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Intersection vs. Crossroad — What's the Difference?

By Maham Liaqat & Urooj Arif — Updated on April 15, 2024
An intersection is any point where two or more roads meet, irrespective of their configuration, while a crossroad specifically refers to roads that meet at a right angle.
Intersection vs. Crossroad — What's the Difference?

Difference Between Intersection and Crossroad


Key Differences

An intersection is a general term used to describe any place where two or more roads cross each other at any angle. On the other hand, a crossroad is a type of intersection where the roads meet at approximately right angles.
Intersections can be controlled by traffic signals, stop signs, or be uncontrolled, depending on traffic volume and road rules. Whereas, crossroads are often governed by the same traffic control measures but are typically visualized as rural or less complex urban junctions.
The design of an intersection can vary widely from simple, flat road crossings to complex multi-level interchanges with flyovers and underpasses. Crossroads, however, are usually at-grade intersections without multiple levels.
Traffic at intersections can flow in multiple directions including turning and straight movements, depending on the design and traffic control measures in place. In contrast, traffic at crossroads generally involves more straightforward, direct paths across the intersecting roads.
Safety measures at intersections can include crosswalks, signal lights, and turning lanes. Crossroads, while they may employ similar safety features, typically have a simpler layout and thus may require fewer complex safety implementations.

Comparison Chart


A junction where two or more roads meet.
A junction where two roads meet at right angles.


Can be simple or complex, including multi-level.
Typically simple and at-grade.

Traffic Control

May have signals, signs, or no control.
Commonly controlled by stop signs or signals.


Supports multiple traffic flows and directions.
Usually supports direct traffic flows.

Safety Features

Includes crosswalks, lights, possibly more.
May have basic safety features like crosswalks.

Compare with Definitions


A point where two or more roads meet.
The intersection of Main St. and Orchard Rd. is always busy during rush hour.


A junction where two roads meet at right angles.
We'll meet at the old crossroad by the maple tree.


A meeting point of paths that can vary in complexity.
The large intersection downtown facilitates smooth traffic flow with its traffic lights.


Governed by straightforward traffic rules.
At the crossroad, the rule is to yield to the right.


A convergence point for multiple directions.
At the intersection, you can turn left, right, or continue straight ahead.


May have minimal but effective safety features.
The crossroad has newly painted crosswalks to improve visibility.


A junction that can include various traffic controls.
The new intersection near the school now has a four-way stop.


Typically found in rural or simpler urban areas.
The crossroad out in the country is marked by a single stop sign.


A point that can be equipped with advanced safety features.
This intersection has pedestrian signals for safer crossings.


Supports straightforward traffic movements.
Turn right at the crossroad to head towards the hills.


In mathematics, the intersection of two or more objects is another, usually "smaller" object. Intuitively, the intersection of objects is that which belongs to all of them.


A road that intersects another road.


The act, process, or result of intersecting.


A place where two or more roads meet.


A place where things intersect, especially a place where two or more roads cross.


A small, usually rural community situated at an intersection of two or more roads
Asked for directions at a remote crossroads.


The point or locus of points where one line, surface, or solid crosses another.


A place that is centrally located
"Even after the effective end of the French empire in Africa by 1960, Paris remained a crossroads for African students and diplomats" (Tyler Stovall).


A set that contains elements shared by two or more given sets.


A crucial point
"At midlife, couples are at a crossroads of change, just as individuals are" (Judith Wallerstein).


The junction of two (or more) paths, streets, highways, or other thoroughfares.


A crossroads place where one road crosses another.


Any overlap, confluence, or crossover.


A road that crosses another.


(geometry) The point or set of points common to two geometrical objects (such as the point where two lines meet or the line where two planes intersect).


A road that crosses another; an obscure road intersecting or avoiding the main road.


(set theory) The set containing all the elements that are common to two or more sets.


A junction where one street or road crosses another


(sports) The element where two or more straight lines of synchronized skaters pass through each other.[,10869,4844-128590-19728-18885-295370-3787-4771-layout160-129898-news-item,00.html]


(category theory) The pullback of a corner of monics.


The act, state, or place of intersecting.


The point or line in which one line or surface cuts another.


A point where lines intersect


A junction where one street or road crosses another


A point or set of points common to two or more geometric configurations


The set of elements common to two or more sets;
The set of red hats is the intersection of the set of hats and the set of red things


A representation of common ground between theories or phenomena;
There was no overlap between their proposals


The act of intersecting (as joining by causing your path to intersect your target's path)

Common Curiosities

What defines a crossroad?

A crossroad specifically refers to intersections where roads meet at right angles.

What are common features of intersections?

Intersections can feature multiple traffic control options and may have complex layouts.

What defines an intersection?

An intersection is any point where two or more roads cross paths at any angle.

Are all intersections crossroads?

No, not all intersections are crossroads; crossroads are a specific type of intersection.

What are common features of crossroads?

Crossroads typically involve simpler, straightforward designs with basic traffic control.

How do safety measures differ between intersections and crossroads?

Intersections may have more complex safety features due to varied traffic patterns, whereas crossroads usually have simpler setups.

Are crossroads safer than other types of intersections?

Not necessarily, but their simplicity can reduce certain types of accidents.

Where are crossroads more common?

Crossroads are often found in rural areas or simpler urban contexts.

Do crossroads always have stop signs?

Many do, but not all; some might be controlled by traffic lights.

Can intersections be uncontrolled?

Yes, some intersections may have no specific traffic control measures, especially in low-traffic areas.

Can an intersection include a railway track?

Yes, intersections can include various crossings, including roads and railways.

Is pedestrian safety different at intersections versus crossroads?

Yes, intersections often have more pedestrian safety measures due to higher traffic volumes and multiple directions.

How do traffic signals function differently in these contexts?

Traffic signals at intersections often manage multiple lanes and directions, while at crossroads, they typically control less complex traffic flows.

What should a driver do at an uncontrolled intersection?

Drivers should yield according to right-of-way rules, which might differ by location.

What should a driver do at a crossroad with stop signs?

Drivers should stop completely and proceed when it's safe and clear.

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Author Spotlight

Written by
Maham Liaqat
Co-written by
Urooj Arif
Urooj is a skilled content writer at Ask Difference, known for her exceptional ability to simplify complex topics into engaging and informative content. With a passion for research and a flair for clear, concise writing, she consistently delivers articles that resonate with our diverse audience.

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