Ring road

A ring road (also known as beltline, beltway, circumferential (high)way, loop or orbital) is a road or a series of connected roads encircling a town, city, or country. The most common purpose of a ring road is to assist in reducing traffic volumes in the urban centre, such as by offering an alternate route around the city for drivers who do not need to stop in the city core.

Sheffield inner ring-road
The inner ring road of Sheffield, England


The name "ring road" is used for the majority of metropolitan circumferential routes in the European Union, such as the Berliner Ring, the Brussels Ring, the Amsterdam Ring, the Boulevard Périphérique around Paris and the Leeds Inner and Outer ring roads. Australia, Pakistan and India also use the term ring road, as in Melbourne's Western Ring Road, Lahore's Lahore Ring Road and Hyderabad's Outer Ring Road. In Canada the term is the most commonly used, with "orbital" also used, but to a much lesser extent.

In Europe, some ring roads, particularly those of motorway standard which are longer in length, are often known as "orbital motorways". Examples include the London Orbital (188 km) and Rome Orbital (68 km).

In the United States, many ring roads are called beltlines, beltways, or loops, such as the Capital Beltway around Washington, D.C. Some ring roads, such as Washington's Capital Beltway, use "Inner Loop" and "Outer Loop" terminology for directions of travel, since cardinal (compass) directions cannot be signed uniformly around the entire loop. The term 'ring road' is occasionally – and inaccurately – used interchangeably with the term 'bypass'.


The Sydney Orbital Network, New South Wales, Australia

Bypasses around many large and small towns were built in many areas when many old roads were upgraded to four-lane status in the 1930s to 1950s, such as those along the Old National Road (now generally U.S. 40 or Interstate 70) in the United States, leaving the old road in place to serve the town or city, but allowing through travelers to continue on a wider, faster, and safer route.

Construction of fully circumferential ring roads has generally occurred more recently, beginning in the 1960s in many areas, when the U.S. Interstate Highway System and similar-quality roads elsewhere were designed. Ring roads have now been built around numerous cities and metropolitan areas, including cities with multiple ring roads, irregularly shaped ring roads, and ring roads made up of various other long-distance roads.

London has three ringroads (the London Orbital, the North and South Circular routes, and the Inner Ring Road). Other British cities have two (Birmingham, Leeds, Sheffield, Norwich and Glasgow). Columbus, Ohio, in the United States, also has two, while Houston, Texas will have three official ring roads (not including the downtown freeway loop). Some cities have far more – Beijing, for example, has six ring roads, simply numbered in increasing order from the city center (though skipping #1).

Geographical constraints can complicate or prohibit the construction of a complete ring road. For example, the Baltimore Beltway in Maryland crosses Baltimore Harbor on a high arch bridge, and much of the partially completed Stockholm Ring Road in Sweden runs through tunnels or over long bridges. However, some towns or cities on seacoasts or near rugged mountains cannot have a full ring road, such as Dublin's ring road; or, in the US, Interstate 287, mostly in New Jersey (bypassing New York City), or Interstate 495 around Boston, none of which completely circles these seaport cities.

Adjacency of international boundaries may also prohibit ring road completion in other cases. Construction of a true ring road around Detroit is effectively blocked by its location on the border with Canada; although constructing a route mostly or entirely outside city limits is technically feasible, a true ring around Detroit would necessarily pass through Canada, and so Interstate 275 and Interstate 696 together bypass but do not encircle the city. Sometimes, the presence of significant natural or historical areas limits route options, as for the long-proposed Outer Beltway around Washington, D.C., where options for a new western Potomac River crossing are limited by a nearly continuous corridor of heavily visited scenic, natural, and historical landscapes in the Potomac River Gorge and adjacent areas.

When referring to a road encircling a capital city, the term "beltway" can also have a political connotation, as in the American term "Inside the Beltway", derived metonymically from the Capital Beltway encircling Washington, D.C.

