7 months ago
Last edited at 7:24AM on 8/6/2013
The words. You have different levels of roads - county primary and secondary routes, state routes, US routes, and interstates.
But then there are terms for the qualities in roads - private, low capacity, high capacity, limited access or controlled access, grade separated, toll road, etc.
When someone says "freeway" they typically mean a controlled-access road with no conflicting points - traffic can only travel one way with grade-separated entrance and exit points, NO intersections on the freeway itself. BUT "freeway" is just the layman's term - the correct term is "controlled access highway." (Just like "stop light" is a layman's term for "traffic signal." It's my job to know this stuff ;) )
I think the names are basically the same. Freeway tends to be used to describe an interstate or interstate-type highway (limited access roadways) and it seems like the term "freeway" is used a lot on California interstates, especially around Los Angeles.