What is a Highway? – Definition & Types

What is a Highway Definition

Actually many types of roads are called highways but the real definition of ‘what is a highway’ is as below.

“Highway is a leading and significant government-owned way which is specially constructed by the government to carry heavy traffic from one town, city, province or state to another”.

The general legal definition of “What is a Highway”, deals with the right of use of every member of the public, “a state or national government-owned road over which every member of the public has right to travel without any restriction”.

What is a Highway Meaning?

In simple words, “What is a highway” means a public roadway, especially between towns, cities, or states. You can also say the quickest driving route between two cities. All frequently traveled main roads from one city to another or other popular destinations are highways. These roads not only save your travel time but also travel distance.


Types of Highway Roads

You can further divide the highways into city or district highways, provincial or state highways, and national highways. The government that constructs and maintains these highways set their name or number.

To improve road safety, efficiency, and road capacity, modern and developing countries usually categorize and integrate features in newly built highways. These highways are named controlled-access or limited-access highways, freeways, expressways, or motorways. These features are

  • Toll-free and traffic signals free
  • No, stop no intersection or cross-traffic
  • Underpasses and overpasses for cross traffic
  • One way or two ways with two or more lanes on each side
  • Reduction of the number of locations to access these roadways

Why is it called a highway?

The term ‘Highway’ is way before the invention of the car and even the discovery of the USA. It first makes an appearance in the early 16th century when the Parliament of England passed the “ act 1555”. This act determined highway as “a government-owned way on which every member of the public has right to pass and repass without any hindrance at any time”.

In the 20th century, the modern roadway system developed as the auto industry became popular. The world’s first controlled-access road constructed in the United States is “the Long Island Motor Parkway”.

Importance of Highways for a Country

Highways are important because they have the ability to move a mass amount of traffic at a high speed in less time. A highway also makes transportation and supply chains fast and more effective with lower cost.

 The interstate roadway system saves money and time for the lower and middle-class people; allows for generating new activities for new products, services, money, and values. Highway road system is playing a very important role in the economic development and growth of countries.

What is the longest highway in the world?

The Pan-American Highway is the longest highway in the world covering a length of 30,000 miles (48,000 km). It connects more than 20 countries on the American continent.

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