Examples of ring roads

Nuffield Hospital, Leeds - geograph.org.uk - 104749
The Leeds Inner Ring Road in England was built in a series of tunnels to save space and avoid physically separating the city's centre from its suburbs.
Sardar Patel Ring Road Ahmedabad
Sardar Patel Ring Road Ahmedabad

Most orbital motorways (or beltways) are purpose-built major highways around a town or city, typically without either signals or road or railroad crossings. In the United States, beltways are commonly parts of the Interstate Highway System. Similar roads in the United Kingdom are often called "orbital motorways". Although the terms "ring road" and "orbital motorway" are sometimes used interchangeably, "ring road" often indicates a circumferential route formed from one or more existing roads within a city or town, with the standard of road being anything from an ordinary city street up to motorway level. An excellent example of this is London's North Circular/South Circular ring road.

In some cases, a circumferential route is formed by the combination of a major through highway and a similar-quality loop route that extends out from the parent road, later reconnecting with the same highway. Such loops not only function as a bypass for through traffic, but also to serve outlying suburbs. In the United States, an Interstate highway loop is usually designated by a three-digit number beginning with an even digit before the two-digit number of its parent interstate. Interstate spurs, on the other hand, generally have three-digit numbers beginning with an odd digit.

United States

I275 in Sharonville
I-275 passing through Sharonville (suburb of Cincinnati, OH)

Circumferential highways are prominent features in or near many large cities in the United States. In many cases, such as Interstate 285 (also known as the Perimeter) in Atlanta, Georgia, circumferential highways serve as a bypass while other highways pass directly through the city center. In other cases, a primary Interstate highway passes around a city on one side, with a connecting loop Interstate bypassing the city on the other side, together forming a circumferential route, as with I-93 and I-495 in the area of Lawrence, Massachusetts. However, if a primary Interstate passes through a city and a loop bypasses it on only one side (as in the Wilmington, Delaware, area), no fully circumferential route is provided.

Route numbering is challenging when a through highway and a loop bypass together form a circumferential ring road. Since neither of the highways involved is circumferential itself, either dual signage or two (or more) route numbers is needed. The history of signage on the Capital Beltway around Washington, D.C., is instructive here. Interstate 95, a major through highway along the U.S. East Coast, was originally planned as a through-the-city route there, with the Beltway encircling the city as I-495. The portion of I-95 entering the city from the south was soon completed (and so signed), primarily by adapting an existing major highway, but the planned extension of I-95 through residential areas northward to the Beltway was long delayed, and eventually abandoned, leaving the eastern portion of the Beltway as the best Interstate-quality route for through traffic.

This eastern portion of the Beltway was then redesignated from I-495 to I-95, leaving the I-495 designation only on the western portion, and the completed part of the planned Interstate inside the Beltway was redesignated as a spur, I-395. A few years later, the resulting confusion from different route numbers on the circumferential Beltway was resolved by restoring I-495 signage for the entire Beltway, with dual signage for I-95 for the highway's concurrent use as a through Interstate on its eastern portion.

The longest complete beltway in the United States is Interstate 275, an 83.71-mile (134.72 km) loop in Ohio, Indiana, and Kentucky that forms a complete beltway around the Cincinnati, Ohio area. It encloses an area of over 250,000 acres.[1]

Other major U.S. cities with such a beltway superhighway:

There are other U.S. superhighway beltway systems that consist of multiple routes that require multiple interchanges and thus do not provide true ring routes. A designated example is the Capital Beltway around Harrisburg, Pennsylvania using Interstate 81, Interstate 83, and Pennsylvania Route 581.


