Category: roads

Mapped: All of the World’s Roads, by Continent

This post is by Pallavi Rao from Visual Capitalist

Click to view this graphic in a higher-resolution.

A road map of the world, visualized by type.

Mapped: All of the World’s Roads, by Continent

Once upon a time, it was said that all roads led to Rome. Now with at least 21 million kilometers of roads spanning the globe, every continent and country has its own web of crisscrossing connections, from major highways to rural drives.

And there’s no better way to see the scale and spread of roads than by visualizing them. Adam Symington from PythonMaps used data from the Global Roads Inventory Project (GRIP) to map all the roads in the world, creating an accurate representation of humanity’s need to connect.

Creating the Global Road Map

The GRIP database pulled information from a variety of sources including governments, research institutes, NGOs, and crowd-sourcing initiatives to create a harmonized dataset of geospatial road information for a 2018 paper, “Global patterns of current and future road infrastructure.”

Researchers categorized roads into types using a UN classification system, which have been visualized in three colors on this map:

Main RoadsHighways + primary roads between and within cities and towns. Multi-lane, limited entry and exit points.White
Secondary RoadsPaved, high-traffic, access between neighborhoodsYellow
Tertiary RoadsPaved or unpaved residential access within neighborhoods, or rural points of interest.Red
Local RoadsAll other smaller roads that don't fit above, and usually are not throughfare.Red

This classification allowed for examining relationships between road infrastructure, development, wealth, and population distribution.

Which Country has the Largest (Read more...)

The Road to Decarbonization: How Asphalt is Affecting the Planet

The following content is sponsored by Northstar Clean Technologies

The Road to Decarbonization: How Asphalt is Affecting the Planet

Asphalt, also known as bitumen, has various applications in the modern economy, with annual demand reaching 110 million tons globally.

Until the 20th century, natural asphalt made from decomposed plants accounted for the majority of asphalt production. Today, most asphalt is refined from crude oil.

This graphic, sponsored by Northstar Clean Technologies, shows how new technologies to reuse and recycle asphalt can help protect the environment.

The Impact of Climate Change

Pollution from vehicles is expected to decline as electric vehicles replace internal combustion engines.

But pollution from asphalt could actually increase in the next decades because of rising temperatures in some parts of the Earth. When subjected to extreme temperatures, asphalt releases harmful greenhouse gases (GHG) into the atmosphere.

Emissions from Road Construction (Source)CO2 equivalent (%)
Excavators and Haulers16%
Crushing Plant10%
Galvanized Steel6%
Reinforced Steel6%
Plastic Piping2%

Asphalt paved surfaces and roofs make up approximately 45% and 20% of surfaces in U.S. cities, respectively. Furthermore, 75% of single-family detached homes in Canada and the U.S. have asphalt shingles on their roofs.

Reducing the Environmental Impact of Asphalt

Similar to roads, asphalt shingles have oil as the primary component, which is especially harmful to the environment.

Shingles do not decompose or biodegrade. The U.S. alone generates ∼12 million tons of asphalt shingles tear-off waste and (Read more...)