We live in a globalized world already. This means the common availability of information as well as the theoretic possibility to reach almost any place in the world. Of course, there are exceptions, but it was highly impossible for people to even 200 years ago. Thus, every country tries to create the most convenient and reasonable web of traffic roads.
Slovenia has a quite developed web of roads. As a part of the European Union, all the ways are done with European standards. The total number of roads raised up to 528 km of motorways, expressways, and similar, starting from 1958 when the first highway was built.
After entering the European Union, this became vital, as it is one of the most globalized structures in the world. A citizen of it can reach any place inside the union or work in any country, which means the detailed, convenient, and fast traffic system is required before even entering the EU. Let’s review the Slovenian traffic roads system and decide whether it is well enough to carry the needs of the modern world.
Driving in Slovenia
First of all, several brief facts about driving in Slovenia. As in a lot of countries, here you can drive from 18 years old. Sure thing, that the license is required. In Slovenia, you can drive with a driving license from any EU country as well as with an international license if you are a citizen of a non-EU one. Vehicles drive on the right side of the road here. The general speed limit is 50 km/hour that rises up to 90 km/hour out of a city area, and to 110 km/h on dual carriageways as well as 130 km/h on motorways. Daytime running light or headlight is required for all vehicles.
You should carry the documents all the time because they can be requested by police officers or municipal wardens. The usage of a telephone during the driving process is prohibited. The blood-alcohol limit is 0.05 mg per 100ml. If you are drunk, you can get from 300 up to 1200 euros fine. If you gathered up to 3000 euros of fines, you could lose the driving license.
There is an important thing to notice about the parking system in Slovenia. Parking zones are divided into colors. The yellow zone is reserved and may not be used for parking. The blue spaces are available to park in, but with limited time of usage. Usually, it is approximately 15 minutes. The white spaces can be used by anybody if there is no sign prohibiting stopping here or instructing to pay in the nearby parking meter.
Slovenian Transport Roads
There are two factors that dictated the road system nowadays: history and geography. As the country lies in the mountainous region, the roads were created by considering all the possible and shortest ways. This fact definitely influenced the building of the roads. The other reason is that Slovenia historically was the crossroad of cultures and nations. Therefore, the fifth and the tenth Pan-European transport corridors cross the country. The first one is the fastest link between the North Adriatic and Central and Eastern Europe, and the last one links Central Europe with the Balkans. Therefore, being in the center of all the ways stays beneficial until today.
Motorways and expressways, operated by the Motorway Company in the Republic of Slovenia, are the state roads of the highest category. The general rule is to have a toll sticker or vignette in order not to be penalized on the way. The important fact, that due to the size of the country, Slovenia has higher than European average motorway density. The first A1 motorway was opened in 1972, it was connecting villages Vrhnika and Postojna. Today, the total number of roads is 528 km of motorways, expressways, and similar. This impresses because this number has been reached since 1994 when the construction was really sped up by the National Assembly enacted the first National Motorway Construction Programme. On the other hand, the Slovenian Infrastructure Agency reported that a lot of roads are in bad condition and require repair.
The first A1 highway in Slovenia was built in 1958. At that time, the major Yugoslav project of the Brotherhood and Unity Highway connecting all the Yugoslav states. What is impressive, the section between Ljubljana and Zagreb was built by 54,000 volunteers in less than eight months.
The highways in Slovenia can be divided into two categories: Avtocesta (abbr. AC) and hitra cesta (HC). The first type is dual carriageway motorways with a speed limit of 130 km/h. All the road signs are green on the way. The second one is a secondary road, also a dual carriageway, but without a hard shoulder for emergencies. Therefore, they have a speed limit of 110 km/h, and their road signs are blue. Strategic planning of the roads and the Slovenian land are carried out and financed by the Government of Slovenia, while the construction is financed by private companies. The biggest one of such is the Motorway Company in the Republic of Slovenia.
Bus Transport and Railroads
The first bus destination was established in the times of Austro-Hungary in 1912 and then developed before World War I. The next stage was the creation of the National Bus and Transport Company of Slovenia already in the People’s Republic of Slovenia. At that time, the bus lines reached over 20,000 km and 26 million passengers.
Today, the biggest bus stations are in Ljubljana, Maribor, Celje, and Kranj. The prices vary from destinations, but on average, it will cost around 5-10 euros. On the other hand, most of the Slovenian citizens have their own cars.
The railway network cannot compete with the bus one. It operates only 1229 km of the tracks. Moreover, it is older than motorways, as is was created in the 19th century. Now, there is in duty a high-speed rail line between Ljubljana and Dobova. All international transit trains in Slovenia drive through the Ljubljana Railway Hub.
Other Means of Transport
As Slovenia has access to the Adriatic sea, ports are inevitable for it. The major one is the Port of Koper. It takes almost 590,000 units (TEU) per year. In addition, the passengers sea transport takes place in Koper as well. It has a connection with most of the biggest ports in the world. Two other ports are Izola and Piran. These two connect mainly with Italian and Croatian ports. The biggest Slovenian shipping company is Splošna plovba. It operates 28 ships with 1,025,000 tons of baggage.
The air transport in Slovenia was established in the 1930s and grew significantly since the 1990s. Slovenia has three international airports. Ljubljana Jože Pučnik Airport is the biggest one and by far the busiest. It holds around 1.4 million passengers and 17,000 tons of cargo annually. The Maribor Edvard Rusjan Airport is the second one in the second large city of Slovenia. It is located in the eastern part of the country while Portorož Airport in the western part. The largest Slovenian airline was Adria Airways until it went bankrupt in 2019. There are 12 public airports in Slovenia as well.
Road Traffic Thru the History
The transport system in Slovenia has its own peculiarities. First of all, it was defined by history. As Slovene territories were in the Austro-Hungarian Empire, they built the routes where they needed. However, as Slovene territories were and still are the crossroad of the Italian, German, and Balkan worlds, that was really a big deal. Therefore, the territories got a good start for the transport system. Of course, the first mean of which was railroads. The mountainous surface created some challenges because drilling tunnels at that time was a hard activity, but the basis of railroads was created because it was a necessary issue for the development the transport connection between parts of the empire.
The periods of World War I, World War II, as well as interwar and before the war periods were defined by the start of motorway construction. At that time, the personal, as well as bus transport, started to spread throughout Europe. This meant considering the requirements of the new field. Fortunately, as Slovenia was covered by the mountains, the war hadn’t destroyed much of the roads.
During Yugoslavia times, the motorways were important to connect the republics and obtain economic relations in order to hold the common economy. The spread the network and established the new means of transport, such as air connections, for instance.
Starting from the independence of Slovenia, the main course was chosen to create to join the European Union. When the aim was reached, this gave the main push to the transport system, as the union had to be connected. Thereby, Slovenia experienced the main reconstructions of most of the roads. Moreover, establishing the tourism economy fostered it as well.
Hence, now, Slovenia obtains a good piece of European traffic, as it is on the crossroad of the different parts. It has high working highways and motorways. Air travel became more and more popular because of the development of tourism. Ports are carrying a big piece of cargo, connecting with neighboring sea countries. This is a big part of the country’s economy as well as the mean of the modern globalized world that works on people’s comfort.