Road Infrastructure

In recent years, within the framework of the government's balanced approach to transportation planning and in an attempt to meet the growing demand for road transportation alongside the development of public transport, the government invested an average of NIS 3.5 billion (nearly $1 billion) annually to implement large-scale road infrastructure projects. Several roads in Israel, including the Cross-Israel Highway, were advanced as a result of fruitful cooperation with the private sector, in the form of Build-Operate-Transfer projects.

Some of the main road infrastructure projects include:

• Road 22 (Krayot bypass): The new road is expected to provide a real solution to traffic problems in the Haifa metropolitan area. The project will accelerate the development of the region including the construction of thousands of housing units. The total cost of the project is estimated at $500 million, with operation expected to start in 2015.

• Road 16 (Jerusalem Entrance): The project will improve access to the capital city and lower traffic congestion. The total cost of the project is estimated at $350 million. The project is being examined for implementation as a Build Operate Transfer (BOT), with operation expected to start in 2015.

• Cross Israel Highway: A large section of the toll highway (Highway 6) crossing Israel South-North has already been completed. Plans have been approved to extend this major highway further north.

• Fast lane on Highway 1 entering Tel Aviv from the east.

 • Carmel Tunnels (Haifa): This road will enable traffic flow in a tunnel bypassing the urban center of Haifa.

Roads by Length & Area







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Access Roads





Urban Roads











Area (Thousand Sq Mt)






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Urban Roads






Road system

Israel has a modern highway network, connecting all destinations throughout the country. Most roads are well maintained. In recent years, increased investment into infrastructure has further improved the condition of roads. Most roads are numbered according to orientation and significance. In general, east-west roads are given odd numbers, and north-south roads are given even numbers. Generally, most significant national highways are numbered using one or two digits and less-significant, local roads are numbered using four digits, but exceptions to these rules do exist. All junctions and exits are signed with the name of the junction or interchange, the number of the road it leads to, and the name of cities or streets it leads to. When getting directions, it's best to ask for the name of an exit as well the exit right before it.


There are 47 designated highways in Israel, of those six are Freeways, six are partially freeways and partially expressways and 35 are expressways. Two of the expressways are divided into separate sections as a result of an IDF decree forbidding Israelis from traveling on certain stretches of these highways.

Ayalon Highway, a road that runs through Tel Aviv and is considered the most congested freeway in Israel, has several projects which are underway and will be completed in the coming year(s), such as the Judith Bridge Project, Project Loop and Olblski, and Grade Separation Project 141. The major project that will begin soon is the Fastest Paths Project. This project is scheduled for completion around the year 2021. It is a massive infrastructure initiative aimed to facilitate transportation via shuttles, general public transportation, and carpooling. It is expected that this will need to support tens of thousands of users every day.

Israel has also released tender pre-qualification files for the design, finance, construction, operation and maintenance of Highway 16. This four lane freeway will be built from the west side of Jerusalem, costing near 1.5 billion NIS (approximately 360 million euro). The project is intended to be completed by 2018.

Toll Highways

-Israel's Highway 6 is a electronic-toll-highway, unique in having no toll booths. Traveling cars are identified by license plates and/or electronic tags, and bills are sent to the car's registered owner.
The cost is determined by the number of segments used:
On the main section (from Iron interchange to Sorek interchange) the minimum charge is for 3 segments (even if you drove through fewer segments) and the maximum charge is for 5 segments (even if you drove through more segments).
On the northern segment (one segment from Iron interchange to Ein Tut interchange) there is a separate special charge, as it's not a part of the main section.
On the southern section (from Sorek interchange to Ma'ahaz interchange) is free of charge.
Various subscriptions are available. Consult your rental company regarding payment of route 6 rides, as they often carry a surcharge.

- The Carmel Tunnels is a set of 4 tunnels (2 in each direction with the Neve Sha'anan interchange between them) that crosses Haifa under the Carmel mountain. The cost is determined by the number of segments that you use (1 or 2 segments). there are toll booths in this road.

- The toll lane is a 13km high occupancy toll lane on highway 1 from the Ben Gurion interchange to Tel Aviv. The lane uses the congestion pricing system which means that the tolls change throughout the day according to real-time traffic conditions so more traffic means higher prices, the price is displayed on signs at the entrance to the lane. The price varies from 7 NIS to 85 NIS per use but high-occupancy vehicles, like buses or car with 4 occupants or more, are exempted (depending on traffic conditions, free use might also apply to cars with 3 occupants, this will be indicated on the entrance sign). Apart from buses, high capacity cars must stop at the Park and ride facility (located about 1km after the entrance) for validation, otherwise they will be charged full price. Like on highway 6, cars are identified by license plates and/or electronic tags, and bills are sent to the car's registered owner but it is possible to pay in a toll booth, however they are not located at the entrance to the lane so the driver must get off at the Park and ride facility for the payment. As mentioned, there is a free Park and ride facility about 1km after the entrance to the lane so you can park your car there, free of charge, and take one of the 2 free bus shuttles to Tel Aviv center (Kirya line) and the Ramat Gan diamond exchange area. Shuttle operating hours are from 06:00-23:00 every 15 minutes (on rush hours -06:30-09:30 and from 15:30-19:00- every 5 minutes). Be aware that the cars that will leave the car park after midnight will pay a fine. If you enter the car park for less the 30 minutes (like to drop off someone) you must pass through a check point, otherwise you will be charge for use of the lane. The lane leads directly to highway 20 (Ayalon highway) leading north and there are no exits before that.

