Motorway vs Freeway
The difference between motorway and freeway can be explained based on some facts such as the number of lanes. If you have traveled to different parts of the world, you must have encountered a different system of naming highways. There are expressways, freeways, interstates, throughways, and so on. These are really confusing, and if you are in a foreign country driving on a highway, you must have a clear understanding of these terms. They present different features that put a difference into each one such as charges made, types of vehicle that can travel, etc. In this article, we shall restrict to the terms motorway and freeway.
It was an increasing demand from the public as well as a rapid increase in the number of automobiles on road that forced governments to come up with a network of paved roads to connect two or more important cities in the country. Construction of highways meant faster and more efficient road transport for people, and soon nearly all countries of the world developed their own network of roads connecting different cities that became lifelines of road transport.
What is a Motorway?
Motorway is a term that is used mostly in England and some other European countries. This is also a type of highway. The M series of roads connecting major cities in England are famous in all parts of the world. These are actually highways with restricted entry or rather controlled access that is intended to provide uninterrupted, fast moving traffic without traffic signals. A motorway usually has two lanes for each side of the road. In England, there is even a different number system to number these Motorways. The M series roads we spoke of earlier are the example for that. There are motorways such as M1, M2, M3, and M4.
Different countries use different numbering systems for motorways. We spoke about England, now let us see some other countries. In Australia, motorway numbering differs from state to state. By now, most states are changing to the number system with the prefix M. When it comes to Germany, federal motorway has the prefix A. In Netherlands, you can get the motorway number with the original national highway number, but with the prefix A.
What is a Freeway?
Freeways are also highways with controlled access. However, freeways do not charge any toll. As a result, they are called freeways. Both motorway and freeway are used to refer to highways that are raised roadway with many entry and exit points through ramps. When it comes to the number of lanes, freeways are supposed to have lanes up to six all through. Freeway also has limited access. That means, not all types of vehicles can travel in a freeway. Bicyclists, pedestrians, and equestrians are not allowed to travel in a freeway as they cannot match the speed of the traffic on those roads.
What is the difference between Motorway and Freeway?
• Definition of Motorway and Freeway:
• Freeway is a term used to refer to the type of highways. It is a road without any intersections so as to allow motorists to drive at high speeds, and it is also free of charge unlike many highways, where toll is charged from motorists.
• Motorway is a term more popular in Britain and some other European countries and refers to highways that connect most major cities of the country. In UK, England has M series of highways, while Ireland has its own motorways that are differently named.
• Number of Lanes:
• Freeways can have up to six lanes all through.
• Motorways usually have two lanes per one side.
• Toll Payment:
• Freeway does not charge the motorist for the usage of the highway.
• Motorways charge toll.
• Controlled Access:
Motorway and freeway are both controlled access highways. That means, not everyone can travel in them. Usually, there is an accepted vehicle weight and minimum power to travel on a motorway or a freeway. Pedestrians, bicyclists, equestrians are not allowed on these roads. However, when a road that exists is turned into a motorway, Britain sometimes keeps those roads as not fully motorways for the ease of the traffic that used to travel using those roads.
- Junction 5 of the M2 Britain by Loganberry (CC BY-SA 2.0)
- Freeway, Los Angeles, 2009 by Myriam Thyes (CC BY-SA 3.0)