The Anthony Henday Drive ring road in Edmonton

Edmonton, Alberta has two ring roads. The first is a loose conglomeration of four major arterial roads with an average distance of 6 km (4 mi) from the downtown core. Yellowhead Trail forms the northern section, Wayne Gretzky Drive/75  Street forms the eastern section, Whitemud Drive forms the southern and longest section, and 170 Street forms the western and shortest section. Whitemud Drive is the only section that is a true controlled-access highway, while Yellowhead Trail and Wayne Gretzky Drive have interchanges and intersections and are therefore both limited-access roads. 170 Street and 75 Street are merely large arterial roads with intersections only.[2] The second and more prominent ring road is named Anthony Henday Drive; it circles the city at an average distance of 12 km (7.5 mi) from the downtown core. It is a freeway for its entire 78-kilometre (48 mi) length, and was built to reduce inner-city traffic congestion, created a bypass of Yellowhead Trail, and has improved the movement of goods and services across Edmonton and the surrounding areas. It was completed in October 2016 as the first free-flowing orbital road in Canada.[3][4]

Stoney Trail is a ring road that circles the majority of Calgary. The southwest portion of the freeway is currently under construction.[5]

Winnipeg, Manitoba has a ring road which is called the Perimeter Highway. It is designated as Manitoba Highway 101 on the north, northwest and east sides and as Manitoba Highway 100 on the south and southwest sides. The majority of it is a four-lane divided expressway.

Saskatoon, Saskatchewan has a ring road named Circle Drive. It is designated as Saskatchewan Highway 16 on the east and north, and as Saskatchewan Highway 11 on the south, and simply as Circle Drive on the west.

Regina, Saskatchewan has a partial ring road which is named Ring Road; however, due to the city's urban growth since the road was originally constructed, it no longer functions as a true ring road and has instead come to be used partially for local arterial traffic. A new outer ring, the Regina Bypass, is under construction.

Sudbury, Ontario has a partial ring road consisting of the Southwest and Southeast Bypasses segment of Ontario Highway 17, and the Northwest Bypass segment of Ontario Highway 144.


S 65 Abb 15 Opernring
Vienna's Ring Road with the opera house, in 1905

Most major cities in Europe are served by a ring road that either circles the inner core of their metropolitan areas or the outer borders of the city proper or both. In major transit hubs, such as the Île-de-France region surrounding Paris and the Frankfurt area, major national highways converge just outside city limits before forming one of several routes of an urban network of roads circling the city. Unlike in United States, route numbering is not a challenge on European ring roads as routes merge to form the single designated road. However, exit and road junction access can be challenging due to the complexity of other routes branching from or into the ring road.

One of the most renowned ring roads is the Vienna Ring Road (Ringstraße), a grand boulevard constructed in the mid-19th century and filled with representative buildings. Due to its unique architectural beauty and history, it has also been called the "Lord of the ring roads", and is declared by UNESCO as part of Vienna's World Heritage Site.[6][7]

Major European cities that are served by a ring road or ring road system:

In Iceland, there is a 1,332 km ring road, called the ring road (or Route 1), around most of the island (excluding the Westfjords). Most of the country's settlements are on or near this road.


Major Asian cities that are served by a ring road or ring road system:


See also


  1. ^ "DaftLogic Google Maps Area Calculator Tool".
  2. ^ "Inner Ring Road". Connect2Edmonton. Archived from the original on 14 July 2014. Retrieved 12 July 2014.
  3. ^ "Northeast Anthony Henday Drive". www.northeastanthonyhenday.com. Retrieved 15 September 2016.
  4. ^ "Northeast Anthony Henday Drive". Alberta Transportation. 2016. Archived from the original on 12 October 2016. Retrieved 2 October 2016. The northeast leg of Anthony Henday Drive opened on October 1, 2016, after five years of construction...
  5. ^ Google (1 December 2016). "Length of Stoney Trail" (Map). Google Maps. Google. Retrieved 1 December 2016.
  6. ^ Malathronas, John (24 April 2015). "Vienna's Ringstrasse celebrates 150 years". edition.cnn.com. CNN. Retrieved 15 September 2016.
  7. ^ "Historic Centre of Vienna". whc.unesco.org. UNESCO World Heritage Centre. Retrieved 15 September 2016.
6th Ring Road

