A freeway — also known as a highway, superhighway, autoroute, autobahn, autopista, autovía, autostrada, autosnelweg (Netherlands), dual carriageway, expressway, or motorway — is a type of road designed for safer high-speed operation of motor vehicles through the elimination of at-grade intersections. This is accomplished by preventing access to and from adjacent properties and eliminating all cross traffic through the use of grade separations and interchanges; railroad crossings are also removed. Such highways are usually divided with at least two lanes in each direction. Because traffic never crosses at-grade, there are generally no traffic lights or stop signs.
The word freeway first surfaced in the mid-1930s in proposals for the improvement of the New York City parkway network. It is currently in regular use in the United States as well as parts of Canada and Australia. Other countries refer to a freeway as a grade-separated highway or a superhighway.
In the United States, the term freeway is frequently used. In some regions of the U.S., other terms are also used, including Interstate, highway, expressway, and turnpike. While some people use these terms interchangeably, turnpikes and thruways have specific associations with toll roads and other limited access highways, such as the Pennsylvania Turnpike, West Virginia Turnpike, New Jersey Turnpike, Florida's Turnpike, and New York State Thruway; consequently, the term freeway is often used in contrast to refer only to a toll-free road as opposed to its original meaning – in which the component "free" implied freedom from traffic interference rather than "at no cost" – still used in other countries and in parts of the U.S.