A40 Highway motorway motorway bridge Ruhrgebiet traffic

Motorway A40: on bridge above the traffic

The A40 in the Ruhr Area is one of the busiest motorways in Germany. Some call it “Lebensader” (lifeline) as it connects the major cities in the area and is used by many commuters. Others complain about the frequent traffic jams and call it the largest parking lot of the “Ruhrgebiet”.

In total it is 94 kilometres long and runs from Straelen (close to the Dutch border) all the way to Dortmund. The A40 was built as “Ruhrschnellweg” in 1928 during the early years of car traffic. It has been renamed a few times since. Because of the rising numbers of cars after World War II, it was expanded to four lanes in the 1950ies and 1960ies. Yet, currently the traffic situation is close to collapsing. The number and length of traffic jams in the area is constantly rising. Whether this will be changed in the near future is not clear. Expanding public transport and rail cargo might be options.

The traffic noise of the A40 has always been an issue in such a densely populated area as the Ruhr Area. The motorway runs directly through cities like Essen and Duisburg as well as other smaller residential areas. Speed limits and steadily rising noise barriers have been the consequence.

This recording has been made on a Friday afternoon from a bridge above the motorway in Dortmund. Friday afternoon is supposed to be the busiest time on the A40. Although there was not a traffic jam when the recording was made, you can hear many cars and lorries as well as the odd motorcycle pass by below. In the background you can hear a bicycle and a few cars crossing the bridge.

Photographer: Kathinka Engels
Video Recordist: Kathinka Engels
Sound Recordist: Kathinka Engels


93.9 MB
2 min 43 s
2 (Stereo)
Sample rate:
Bit rate:
Bit depth:
96 kHz
4608 kb/s
32 bit

Recorded on April 6, 2018
motorway bridge
Dortmund, GERMANY
Creative Commons License