What's the Difference Between a Street and a Road?



From corvée to toll

Through the millennia, responsibility for financing and building roads and highways has been both a local and a national responsibility in the nations of the world. It is notable that this responsibility has changed along with political attitudes toward road building and has not rested easily with any party. Many roads initially were built to provide rulers with a means of conquest, control, and taxation; in periods of peace, the same rulers usually tried to pass the maintenance responsibilities on to local authorities, adjoining landowners, or the travelers who used the road. Local authorities and landowners usually fulfilled their responsibilities via the corvée, in which people were required to donate their labour to road work. Corvée was always unpopular and unproductive, but it was nevertheless more effective than attempts at direct taxation.

The last option, charging the traveler, gave rise to the toll road, a system that blossomed with the Industrial Revolution. Private turnpike trusts dominated British road building and maintenance throughout the 19th century, eventually covering 15 percent of the entire network. In the United States many toll roads were constructed in the first half of the 19th century under charters granted by the states.

What does Street mean?

A Street is generally lined with houses on both sides whereas you do not see many houses on the sides of a road. More people generally use the street to traverse. A Street does not have many official buildings, business establishments and other buildings. Unlike in a road that is massive in length and size, you can locate an address quite easily in a street. Since streets are used primarily by people on foot, it is quite possible that streets have markets such as vegetable market, fish market and other types of markets.

Also read: Difference Between Street and Avenue

The  United States and  Canada

The United States and Canada

The mammoth U.S. Interstate Highway System (formally, the National System of Interstate and Defense Highways) developed in response to strong public pressures in the 1950s for a better road system. These pressures culminated in the establishment by President Dwight Eisenhower of the Clay Committee in 1954. Following this committee’s recommendations, the Federal Aid Highway Act and the Highway Revenue Act of 1956 provided funding for an accelerated program of construction. A federal gasoline tax was established, the funds from which, with other highway-user payments, were placed in a Highway Trust Fund. The federal-state ratio for funding construction of the Interstate System was changed to 90 percent federal and 10 percent state. It was expected that the system would be completed no later than 1971, but cost increases and planning delays extended this time by some 25 years. The system grew to a total length of more than 45,000 miles, connecting nearly all the major cities in the United States and carrying more than 20 percent of the nation’s traffic on slightly more than 1 percent of the total road and street system.

The Canadian Highway Act of 1919 provided for a system of 40,000 kilometres (25,000 miles) of highways and provided for a federal allotment for construction not to exceed 40 percent of the cost. By the end of the century, more than 134,000 kilometres (83,000 miles) of highway had been built, of which approximately 16,000 kilometres (9,900 miles) were freeway.


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