Philip Newton (pne) wrote,
Philip Newton

If people built roads today…

I was looking at a map of England just now and saw quite a few places where otherwise-straight roads had little “bumps” around them, to bypass a town.

And that made me wonder.

Way back when, roads went from town to town (or, sometimes, roads—especially Roman Roads—went from A to B and then towns formed around them, especially around crossings). But nowadays, people don’t want through traffic (especially heavy goods vehicles) to thunder through their town streets.

So I wonder what things would be like if people built roads today? Do people plan on fairly straight roads that deliberately bypass human settlements, but go close enough to them that towns are easily reached by a spur road?

I suppose the answer lies in looking at the alignments of motorways, which tend to pass by towns without going through them. But they tend to snake their way through the place rather than being nice and aesthetically straight. I suppose they tend follow contours of the land (and historically-grown built-up areas which they try to avoid).

You’d probably have to start completely from scratch, building both towns and roads in an empty expanse, in order to have “pretty” long-distance roads that are also functional by the way we tend to use roads now.

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