Chuck Marohn at strongtowns.org eloquently describes the difference between a road and a street. Most people use the terms interchangeably, but it’s important to understand the distinction. Above we have roads. They’re designed specifically to allow vehicles to travel as quickly and efficiently as possible between two places. A road is entirely about getting from Point A to Point B. Period.
In contrast, these are streets – some as narrow as six or seven feet across. Streets are a platform for building value through economic and cultural activity. People live, work, and socialize along a street in a way that doesn’t work at all on a road.
Vendors attempt to conduct business on the side of a road, perhaps with some limited success if there’s enough congestion to slow the vehicles down. But it’s just not a great environment for commerce.
Pedestrians and cyclists don’t do well on roads either. A good road intentionally excludes hazardous objects like humans in order to increase travel speeds and improve safety for motorists.
The flip side is also true. You absolutely don’t want to be a motorist on a really thriving street clogged with people, commerce, and casual socializing. Streets are terrible places for cars and trucks.
So there you have it. The difference between a road and a street – India Style.