Switzerland

including Liechtenstein
Area code 41Common abbreviation CHLast updated 9-9-2007
Road classSyntax explanationAdministrative subordinationSub classesZonesSystemRemarks
European roadE[0-9]<2>EuropeSee Europe
Motorway (Autobahn/Autoroute/ Autostrada)(A)[0-9]<1-2>{a;.1}national1-16sequentialExit numbers: sequential
50-53mainly Cantonal
Main road (Hauptstrasse/ Route principale)[0-9]<1-2>{[ab]}national1-/2-d
Administrative numbers: These never appears on signs.
National highway (Nationalstrasse/ Route Nationale)N[0-9]<1-2>{[a-c];.1}national
Main road (Hauptstrasse/ Route principale)({[AJT]}[0-9]<1-2>{[ab]}); ({[AJT]}[0-9]<3>{.[1-6]})national1-/2-d1-30
101-499increasing to the east
501-599
In addition, roads have cantonal numbers in some cantons.
Kantonsstrasse/ Route Cantonale({K}[0-9]<1-3>{[a-e]})cantonalsee region table
General description:
Motorways: The network contains single carriageways (second class motorways or motor traffic roads). The most significant difference between the A and N systems lies in the representation of concurrent numbers: if two numbers follow the same route, both A numbers are displayed on signs, while only one N number was used before (N numbers hardly ever appeared on signs).
Usually a signposted number Ax corresponds to an administrative number Nx. Exceptions are:
A-number (usually signposted)AdministrativeSectionRemarks
A1N1a/N10Genève bypass
A1/A4N1c/N20Entire N1c
A2/A3N2Basel-LiestalThe (A)3 will be linked to the German A861 in 2006
A6T6Schönbühl-Biel
A50T7Entire A50Signposted as Hauptstrasse 7
A51N1b/N11Entire N1b
A52-Entire roadCantonal only
A53-Entire road
There are some motorways with two national administrative numbers. The suffixed number is probably older.
Suffixed numberUnsuffixed numberDescription
N1aN10Genève (Geneva) bypass
N1bN11Link from N1 to Kloten airport
N1cN20Zürich bypass
N4aN40Link between N4 and Hauptstrasse T4
N4bN41Link between N4 and German A81 (planned, 11 km)
Hauptstrassen: Only 1- and 2-digit numbers (up to 30) appear on signs. Suffixes can be either a or b.
Administrative numbers for Hauptstrassen which are signposted are the same or have prefix A, J or T. The designations A (Alp road, Alpenstrasse, Route alpestre), J (Jura road, Jurastrasse, Route du Jura) and T (Valley road, Talstrasse, Route de pleine) determine federal/cantonal funding percentages. A and J roads have the highest federal funding levels. Roads without A, J or T are Cantonal roads. Many roads have different designations on sections. For example, most of route 7 is just 7, but one part is J7 and another part is T7.
Note that there is a motorway A8 and an Alpenstrasse (A)8, but this is not confusing since the numbers are indicated differently. Both Hauptstrassen and Cantonal road numbers can have any number of digits (up to 3).
Most motorways with numbers under 50 have roughly the same route as the Hauptstrasse with the same number (e.g. A2 and Hauptstrasse 2). Exceptions are A7, A14 and A16.
3-digit numbers can have suffixes consisting of one digit (separated from the rest of the number by a dot). 3-digit numbers over 500 denote roads which are accessible only to vehicles of less than 2.30 m width. Some of them are part of another road:
RoadPart of
511A19
526248.4
556A17
55813
Hauptstrassen can also have a separate cantonal number. Examples:
SignpostedAdministrative numbers
NationalCantonalSectionRemarks
4Hauptstrasse 4K17Luzern-Rotkreuz
-Hauptstrasse 295K275Baden-Wettingen-Zürich
10T10K10Wolhusen-LittauGreen signs
19Hauptstrasse 511unknownFurkapassPossibly other cantonal number
Road signs: E and A numbers only appear at important junctions, mostly on signs above the road, and on signs indicating distances (after junctions).
Road/destination typeBackgroundTextRoad numbers
ClassShapeBackgroundText
MotorwaysGreenWhiteAAs in GermanyRedWhite
Other roadsBlueWhiteHauptstrassenRectangleBlueWhite
Local destinationsWhiteBlackNone

