Distinguishing Highways & Expressways: Key Differences

The rapid increase in automobiles, particularly following the first World War, led many countries to invest in the construction of roadways that could accommodate these vehicles while providing congestion-free roads connecting various cities. Different names are used for these high-speed roads, such as highway, freeway, expressway, and turnpike, which often causes confusion among people when trying to differentiate them. This article will focus on the differences between a highway and an expressway.

Any road designed for public use and connecting two major cities or other important destinations is called a highway. A century ago, only a few countries had national highways, but now there are numerous countries with interconnected highways, also known as highway systems. The US has the largest network of highways, while Australia has the longest highway, which spans nearly 9,000 miles. The US highway system is designed so that every state has access to one of these highways, with both interstate highways and US highways connecting almost all major cities across the nation. The Pan American Highway connects several American countries, and European routes link various European nations. In some cases, ferry services are used when a highway is interrupted by a water body, such as with Route 10 in the US, which encounters Lake Michigan.

Key Takeaways

  • A highway is a public road that connects two major cities or other important destinations, typically consisting of four lanes to accommodate high-speed traffic.
  • Expressways are highways with limited access or controlled access, featuring amenities like lane dividers and access ramps for a high-speed motoring experience.
  • Highways with four or more lanes are often referred to as expressways, and they may have a toll system in place for using the facilities.
Dmitri Ivanov
Dmitri Ivanovhttps://whats-different.com
Dmitri Ivanov, a writer and managing editor, was educated in Canada and holds a BS in Science. Dmitri loves doing research, writing, and teaching various courses.


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