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1. North Yungus Road, Bolivia
2. Los Caracoles Pass, Chile and Argentina
3. Oberalp Pass, Switzerland
4. Red Rock Scenic Byway, Arizona
5. Furka Pass, Switzerland
6. Highway 1, California
7. The Atlantic Road, Norway
8. White Rim Road, Utah
9. Tianmen Mountain Road, China
10. Seven Mile Bridge, Florida
A road is a thoroughfare, route, or way on land between two places, which has been paved or otherwise improved to allow travel by some conveyance, including a horse, cart, or motor vehicle. Roads consist of one, or sometimes two, roadways (British English: carriageways) each with one or more lanes and also any associated sidewalks (British English: pavement) and road verges. Roads that are available for use by the public may be referred to as public roads or highways.
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) defines a road as “a line of communication (travelled way) using a stabilized base other than rails or air strips open to public traffic, primarily for the use of road motor vehicles running on their own wheels,” which includes “bridges, tunnels, supporting structures, junctions, crossings, interchanges, and toll roads, but not cycle paths.”
In urban areas roads may diverge through a city or village and be named as streets, serving a dual function as urban space easement and route. Modern roads are normally smoothed, paved, or otherwise prepared to allow easy travel. Historically many roads were simply recognizable routes without any formal construction or maintenance.
The assertion that the first pathways were the trails made by animals has not been universally accepted; in many cases animals do not follow constant paths. Others believe that some roads originated from following animal trails. The Icknield Way is given as an example of this type of road origination, where man and animal both selected the same natural line. By about 10,000 BC, rough roads/pathways were used by human travelers.
The world’s oldest known paved road was laid in Egypt some time between 2600 and 2200 BC.
Stone-paved streets are found in the city of Ur in the Middle East dating back to 4000 BC.
Corduroy roads (log roads) are found dating to 4000 BC in Glastonbury, England.
The Sweet Track, a timber track causeway in England, is one of the oldest engineered roads discovered and the oldest timber trackway discovered in Northern Europe. Built in winter 3807 BC or spring 3806 BC, tree-ring dating (Dendrochronology) enabled very precise dating. It was claimed to be the oldest road in the world until the 2009 discovery of a 6,000-year-old trackway in Plumstead, London.
Brick-paved streets were used in India as early as 3000 BC .
In 500 BC, Darius I the Great started an extensive road system for Persia (Iran), including the Royal Road, which was one of the finest highways of its time. The road remained in use after Roman times.
In ancient times, transport by river was far easier and faster than transport by road, especially considering the cost of road construction and the difference in carrying capacity between carts and river barges. A hybrid of road transport and ship transport beginning in about 1740 is the horse-drawn boat in which the horse follows a cleared path along the river bank.
From about 312 BC, the Roman Empire built straight strong stone Roman roads throughout Europe and North Africa, in support of its military campaigns. At its peak the Roman Empire was connected by 29 major roads moving out from Rome and covering 78,000 kilometers or 52,964 Roman miles of paved roads.
In the 8th century AD, many roads were built throughout the Arab Empire. The most sophisticated roads were those in Baghdad, which were paved with tar. Tar was derived from petroleum, accessed from oil fields in the region, through the chemical process of destructive distillation.
The Highways Act 1555 in Britain transferred responsibility for maintaining roads from government to local parishes. This resulted in a poor and variable state of roads. To remedy this, the first of the “Turnpike trusts” was established around 1706, to build good road