Driver Knowledge Tests

What’s the difference between a street, road, avenue, close and boulevard – road naming conventions

There are a large number of names used for different types of route. There are loose guidelines for which word should be chosen when new roads are created:

Alley – a narrow roadway, often just for pedestrians or cycles, in a heavily urbanised area

Approach – a road that leads to an area of interest

Arcade – a walkway between shops that is typically covered. It could be a thoroughfare (i.e. open at both ends)

Avenue – usually a straight road lined with trees

Boardwalk – a pedestrian-only road

Boulevard – usually a wide road, often lined with trees and with other plantings and shrubs

Break – originally a firebreak, it’s now a road

Bypass – an alternative route that avoids congested areas

Chase – a roadway leading down to a valley

Circle – generally a road which forms a circle

Circuit – similar to a loop (see loop below) – it encloses an area

Close – a cul-de-sac, or dead-end road that is short

Concourse – similar to a square or a circle; it surrounds an area of interest such as public space or a commercial area

Court – similar to a close, but often among taller buildings

Crescent – a road which describes a crescent shape, sometimes with an opening both ends

Crest – a roadway along the top of a ridge or hill

Drive – a main road that links two other main roads, usually without many joining roads

Entrance – a roadway connecting other roads

Esplanade – a wide, level road, usually on the waterfront

Firetrail – see break

Freeway – a multi-lane highway

Glade – usually a narrower road, often in a valley, where trees shade the road; often leads to a park

Glen – usually a smaller road which some kind of natural valley or vegetation feature

Grange – a roadway that leads to a country estate or public open space

Grove – a road that has a clump of trees at some point; often called by the name of the tree, e.g. Pine Grove

Highway – a main thoroughfare or route

Lane – a narrower country road, or a road between buildings, sometimes pedestrian-only

Loop – a road with two access points to another road

Mall – a wide walkway with shops either side

Mews – a small version of a close; typically an accessway for a small number of houses

Motorway – a legal motorway

Parade – similar to an esplanade, but not next to the water

Parkway – a road through parklands

Passage – a narrow pedestrian-only street

Place – similar to a close or mews

Plaza – a road that encloses the four sides of an area forming an open space; similar to a square

Promenade – similar to an esplanade

Quay – a road along the water’s edge

Retreat – a secluded road

Ridge – see crest

Rise – a road that changes elevation substantially

Road – an open road that is primarily for vehicles

Square – a road that’s formed into a square, or is bounded by a square

Steps – a route consisting mainly of steps

Street – a road but with more footpaths and buildings

Terrace – a road in a hilly area which is flat, or a road with terraced housing, or a road that stands above another feature

View – a roadway which has a wide or panoramic view across the surrounding areas

Vista – similar to a view (the word is Spanish/Italian for ‘view’)

Walk – a pedestrian-only route

Way – usually a short road, sometimes with an exit at either end

Wharf – a road on a wharf or pier

As many towns and cities have developed substantially since these roads were originally named, they may no longer resemble the original intent of the name.

Darren is an expert on driving and transport, and is a member of the Institute of Advanced Motorists

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