Highway vs Freeway – Difference and Comparison

What is Highway?

A highway is the main road that connects towns and cities. Highways are more significant, more comprehensive, and have more lanes than regular roads, and they are designed to handle large amounts of traffic. In the United States, highways are numbered.

The primary purpose of a highway is to connect people and places. Highways are essential because they help people and goods move around. Highway construction began in the United States in the early 1900s, and the first highways were built to connect cities and towns.

The development of railroads in the 1840s led to a decrease in the construction of Trésaguet-McAdam roads. For the next 60 years, road improvements were limited to city streets or roads leading to railhead, and other rural roads became inaccessible in wet weather.

Highway design involves balancing safety, capacity, and efficiency. Safety is the primary concern, followed by capacity and efficiency. To increase safety, highways are designed with broad shoulders and clear sight lines. It is a large, busy road used by many cars and trucks. Highways are essential because they help people and goods move around.

What is Freeway?

A freeway is also known as a highway, but it has designed for large volumes of traffic at high speeds. Freeways have multiple lanes and are divided by a median. The first freeway was built in the United States in the early 1900s to connect Los Angeles and San Francisco. Today, freeways are an essential part of the transportation system in many cities.

Freeways are divided into multiple lanes to keep traffic moving smoothly and efficiently. The purpose of a freeway is to connect two destinations with a high-capacity road. Freeways are essential because they help people and goods move around quickly and safely.

Freeways cut travel time and ease congestion on surface streets. Freeways are an essential part of any country’s infrastructure. They provide many benefits to the economy and society as a whole. Without freeways, the movement of people and goods would be much more complex, and the economy would suffer. Freeways also provide a way for people to get around without using public transportation, which can be slow and expensive. It is accepted that building freeway is beneficial to a city. However, many need to realize all the advantages of these additions.

Moreover, Freeways are an important part of the modern world. They provide many benefits to society, including reducing travel time, increasing mobility, and improving access to goods and services. However, freeways also come with a number of drawbacks, including traffic congestion, air pollution, and noise pollution.

Difference Between Highway and Freeway

The primary difference between a highway and a freeway is that highways have at least two lanes in each direction and may or may not have a barrier between opposing traffic.

A freeway is a limited-access road with at least two lanes in each direction and is almost always divided by some physical barrier. This physical barrier may be a concrete wall, a metal guardrail, or a grassy median.

In some cases, the physical barrier may be absent, but the lanes of traffic traveling in opposite directions will almost always be separated by a painted divider. A highway is a main connecting road in a rural or undeveloped area. A freeway is a limited-access divided highway with grade-separated interchanges

Comparison Between Highway and Freeway

Parameter of ComparisonHighwayFreeway
At-grade crossingYesNo
Signal freeNoYes
Enter/Exit InterchangesNoYes
Speed LimitVehicles can move slowlyVehicles cannot move below a certain speed limit
Non-motorized trafficAllowedNot allowed


  1. https://cdnsciencepub.com/doi/abs/10.1139/l94-048
  2. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2095756419300662