What is the difference between Highway and Freeway?
All major public roads are highways. If all single or multi lane public roads are highways then you may want to know firstly, what is a freeway? Secondly, the difference between highway and freeway.
Freeway is a subset of a divided highway, only for motor traffic having limited access and with no crossing at grade. In another word, the freeway is a roadway with high traffic volume, fast speed, and more visibility.
This kins of the roadway does not serve properties bordering on it. It provides access at only special points or interchanges. It is toll-free, traffic signal-free, and no crossing at a level from other roads or railway lines. Therefore, freeways are safer to travel than highways and any other roadway system.
On the other hand, Highway refers to any major and wider public roadway for vehicular travel. Which allows the higher volume of traffic to travel at high speed. Highways may have crossings or intersections at a level from other roads, railway lines, and even footpaths on one or both sides.
It may be a single roadway with one or more travel lanes separated by the painted white or yellow line. This may have traffic signs or stop signals (usually traffic signs and stop signals are avoided on highways). It can be a multilane roadway. Or maybe two parallel roadways, one in each direction separated by a barrier or median.
Freeways and Highways, both are public roadways which serves the primary mean of transportation. Both serve the same purpose but still, the road user has to face the difference between highway and freeway.
1. Who Can Access
The first difference between a highway and a freeway is which vehicle can enter these roadways. In fact, in the United States usually, pedestrians, bicycles, motorized bicycles, and non-motorized traffic are not allowed to enter a freeway.
However, Alaska, Arizona, and some other states allow bicycles and motorized bicycles if there is no suitable alternative road. Whereas there is no restriction for pedestrians, bicycles, motorized bicycles, and non-motorized traffic to enter the highway.
2. How to Access
The other difference between a highway and a freeway is how to access these roadways. As we know, freeways are controlled access roadways. Therefore, the drivers can only enter a freeway by ramps or interchanges at certain points. Whereas, you will not find any entrance ramp or interchange on the highway.
On the freeway, traffic moving in both directions have a median between them. It may be a grass median or concrete barrier. On the other hand, on the highway, there may or may not have a median between the traffic moving in opposite directions.
4. Maximum Speed Limit
Another difference between a highway and a freeway is the difference in speed limit. In the United States, 70 to 80 miles per hour is a common speed limit on freeways. On the other hand, the speed limit on the highway is about 55 to 70 miles per hour. Which is 105 to 113 km/h. Therefore, the traffic on the freeway is very fast as compared to the highway.
5. Minimum Speed Limit
The other difference between a highway and a freeway is that you cannot drive below a certain speed limit on a freeway. Different countries impose different minimum speed limits to increase road safety. Whereas highway is a combination of slow and fast-moving vehicles. Therefore, you can drive slowly on the highway. But, because of fast traffic flow, you cannot drive slow on the freeway.
6. Cross Traffic
There are stop signals, intersections, railway crossings, local traffic crossings, and sometimes pedestrian crossings on the highway. Whereas, freeways are always traffic signal-free, with no road, rail, or pedestrian crossings to maintain fast traffic flow.
7. How to Exit
Lastly, drivers can only exit a freeway from the off-ramp or exit interchanges at certain points. Whereas there are no exit interchanges on the freeway. You can exit a highway at any local crossing.