Roads and highways, traveled way on which people, animals, or wheeled vehicles move. In modern usage the term road describes a rural, lesser traveled way, while the word street denotes an urban roadway. Highway refers to a major rural traveled way; more recently it has been used for a road, in either a rural or urban area, where points of entrance and exit for traffic are limited and controlled.
The most ancient name for these arteries of travel seems to be the antecedent of the modern way. Way stems from the Middle English wey, which in turn branches from the Latin veho (“I carry”), derived from the Sanskrit vah (“carry,” “go,” or “move”). The word highway goes back to the elevated Roman roads that had a mound or hill formed by earth from the side ditches thrown toward the centre, thus high way. The word street originates with the Latin strata (initially, “paved”) and later strata via (“a way paved with stones”). Street was used by the Anglo-Saxons for all the roads that they inherited from the Romans. By the Middle Ages, constructed roads were to be found only in the towns, and so street took on its modern limited application to town roads. The more recent word road, derived from the Old English word rád (“to ride”) and the Middle English rode or rade (“a mounted journey”), is now used to indicate all vehicular ways.
Modern roads can be classified by type or function. The basic type is the conventional undivided two-way road. Beyond this are divided roads, expressways (divided roads with most side access controlled and some minor at-grade intersections), and freeways (expressways with side access fully controlled and no at-grade intersections). An access-controlled road with direct user charges is known as a tollway. In the United Kingdom freeways and expressways are referred to as motorways.