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A thoroughfare is a primary passage or way as a transit route through regularly trafficked areas, whether by road on dry land or, by extension, via watercraft or aircraft. [1] On land, a thoroughfare may refer to anything from a multi-lane highway with grade-separated junctions to a rough trail.[ citation needed ] Thoroughfares are used by a variety of traffic, such as cars, as well as pedestrians on roads and highways. On water, a thoroughfare may refer to a strait, channel, or waterway. The term may also refer to access to a route, distinct from the route itself. Thus, thoroughfare may refer to the legal right to use a particular way.[ citation needed ]


Different terms

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Road Land route for travel by vehicles

A road is a linear way for the conveyance of traffic that mostly has an improved surface for use by vehicles and pedestrians. Unlike streets, the main function of roads is transportation.

Trail riding Traveling on trails and forest roads by horse, bicycle, motorcycle, or all-terrain vehicle

Trail riding is riding outdoors on trails, bridle paths, and forest roads, but not on roads regularly used by motorised traffic. A trail ride can be of any length, including a long distance, multi-day trip. It originated with horse riding, and in North America, the equestrian form is usually called "trail riding," or, less often "hacking." In the UK and Europe, the practice is usually called horse or pony trekking.

Trail Path with a rough beaten or dirt/stone surface used for travel

A trail, also known as a path or track, is an unpaved lane or small road usually through a natural area. In the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland, a path or footpath is the preferred term for a pedestrian or hiking trail. The term is also applied in North America to routes along rivers, and sometimes to highways. In the US, the term was historically used for a route into or through wild territory used by explorers and migrants. In the United States, "trace" is a synonym for trail, as in Natchez Trace.

Parkway Landscaped thoroughfare

A parkway is a landscaped thoroughfare. The term is particularly used for a roadway in a park or connecting to a park from which trucks and other heavy vehicles are excluded.

Pedestrian Person traveling on foot

A pedestrian is a person travelling on foot, whether walking or running. In modern times, the term usually refers to someone walking on a road or pavement, but this was not the case historically.

Trans Canada Trail Network of multiuse trails across Canada

The Trans Canada Trail, officially named The Great Trail between September 2016 and June 2021, is a cross-Canada system of greenways, waterways, and roadways that stretches from the Atlantic to the Pacific to the Arctic oceans. The trail extends over 24,000 km (15,000 mi); it is now the longest recreational, multi-use trail network in the world. The idea for the trail began in 1992, shortly after the Canada 125 celebrations. Since then it has been supported by donations from individuals, corporations, foundations, and all levels of government.

Footpath Thoroughfare for pedestrians

A footpath is a type of thoroughfare that is intended for use only by pedestrians and not other forms of traffic such as motorized vehicles, cycles, and horses. They can be found in a wide variety of places, from the centre of cities, to farmland, to mountain ridges. Urban footpaths are usually paved, may have steps, and can be called alleys, lanes, steps, etc.

Rights of way in England and Wales Overview of the rights of way in England and Wales

In England and Wales, other than in the 12 Inner London boroughs and the City of London, the right of way is a legally protected right of the public to pass and re-pass on specific paths. The law in England and Wales differs from Scots law in that rights of way exist only where they are so designated, whereas in Scotland any route that meets certain conditions is defined as a right of way, and in addition, there is a general presumption of access to the countryside. Private rights of way or easements also exist.

Bike path Bikeway separated from motorized traffic

A bike path is a bikeway separated from motorized traffic and dedicated to cycling or shared with pedestrians or other non-motorized users. In the US a bike path sometimes encompasses shared use paths, "multi-use path", or "Class III bikeway" is a paved path that has been designated for use by cyclists outside the right of way of a public road. It may or may not have a center divider or stripe to prevent head-on collisions. In the UK, a shared-use footway or multi-use path is for use by both cyclists and pedestrians.

Green lane (road)

A green lane is a type of road, usually an unmetalled rural route.

