzhou, G4 Guangzhou-Beijing, G1 Beijing-Shenyang, G1113 Shenyang-North Korea border
AH2 (13,177 km): Iran, Pakistan, India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia
AH3 (7,331 km): Thailand, Laos, China, Mongolia, Russia
Highways used in China: G8511 Laos border-Kunming, G60 Kunming-Shanghai, [Gap in route], G2 Tianjin-Beijing, G6 Beijing-Ulanqab, G55 Ulanqab-Mongolia Border. The gap between Tianjin and Shanghai have no intention to being connected anytime soon, but can be connected either with G2, or combination of G15 and G25 via Lianyungang.
AH4 (6,024 km):
AH5 (10,380 km): Turkey, Georgia, Azerbaijan, [Gap in route (Caspian Sea)], Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, China. Connects with European highway E80 at west end.
Highways used in China: G30 Kazakhstan border-Xi'an, G40 Xi'an-Nanjing, G42 Nanjing-Shanghai
AH6 (10,533 km): Russia, Kazakhstan, China, North Korea, South Korea. Runs with the Trans-Siberian Highway in most of Russia. Connects with European highway E30 at west end.
Highways used in China: G10 entire length
i'll finish the rest later...
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TheStranger

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Re: Asian Highway Network
« Reply #1 on: April 25, 2021, 01:08:17 AM »

AH26 is the one I'm most familiar with (the Pan-Philippine Highway), as it represents much of the north-south corridor in Luzon (as well as the existing roads to Bicol from Sto. Tomas, Batangas). 

South of Plaridel, AH26 follows NLEX, the Metro Manila Skyway, and SLEX (though before the Skyway was completed from Makati to Balintawak, AH26 officially went along EDSA).

Like almost every numbered designation in the Philippines, signage is scant.
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Chris Sampang

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Re: Asian Highway Network
« Reply #2 on: April 25, 2021, 10:06:04 AM »

I don't really see the point of the Asian Highway network. They appear random and international travel by road remains limited in much of Asia. China has a huge network of expressways and only a few routes, while there is a big density of routes in Iran and surrounding areas.  Japan is served by only one route, Borneo Island has none.

The Asian Highway Network looks more like a hobby project than a useful and functional route numbering system. Some of the world's largest cities are not connected by Asian Highways on that map (like Beijing - Shanghai or Wuhan - Chengdu) while other routes aren't even paved, like in Mongolia.

European E road network was also extended into Central Asia but doesn't appear to be signed anywhere.

SkyPesos

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Re: Asian Highway Network
« Reply #3 on: April 25, 2021, 11:35:50 AM »

I don't really see the point of the Asian Highway network. They appear random and international travel by road remains limited in much of Asia. China has a huge network of expressways and only a few routes, while there is a big density of routes in Iran and surrounding areas.  Japan is served by only one route, Borneo Island has none.

The Asian Highway Network looks more like a hobby project than a useful and functional route numbering system. Some of the world's largest cities are not connected by Asian Highways on that map (like Beijing - Shanghai or Wuhan - Chengdu) while other routes aren't even paved, like in Mongolia.

European E road network was also extended into Central Asia but doesn't appear to be signed anywhere.
A "hobby project" sounds like a good way to describe this system actually. I could see that East Asia doesn't care about the Asian Highway system that much, as they only got a single leading digit for their region specific routes, and the only numbers that got used are 30-35. I'm not sure if Korea or Japan signs their Asian Highways, but I'm guessing no. Also, because of North Korea, you can't even travel from China to South Korea on the Asian Highway system. There most likely are many more closed international borders on the continent that I can't think of currently.

Also, the choices for two-digit Asian highways in China is odd to me. If I didn't look at the map, and only given the location of the single digit routes, the following is what I would've guessed for the routing for the two-digit routes:
- Chengdu to Shanghai: G5013 Chengdu-Chongqing, G50 Chongqing-Wuhu, G4211 Wuhu-Nanjing, G42 Nanjing-Shanghai
- Shanghai to Tianjin (AH3 gap): G15 Shanghai-Lianyungang, G25 Lianyungang-Tianjin (yes, it's shorter than using G2 between those two cities)
- Guangzhou to Shanghai : G15
- Nanning to Beijing: G75 Nanning-Chongqing, G65 Chongqing-Xi'an, G5 Xi'an-Bejing
- Xi'an to Fuzhou: G70

If you want to travel internationally in Asia, flying is definitely the best way. Plane tickets are cheap because of the numerous number of low-cost airlines there, especially in southeast Asia.
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Rothman

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Re: Asian Highway Network
« Reply #4 on: April 25, 2021, 01:26:29 PM »

I doubt the numbers assigned have much to do with buy-in into the system by the individual countries.
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Scott5114

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Re: Asian Highway Network
« Reply #5 on: April 25, 2021, 03:52:30 PM »

AH1: Bulgaria to Tokyo via Tehran, Ho Chi Minh City, Beijing, and Pyongyang. Clinch that if you dare.
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Bruce

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Re: Asian Highway Network
« Reply #6 on: April 25, 2021, 04:16:27 PM »

I'm not sure if Korea or Japan signs their Asian Highways, but I'm guessing no.

There are a handful of signs in Japan and South Korea, but mostly for ceremonial points.

The eastern terminus at Nihonbashi in Tokyo:



Also, the North Korea-South Korea crossing was once opened for occasional use for South Korean companies to access the Kaseong Industrial Area, but that has since shut down.

bing101

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Re: Asian Highway Network
« Reply #7 on: April 25, 2021, 06:50:35 PM »

I don't really see the point of the Asian Highway network. They appear random and international travel by road remains limited in much of Asia. China has a huge network of expressways and only a few routes, while there is a big density of routes in Iran and surrounding areas.  Japan is served by only one route, Borneo Island has none.