The 6th Ring Road (Chinese: 六环路; pinyin: Liùhuán Lù) is an expressway ring road in Beijing, China which runs around the city approximately 15–20 kilometres (9.3–12.4 mi) from the centre of the city. The 6th Ring Road is approximately 220 kilometres (140 mi) long.The road is numbered G4501 and as such is strictly speaking considered a peripheral segment of the G45 Daqing-Guangzhou Expressway. The full circle of the Sixth Ring Road was opened for regular traffic in September 12, 2009.

A4174 road

The A4174 is a major ring road in England which runs around the northern and eastern edge of Bristol, mainly in South Gloucestershire, and through the southern suburbs of the city. When it was first conceived it was planned to circle the whole of Bristol, and is commonly referred to as the "Avon Ring Road", or less accurately the "Bristol Ring Road", on road signs. The road does not circle the whole city, instead covering roughly half of the route. It is broken in part where it is concurrent with the A4.

Inner Ring Road, Bangalore

The Inner Ring Road is an arterial city road in Bangalore, India. It is a six lane link road connecting Indiranagar and Koramangala. The Northern end of the road, beyond Old Airport Road from Domlur junction is called Indiranagar 100 Feet Road, Bangalore.

Inner Ring Road, Chennai

The Inner Ring Road (IRR) also known as Jawaharlal Nehru Salai or 100 Feet road or State Highway 2 is a major transportation corridor encircling the city of Chennai. It was developed by the Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA). It is 25.2 km long with three distinct arms viz., Northern arm, Central arm and Southern arm, connecting SH 49A (Rajiv Gandhi Salai) in Tiruvanmiyur, Velachery main road at Vijayanagar, NH 45 (GST road) at Kathipara, NH 4 at Koyambedu, NH 205 at Padi, NH 5 at Madhavaram and joins SH 104 (TPP Road) near Manali.

Johor Bahru Inner Ring Road

Johor Bahru Inner Ring Road, (JBIRR) or Jalan Lingkaran Dalam, Federal Route 188, is a multi-lane federal ring road highway that circles the Johor Bahru Central District in Johor, Malaysia. The 4.6-kilometre (2.9 mi) highway was the most expensive road infrastructure project per kilometre of its time in the country.

The Kilometre Zero of the Federal Route 188 starts at Jalan Abu Bakar junctions near Dataran Bandaraya.

KLIA Outer Ring Road

KLIA Outer Ring Road (KLIAORR), or Jalan Pekeliling, Federal Route 27, is the second highway and ring road along Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) after KLIA Expressway (Federal Route 26) in Malaysia. During Formula One Petronas Malaysian Grand Prix championship every year it becomes the main route to Sepang F1 Circuit. From 1 March 2006 until 9 May 2014 it became a main road to Low Cost Carrier Terminal (LCCT).

The Kilometre Zero is located at KLIA Expressway Interchange.

Kluang Inner Ring Road

Kluang Inner Ring Road comprising Jalan Hospital, Jalan Rambutan and Jalan Mohd Salim, Federal Route 172 (formerly Johor State Route J191), is a federal road in Kluang town, Johor, Malaysia.

Kuala Lumpur Middle Ring Road 2

Kuala Lumpur Middle Ring Road 2 (MRR2 or Kuala Lumpur Middle Ring Road 2 Scheme), Federal Route 28, is a ring road built by the Malaysian Public Works Department (JKR) to connect neighborhoods near the boundary of Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur and Selangor. Altogether, the 65.0 km (40.4 mi) of the entire system consists of Federal Route 28, Damansara–Puchong Expressway E11 (from Sri Damansara Interchange to Sunway Interchange) and Shah Alam Expressway E5 (from Sunway Interchange to Sri Petaling Interchange). However, the Kuala Lumpur Middle Ring Road 2 is generally referred to as Route 28 since Route 28 occupies about two-thirds of the system.

