[[quoteright:315:[[ComicBook/NemesisTheWarlock http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Termight_7806.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:315: The [[{{Pun}} Interstate]] is a [[MemeticMutation series of tubes]]!]]

->''"Roads? Where we're going, we don't need roads."''
-->-- '''Dr. Emmett Brown''', ''Film/BackToTheFuture''

In TheFuture, driving long distances in a car is going to be a ''very'' different experience.

This trope is about how automobile traffic is affected by technological and societal progression in high-tech future settings. Namely, as cities become big enough to [[MegaCity rival the size of modern-day countries]] or even [[CityPlanet encompass an entire planet]], general populations tend to increase as well as the number of people with cars looking to go places with them.

Likewise, various road vehicles tend to change with the times, too. New fuel and engine technology can typically allow most vehicles to reach average speeds of upwards of a few hundred miles/kilometers per hour and freight trucks tend to be more than twice their normal sizes by today's standards. A lot of wheeled vehicles may also come with an AI computer on board that can drive the car by itself. Lastly, it goes without saying that [[FlyingCar a lot of future cars will also fly]].

With all of these new changes, it only makes sense that highways and major roadways and traffic patterns change with them. Usually, the most noticeable difference that can be observed almost immediately tends to be how mass-transit roads tend to be a lot wider to accommodate for the increased traffic in the future society; highways with more than 8 lanes to accommodate for two-way travel are not uncommon. Other advancements tend to incorporate magnets and magnetism in various ways to aid in a future car's ability to drive itself, maintain safe distances from other cars to prevent accidents, and/or allow cars to do impossible things like drive upside-down or vertically up walls.

Naturally, for {{Flying Car}}s, air-travel routes are specifically designed just for them, much like how there are for airplanes in the modern day. In more urban environments, travel routes for flying cars may be stacked on top of each other to allow access to and from different locations found at different altitudes throughout a future city.

Typically showcased a great deal in {{Chase Scene}}s in a future setting where they may double as SceneryPorn, they tend to actually function without there being many problems. There never tend to be many traffic jams, and even when there may be a disastrous motor accident or immense pileup on such roads, they very commonly always benefit from a SnapBack, especially in serial adventure stories where any major road disasters in one installment never hinder characters traveling along them in episodes immediately following it (and even when it would seem like a very difficult thing to fix with most vehicles traveling at speeds faster than it may conceivably take emergency services to arrive, cordon off an accident, and properly redirect traffic).


* In ''Anime/YuGiOh5Ds'', [[SeriousBusiness Duel Monsters has become so ingrained into society]] that there are entire separate lanes built onto highways for people who want to play [[MemeticMutation card games]] [[WebVideo/YuGiOhTheAbridgedSeries on motorcycles]].
* ''Anime/SpaceBattleshipYamato'' has "aircars" that travel around the underground city in elevated tubeways.

* ''ComicBook/JudgeDredd'''s Mega-City One includes a great number of different highway transit systems with average speed limits typically being over 200 MPH. The longest and widest of of these, the Superslab, is suggested as spanning the entire length of the city from north to south with a dozen traffic lanes in each direction. The very first strip in ''ComicBook/TwoThousandAD'' featured Dredd sentencing a criminal to Devil's Island--a prison set up on a large traffic island in the middle of the Big Meg's inter-city highway complex with no need for walls because busy traffic is constantly moving at speeds of up to 250 MPH all day and all night, guaranteeing instant death for anyone who tries to escape.
* In ''ComicBook/NemesisTheWarlock'', human civilization on Earth [[BeneathTheEarth has moved underground]] where cities are connected to each other by a system of "Travel Tubes" (pictured above), the inside of which are covered in a coat of magma, allowing all vehicles to travel along ''any'' part of a tube's interior lining.
* In the Volume 1 ''Comicbook/{{Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles|Mirage}}'' story ''Sky Highway'', while set in an alternate dimension rather than a future Earth, this trope comes into play, as the Turtles and Casey Jones find themselves pursuing a group of mutants who have stolen their car, in a high speed chase on top of a floating highway in the sky of an alien world.

