Full text: Modern business geography

Modern Business Geography 
The qualities of a good road. In the backward or very mountainous 
regions, most, of the roads are merely trails worn by the feet of people 
and animals. In slightly more favored districts, the roads are rough 
tracks worn by the wheels of carts. Where the traffic is light and the 
soil firm, such a track may be sufficient in dry weather, but is likely to 
be difficult when wet. For heavy teams and automobiles, roads of 
gravel, broken stone, brick, cement, or the like are needed. It is also 
necessary to crown the road; that is, to make the surface slope grad- 
ually from the center so that rain water will drain away immediately 
rather than flow along the roadway and wear gullies. The ideal road 
must be as straight and level as possible, and therefore cuttings and em- 
bankments are needed, even in regions of low hills, while on steep 
slopes the roads must zigzag back and forth. 
Why it pays to build good roads. Good roads cost from ten thousand 
to fifty thousand dollars a mile, even in regions of gentle relief, but it 
pays to build them. They are an advantage to both the country dis- 
tricts and the cities. A farmer who lives on a bad road only a mile 
or two from the railroad may find it as difficult to get his produce to 
market as one who lives on a good road twenty miles from a station. 
(rood roads lower the price of food for city people. They also make it 
easy for those who dwell in the noisy, crowded city to have some 
share of the restfulness and beauty of the country. 
Europe long ago appreciated the value of good roads, and England, 
France, Germany, Austria, and Italy have improved hundreds of 
thousands of miles of their roadways. In Russia and southeastern 
Europe, however, the roads are poor for the most part. This hampers 
those regions greatly. The thickly settled northeastern United States 
was the first part of this country to follow the example of western Eu- 
rope. Now other sections are so rapidly improving their roads that 
soon automobiles will be able to go freely all over the United States. 
Difficulties of making good roads. Everywhere in civilized coun- 
tries people are beginning to realize that bad roads are a disgrace. 
Merely to keep the roads in repair, however, is difficult where no good 
road-making rocks are found within hundreds of miles, as in our prairie 
plains. It is even more difficult in thinly settled places where there 
are only a few persons for each mile of road, or where most of the peo- 
ple are poor and cannot afford to pay high taxes. It is most difficult 
of all in rugged regions where the farmers are poor and scattered, and 
the cost of construction is great.

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