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Road quality in Europe: the best and worst roads in Europe

Author: Vibor Cipan Published on: August 28, 2022, and filed under Economics
  • Best roads in Europe: the Netherlands, Switzerland, Austria, Portugal, Spain, Croatia,
  • Worst roads in Europe: Moldova, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Ukraine, Romania, Malta
  • World’s worst roads are found in Chad, Mauritania, and Madagascar
Road quality in Europe: the best and worst roads in Europe

Based on the data from the World Economic Forum's Global Competitiveness Report from 2019, this map shows the quality of European road infrastructure. And the picture it paints is as varied as one can expect from Europe.

Road quality in Europe data source

The information used to create this map was taken from the Global Competitiveness Report 2019, published by the World Economic Forum. This report ranks 141 countries based on their performance in a variety of different categories. The Executive Opinion Survey results were used to generate some of those ratings.

Participants were asked to evaluate the situation for specific domains at the country level, and 12,987 business executives from 139 economies around the world responded to the survey’s 78 questions. One of the questions that were asked was:

In your country, what is the quality (extensiveness and condition) of road infrastructure?

People were given the option of giving a rating anywhere from 1 (extremely poor — among the worst in the world) to 7 (extremely good — among the best in the world).

General trends

Road quality in Europe: the best and worst roads in Europe
Road quality in Europe: the best and worst roads in Europe

While the general trend is noticeable (Eastern European countries have, on average, worse scores than those in Western and Northern Europe), there are several outliers.

For example, Belgium has significantly worse roads than its neighbors. That contrast is made even stronger given that the Netherlands has the best road quality in Europe (scores of 6.4 compared to Beligum’s 4.4). And, naturally, that resulted in the Dutch making jokes about their neighbors, saying that the difference between the roads in the Netherlands and Belgium is not just visible – you can feel and hear it!

Iceland also scores low at 4.1 points, likely because of its sparse population and rugged terrain.

Croatia and Turkey as positive outliers

The best roads in Central and Eastern Europe are found in Austria (score 6.0) and Croatia (5.6).

Croatia is an interesting example, given that the country’s road infrastructure is among the best in Europe and the 12th best in the world. Starting back in the 2000s, the country embarked on an ambitious set of road infrastructure development projects aiming to increase the quality of the roads. Since Croatia is one of Europe’s most visited tourist locations, the importance of road infrastructure was critical, and the investments in this sector were huge.

Another positive outlier is Turkey scoring 5.0, more than some Western and Northern European countries – even above Norway (4.5) and the UK (4.9).

Difficult terrain for road building, exacerbated by countless fjords and a relatively sparse population, explains why Norway has a lower score than its Nordic neighbors.

The worst roads are in Eastern Europe

At the lower end of this scale are Moldova and Bosnia and Herzegovina, with Europe’s worst roads scoring 2.6 and 2.8, respectively. Just slightly better results are found in Romania and Ukraine (3.0 each), Bulgaria and North Macedonia (3.4 each), and Serbia at 3.5 points.

Global perspective

Europe’s best roads, those found in the Netherlands and Switzerland, are also among the world’s best. Singapore is the world leader and scores 6.5, followed by the Netherlands (6.4), and Switzerland (6.3), with Hong Kong and Japan, each at 6.1 points.

Looking at the broader perspective of Europe’s worst roads, Moldova ranks the 127th, and Bosnia and Herzegovina is 121st out of 141 countries surveyed. Globally poor results.

The world’s worst roads are found in Chad (1.9), Mauritania and Madagascar (2.0), and Yemen, Haiti, and DR Congo, all scoring 2.1.

The table of road quality rankings

Netherlands 6.4 1
Switzerland 6.3 2
Austria 6.0 3
Portugal 6.0 4
Spain 5.7 5
Croatia 5.6 6
Denmark 5.6 7
Luxembourg 5.5 8
France 5.4 9
Finland 5.3 10
Germany 5.3 11
Sweden 5.3 12
Cyprus 5.1 13
Turkey 5.0 14
Slovenia 4.9 15
UK 4.9 16
Lithuania 4.8 17
Estonia 4.7 18
Greece 4.6 19
Norway 4.5 20
Belgium 4.4 21
Ireland 4.4 22
Italy 4.4 23
Poland 4.3 24
Iceland 4.1 25
Hungary 4.0 26
Slovakia 4.0 27
Albania 3.9 28
Czechia 3.9 29
Montenegro 3.9 30
Latvia 3.6 31
Russia 3.5 32
Serbia 3.5 33
Bulgaria 3.4 34
North Macedonia 3.4 35
Malta 3.3 36
Romania 3.0 37
Ukraine 3.0 38
Bosnia and Herzegovina 2.8 39
Moldova 2.6 40

List of Europe’s most dangerous roads

Explore Europe’s most dangerous roads, where breathtaking landscapes intertwine with treacherous routes.

This post describes hazardous highways and risky mountain passes, while emphasizing the importance of caution and vigilance during your European adventure.

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Vibor Cipan

With over 15 years of professional work in technology, Vibor Cipan is a recognized leader in this field. His contributions at Microsoft, where he earned the prestigious MVP title, set the stage for his roles as CEO and Co-Founder of UX Passion, and later on, Point Jupiter, a data-informed agency. There, he led teams that shaped services for over 400 million users globally. His work spans UX design and software development, driving significant contributions in both fields.

Currently immersed in the generative AI sector, Cipan is taking part in projects revolutionizing software development and user engagement. His expertise extends into data viz, analytics and Open Source Intelligence (OSINT), where he actively develops proofs of concept and explores AI's role in shaping societal dynamics and national security.

An accomplished author and speaker, Vibor continues to share his insights at international venues, advocating for innovation and a richer understanding of technology's impact on society.

You can follow him on LinkedIn or Twitter/X as @viborc.

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