* ''Film/BackToTheFuturePartII'' begins with Doc, Marty, and Jennifer arriving in the year 2015 inadvertently flying against traffic on a highway specifically designed for {{Flying Car}}s.
* In the ''Film/IRobot'' movie, automobiles all have automatic pilots, which are legally required to be activated when driving over certain speeds.
** All cars, including trucks, also drive on spheres instead of wheels, allowing them to move in a direction different from where the vehicle is facing. Makes parallel parking a lot easier. That is, if they parked their cars, which they don't. They put cars in garages that look like the dry cleaners coat rack.
* Highways in ''Film/MinorityReport'' are substantially different from those in the present day, allowing some cars to drive themselves, let law enforcement easily intercept cars harboring suspected criminals by changing the vehicle's travel route and destination, and (most notable of all) drive up vertical roads.
* The ''Franchise/StarWars'' prequel trilogy has the {{flying car}}s driving in seemingly designated "lanes" on Coruscant.
** Ditto for 23rd Century [[BigApplesauce New York City]] in ''Film/TheFifthElement''.
* The sections of ''Film/TotalRecall2012'' set in the United Federation of Britain show London with an additional metropolis built on stilts above it, with a multi-layered system of roads threaded around. Ascending and descending between tiers seems to be via special elevators. Oh, and the cars can either float slightly above the surface of the roadways, or hover suspended from the underside, doubling the capacity. This is in addition to the normal roads below and {{FutureCopter}}s around...

* ''Literature/TheCavesOfSteel'' had the strips, localways and Expressway, the first being a series of progressively faster (or slower, depending on which direction you're going) moving walkways and the latter two being sort of a cross between high-speed moving walkways and perpetually moving and unending trams or trains. Interestingly there were also more conventional underground motorways but given the near total lack of cars they're largely abandoned and used only by the emergency services.
* ''[[http://www.baen.com/chapters/W200501/0743498747___3.htm Code Three]]'' by Rick Raphael follows the activities of a car of the North American Continental Thruway Patrol on five-mile-wide 400-MPH highways.
* ''[[Literature/{{Lensman}} First Lensman]]''. In the BigApplesauce of the future, Lensman Virgil Samms drives his gyro-stabilised two-wheeler onto the Wright Skyway, a limited-access superhighway with a maze of feeder ramps running all the way up the skyscraper he's working in, and higher (presumably exits for {{Flying Car}}s). The only problem is learning to ignore the [[AdvertOverloadedFuture bombardment of very noisy advertising]].
* The narrator of Creator/WilliamGibson's short story ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Gernsback_Continuum The Gernsback Continuum]]'' has a terrifying hallucination of driving on one of these. It's described as an "eighty-lane monster".
* Jon Armstrong's ''Grey'' and ''Yarn'' portray an enormous set of elevated highways spanning the globe, allowing specialized vehicles to drive from Europe to Antarctica in the space of a few hours.
* Creator/VernorVinge's ''Literature/RainbowsEnd'' shows cars that are quite futuristic, but there is not much need for superhighways themselves precisely because of how much cars have changed. Most cars are not privately owned but automatically drive themselves to wherever they are needed, acting as a sort of automated, fast, incredibly efficient taxi service. This keeps transit efficient, and roads normal-sized (the fact that much travel is done ''virtually'' in this vision of the future also helps). The biggest indicator of futuristic roads is omnipresent transit loops, roadways where automatic cars briefly stop to drop off and pick up passengers.
* In Creator/SergeyLukyanenko's ''Spectrum'', the main character goes to a planet of technologically-advanced HumanAliens and notes their {{Flying Car}}s and how one "highway" goes right through a big hole in a skyscraper. He shudders of humans one day trusting building supports and drivers that much.
* One of Creator/RobertAHeinlein's books, ''To Sail Beyond The Sunset'', mentioned in passing a network of high-speed superhighways where all of the cars were computer controlled to avoid human-error-induced accidents. At one point, a couple of characters mention the computer in their car was on the fritz, so they had to drive the old fashioned way, causing the trip to take far far longer.
** And let's not forget the classic Heinlein short story ''The Roads Must Roll'' where cars have become obsolete altogether. People and goods are carried on vast rolling belts that travel from one city to the next.

