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Driveway vs. Roadway: What's the Difference?

Edited by Janet White || By Harlon Moss || Updated on November 8, 2023
A driveway is a private path for vehicles leading to a house or garage, while a roadway is a public road designed for traffic.

Key Differences

A driveway is a private strip of pavement or prepared surface leading from the road to a private home or garage. Roadway, on the other hand, is a term that refers to the part of the road intended for vehicles.
Driveways serve as access to private residences or businesses and are the responsibility of the property owner. Roadways are public properties maintained by government entities and are designed to connect various points of interest, like cities or neighborhoods.
The width and construction standards for driveways are typically less rigorous since they accommodate less traffic. Roadways require strict engineering specifications to support the volume and weight of public traffic.
Driveways usually end at a parking space or garage, providing a place for vehicle storage on private property. Roadways are designed to keep traffic moving and do not provide storage or stopping places except in designated areas.
Driveways and roadways both facilitate vehicle movement, but their usage and jurisdiction differ: one is private and the other public; one is for direct access to property, the other for travel between destinations.

Comparison Chart


Provides access to a private residence or garage.
Facilitates public transportation and connects areas.


Private property, owned by individuals or entities.
Public property, maintained by government bodies.


Intended for a limited number of vehicles, typically those of the property owner.
Designed to handle a large volume and variety of traffic.


Built according to the property owner’s preference and local regulations.
Constructed to meet specific public standards for safety and durability.


Less regulated, mostly concerning local property laws.
Highly regulated, subject to traffic laws and public safety standards.

Driveway and Roadway Definitions


A private road leading up to a house or garage.
She parked her car in the driveway next to the rose bushes.


A road, especially the part used by vehicles.
The new roadway reduced travel time between the cities.


A residential access road.
His long driveway was lined with maple trees.


The main or traveled part of a road or street.
Painting lines on the roadway improves traffic safety.


The entrance to a building or lot from the street.
They installed a new gate at the end of the driveway.


The part of a road intended for vehicle travel.
Accidents caused traffic to slow down on the roadway.


A passage for vehicles to enter or leave a property.
The kids played basketball on the driveway.


A thoroughfare intended for use by motor vehicles.
The icy roadway was a hazard to drivers.


A short, private thoroughfare from a road to a private property.
The snow-covered driveway needed to be shoveled.


Any path or course designed for the passage of vehicles.
Construction expanded the roadway to four lanes.


A private road that connects a house, garage, or other building with the street.


A road, especially the part over which vehicles travel.


A short private road that leads to a house or garage.


A way used as a road.


(US) A road that enters or circulates through a defined area, such as an institution, compound, land area, etc., for the purpose of private access, maintenance, or security.


The main or central portion of a road, used by the vehicles.


A passage or way along or through which a carriage may be driven.


The portion of a bridge or railway used by traffic.


A road leading up to a private house;
They parked in the driveway


A road; especially, the part traveled by vehicles.


A road (especially that part of a road) over which vehicles travel


Is it legal to park on someone’s driveway without permission?

No, it's private property and requires the owner's consent.

Who is responsible for driveway maintenance?

The property owner is responsible for their driveway's upkeep.

Are roadways always paved?

Most are, but some rural roadways may not be.

Do roadways have speed limits?

Yes, roadways have posted speed limits that must be adhered to.

Can a roadway be closed to the public?

Yes, for construction, emergencies, or official events.

Can a driveway be blocked by a parked vehicle?

It is illegal to block a driveway with a parked vehicle.

Are roadways subject to traffic laws?

Yes, all roadways are governed by traffic regulations.

Do driveways need drainage?

Proper drainage is important to prevent water accumulation on driveways.

Can a private driveway become a roadway?

It can if the property is developed and the road is dedicated to public use.

Can a driveway be made of gravel?

Yes, driveways can be paved with various materials, including gravel.

Is it mandatory to clear snow from roadways?

Yes, it's typically the responsibility of government entities to clear roadways.

Is it necessary to sealcoat a driveway?

Sealcoating can extend the life of an asphalt driveway.

Is it legal to walk on a roadway?

It depends on local laws, but pedestrians are usually required to use sidewalks.

Are bicycles allowed on roadways?

Yes, in many places, bicycles are allowed on roadways.

Can driveways be shared between neighbors?

Yes, shared driveways are common, but typically involve a legal agreement.

Can you perform car repairs on a driveway?

Generally yes, but some local ordinances may have restrictions.

Can a driveway cross a sidewalk?

Yes, driveways commonly cross sidewalks to provide access to properties.

Are roadways ever privately owned?

Some roadways can be privately owned but open to public use.

Do driveways affect property value?

Yes, a well-maintained driveway can increase property value.

Can roadways have tolls?

Yes, some roadways have tolls to fund their maintenance or construction.
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Edited by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.

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