Driving regulations

Traffic in Israel drives on the right. Traffic signs and regulations are generally standard and resemble those of Western Europe. Usually, each traffic light has an arrow on top, and the traffic light then controls travel to the indicated direction, with a green light guaranteeing that all conflicting traffic faces a red light. Lights without arrows above them control all directions. Red light always means stop. Turning right or left at a red light is strictly forbidden. There is no turning left or right while yielding to opposite traffic, since conflicting traffic always faces a red light, even in the absence of arrows  As in several other countries, the green phase is preceded by a red+yellow combination phase. A flashing green light indicates that the yellow light is about to appear, but can usually be found only on roads with speed limits of at least 60 km/h.

White road markings are used to separate both traffic traveling in the same direction and in opposite directions. Yellow lines are used to mark the outer edges of the road (do not cross these, except if stopping at a shoulder), and orange or red lines are used in road works zones or following a recent change in road signs. Traffic circles (roundabouts) are very common; one gives way to cars already in the circle. There are no all-way stop signs like the ones the USA, Canada, and South Africa. All stop signs require drivers to yield to all conflicting traffic after coming to a complete stop. Highway signage is usually in Hebrew, Arabic, and English, although sometimes just in Hebrew and English.

Headlights must be turned on (even during the day) on intercity highways from November to March. Motorcyclists have to have their headlights on in all months of the year. Seat belts must be worn at all times in all seats. Talking on a cell phone without a hands-free system is forbidden. If one must exit the vehicle on the shoulder of a highway, there is a law requiring that one put on a reflective vest in order to promote visibility. one is also required by law to keep such a vest within the car, and not in the trunk, at all times. Car rental companies are required to supply such a vest and it is usually located inside the glove compartment.

Parking regulations are indicated by curb markings. Red and white markings mean parking is prohibited, although this rule is often flouted outside weekday daytimes. However, just because others are doing so, doesn't mean your car won't be fined or towed. Do not stop near curbs marked red and yellow, because these are usually reserved for certain vehicles, such as buses at bus stops.

Blue and white markings permit parking only with a parking permit purchased at a machine. There is not always a machine nearby, if so, parking tickets must be purchased at a local kiosk or a cellphone payment system must be used. In some areas, such as in parts of Tel Aviv, blue and white markings are restricted even at night to residents only. A sign at the beginning of the street, usually in Hebrew only, will explain the specific restrictions. Similarly, red and grey areas are reserved for residents, but might only be reserved at specific times as stated in signs. Grey areas are free to park at. And of course, do not park in handicapped zones bearing international markings.

Israel uses the metric system of measurements. Default speed limits are 50 km/h in residential zones, 80 km/h on intercity roads without a physical separation median between opposing lanes, and 90 km/h on intercity roads with a physical separation median. By default, all major freeways (identified by the standard blue European motorway sign) have a speed limit of 110 km/h; however, in practice, speed limit signs bearing a lower limit (usually 90 km/h or 100 km/h) limit the speed on most of these roads.

Police presence on the roads is generally very significant, and speed and red light cameras are common. Both radar (mostly stationary) and LIDAR (laser, hand-held) are in use for speeding enforcement.

Licensing information

All drivers in Israel must carry a driver's license. International driver permits, as well as licenses from foreign countries are accepted. Drivers of motor vehicles must be at least 17 years old, whilst insurance is mandatory. Driving a motorcycle or a moped is permitted starting at the age of 16, A drivers license is mandatory for two wheel vehicles as well! All cars in Israel must undergo an annual safety inspection, and a sticker bearing the month and year of the next inspection should appear on the front windshield. Recently, there has been a law passed that require for every car to carry a yellow reflective vest at all times. Theoretically, the police could stop you at any time and ask to see it. If you stop on the edge of the road, and have to get out, you are are required by law to wear the vest. All rental cars should have one so it is a good idea to check before you leave. Note that in Israel the police are allowed to stop you for any reason whatsoever; mostly they do so for license checkups.

Safety issues

Car accident fatalities in Israel are par with most European countries Israeli drivers are known to be aggressive and impatient. Be especially cautious on two-lane intercity roads, especially when passing other vehicles. While most major highways have a physical separation median, many lower-traffic intercity roads do not. Also be particularly cautious when driving in the Negev desert, since most roads in that region have only two lanes carrying fast-moving traffic, and trips tend to last hours in the heat. Take care while traveling on Saturday, the Jewish Sabbath, as roads tend to be emptier and invite faster, and occasionally more reckless, drivers. Also take care in the winter, when it rains and roads are unusually slick. The first rainy days in fall are particularly dangerous, since the oil/grease and other substances that accumulated on the road all summer is dissolved.

Road Safety

Israel's government accords high priority to reducing the number of road accidents. To attain this end, the National Authority for Road Safety Law was enacted in 2006. The Road Safety Authority develops work plans and budgets for integrated activities with the police, the judicial system, media, local authorities and others to combat road accidents. In recent years, Israel has witnessed a sharp decrease in the number of fatal casualties in road accidents, despite a 40% increase in car transportation volume.

Improving Road Network Management

An important element in government policy relates to increased road capacity by means of more efficient use of existing infrastructure:

• Implementing Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) for traffic control and management (under development): The main aim of operating ITS is to improve the efficiency of existing transport infrastructure, increase the level of road safety, improve services, protect the environment and reduce costs.

Various ITS technologies are being implemented or are planned for implementation in Israel, such as:     

o    Traffic monitoring and data distribution.

o    An intergrated public transport database.

o    Emergency and special event management.


• Adopting economic incentives (e.g., congestion toll) for optimization of demand management.

• Relieving traffic congestion on major highways, mainly by widening existing roads.

• Increasing road safety by improving proper road maintenance.

• Separating local and intercity traffic, mainly through developing bypass roads.