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* There's a decades-long traffic jam on New Earth in ''Series/DoctorWho''. It's revealed to have been [[spoiler:deliberate in order to save people from a plague]].
* ''Series/MysteryScienceTheater3000'' featured the 1956 General Motors promotional film "[[http://youtu.be/crlSs4wP6TM Design for Dreaming]]" that ends with the happy couple riding their turbine-engine car through the Highway of Tomorrow - "Look, Dead Raccoon of Tomorrow!"

[[folder:Video Games]]
* Illium in ''VideoGame/MassEffect2'' features a three-dimensional web of air routes for its (many, many) {{Flying Car}}s.
** The same flying cars are also used on the Citadel and the human colony Bekenstein (seen from far away).
* Stage 1 Neo Hong Kong City, Scene 4 from ''VideoGame/{{Strider}} 2'' pits [[TheProtagonist Hiryu]] against the [[SiblimgTeam Kuniang Team]] as they fight on top of aircars speeding around the airspace of a SkyscraperCity.
* In the ''[[Videogame/{{X}} X-Universe]]'', travel is a slow affair courtesy of ships that often can barely reach highway speed. [[MegaCorp Jonferco]]'s slipstream "highways" first seen in ''X3: Albion Prelude'' and functional in ''Videogame/XRebirth'' completely revolutionized travel, allowing ships to accelerate to stupendous speeds to easily travel between different points of interest in planetary orbit or travel to completely different planets within a solar system. Where ships once had to drift to their destination for hours on end, now they are flung from point to point at a not-insignificant fraction of the speed of light in densely packed three dimensional energy slipstreams that can fit a dozen ships across.

[[folder: WesternAnimation]]
* In ''WesternAnimation/{{Futurama}}'' all cars are hovercars, so there are skylanes along with regular ground roads. In "Bendin' In The Wind" the Golden Gate Bridge is now a hoverbridge, so it doesn't need an actual road on it... which is a problem, since the gang is on a 20th Century VW Microbus. Intergalactic trucking routes and railroads are also present, and "Rebirth", the first episode after the series was UnCancelled, features the Panama Wormhole.
** In another episode, New New York's Futuristic Superhighway undergoes roadwork. The billboard that explains this also says ''Alternate Route: [[FlyingCar Just fly there.]]''
* WesternAnimation/TheJetsons had to deal with traffic jams in their FlyingCar in at least one episode.
* Walt Disney's ''Magic Highway USA'' from 1958 [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tyaKfLyKhbw had a segment]] based around this trope, predicting things like multi-colored lanes indicating their destination, heated roads for rain and snow, cantilevered highways above canyons, tubular highways, air-conditioned desert highways, mountain highways that protect from sub-zero temperatures, underwater highways, upside-down highways etc.

[[folder: RealLife]]
* [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Personal_rapid_transit Personal Rapid Transit]] is the poor man's version of this. It achieves "cars that can drive themselves to their destination" by having them on rails, making it a hybrid of this trope and a light rail system.
* The now-abandoned [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trans-Texas_Corridor Trans-Texas Corridor]] would have been something like this: up to 1,200 feet (360 m) wide and accommodating not only roads but rail and utility lines as well.
* A certain Megastructures episode presents the German Autobahn as one.
** In general, of course, most modern motorways would have been this by c. 1930s standards (when the first Autobahnen were constructed), when most older roads were only single-carriageway if not single-track and not designed for high volumes of motor traffic. By comparison, motorways provide fast direct routes with plenty of overtaking potential, as well as being generally forbidden from carrying non-motorized or otherwise slow-moving vehicles which might provide an impediment. Upon their first introduction they were nothing short of revolutionary, and the Autobahnen were a key Nazi propaganda success ([[GladIThoughtOfIt even though the idea had been around since the 1920s]]).
* There has been research in turning the United States Highway system into a gigantic solar panel road. It works by having a layer glass stronger than steel and coated in a friction enabling agent over a photo voltaic cells. As a bonus prototypes of the roadway also feature lights used to spell out messages, because we wouldn't want the project to be too green.