Autobahnen (motorways): federal roads without level crossings with other roads; suitable for high-speed traffic as defined in the traffic regulations and constructed with special entry and exit ramps (Bundesstrassengesetz/Law on Federal Roads, 1971).
As of 1999, there were 1,613 km of Autobahnen in use in Austria, 32 km under construction and 21 km in the planning stage, which means that the motorway network is almost 97 % complete. The A 1 or "West-Autobahn" (Vienna- Linz- Salzburg), already planned and partly built in the Salzburg area in 1938-1940, was extended from 1954 and completed in 1968. The A 2 or "Sued-Autobahn" (South Motorway, Vienna- Graz- Klagenfurt- Thoerl/Maglern- Italy) was begun in 1959 and was completed in 1999; other motorways of the Austrian autobahn network are the A 4 or "Ost-Autobahn" (East Motorway, Vienna- Nickelsdorf), the A 21 or Wiener Aussenring-Autobahn (Outer Ring Motorway of Vienna), the A 23 Suedost-Tangente ("Southeast Tangent" Motorway) through Vienna, the motorways Guntramsdorf-Eisenstadt (A 3) and Vienna- Stockerau (A 22), the Inntal-Autobahn (Inntal Valley, A 12), the Brenner-Autobahn (A 13, through Brenner Pass), the Rheintal-Autobahn (Rheintal Valley, A 14), the Innkreis-Autobahn (Inn Region, A 8), the Muehlkreis -Autobahn (A°7), the Tauern-Autobahn (in the Tauern mountains, A 10) (summit section 1974) and the Karawanken-Autobahn (A°11). Construction of the Pyhrn-Autobahn (A 9) has already been approved.
The network of motorways in Austria is the most important carrier of domestic transport. Some motorways are also important transport axes to and between the economic areas of neighbouring countries. Due to its central inland location, Austria is thus an important hub in European transport and has (after Luxembourg) the second most dense motorway network of all EU countries (200 km per million inhabitants).
The traffic volume on Austria's motorways averaged approximately 37,000 vehicles per day in 1999 (calculated over a one-year period), of which approximately 20% could be attributed to freight transport.
The planning, construction, maintenance and operation of Austria's motorways is financed by ASFINAG. While most funds went into the construction of new motorways during the period of intensive motorway expansion from the mid-1970s to the 1980s, more funds are now used for the maintenance and renewal of motorways. In addition, a considerable portion of the budget is spent on loan repayments. Loans were needed to finance motorway construction because the motorways crossing the Alps originally could not be financed from the Federal budget.
As of January 1, 1997, a mandatory toll sticker was introduced for traffic on motorways and other high-level roadways. In addition, tolls are levied for around 140 km of the motorway network (large transalpine crossings). These toll roads are operated by Alpen Strassen AG (ASG) and OeSAG on behalf of ASFINAG.