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Highway vs. Expressway: Know the Difference

Shumaila Saeed
By Shumaila Saeed || Updated on December 25, 2023
Highway is a main road, especially one connecting major towns or cities. Expressway is a divided highway for high-speed traffic with limited access points.
Highway vs. Expressway

Key Differences

Highways are major roads that can be found in both rural and urban areas, serving various types of vehicles and purposes. They often have intersections and traffic signals. In contrast, expressways are specifically designed for high-speed travel with limited access, usually found in or near urban areas, and do not have intersections or traffic signals.
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Dec 20, 2023
The design of highways is versatile, accommodating a range of vehicles, including bicycles and pedestrians in some cases. They may have multiple lanes in each direction. Expressways, however, are typically multi-lane roads with barriers or medians separating opposite directions of traffic, and are exclusively for motor vehicles.
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Highways can have commercial and residential access, allowing direct entry to properties alongside them. Expressways, on the other hand, have controlled access points like on-ramps and off-ramps, reducing direct connections to local roads or properties.
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Dec 20, 2023
Maintenance and construction standards for highways vary widely, from two-lane roads to multi-lane roadways. Expressways require more rigorous construction standards, often featuring smoother surfaces and wider lanes, tailored for higher speed limits.
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Dec 20, 2023
The signage on highways is diverse, providing information for local destinations, services, and attractions. Expressway signage is more focused on facilitating high-speed travel, with signs for exits, distances, and navigation predominating.
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Comparison Chart

Location

Both rural and urban areas
Primarily near urban areas
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Access

Open access, intersections
Limited access, controlled entry/exit points
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Vehicle Types

All types, including bicycles and pedestrians
Primarily motor vehicles
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Design and Structure

Variable, can be simple or complex
High-speed, divided lanes, no intersections
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Signage and Usage

Diverse signage for local info
Signage focused on high-speed navigation
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Highway and Expressway Definitions

Highway

A road forming a major route in a national network.
This highway is part of the cross-country transportation network.
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Dec 10, 2023

Expressway

A high-speed road with limited access points.
The expressway bypasses the city for faster travel.
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Dec 10, 2023

Highway

A road managed by state or federal authorities.
The new highway was maintained by the state government.
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Dec 10, 2023

Expressway

A divided highway designed for efficient long-distance travel.
The new expressway reduced the travel time significantly.
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Highway

A main public road connecting towns and cities.
The highway stretched across the state, linking numerous towns.
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Expressway

A toll or free road for quick transit between cities.
Tolls on the expressway help maintain its high quality.
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Highway

A road accessible by the public for all types of vehicles.
Trucks and cars shared the highway, moving goods and people.
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Dec 10, 2023

Expressway

A road primarily for motor vehicles, with on-ramps and off-ramps.
They took the expressway to avoid the city traffic.
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Dec 10, 2023

Highway

A main public road, especially one connecting towns and cities.
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Dec 10, 2023

Expressway

A road with few or no intersections or traffic lights.
The expressway's uninterrupted flow makes for a smooth journey.
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Dec 10, 2023

Highway

(historical) A road that is higher than the surrounding land and has drainage ditches at the sides
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Dec 10, 2023

Expressway

A major divided highway designed for high-speed travel, having few or no intersections. Also called freeway, limited access highway, superhighway, thruway.
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Dec 10, 2023

Highway

A main public road, especially a multi-lane, high-speed thoroughfare.
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Dec 10, 2023

Expressway

A divided highway, especially one whose intersections and direct access to adjacent properties have been eliminated.
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Dec 10, 2023

Highway

(figurative) A way; a path that leads to a certain destiny
You're on a highway to greatness.
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Expressway

A road built to freeway standards.
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Highway

Any public road for vehicular traffic.
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Dec 10, 2023

Expressway

A road built for high speed traffic, but not up to motorway standards or designated a motorway.
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Highway

(computing) bus
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Expressway

A broad highway designed for high-speed traffic
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Highway

To travel on a highway
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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.
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Dec 10, 2023

Highway

A major road for any form of motor transport
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Highway

A road with higher speed limits compared to city streets.
Driving on the highway allowed faster travel between cities.
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Dec 10, 2023

Repeatedly Asked Queries

Can bicycles use highways?

Yes, on some highways, but not on expressways.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 20, 2023

Do highways have speed limits?

Yes, but typically lower than expressways.
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Dec 20, 2023

Are highways safer than expressways?

It depends on various factors like traffic, road conditions, and design.
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Dec 20, 2023

Are there intersections on highways?

Yes, but expressways do not have intersections.
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Dec 20, 2023

What is a highway?

A highway is a main public road, often connecting cities and towns.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 20, 2023

How is an expressway different from a highway?

Expressways are high-speed roads with limited access, unlike highways with open access.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 20, 2023

Are expressways always toll roads?

Not always; some are toll-free.
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Dec 20, 2023

Do expressways connect to highways?

Yes, they often intersect or merge with highways.
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Can pedestrians access expressways?

No, expressways are for motor vehicles only.
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Dec 20, 2023

Is it faster to travel on an expressway?

Generally, yes, due to higher speed limits and limited access.
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Dec 20, 2023

Can you enter a highway from any point?

Often, yes, unlike controlled access on expressways.
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Dec 20, 2023

Are highways funded by the government?

Yes, typically by state or federal governments.
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Dec 20, 2023

Do expressways have rest areas?

Yes, but they are less frequent than on highways.
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What is the purpose of an expressway?

To facilitate quick, long-distance travel with minimal stops.
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Can trucks use expressways?

Yes, trucks often use expressways for efficient transportation.
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Is roadside assistance available on highways?

Yes, though services may vary.
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Dec 20, 2023

Is it legal to stop on an expressway?

Generally, stopping is only allowed in emergencies.
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Dec 20, 2023

Can you find gas stations on highways?

Yes, highways often have more frequent service areas than expressways.
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Dec 20, 2023

Do expressways have more lanes than highways?

Often, but not always.
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Dec 20, 2023

Are highways part of city infrastructure?

They can be, especially when passing through urban areas.
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Dec 20, 2023

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About Author
Shumaila Saeed
Written by
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed, an expert content creator with 6 years of experience, specializes in distilling complex topics into easily digestible comparisons, shining a light on the nuances that both inform and educate readers with clarity and accuracy.

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