Difference Between Highway And Freeway

Earlier on, the number of cars on the road was relatively few compared to today. As we speak, the number of cars on the road is on the rise due to the convenience they offer, among other reasons. Since the number of cars has increased in recent years, there is a need to organize the road system so that these cars can move seamlessly. By doing this, more time is saved, and unnecessary snarl-ups are avoided. As we speak, the road transport system is classified in different ways.

To put it into perspective, there are highways, freeways, and so forth. The good news is that both freeways and highways have made road transport fast and more efficient. Although these terms are used interchangeably, we shall take a closer look at them so as to know what sets them apart.

What is a Highway?

A highway is basically a major road built by the government that is used to connect major cities or towns. However, this road can have restricted access and can also have tolls. By restricted access, we mean that only cars and other vehicles can be driven on this road. It also means that the only way a motor vehicle or car can access or exit this road is by an on and off-ramp, respectively.


In addition, a highway is usually created on the surrounding landscape and mostly operated by the government of that state. This includes upgrades and any other repairs that might be done on the road from time to time.

What is a Freeway?

The above-mentioned road usually has limited and controlled access. However, this road does not have any intersections and forms part of the highway. Generally, it is true to say that all freeways are essentially highways. As its name suggests, you do not have to pay anything for you to utilize this road.


Besides this, the road does not have intersections, stoplights, and at-grade crossings. It is imperative to note that freeways usually connect rural areas and city suburbs. Eventually, these roads typically lead to the highway. When it comes to maintenance, these roads are usually maintained by the federal government.

Differences Between a Highway and a Freeway

Although these terms are used interchangeably, they are quite different. Here are some notable differences between a highway and a freeway:

  • Amount of traffic: One notable difference between a highway and a freeway is the amount of traffic that each road has. Those who like traveling longer distances usually prefer using the freeway instead of the highway. This is because they can travel at a higher speed on a freeway than they would on a highway. Therefore, there might be more traffic on a freeway than on a highway.
  • Places where each road passes: A significant number of highways usually pass through crowded places. However, its counterpart is different as it usually passes through less crowded places. Therefore, you will note that most people will always prefer to use freeways to highways, especially when traveling long distances.
  • Intersection points: When it comes to intersection points, a highway might have several of them. However, a freeway does not have any intersection. In addition, a highway can have tollbooths at different sections of the road while its counterpart does not have any.
  • Lanes: As far as lanes are concerned, a highway can have up to 4 lanes. However, freeways usually have more than 4 lanes. In some places, freeways usually have 6 lanes and above.
  • Presence of dividers: It is imperative to note that highways do not have barriers or dividers between the two directions. On the other hand, freeways usually have dividers or barriers between both directions.
  • The areas each road connects: Highways usually connect two main cities or towns, while freeways usually exist within the city and connect rural or city suburbs areas.
  • Allowed speed limit: If you have to use the highway to drive to work or home, the allowed speed here is 60 to 80 kph. However, if you choose to use the freeway, you can drive at the speed of 80kph and above.
  • Ownership and management: Highways are usually owned by the state, while its counterpart is owned and managed by the federal government.

Final Thoughts

Although both roads are major roads that help connect various regions, cities, or towns, there are a number of differences between them. From the amount of traffic on each of them to the ownership of these roads, there are many differences that set them apart. As you purpose to use either of these roads, consider the above-mentioned differences to avoid any inconveniences.