The international E Road network is an international system for numbering and designating roads stretching throughout Europe and some parts of Central Asia. It is the largest and most prominent signed route designation in the world. The whole network consists of 150,000 kilometres of road including every important regional road in Europe.

The designation is developed and managed by United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE).

History of the E Road network

“European Route 40 is the longest route in the network, with a length of approximately 8,500km.”

A Joint United Nations declaration 1264 was framed by UNECE after its inception in 1947. The declaration, which was signed in September 1950 in Geneva, deals with the construction of main international traffic routes and defines the E Road network. The declaration was improved several times and was finally replaced by European Agreement on Main International Traffic Arteries (AGR). The AGR sets guidelines for numbering the routes and prescribing certain standards of road system and maintenance.

The E Road network was stretched into Central Asia and Caucausus nations in December 2001.

Details of the E Road numbering system

The numbering the E Road network roads is standardised so that all the roads in east to west directions are designated with even numbers. The roads in north to south directions are designated with odd numbers. The roads numbers are prefixed with E followed by a two or three digit number.

Reference roads from east to west are designated with the numbers E10 to E90 with E10 being the most northerly road and E90 the most southerly road. Similarly north to south reference roads are numbered E05 to E125, E05 being the most westerly and E105 the most easterly. Intermediate roads are numbered such that they form a grid with a few exceptions for Scandinavian roads. Branch lines and connecting links with strategic importance were also included in the E network.

Roads in Europe represent this network route with white numbers on a green background. Countries like Denmark, Norway and Sweden follow the designations completely without any other system of numbering. Belgium and Serbia use E number designation only for motorways.

Design standards of the E numbered roads

Specific design standards were prescribed to be followed on E roads. The roads must be homogeneous with a minimum speed limit of 100kph. Maximum slope allowed for a road with 60kph is 8% and that with 120kph is 4%.

The radius of the curved sections should not exceed 120m for 60kph road and 1,000m for 140kph road. Braking distance visibility is 70m for roads designed for 60kph and 300m for roads designed for 140kph.

Hard shoulder area (the reserved area for emergency parking of vehicles on motorways) is fixed at a minimum of 2.5m on ordinary roads and 3.25m on motorways. Central reservations (divider between lanes) should be at least three meters in width. Railway intersections must be constructed at a different level without coinciding with the road.

Longest routes in E Road network

European Route 40 is the longest route in the network, with a length of approximately 8,500km. It stretches from Calais in France to China’s border. On its way it passes through Belgium, Germany, Poland, Ukraine, Russia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, and Kyrgyzstan.

European Route 60 is an 8,200km long E road running from Brest in France to Irkeshtam in Kyrgyzstan. It passes through Switzerland, Austria, Germany, Hungary, Romania, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan.

European Route 30 is a 6,050km long road running from Cork in Ireland to Omsk in Russia. It passes through Trans Siberian Highway and Asian Highway 6 (AH6).

European Route 50 is a 6,000km long road running from east to west across the whole European continent. It passes through France, Germany, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Ukraine and Russia.