Greenway (landscape) Shared-use path or linear park with vegetation

A greenway is usually a shared-use path along a strip of undeveloped land, in an urban or rural area, set aside for recreational use or environmental protection. Greenways are frequently created out of disused railways, canal towpaths, utility or similar rights of way, or derelict industrial land. Greenways also can also be linear parks, and can serve as wildlife corridors. The path's surface may be paved and often serves multiple users: walkers, runners, bicyclists, skaters and hikers. A characteristic of greenways, as defined by the European Greenways Association, is "ease of passage": that is that they have "either low or zero gradient", so that they can be used by all "types of users, including mobility impaired people".

Bridle path Path that can be used by people riding horses

A bridle path, also bridleway, equestrian trail, horse riding path, ride, bridle road, or horse trail, is a trail or a thoroughfare that is used by people riding on horses. Trails originally created for use by horses often now serve a wider range of users, including equestrians, hikers, and cyclists. Such paths are either impassable for motorized vehicles, or vehicles are banned. The laws relating to allowable uses vary from country to country.

Genesee Valley Greenway

The Genesee Valley Greenway is a rail trail in western New York's Genesee River valley.

Ringwood–Belgrave Rail Trail

The Ringwood - Belgrave Rail Trail is a shared use path for cyclists and pedestrians, which follows the Belgrave railway line from the Mullum Mullum Creek Trail in Ringwood to Belgrave railway station in Belgrave, in the outer eastern suburbs of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

Long-distance trail Long trail used for walking, backpacking, cycling, horse riding or cross-country skiing

A long-distance trail is a longer recreational trail mainly through rural areas used for hiking, backpacking, cycling, horse riding or cross-country skiing. They exist on all continents except Antarctica.

Bike paths in Sydney Bike paths

Bike paths in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, vary widely, with the majority either shared cycle and pedestrian paths or on road paths, and a small number of separated cycleways. In 2009 the Sydney Morning Herald reported that "Sydney's cycleways are not so much an organised network as a fragmented collection of winding paths and half-finished ideas. Most were built or designed when cycling was viewed as a pleasant pastime rather than a practical form of travel and are now poorly suited to commuting."

Right of way Legal right to pass through land belonging to another

Right of way is the legal right, established by grant from a landowner or long usage, to pass along a specific route through property belonging to another. A similar right of access also exists on land held by a government, lands that are typically called public land, state land, or Crown land. When one person owns a piece of land that is bordered on all sides by lands owned by others, an easement may exist or might be created so as to initiate a right of way through the bordering land.

Glossary of road transport terms

Terminology related to road transport—the transport of passengers or goods on paved routes between places—is diverse, with variation between dialects of English. There may also be regional differences within a single country, and some terms differ based on the side of the road traffic drives on. This glossary is an alphabetical listing of road transport terms.

The Vancouver Greenway Network is a collection of greenways across Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Greenways are streets where pedestrians and cyclists are prioritized over motorized vehicles, through structures such as road closures and road diverters to prevent or limit motor vehicle traffic, widened sidewalk-promenades, narrowed road space, speed restrictions, bike lanes, raised sidewalks and speed bumps. The City of Vancouver hopes to create and maintain the trend of constructing new greenways to establish a network where, potentially, every citizen could access a city greenway within a 25-minute walking or a 10-minute cycling distance of their home.

Bike freeway

A bike freeway, also known as a cycling superhighway, fast cycle route or bicycle highway, is an informal name for a bicycle path that is meant for long-distance traffic. There is no official definition of a bicycle highway. The characteristics of a cycle motorway mentioned by authorities and traffic experts include an absence of single-level intersections with motorized traffic, a better road surface and the absence of traffic lights. Bicycle highways are mentioned in connection with traffic jam. Owing to higher average speeds than normal cycling infrastructure, they provide an alternative to the car in commuter traffic. Often a cycle motorway follows the route of a railway or other linear infrastructure.


  1. "Definition of Thoroughfare". Etymology Online Dictionary. Retrieved 27 February 2021.
  2. "thoroughfare".