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Highway vs. Expressway: What's the Difference?

Edited by Sawaira Riaz || By Sara Rehman || Published on December 20, 2023
A highway is a main road, often connecting cities, with varied traffic, while an expressway is a controlled-access highway designed for faster, uninterrupted travel.

Key Differences

Highways are major roads that facilitate travel between towns and cities, accommodating various types of vehicles and often having intersections and traffic signals. Expressways, however, are designed for high-speed vehicular traffic, typically with multiple lanes and limited access points to reduce interruptions.
Sara Rehman
Dec 20, 2023
The term highway encompasses a broader range of road types, from rural roads to urban thoroughfares, often with no restrictions on access. Expressways, in contrast, specifically refer to roads with controlled access, often forbidding pedestrians, bicycles, and slower vehicles.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 20, 2023
Highways can have at-grade intersections, allowing direct access to properties and local roads. Expressways, on the other hand, usually have grade-separated intersections, with overpasses and underpasses to keep traffic flowing smoothly.
Sara Rehman
Dec 20, 2023
Maintenance and operational standards for highways vary widely, depending on their location and importance. Expressways are generally maintained to higher standards to ensure safe high-speed travel, with features like wider lanes and shoulders.
Aimie Carlson
Dec 20, 2023
Highways often have lower speed limits compared to expressways due to their varied traffic and access points. Expressways typically have higher speed limits, reflecting their design for uninterrupted, faster travel.
Aimie Carlson
Dec 20, 2023
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Comparison Chart

Access

Open to all traffic types
Limited to motor vehicles
Sara Rehman
Dec 20, 2023

Intersections

At-grade, with signals or stops
Grade-separated; no direct cross traffic
Sara Rehman
Dec 20, 2023

Speed Limits

Generally lower
Higher for fast travel
Sara Rehman
Dec 20, 2023

Design Focus

Versatility for various uses
Speed and uninterrupted travel
Janet White
Dec 20, 2023

Traffic Control

Varies, often includes lights and signs
Minimal, designed for continuous flow
Janet White
Dec 20, 2023
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Highway and Expressway Definitions

Highway

Highways serve as key routes for long-distance travel.
They took the coastal highway on their road trip.
Janet White
Dec 09, 2023

Expressway

Expressways often have multiple lanes and no traffic lights.
He prefers the expressway for its smooth, uninterrupted flow.
Aimie Carlson
Dec 09, 2023

Highway

A highway is a major public road, typically connecting cities.
The highway was busy with traffic heading to the city.
Janet White
Dec 09, 2023

Expressway

Pedestrians and non-motorized vehicles are prohibited on expressways.
The expressway is designed exclusively for motorized traffic.
Janet White
Dec 09, 2023

Highway

Highways often have diverse traffic, including trucks and buses.
The highway is crucial for transporting goods across states.
Sara Rehman
Dec 09, 2023

Expressway

Expressways feature overpasses and underpasses at intersections.
The new expressway has an overpass over the railway line.
Sara Rehman
Dec 09, 2023

Highway

Highways may pass through towns, intersecting with local roads.
The highway runs through the center of our town.
Aimie Carlson
Dec 09, 2023

Expressway

An expressway is a controlled-access highway for fast travel.
The expressway cuts the travel time to the airport in half.
Janet White
Dec 09, 2023

Highway

A main public road, especially one connecting towns and cities.
Sara Rehman
Dec 08, 2023

Expressway

Expressways facilitate quicker, more efficient intercity travel.
The expressway has reduced the commute time to the neighboring city.
Aimie Carlson
Dec 09, 2023

Highway

(historical) A road that is higher than the surrounding land and has drainage ditches at the sides
Sara Rehman
Dec 08, 2023

Expressway

A major divided highway designed for high-speed travel, having few or no intersections. Also called freeway, limited access highway, superhighway, thruway.
Sara Rehman
Dec 08, 2023

Highway

A main public road, especially a multi-lane, high-speed thoroughfare.
Sara Rehman
Dec 08, 2023

Expressway

A divided highway, especially one whose intersections and direct access to adjacent properties have been eliminated.
Sara Rehman
Dec 08, 2023

Highway

(figurative) A way; a path that leads to a certain destiny
You're on a highway to greatness.
Sara Rehman
Dec 08, 2023

