Difference Between Tollway and Freeway

During travelling by road, we come across several types of roads such as highways, earthen roads, Gravel road, local roads etc. Some highways we come across charge toll.

The toll charged on some roads is meant for the maintenance of the roads and also for building new roads. To maintain the safety of the road, a certain amount is to be paid on the stops that are built at a certain distance on a certain highway.

Such places are called toll stops or toll plaza. Thus, two types of roads based on whether a toll is charged or not while travelling by them are 1. Tollway 2. Freeway

Tollway vs Freeway

The main difference between tollway and freeway is a certain amount of toll is charged while travelling by tollways. On the other hand, no toll is charged while travelling by freeways. The toll charged while travelling by tollways is a type of tax that is paid by citizens. Freeways do not charge any tax while travelling by it.

Tollway vs Freeway

To sustain the well-being of the road, travellers must pay a certain amount depending on the modes of transport they are using. In some countries, the toll levied on the travellers varies from modes of transportation that are being used by them while travelling.

A freeway which is also known as a controlled-access highway, motorway, expressway, or through way, does not charge any sort of taxes to the travellers while travelling. It is especially constructed for less traffic travelling and transportation.

Comparison Table Between Tollway and Freeway

Parameters of ComparisonTollwayFreeway
DefinitionA road used for transportation or travelling where a certain toll is levied for the welfare and construction of the road is called a tollway A road that is used for travelling or transportation but mostly for transportation of commercial transportation but where a toll is not charged is called a freeway
Also known asturnpike, toll highway, toll road, express toll routea controlled-access highway, motorway, expressway
First built on/inThe 1830s21 September 1924
PurposeTo levy toll for maintenance of roadsFor faster and quicker traveling by means of different lanes built through it
ExamplesSydney Harbour Bridge, Sydney Harbour Tunnel, M1 Eastern Distributor, Liefkenshoek Tunnel, Coquihalla Highway, A. Murray MacKay Bridge, Angus L. Macdonald Bridge, Ambassador Bridge, Ontario Highway 407, Mumbai Pune ExpresswayWabash freeway, Escondido freeway, Temecula Valley freeway, Arroyo Seco Parkway, John J. Montgomery Freeway, San Diego Freeway, Santa Ana Freeway, Golden State Freeway, Ocean Beach Freeway, Mission Valley Freeway, Kumeyaay Highway

What is Tollway?

A road meant for travelling and transportation of passengers as well as goods, where a certain amount of toll is levied for the betterment of road is called tollway. The toll collection stops are also called toll stops toll plazas, toll stations, toll bars, toll booths, toll houses, toll gates etc.

Nowadays, automatic toll machines are introduced for less manual labour in some parts of the world. The toll levied differs from the modes of transportation used by the passengers.

Examples of tollways are Mumbai Vadodara Expressway, Delhi Gurgaon Expressway, Sion Panvel Expressway, Mumbai Nashik Expressway, Ganga Expressway, Casablanca–Marrakesh, Sheikh Zayed Road, Severn Bridge, Indiana Toll Road.

Before automated toll payment or electronic toll payment, in the days when toll collection had just begun, the toll was charged on the passengers who used mountain passes or other places for travelling purpose.

In the early 7th century, the travellers who used the Susa-Babylon highway were charged with a toll as well. In the Middle Ages, travellers who travelled by Via Regia and Via Imperii highways in Europe were offered protection whilst their travelling experience in exchange for the toll paid by them.

Many European roads were constructed by the toll collected in the 19th century to build a potential transport link. For instance, the A5 road between England and Ireland had a toll plaza for toll collection. It not only created a stronger transport link but also maintained the A5 road.

The increased and developed technological inventions changed the traditional method of handing toll physically to the toll collector. The electronic and automated system for toll collection was introduced in several parts of the world.

People often find paying toll unnecessary and are prone to criticise the entire system. There are several critical interpretations by people about the toll collection system. Some people interpret it as a waste of time, or some people claim that a toll collection is a form of regressive taxation.

What is Freeway?

A road that is used for travelling or transportation but mostly for transportation of commercial transportation but where a toll is not charged is called a freeway. A freeway is a less traffic road, and most commercial transport takes place there.

Examples of freeways are Santa Monica Freeway, San Bernardino Freeway, Ontario Freeway, Mojave Freeway, Barstow Freeway, Hollywood Freeway, Santa Ana Freeway, Ventura Freeway, John J. Montgomery Freeway, Antelope Valley Freeway, South Bay Freeway, San Vicente Freeway, Ted Williams Freeway, Martin Luther King Jr. Freeway.

Vienna convention is followed by many countries, and according to the convention, only vehicles can make use of freeways and pedestrians and parking vehicles is strictly not allowed.

The foundation of freeways was evolved in the first half of the 20th century, but the first open freeway road was available for people on 21 September 1924 in Italy named A8-A9 between Milan and Varese. The rapid growth of the usage of vehicles led to the creation of freeways in the 1920s.

They created a hassle-free and faster travelling experience, which is why they were also called “dual highways”. A race track which is now known as a freeway in Berlin, is the oldest freeway in the world.

Freeways are the safest roads to travel by, and the safety rate of freeways is much higher than many other roadsThe death rate in different countries has lessened due to the usage done by people.

  1. Freeways ought to give a better experience to travellers rather than tollways because of the toll-free system used by freeways.
  2. Freeways are considered safer roads than tollways.
  3. The toll collection system of tollways is used since 2700 years ago. On the other hand, the ideology of freeways was brought into practice since the 1920s.
  4. Mostly commercial transport is done travelling by freeways, but on the other hand, local transportation of passengers is mostly done by tollways.
  5. Less traffic is seen on Freeways as compared to tollways.
Difference Between Tollway and Freeway


No matter which type of road is chosen by people, travelling and transportation has become easier due to the development of roads worldwide. Even if tollways have certain drawbacks, if the toll collected is used correctly, the trust in the system shall be redeemed.

The usage of freeways and tollways has created different interpretations in people’s mind, but the fact that many more facilitating roads will be built in future is exceptional and worth waiting for.

The development that took place in the roads even until now has been remarkable in most parts of the world and would continue in the future.

Even if people criticise tollways, the tax they pay as a responsible citizen of their respective countries tells a lot about their mindset behind the development of the roads and by that their countries. The drawbacks would be solved, and a harmonic travelling experience will be created.


  1. https://search.proquest.com/openview/346b7146fc33d3c474dc0422bf431858/1?pq-origsite=gscholar&cbl=1946335
  2. https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=-VcmEAAAQBAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PT14&dq=history+of+toll+roads&ots=m1u9JhEqPK&sig=Ph1XogL2pHQKzU7HmlqZpfkt_HA
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