Road - INTRODUCTION
TYPES OF ROADS
Highways
Urban Streets
Rural Roads
ROADWAY ENGINEERING
Roadbed
Base Course
Wearing Course
Bituminous Pavement
Concrete Pavement
ROAD PLANNING AND ADMINISTRATION
HISTORY OF ROAD CONSTRUCTION


AUTOMOBILE
AUTOMOBILE INDUSTRY
PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION
TRUCK


ROAD PLANNING AND ADMINISTRATION






Arizona Gas Station on Route 66 | U.S. Highways


Arizona gas station on Route 66

This sleepy Arizona gas station on Route 66 provides little hint of the appeal that this historic highway once held for the American driving public. Constructed in the 1920s as part of the government’s program of national highway development, Route 66 came to symbolize the mobility and spirit of independence that the age of the automobile brought to America. The route connected the urban metropolises of Chicago and Los Angeles with small town America, taking a diagonal course across the country through rural Missouri and Oklahoma to New Mexico and Arizona. American novelist John Steinbeck called Route 66 the “Mother Road” because many people fleeing the Dust Bowl in Oklahoma used it to migrate to California. Route 66 had become part of American cultural lore by the 1960s, when it was the subject of a TV series. Today people travel Route 66 for a nostalgia trip to a simpler American past. (ROAD PLANNING AND ADMINISTRATION, Arizona Gas Station on Route 66, Highways Travel, U.S. Highways, CARS)

In the United States, the state governments are responsible for constructing and maintaining interstate highways, U.S. highways, and state highways. Local governments—counties, cities, and townships—are generally responsible for the rest of the road system. In Canada, the provincial governments share the obligation for road planning and construction with local cities and municipalities. Many groups, including road users, business owners, the general public, and environmental groups, have interests and concerns in regard to road construction. The various government agencies involved attempt to balance these concerns when planning a road system. (ROAD PLANNING AND ADMINISTRATION, Highways Travel, Arizona Gas Station on Route 66, U.S. Highways, CARS)

In the first quarter of the 20th century, roads in the United States and Canada were often little more than dirt paths. These primitive roads were impassable after heavy rains, and automobiles would become stranded in thick mud. At the time, highway agencies concentrated on little more than paving existing rural roads. A more organized program of planning in the United States began in earnest in 1934, when the U.S. Congress passed the Hayden-Cartwright Act. This act provided federal aid for state highway departments to plan in-depth studies. By 1940 most states were examining such factors as road conditions, volume and nature of highway traffic, highway lifespans, and future highway needs. Later highway acts expanded funding to include considerations of state policies and state, regional, and local issues. (ROAD PLANNING AND ADMINISTRATION, Highways Travel, Arizona Gas Station on Route 66, U.S. Highways, CARS)

Today, federal funding and planning guidelines in the United States are administered by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) of the U.S. Department of Transportation. The FHWA distributes funds according to formulas established by Congress and sets general policies for design, construction, operations, and maintenance. The agency does not, however, provide any of these functions. Its basic goal is to provide for a safe and consistent national system of highways. The state departments of transportation or local governments actually plan, construct, and maintain the highway systems. (ROAD PLANNING AND ADMINISTRATION, Highways Travel, Arizona Gas Station on Route 66, U.S. Highways, CARS)

Local highway agencies include those operated by counties, cities, and townships. Cities operate primarily with local funds, typically under a mayor or city manager. A city’s public works department may be responsible for most road functions, or there may be separate departments for design, construction, and maintenance. Counties and townships, as well as small towns and villages, typically have less complex systems. (ROAD PLANNING AND ADMINISTRATION, Highways Travel, Arizona Gas Station on Route 66, U.S. Highways, CARS)
Highways Travel

An extensive network of interstates and other highways gives motorists the freedom to travel to many areas in the United States. Designed to alleviate traffic and to make long trips safer, faster, and more convenient, the interstate system includes approximately 70,000 km (43,400 mi) of road. Local highways generally connect major towns and popular locations within a relatively small area, while interstates connect the major cities in a broader region. Theoretically, a motorist could cross the country from coast to coast on interstates without encountering a single traffic signal. (ROAD PLANNING AND ADMINISTRATION, Highways Travel, Arizona Gas Station on Route 66, U.S. Highways, CARS)

In Canada, the majority of roads are constructed and funded by individual provinces and cities, with the federal government playing a minor role. Provincial and municipal governments responded to increases in motor vehicle use during the early part of the 20th century by expanding and improving the road network already in existence. At the time, individual cities were responsible for road construction and maintenance. As automobile and truck use expanded, the provincial governments began to establish highway departments and allocate funds for highway construction. (ROAD PLANNING AND ADMINISTRATION, Highways Travel, Arizona Gas Station on Route 66, U.S. Highways, CARS)

The Canadian federal government does not play as large a role in highway planning and funding as does the U.S. government. However, in the late 1980s the Canadian federal government instituted the National Highway System, a network of over 24,000 km (15,000 mi) of roads connecting major cities and ports. The federal government also supports highways located on federal property, such as national parks, and maintains the Canadian portion of the Alaska Highway. (ROAD PLANNING AND ADMINISTRATION, Arizona Gas Station on Route 66, Highways Travel, U.S. Highways, CARS)

In planning roadway improvements, engineers collect data about current roadway use and planned new uses of roads, as well as other information, such as planned construction or nearby development. They also examine the land and decide where bridges or viaducts may be needed to carry the roadway over obstacles like rivers or other roads. Engineers then use computers to simulate or model new roadway designs. Depending on available funding, projects are planned for construction based on the priorities of the highway department and of the state, provincial, or local government in charge. (ROAD PLANNING AND ADMINISTRATION, Arizona Gas Station on Route 66, Highways Travel, U.S. Highways, CARS)

ROAD PLANNING AND ADMINISTRATION | Highways Travel | Arizona Gas Station on Route 66 | U.S. Highways | CARS