The Autobahn, Germany’s freeway system regarded as the world’s first high-speed, limited-access road system, has turned 80.
80: Age of the first “national” section, between Frankfurt and Darmstadt, opened May 19, 1935. Its first stretch, from Cologne to Bonn, was dedicated in 1932 by Cologne’s mayor, but soon after that, Chancellor Adolf Hitler took over the project and nationalized it.
81: The “advisory” speed limit in many areas — 130 kilometers per hour — though speeds in the upper 80s aren’t uncommon.
12,917: Total kilometers of highway in the system. Or 8,026 miles. China (97,355 km) and the U.S. (75,932 km) have larger national systems — the U.S.’s launched by President Dwight Eisenhower, who was impressed by the German system during World War II.