One of the few signs with N numbers (late 1980's, replaced in the 1990's by a sign indicating just a motorway symbol instead of N1/N7)
N and J numbers sometimes appear on km posts, e.g. N2 and J18.
History:
Motorways: The first Swiss motorway, a 4 km section of the N2 south of Luzern, was opened in 1955. In the next ten years, very few motorways were opened, most were built in the 1970's. In 1996, the former N numbering system was replaced by a new system of A numbers. Most digits stayed the same, but some were changed. The higher numbers 50-53 were assigned to Cantonal motorways near Zürich. The N numbers (Nationalstrassen/Routes Nationales) are retained as an administrative system. In 2003 there were still a few signs with N numbers.
It is planned to complete all missing Nationalstrassen by 2019 (most of them as full motorways).
Exit numbering used to exist only in Basel, with low numbers increasing to the north so they could not be extended along the rest of the road. A new system was introduced probably in 2003, with sequential numbers and symbols similar to those in France and Austria.

Main roads: The old system of numbered roads was sequential: main roads were given low numbers, and the higher the number, the less important the road. Higher numbers were added over the years: in 1953, the highest number was 154, in 1965, it was 174.

An old sign with a 3-d number

In 1975, many numbers were changed, so that all main roads received numbers under 31 (suffixes a and b were added in two cases). For example:

Old numberNew numberSection
1120Neuchâtel - La-Chaux-de-Fonds - France
2011Entire road except near Château-d'Oex
3114Frauenfeld - Schaffhausen
3214Entire road
7611Entire roadShortcut for old route 20
7711Entire road
9830Entire road
10830Entire road
1272bEntire road
1322aEntire road
All other roads were given 3-digit numbers which are never signposted. Note that Switzerland is probably the only country in the world where the network of roads with signposted numbers was much more dense in 1970 than in 2000.
In principle, the system extends to Liechtenstein, but the numbers are never signposted there.
Sources and links: Various maps and atlases, personal experience

    Official sites:
  1. Bundesamt für Strassen
  2. Verkehrsdaten
  3. Belastungskarte 2005
    Route lists:
  4. Nationalstrassen
  5. Hauptstrassen
    Specific roads:
  6. A1 in canton Fribourg
  7. Basel Nordtangente (A3) Pictures
  8. A4 N4.2.1/2/3 Miniautobahn Andelfingen - Flurlingen
  9. A8 in Obwalden
  10. A9 in canton Valais
  11. A12 in canton Fribourg
  12. Stadttangente Bern A1
  13. F21 Frauenfeld
    Other links:
  14. Autobahnen.ch contains links to most motorways
  15. Motorway exit lists
  16. City maps
  17. Road types
  18. Motorway pictures Very large number of pictures. Click on the signs above the pictures to follow the roads.
  19. Motorway rest areas with overview of all exits (contains some errors).
    Other pages within this site:
  20. Europe
  21. Cantonal routes (preliminary version)
    Pictures:
  22. Road pictures Switzerland

Motorway road signs (under construction)

Region table

CantonSyntaxSystemRemarks
AargauK[1-4][0-9]<2>
Basel-LandK[0-9]<1-2>Sequential
FribourgRC[0-9]<3>unknown
Genève[0-9]<1-2>Sequential
Jura[0-9]<4>unknown
LuzernK[0-9]<1-2>{[a-c]}SequentialHauptstrassen with T and A numbers have the same K number, e.g. T10 = K10.
Neuchâtel[123][123][0-9]<1-2>Sub classes:Hauptstrassen with 1- and 2-digit numbers do not have cantonal numbers.
3-dLink roads (routes de liasions)Number is the same as the Hauptstrassennumber, e.g. H170 = Cantonal route 170.
4-d beginning with 1First class collector roads The second digit indicates maintenance areas (Divisions d'entretien), e.g. numbers 1162, 2187 and 3103 are in zone 1.
4-d beginning with 2 or 3Second class collector roads
Sankt Gallen[0-9]<1-2>Subclasses: 1-d / 2-d
SolothurnOnly municipalities numbered
Vaud[0-9]<1-3>[a-d]Every road number has a suffix a, b, c or d, indicating the sub class:
aPrincipal highways first class Most roads have sections of different classes. For example, route 54 consists of routes 54b, 54c and 54d.
Route 151 is the only one which has sub sections of all four classes.
bPrincipal highways second class
cMain secondary roads
dOther secondary roads
Zug[0-9]<1-3>{[a-h]}HauptstrassenNumbers are identical to Hauptstrassennumbers, but most routes are split into sections by adding a letter. E.g. H368 consists of Cantonal roads 368a and 368b.
[A-U]Other roads
ZürichK[0-9]<1-2>unknownA53 = K53
Route list (preliminary version)
Back to Home 1