Langkawi Ring Road

Langkawi Ring Road, Federal Route, is a major highway around Langkawi Island, Kedah, Malaysia. The 46 km (28.6 mi) road consists of Jalan Air Hangat, Jalan Padang Matsirat and Jalan Ulu Melaka.Federal Route 112 is the main circular trunk road that circles through Langkawi Island. Both its starting terminal (Kilometre Zero) and the ending terminal are located at Kuah town.

London Inner Ring Road

The London Inner Ring Road, or Ring Road as signposted, is a 12-mile (19 km) route with an average diameter of 2.75–5.5 miles (4.43–8.85 km) formed from a number of major roads that encircle Central London. The ring road forms the boundary of the London congestion charge zone, although the ring road itself is not part of the zone.

Starting at the northernmost point and moving clockwise, the roads defining the boundary are Pentonville Road, City Road, Old Street, Great Eastern Street, Commercial Street, Mansell Street, Tower Bridge, Tower Bridge Road, New Kent Road, the Elephant & Castle, Kennington Lane, the roads that constitute the Vauxhall Cross one-way system and Vauxhall Bridge, Vauxhall Bridge Road, the roads that constitute the Victoria one-way system, Grosvenor Place, Park Lane, Edgware Road, Old Marylebone Road, Marylebone Road and Euston Road.The route is described as the "Inner" Ring Road because there are two further sets of roads that have been described as London ring roads. The North and South Circular Roads together form the second ring road around London, averaging 10–15 miles (16–24 km) in diameter. The M25 motorway is the outermost road encircling the metropolis, at an average diameter of 40–50 miles (64–80 km).

N40 road (Ireland)

The N40 road (commonly known as the Cork South Ring Road) is a national primary road in Cork City, Ireland, which forms an orbital route around the south side of the city, linking the N22 at Ballincollig to the N25 at the Dunkettle Interchange. The present N40 was created on 23 February 2012 via statutory instrument. The newly designated N40 was formed from parts of both the N22 and N25. It is intended that once the Cork North Ring Road is completed, that the N40 will comprise a complete orbital route of Cork city.

National Highway 230 (India)

For old National Highway 230,refer to National Highway 85 (India).

National Highway 230 (NH 230) is a National Highway in India.

Outer Ring Road, Bangalore

Outer Ring Road (ORR) is a ring road that runs around most of the perimeter of the city of Bangalore, India. This 60-kilometre-long (37 mi) road was developed by the Bangalore Development Authority and different sections were opened progressively between 1996 and 2002.

The Outer Ring Road is road connects all major highways around the city - Tumkur Road (NH 4), Bellary Road (NH 7), Old Madras Road (NH 4), Hosur Road (NH 7), Bannerghatta Road, Kanakapura Road (NH 209), Mysore Road (SH-17) and Magadi Road. It passes through major neighborhoods and suburbs such as Hebbal(NH7), Banaswadi, Krishnarajapuram(NH4), Marathahalli, HSR Layout, Madiwala(NH7), BTM Layout, JP Nagar, Banashankari, Kengeri, Bangalore University, Nagarbhavi, Nandini Layout, Kengeri Satellite Town and Gokula.

Initially conceived to keep the truck traffic out of downtown Bengaluru, the city has outgrown the Outer Ring Road. Nandi Infrastructure Corporation Limited has almost completed another partial ring road around Bengaluru as a part of the Bengaluru

Mysore Infrastructure Corridor project (BMIC). The BDA and BMRDA have planned three more ring roads beyond the existing ring road. The first of these, the Peripheral ring road will run a few kilometres beyond the BMIC-PRR. The second and third of these will be known as the Intermediate ring road and the satellite towns ring road respectively.