The Asian Highway Network looks more like a hobby project than a useful and functional route numbering system. Some of the world's largest cities are not connected by Asian Highways on that map (like Beijing - Shanghai or Wuhan - Chengdu) while other routes aren't even paved, like in Mongolia.

European E road network was also extended into Central Asia but doesn't appear to be signed anywhere.
True and Taiwan is not even connected by this Asian Highway system according to the OP map.
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SkyPesos

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Re: Asian Highway Network
« Reply #8 on: April 26, 2021, 12:00:09 PM »

I don't really see the point of the Asian Highway network. They appear random and international travel by road remains limited in much of Asia. China has a huge network of expressways and only a few routes, while there is a big density of routes in Iran and surrounding areas.  Japan is served by only one route, Borneo Island has none.

The Asian Highway Network looks more like a hobby project than a useful and functional route numbering system. Some of the world's largest cities are not connected by Asian Highways on that map (like Beijing - Shanghai or Wuhan - Chengdu) while other routes aren't even paved, like in Mongolia.

European E road network was also extended into Central Asia but doesn't appear to be signed anywhere.
True and Taiwan is not even connected by this Asian Highway system according to the OP map.
Either that whoever created the system thought that China is 'good enough' for Taiwan, or that Taiwan sees no value in the Asian Highways. I'm leaning towards the latter for this one. Though (big if) Taiwan gets an AH route, I think it will be an isolated route like A26 in the Philippines, and the Freeway 1 route in Taiwan may get used for it, as it's a major route between Taiwan's major cities
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TheStranger

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Re: Asian Highway Network
« Reply #9 on: April 26, 2021, 01:03:49 PM »

I doubt the numbers assigned have much to do with buy-in into the system by the individual countries.

In the case of the Philippines, all route numbering (both local and Asian Highway systems) is sparse at best.  While the Philippine Department of Public Works and Highways has a numbering system, for most urban arterial roads there is one to two signs total for the entirety of the road, and for the expressways, no signage.  (It doesn't help that the expressway numbering system has logic issues, i.e. E2 assigned to at least 3 or 4 different connecting expressways if I am not mistaken).
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Chris Sampang

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Re: Asian Highway Network
« Reply #10 on: April 26, 2021, 01:29:02 PM »

Thailand does sign Asian highways for some reason, but yeah, this kind of is like the Trans-Canada Highway. Some countries taking the network more seriously than others, just like how some provinces take the TCH more seriously than others.
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Bickendan

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Re: Asian Highway Network
« Reply #11 on: April 27, 2021, 03:15:51 AM »

AH 1 is well signed between Kolkata and Bardhaman (the segment I've been on); makes me think India takes the AH at least somewhat serious.
However, they renumbered their entire National Highway system back in 2010... and all signage in West Bengal still reflected the old numbering in 2020.
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SkyPesos

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Re: Asian Highway Network
« Reply #12 on: April 28, 2021, 10:32:25 AM »

AH 1 is well signed between Kolkata and Bardhaman (the segment I've been on); makes me think India takes the AH at least somewhat serious.
However, they renumbered their entire National Highway system back in 2010... and all signage in West Bengal still reflected the old numbering in 2020.
From looking at the map, it looks like India takes the AH routes seriously with their AH routes subnetwork (2 digit routes) in the country, and the major cities connected. Especially when compared to China's AH routes.
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jaehak

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Re: Asian Highway Network
« Reply #13 on: July 14, 2021, 02:10:36 PM »

Definitely seen AH1 signed in Vietnam. Saw it here and there in Korea too, even on overhead signs.

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Re: Asian Highway Network
« Reply #14 on: July 30, 2021, 02:35:26 PM »

Either that whoever created the system thought that China is 'good enough' for Taiwan, or that Taiwan sees no value in the Asian Highways. I'm leaning towards the latter for this one. Though (big if) Taiwan gets an AH route, I think it will be an isolated route like A26 in the Philippines, and the Freeway 1 route in Taiwan may get used for it, as it's a major route between Taiwan's major cities
Taiwan doesn't exist as it's a UN project and the UN recognises the other China, but actively ignores the Republic of China.

China has a huge network of expressways and only a few routes, while there is a big density of routes in Iran and surrounding areas.  Japan is served by only one route, Borneo Island has none.
China only last year formalised most of its routes (those sections still dashed in the geographic map below). Its not that fussed about such things for domestic usage but has its network linking most of its bordering countries (and most of them more than once) and some of the big ports on the east coast.

Compare China to Spain and their sparse E road network, and West/Central Asia to Scandinavia or Hungary and its love of E Roads.

Japan doesn't have much call for international routes. Tokyo to the main port in the west of the country is quite sufficient for primary Asian Highways. The 1950 E road Network (which is similar to Asian Highways - the post-85 network is rather different) had 3 London - Ports (Dover, Southampton and Harwich) routes as Major Route, and an Intermediate Route spine north branching to serve Holyhead and Liverpool (ports for Ireland) and Glasgow and Edinburgh. Japan could have a 2-digit route north out of Tokyo, another along the north coast, and some 3 digit routes across the spine, but it doesn't really need them.

Borneo has the AH150, created by ASEAN rather than UNESCAP (along with many other routes as a supplemental system), as a loop around it. (defined here, using different numbers).

Better maps than the OP's seen here:
https://www.unescap.org/sites/default/d8files/knowledge-products/AH-map_0.pdf
https://www.unescap.org/sites/default/d8files/2021-01/Map_AH_24Dec_Digital_Full.pdf
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