Expressway

A road built to freeway standards.
Sara Rehman
Dec 08, 2023

Highway

Any public road for vehicular traffic.
Sara Rehman
Dec 08, 2023

Expressway

A road built for high speed traffic, but not up to motorway standards or designated a motorway.
Sara Rehman
Dec 08, 2023

Highway

(computing) bus
Sara Rehman
Dec 08, 2023

Expressway

A broad highway designed for high-speed traffic
Sara Rehman
Dec 08, 2023

Highway

To travel on a highway
Sara Rehman
Dec 08, 2023

Highway

A road or way open to the use of the public, especially a paved main road or thoroughfare between towns; in the latter sense it contrasts with local street; as, on the highways and byways.
Sara Rehman
Dec 08, 2023

Highway

A major road for any form of motor transport
Sara Rehman
Dec 08, 2023

Highway

A highway can range from a two-lane road to a multi-lane road.
The new highway has four lanes to ease congestion.
Janet White
Dec 09, 2023

FAQs

Can bicycles use highways?

Bicycles can use some highways, but it depends on the specific highway's rules.
Sara Rehman
Dec 20, 2023

What is an expressway?

An expressway is a high-speed, controlled-access road designed for efficient travel.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 20, 2023

Is it faster to travel on an expressway?

Generally, yes, expressways are designed for faster, more efficient travel.
Janet White
Dec 20, 2023

Do expressways have traffic lights?

Expressways typically do not have traffic lights, allowing for uninterrupted flow.
Harlon Moss
Dec 20, 2023

Are expressways safer than regular highways?

Expressways are often safer due to their design that reduces intersections and mixed traffic types.
Sara Rehman
Dec 20, 2023

What is a highway?

A highway is a major road, often connecting cities and accommodating varied traffic.
Sara Rehman
Dec 20, 2023

Are expressways and highways the same?

No, expressways are a specific type of highway with controlled access and are designed for faster travel.
Aimie Carlson
Dec 20, 2023

Can pedestrians walk on highways?

On some highways, yes, but it varies by location and the highway's design.
Harlon Moss
Dec 20, 2023

How are highways maintained?

Highways are maintained by government agencies, with standards varying by region.
Aimie Carlson
Dec 20, 2023

Do all highways have multiple lanes?

Not all highways; some can be single-lane roads, especially in rural areas.
Harlon Moss
Dec 20, 2023

Do expressways reduce traffic congestion?

Yes, expressways are designed to reduce congestion by providing an alternative route.
Sara Rehman
Dec 20, 2023

Are there speed limits on highways?

Yes, highways have speed limits, which vary depending on the type and location.
Janet White
Dec 20, 2023

Can emergency vehicles use expressways?

Yes, expressways are often used by emergency vehicles for quick access.
Aimie Carlson
Dec 20, 2023

Are there tolls on highways?

Some highways, especially expressways, may have tolls, but it varies.
Sara Rehman
Dec 20, 2023

What is the main purpose of a highway?

The main purpose is to connect different regions, facilitating travel and transport.
Aimie Carlson
Dec 20, 2023

What kind of signage is found on highways?

Highways have various signs for directions, exits, and regulations.
Sara Rehman
Dec 20, 2023

Are highways and expressways lit at night?

Many highways and expressways are lit, especially near urban areas, but this can vary.
Sara Rehman
Dec 20, 2023

Can trucks use expressways?

Yes, trucks are commonly found on expressways.
Janet White
Dec 20, 2023

Do expressways connect cities?

Yes, expressways often connect major cities for efficient travel.
Janet White
Dec 20, 2023

Can expressways have service areas?

Yes, many expressways have designated service areas for refueling and rest.
Sara Rehman
Dec 20, 2023
About Author
Written by
Sara Rehman
Sara Rehman is a seasoned writer and editor with extensive experience at Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Information Technology, she combines her academic prowess with her passion for writing to deliver insightful and well-researched content.
Edited by
Sawaira Riaz
Sawaira is a dedicated content editor at difference.wiki, where she meticulously refines articles to ensure clarity and accuracy. With a keen eye for detail, she upholds the site's commitment to delivering insightful and precise content.

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