Mexico Highways

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National Network

Mexico's highway infrastructure is officially called the National Highway Network and it's divided as follows:

  • Federal Network
  • Feeder Network
  • Rural Network

National Highway Network Mexico.png

Federal Network

The federal network is divided in a basic and a secondary network.

The Federal Network is divided in basic and secondary (regional) while the Feeder Network is composed by each of the 31 state-owned highway networks, and the Rural Network consists of the rural and state-owned trails and trail paths.

Basic Network

The main objective of this network is to serve long distance traffic since according to their geometric and structural characteristics, these highways provide an interstate communication link. The basic network is composed by toll paved highways (sometimes including state highways) and toll-free (paved and coated) highways. According to 2006 data It has a length of 7,216 kilometers of toll roads, toll roads are concessions to either private entities, state governments or financial institutions, but the main component of this network are the 15 backbone highways which are called National Backbone Corridors.

National Backbone Corridors Backbone corridors are a set of high specifications1 highways that connect the main generating or receiving nodes of freight and passengers. They are integrated by federal highways (toll and toll-free) and by toll superhighways.

Secondary (or Regional) Network

The secondary (or regional) network is a set of highways that according to their characteristics provide a service within the state level scope with medium lengths, establishing connections with the primary network. It's composed by 17,172 kilometers* that cover different regions of the country.

Feeder Network

Also known as secondary highways, their main purpose is to feed the backbone highways. Based on their geometric and structural characteristics, they provide service within the municipal scope with relatively short lengths, establishing connections to the secondary (regional) network, as their name implies, they feed traffic from each of the 31 state level highways to the backbone highways in the Federal Network.

Rural Network

The Rural Network is composed by low specifications highways or trails that communicate remote communities.

More about the classification

The unofficial classification of highways that make up the national highway network is made according to their importance in relation to the contribution they made to the economic and social activities of the nodes they link together. The classification identifies mainly three types of routes: backbone, feeder and local. The backbones link together centers of population of over 50,000 inhabitants, whose activities generate or attract long itinerary trips; feeder networks link medium or small populations with backbone nodes, targeting medium to short itinerary trips; and local, for very short itinerary trips. The speeds recorded in Mexico and other countries, are taken as a basis for allocating average speeds in the case of cars, buses and trucks, according to the type of highway. The following table lists the average speed by type of vehicle and highway:

Service level

The service level is a qualitative measure describing operational conditions within the vehicular flow and its perception by drivers and / or passengers. To know the capacity and service levels that prevail at each segment of a highway, the conditions established by the physical characteristics of the road and the conditions that depend on the nature of the vehicle flow in terms of magnitude and type of vehicles, are considered, In practice, six levels of service, from A to F, are used to identify the operating conditions of a road, Service Level "A" is the best and Service Level "F" is the most inconvenient, being service level "E" the one which marks the capacity of the road. In terms of road infrastructure, most of the federal network has a good level of service but it decreases in some entrances to cities.

The following table shows the levels of service of the Federal Highway Network according to data from 2009.

Service Level Length %
A 5,658.44 13.33
B 16,638.14 39.19
C 11,846.45 27.9
D 4,851.90 11.43
E 2,695.49 6.35
F 767.86 1.8
TOTAL 42,458.28

Highway density

The five states with the highest and lowest highway density (according to 2012 data):

State Highway length density (P / c 100 km2)a State Highway length density (P / c 100 km2)a
National 19.3
Higher Density Lower density
1. Tlaxcala 68.4 I. Chihuahua 5.4
2. México 63.2 II. Coahuila de Zaragoza 5.6
3. Morelos 57.7 III. Baja California Sur 7.7
4. Hidalgo 56.0 IV. Campeche 9.7
5. Aguascalientes 44.5 V. Distrito Federal 9.8

Sources: Statistical Data Highway Jurisdiction and Category (Spanish) (English) Highway Jurisdiction and Category Data Dictionary (Spanish) (English) Source: SCT 1. By high specifications highways it's understood a highway with a minimum criterion of speed design of 90 km/h, soft curves and slopes, 2.5 meter shoulder, 3.5 meter lanes and adequate signaling.

  • According to 2006 Data