Road Stories

Paving our Ways: A History of the World’s Roads and Pavements

Travel has always played an important role in the functioning of the human species. After our ancestors descended from the trees, the character of that role changed as human existence now relied on journeys across the ground. Frequent essential journeys to one particular location, such as a waterhole, led to the incidental creation of tracks and paths. Some paths later became wide enough to be called roads and some of these paths and roads came to have surfaces applied to them. The purpose of these surfaces – now called pavements – was to make travel easier or safer or more impressive. Our roads were the silver threads that tied our communities together over both distance and time, and the pavements were the fabric that turned those threads into a useful reality.