Difference Wiki

Interstate vs. Highway: What's the Difference?

Edited by Huma Saeed || By Sara Rehman || Published on December 2, 2023
Interstate is a road system connecting multiple states, often part of a national network. Highway is a main road, typically connecting major towns or regions, not necessarily spanning states.

Key Differences

An interstate is a highway system that crosses state lines and is part of a national network in the United States. Highways, on the other hand, are major roads that can be either state or nationally operated, but don't necessarily cross state boundaries.
Sara Rehman
Dec 02, 2023
The interstate system is designed for long-distance travel, often connecting major cities across states. Highways, while also used for long-distance travel, can be more localized, serving as main roads within a state or region.
Sara Rehman
Dec 02, 2023
Interstates are typically built to higher standards, with controlled access, multiple lanes, and no at-grade crossings. Highways can vary in design, from two-lane rural roads to multi-lane urban expressways, but may include at-grade crossings and traffic lights.
Huma Saeed
Dec 02, 2023
Funding for interstates comes predominantly from federal sources, reflecting their national scope. Highways, however, can be funded by state, local, or federal sources, depending on their significance and location.
Harlon Moss
Dec 02, 2023
Signage and numbering for interstates follow a standardized system across the U.S. Highways, in contrast, have more varied signage and numbering, which can change from state to state.
Janet White
Dec 02, 2023
ADVERTISEMENT

Comparison Chart

Scope

Crosses state lines, part of a national network.
Can be localized, within a state or region.
Sara Rehman
Dec 02, 2023

Design

Controlled access, multiple lanes, no at-grade crossings.
Varies; can include at-grade crossings, traffic lights.
Sara Rehman
Dec 02, 2023

Purpose

Primarily for long-distance, intercity travel.
Serves both long-distance and regional traffic.
Sara Rehman
Dec 02, 2023

Funding

Predominantly federally funded.
Funded by state, local, or federal sources.
Harlon Moss
Dec 02, 2023

Signage System

Standardized across the U.S.
Varies by state.
Harlon Moss
Dec 02, 2023
ADVERTISEMENT

Interstate and Highway Definitions

Interstate

A major highway in the U.S. crossing state boundaries.
The Interstate 95 runs from Maine to Florida.
Sara Rehman
Nov 27, 2023

Highway

A main public road, especially one connecting major towns or cities.
The highway leads directly to the downtown area.
Huma Saeed
Nov 27, 2023

Interstate

A controlled-access highway.
The interstate is free from traffic lights and intersections.
Harlon Moss
Nov 27, 2023

Highway

A road managed by state or local authorities.
The highway maintenance is scheduled for next month.
Janet White
Nov 27, 2023

Interstate

Part of the U.S. Interstate Highway System.
Interstate 10 connects the east and west coasts.
Aimie Carlson
Nov 27, 2023

Highway

Any public road or thoroughfare.
The old highway has been repaved for smoother travel.
Aimie Carlson
Nov 27, 2023

Interstate

A road designed for high-speed, long-distance travel.
They drove on the interstate to reach the neighboring state quickly.
Harlon Moss
Nov 27, 2023

Highway

A road with higher traffic capacity or speed limit.
The new highway has reduced commute times significantly.
Aimie Carlson
Nov 27, 2023

Interstate

A federally funded highway network.
The construction of the new interstate improved regional connectivity.
Sara Rehman
Nov 27, 2023

Highway

A major route in a transportation network.
The coastal highway offers breathtaking views.
Harlon Moss
Nov 27, 2023

Interstate

Involving, existing between, or connecting two or more states.
Sara Rehman
Nov 27, 2023

Highway

A main public road, especially one connecting towns and cities.
Sara Rehman
Nov 27, 2023

Interstate

One of a national system of expressways connecting major population centers in the United States.
Sara Rehman
Nov 27, 2023

Highway

(historical) A road that is higher than the surrounding land and has drainage ditches at the sides
Sara Rehman
Nov 27, 2023

