What is Road? & Classification of Roads

What is Road?

A road is a public way for the passage of vehicles, people, and animals from one place to another. It is a specially prepared surface, i.e. smooth and paved, traveling by vehicle, carriage, etc. The road is finished with a hard smooth surface. Roads are the arteries through which the economy pulses.



Classification and Types of Road

Roads are classified based on the following factors:

  1. Materials
  2. Traffic Volume
  3. Traffic Type
  4. Location and Function
  5. Rigidity
  6. Economy
  7. Topography


Based on Materials

  1. Earthen Road
  2. Kankar Road
  3. Gravel Road
  4. Murram Road
  5. Concrete Road
  6. WBM Road
  7. Bituminous Road

Earthen Road

An earthen road is a road prepared from natural soil. The pavement section of the road is made of locally available soil. This type of road is generally found in village areas where there is less traffic. Earthen roads are generally constructed with ordinary soil or stabilized soil. It is the cheapest type of road.

Earthen road


Kankar Road

Kankar is the impure form of limestone. These roads are provided where lime is available in good and reasonable quantity. Kankar roads are of low quality and performance as compared to paved roads.

Kankar road


Gravel Road

A gravel road is a type of unpaved road surfaced with gravel. Gravels do not allow the rainwater to form mud. The gravel road is successful in the sandy and stony areas. Gravel roads are easily built with lesser consumption of resources such as money and time. Gravel roads are also low-quality roads but better when compared with earthen roads. This road is also known as a metal road.

Gravel road


Murram Road

Murram is a matter obtained from the disintegration of igneous rocks by weathering agencies. This disintegration of igneous rocks is used to make roads called murram roads. Murram road gives a better finish than gravel and earthen roads. The construction of murram road is quite similar to earthen and gravel road but is different based on the material used.

Murram road


Concrete Road

Cement concrete is used to construct the pavement in the case of concrete roads. This type of road is constructed where the volume of traffic is heavy. The concrete road is very popular and costlier than all other types of road. They are laid with joints and the time of construction is more.

Concrete road


WBM Road

The full form of WBM is water-bound macadam. It is the most commonly used road construction procedure. In this type of road, the broken stones of the base and surface course are bound by stone dust in the presence of moisture. The oldest type of highway pavement used in modern times is known as water-bound macadam after John Loudon McAdam, a Scottish civil engineer.

WBM road


Bituminous Road

Bituminous roads are those which are painted with bituminous materials at their surface. The construction process of the bituminous roads is comparatively easy and consumes a lesser period of time. The bituminous road’s construction cost is higher compared to earthen, kankar, gravel, murram, and WBM road. The maintenance cost of this road is very less. Bituminous roads are waterproof, smooth, durable, non-slippery and they provide comfortable road surfaces. This type of road does not develop cracks on the surface for long period.

Bituminous road


Based on Traffic Volume

  1. Light Traffic Road
  2. Medium Traffic Road
  3. High Traffic Road


Light Traffic Road

The road that carries 400 vehicles daily on average is said to be a light-traffic road.

Light traffic road


Medium Traffic Road

The road that carries 400 to 1000 vehicles daily is said to be a medium-traffic road.

Medium traffic road


High Traffic Road

The road that carries more than 1000 vehicles daily is said to be a high-traffic road.

High traffic road


Based on Traffic Type

  1. Motorway
  2. Cycle Track
  3. Pedestrian Way



A motorway is a major road specially built for fast travel over a long distance. It is designed to carry heavy traffic at high speed. This road has limited access i.e. cars that can move at high speed are permitted in this way. The motorway has several lanes. A motorway is also known as an expressway.



Cycle Track

A cycle track is a place where a cyclist can travel safely, away from high-speed vehicles. It is located within or next to the roadway. It is physically separated from motor traffic and distinct from the sidewalk. Cycle tracks may be at sidewalk level, road level, or an intermediate level. It may be one-way or two-way. They are provided on both sides of the pavement for cyclists.

Cycle track


Pedestrian Way

A person traveling on foot is known as a pedestrian and the path on which a pedestrian walks is known as a pedestrian way. If there is no pedestrian way, walk on the right-hand side of the road so you can see the oncoming vehicles.

Pedestrian Way


Based on Location and Function

  1. National Highway
  2. State Highway
  3. City or District Road
  4. Rural or Village Road



National Highway

National highways are the backbone of the road infrastructure that connects every major city of India. They are provided with a minimum of a two-lane road. The national highways are a network of trunk roads owned by the ministry of road transport and highways. National highways connect various regions of one state to the other. National highways are constructed and managed by the Central Public Works Department.

  • Longest National Highway in India → NH 44, length of 3745 km, from Srinagar to Kanyakumari.
  • Shortest National Highway in India → NH 47A, length of 5.9 km, within the Kochi City.

National Highway


State Highway

The state highways are the roads that link important cities, towns, and district headquarters within the state and connect them with national highways and state highways of neighboring states. State highways are constructed and managed by the State Public Works Department.

State Highway


City or District Road

City or District roads connect the district headquarters with other places of the district. These roads are constructed and managed by Zila Parishad or Public Works Department. There are two types of District road:-

  • Major District Roads (MDR)
  • Minor or Other District Roads (ODR)

City or district road


Rural or Village Road

Rural or village road is a type of low-cost road constructed in rural areas at low funds using the local materials and labours called village road.

Rural or village road


Based on Rigidity

  1. Flexible Road
  2. Rigid Road


Flexible Road

Flexible roads have more layers and are much thicker. It requires proper maintenance otherwise it may be disintegrated easily with heavy traffic. All types of roads are called flexible roads except concrete roads. Flexible roads are constructed of several layers of asphalt or bituminous concrete layers overlying a base of granular material on a prepared subgrade.

Rigid Road

Rigid roads have fewer layers and are thinner than flexible roads. It is a non-flexible road. It is constructed from cement concrete or reinforced concrete slabs. The concrete road is the only type of rigid road.


Based on Economy

  1. Low-Cost Road
  2. Medium Cost Road
  3. High-Cost Road


Low-Cost Road

The low-cost road is a road that is constructed and maintained at a low cost by using local labours and materials. These roads are also called cheap roads.

Medium Cost Road

A medium cost road is a road to travel from village to nearest town. These roads are generally bituminous. Medium-cost roads are considered when there is barely high traffic.

High-Cost Road

The high-cost road is a road that is constructed and maintained at a high cost. National highways and state highways are examples of high-cost roads. Cement concrete or bitumen is used in high-cost roads.


Based on Topography

  1. Plain Area Roads
  2. Hilly Roads


Plain Area Roads

The roads that are constructed on a leveled surface and where there are very few bends, ups, and downs are known as plain area roads. The construction time of this road is less as compared to a hilly road.

Plain area road

Hilly Roads

The roads that are constructed in hilly areas where there are frequent steep bends, ups, and downs are known as hilly roads. The construction cost and time of this road are high as compared to plain area road.

Hilly road




Fluid Brickwork calculation Cement

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