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Autopista Central

/Safer routes to school

Now, cross town traffic runs smooth and safe in Santiago.

Faster, better, safer. The Autopista Central urban highway in Santiago de Chile improves the quality of life for motorists and school children. Each day, countless numbers of school children use the pedestrian bridges to pass safely over the busy toll road, which registered 348 million passing vehicles in 2010. And it no longer takes all day to travel through Santiago, because on the Autopista, all lanes are fast lanes.

Autopista Central is the central artery through Santiago – the capital of Chile on South America’s west coast. It is an urban highway. The city’s first toll road was built in the middle of densely populated suburbs and a busy city center.

Prior to construction of the new highway, accidents on the busy stretch through the Chile capital claimed about 20 lives each year. Many were children who had to cross the road on their way to school.

Unfortunately, accidents still occur each year. But there is a dramatic drop since the new highway opened in December, 2004. Accidents have decreased by 48 percent. The number of fatalities has been reduced by 30 percent. And today, these accidents involve vehicles rather than school children, who can now cross the road using 106 overpasses that bridge the expressway, most of which are pedestrian walkways.

In addition, more than 150,000 school children have received basic education in road safety.

And when accidents occur, assistance arrives within minutes. Paramedics on motorcycles can reach the scene of an accident rapidly. The two emergency centers along the expressway are manned 24/7.

Any vehicle experiencing a breakdown is spotted instantly. Every inch of the highway is monitored by the CCTV system comprising a total of 120 cameras. In the event of an emergency, help is dispatched instantly. Traffic is kept moving at all times. If a vehicle cannot be repaired quickly, it is towed away.

The Autopista Central offers a smooth and fast ride. If you work in the city and live in the suburbs, your travel time can be reduced by six to ten hours a week. The 61-kilometer ride from downtown Santiago to the suburbs in the southwest used to take 90 minutes or more during rush hours. Today, it’s a 30- to 40-minute ride.

Green landscape

This smooth flow and lack of congestion is good for the environment. In addition, 1,200,000 square meters of green areas were planted. Exhaust fumes and other emissions from the traffic are significantly lower from vehicles in motion than from vehicles edging along a congested road.

Autopista Central is one of the most technically advanced highways in the world.

About 65,000 vehicles cross the city daily from north to south. Autopista Central is one of the world’s most modern toll roads, with so-called free-flow traffic.

The environment for people living near the highway has also improved. Previously, the public areas outside the well-kept gardens of the houses bordering the road were shabby and littered.

Improved public transport

Everything was improved, such as sidewalks and bridges. Public transport is also better and safer, since the buses now stop on the local streets off the expressway.

Streetlights brightly illuminate the entire stretch of the highway. This solved the problem of heavy littering during the night hours. Now the public areas are bright and clean and are maintained by the Autopista company.

The toll road opened in 2004. Today, more than 1.5 million registered and paying users attest to the success. In 2010, 348 million vehicles passed the no-stop-tollgates generating revenues for the owners.


Concession Award: 2000
Open to traffic: December 1st 2004
Number of users 2010: 348 million vehicle passes
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01. The Autopista Central was opened to traffic December 1st 2004. In 2010, 348 million vehicles was registered when passing through the road.

02. The construction of the Autopista Central in Santiago de Chile has helped decrease road accidents in the region by 48 percent.

03. Safer route to school. As well as sustainability and environmental protection, safety has improved for the residents around the Autopista Central, not least for the 150,000 schoolchildren who make their way to school every day.


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