Interstate

Of, or relating to two or more states.
Sara Rehman
Nov 27, 2023

Highway

A main public road, especially a multi-lane, high-speed thoroughfare.
Sara Rehman
Nov 27, 2023

Interstate

Crossing states (usually provincial state, but also e.g. multinational sense).
The truck driver drove interstate to unload.
Sara Rehman
Nov 27, 2023

Highway

(figurative) A way; a path that leads to a certain destiny
You're on a highway to greatness.
Sara Rehman
Nov 27, 2023

Interstate

(US) A freeway that is part of the Interstate Highway System.
Sara Rehman
Nov 27, 2023

Highway

Any public road for vehicular traffic.
Sara Rehman
Nov 27, 2023

Interstate

Pertaining to the mutual relations of States; existing between, or including, different States; as, interstate commerce.
Sara Rehman
Nov 27, 2023

Highway

(computing) bus
Sara Rehman
Nov 27, 2023

Interstate

An interstate highway, part of the United States Interstate Highway system.
Sara Rehman
Nov 27, 2023

Highway

To travel on a highway
Sara Rehman
Nov 27, 2023

Interstate

Involving and relating to the mutual relations of states especially of the US;
Interstate Highway Commission
Interstate highways
Interstate Commerce Commission
Interstate commerce
Sara Rehman
Nov 27, 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
Nov 27, 2023

Highway

A major road for any form of motor transport
Sara Rehman
Nov 27, 2023

FAQs

What is an interstate?

A road network connecting multiple states in the U.S., part of a national system.
Sara Rehman
Dec 02, 2023

What distinguishes an interstate from a regular highway?

Interstates cross state lines and are part of a national network, often with controlled access.
Harlon Moss
Dec 02, 2023

Do interstates have tolls?

Some do, but many are toll-free.
Sara Rehman
Dec 02, 2023

What is a highway?

A major road, often connecting towns or regions, not necessarily spanning states.
Huma Saeed
Dec 02, 2023

Are all interstates highways?

Yes, all interstates are a type of highway, but with specific characteristics.
Sara Rehman
Dec 02, 2023

How are interstates numbered?

They follow a standardized numbering system based on direction and location.
Sara Rehman
Dec 02, 2023

Who funds the interstate system?

Primarily the federal government.
Aimie Carlson
Dec 02, 2023

Who funds highways?

Highways are funded by state, local, or federal sources.
Janet White
Dec 02, 2023

Are interstates safer than highways?

Typically, due to their design standards, interstates are considered safer.
Janet White
Dec 02, 2023

Do all interstates connect cities?

Most do, as they are designed for long-distance travel.
Aimie Carlson
Dec 02, 2023

Can highways be within a single city?

Yes, highways can serve as major roads within a city.
Aimie Carlson
Dec 02, 2023

Can a highway be an interstate?

Yes, if it crosses state lines and meets interstate standards.
Aimie Carlson
Dec 02, 2023

How are highways numbered?

Their numbering can vary by state and region.
Sara Rehman
Dec 02, 2023

Is it faster to travel on an interstate?

Often yes, due to higher speed limits and controlled access.
Harlon Moss
Dec 02, 2023

Are interstates always multi-lane?

Generally, they are designed with multiple lanes for high-speed travel.
Harlon Moss
Dec 02, 2023

Can anyone use the interstate?

Yes, unless restrictions apply, like for certain commercial vehicles.
Sara Rehman
Dec 02, 2023

Can highways have single lanes?

Yes, especially in rural or less populated areas.
Harlon Moss
Dec 02, 2023

Do highways go through towns?

Many do, connecting and passing through various towns.
Janet White
Dec 02, 2023

Are highways always paved?

Most are, but there are exceptions, especially in remote areas.
Sara Rehman
Dec 02, 2023

Are highways toll roads?

Some highways are toll roads, but not all.
Aimie Carlson
Dec 02, 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
Huma Saeed
Huma is a renowned researcher acclaimed for her innovative work in Difference Wiki. Her dedication has led to key breakthroughs, establishing her prominence in academia. Her contributions continually inspire and guide her field.

Trending Comparisons

Popular Comparisons

New Comparisons