Outer Ring Road, Chennai

The Outer Ring Road, officially state highway 234 (SH 234), is a major transport corridor being developed along the periphery of Chennai Metropolitan Area (CMA) by the Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA). It is 90 km long connecting NH 32 (GST Road) at Vandalur, NH 48 (GWT Road) at Nazarethpettai, NH 716 (CTH Road) at Nemilichery to NH 16 (GNT Road) at Nallur and to TPP road at Minjur. On 29 August 2010, the then Tamil Nadu Deputy Chief Minister M. K. Stalin laid the foundation for the first phase of the project from Vandalur to Nemilichery covering a distance of 30 kilometres (19 mi).The Road generally covers Developing areas like Avadi West such as - Avadi, Pattabiram, Nemilicheri, Muthapudupet, Mittanamallee, Morai, Veerapuram, Thirumullaivoyal (Avadi sidco industrial estate). Chennai Outer ring road had a plan of Chennai metro rail CMRL which is going to build up at gap between Two roads.

Outer Ring Road, Hyderabad

Outer Ring Road or Nehru Outer Ring Road is a 158 kilometer, 8-lane ring road expressway encircling the capital city of Hyderabad, Telangana, India. The project was implemented in 2005 when Y.S.Rajasekhara Reddy gained power In 2004 A.P general election and was named Nehru Outer Ring Road.It is built by HMDA at a cost of ₹6,696 crores. with an assistance of ₹3,123 crores from Japan International Cooperation Agency. The expressway is designed for speeds up to 120 km/h. A large part, 124 km (covering urban nodes viz., Hi- Tech city, Nanakramguda Financial District, Hyderabad International Airport, IKP Knowledge park, Hardware Park, Telangana State Police Academy, Singapore Financial District, and Games village) of the 158-km was opened by December 2012.It gives an easy connectivity between NH 44,

NH 65,

NH 161,

NH 765 and NH 163 from Hyderabad to Warangal as well as state highways leading to Vikarabad Nagarjunasagar and Karimnagar /Mancherial.

The Ring Road also helps in reducing the travel time from Rajiv Gandhi International Airport to cities like Nizamabad & Adilabad as it connects to NH44. The expressway is fenced and 33 radial roads connect it with the Inner Ring Road, and the upcoming Regional Ring Road.

Putrajaya Ring Road

Putrajaya Ring Road or Jalan Lingkaran Bandar, Federal Route 30, is a major highway in Putrajaya, Malaysia. It connects Persiaran Selatan interchange in the west to Persiaran Timur interchange in the north.At most sections, the Federal Route 30 was built under the JKR R5 road standard, allowing maximum speed limit of up to 90 km/h.

Some sections have motorcycle lanes.

R709 road (Ireland)

The R709 road is a regional road in Ireland. Located in the south of Ireland at Waterford, it forms the Inner Ring Road around the south of the inner city. It commences on the junction with the R686 at Ashe Road and ends at the junction with the R683 at Newtown Road, and passes via the Inner Ring Road (purpose built section), Richardson's Folly, Inner Ring Road (purpose built section) and Passage Road.

The R710 forms the Outer Ring Road around the south of the city.

R710 road (Ireland)

The R710 road is a regional road in Ireland. Located in the south of Ireland at Waterford, it forms the Outer Ring Road around the south of the city. As of December 2006 it commences on the Old Kilmeaden Road at Knockhouse Lower, west of Waterford City and ends at a junction with the R683 on the Dunmore Road in the south-east of the city.

The R709 forms the Inner Ring Road around the south of the inner city.

Ring Road (Regina, Saskatchewan)

Ring Road is a 4 lane controlled access highway in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada. It is an extension of the Trans-Canada Highway that bypasses the city on the north-east side. Ring Road has a speed limit of 100 km/h (62 mph) and consists of 7 interchanges.

Streets and roadways
Types of road
Road junctions
Road safety factors
Space and time allocation

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