For any country, road transportation is a virtual network that connects every part of the country. This article discusses all the factors taken into consideration for the classification of roads. Some of the elements are locations, traffic, materials, etc. These different types of roads allow you to go to other places using various modes of transportation. Go through this article to know more about how these classifications are made in detail.

What Is A Road?

A road is a route, way, or thoroughfare on land that connects different places giving us an improved travel experience by foot or any form of transportation. To achieve the common goal of transportation, the roads have adapted to an extensive range of structures and types under several conditions. Consequently, different criteria are considered when roads are classified; let us go through this article to know all of them.

Different Types Of Roads:

The factors taken into consideration during the classification of roads are as follows:

Types Of Roads Based on Materials:

1. Earthen Roads:

Earthen roads are roads laid using the available soil at the site and are the cheapest among other roads. They are also called temporary roads because they are applied for the easy movement of construction vehicles. The design of earthen roads can handle only very low-volume traffic. There is a chance of soil runoff during rain, and therefore earthen roads are not recommended during monsoons.

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2. Gravel Roads:

Gravel roads are better than earthen roads and the second cheapest of all types of roads. The road’s surface is paved and compacted with the mixture of gravel and soil available at the site. These types of gravel roads are generally laid in villages and are also called metal roads.

3. Murram Roads:

The gravelly lateritic material which is occurred during the disintegration of igneous rocks by weathering agencies is called Murram. As the name suggests, Murram roads are laid by using Murram material. Compared to the earthen and gravel roads, Murram roads provide good surface finish, and compaction as the density of Murram road is higher.

4. Kankar Roads:

The impure form of limestone is also called kankar, and this material is derived from India. Kankar road is better than earthen and gravel roads, though it is one of the low-quality roads. Therefore, the places with a good quantity of lime are where this type of road is usually recommended.

5. WBM(Water Bound Macadam Roads):

The base course used in WBM [Water bound Macadam Roads] is an aggregate crushed stone, and these roads are laid in the form of layers. First, aggregators are spread as 10 cm layered thickness on the surface; each layer is sprinkled with water for a better finish. WBM is usually laid in pit holes in cities. Compared to kankar, earth, and murram roads, WBM roads are better.

6. Bituminous Roads:

The black, viscous, and adhesive material that occurs during the distillation of petrol is called Bituminous. The types of bituminous roads provide a smooth finish, are easy to lay, and are primarily used worldwide. The subgrade soil at the site determines the thickness of the bitumen road, and laying these types of roads in two layers is recommended.

7. Concrete Roads:

As the name suggests, concrete roads are laid by using cement concrete material. Among all types of roads, concrete roads are costlier and are usually recommended for high-volume traffic areas. In addition, since the concrete requires proper curing, these roads take more time to construct. The bituminous road has an average life of 3 years, whereas a concrete road is 40 years.

Based On Speed And Accessibility:

8. Freeways:

Freeways are roads designed for vehicles to travel long distances with higher speeds, and these roads are also called access-controlled highways. Two lanes in each direction are constructed, and therefore have four lanes in total. In freeways, the driver never comes in contact with the opposing traffic because access is controlled everywhere.

There are no railway, road intersections, and no signals making the traffic movement continuous and unhindered. The general speed range on freeways is between 45mph to 75 mph, though it might vary from country to country.

9. Expressways:

One of the superior types of roadways where the complete control of the entry and exit of the roads is done through rams is called Expressways. These roads are meant for free flow of very speed traffic as the name suggests “express.”

The design of expressways helps you avoid sharp curves, busy traffic intersections, railway junctions, thereby providing you great comfort, safety, and Speed during travel. In expressways, pedestrians, cargo vehicles, heavy load vehicles are not allowed, and only vehicles with high acceleration are permitted.

10. Highways:

Highways are the roads that connect state capital to the national capital, cities to cities, or state to state, or villages to cities. These are generally laid in two lanes, and they run through the country’s length and breadth, connecting every nook and corner. National highways, state highways, urban highways, and rural highways are types of highways.

11. Arterials:

Arterials are roads used to move the high traffic volume and are often laid inside the city or town, and they provide access to the highways and act as a joint to the outside residential areas from the central business point. A signaling system at the intersection is used to control the flow of traffic on these roads. Pedestrians are supposed to use either the intersections or designated pedestrian crossings to cross the streets.

12. Local Streets:

Unlike arterials, Local streets don’t carry a large traffic volume, and the speed limit is restricted to 30km/hr. As a result, the local street is the road that helps you reach the nearest vegetable market. In addition, local streets have no restrictions for parking, and pedestrians can cross the road at any point.

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13. Collector Roads:

The roads that collect and deliver the traffic to and from local streets and arterials are called collector roads. 35-55km/hr is the usual speed limit of these roads. Except at peak times, parking can be allowed, and intersections are the only places where pedestrians can cross the roads.

Roads Types Based on Traffic:

14. Cycle Tracks:

As the name suggests, cycle tracks are roads built especially for cycles or bicycles. Both sides of the pavement contain these tracks.

15. Pedestrian Ways:

Pedestrian ways are ways explicitly built for pedestrians, and vehicles are strictly restricted on these roads.

Roads Types Based On The Location:

16. National Highways:

The main roads that connect all major city capitals of the country are called National highways. They have a minimum two-lane road, and they run through the length and breadth of the country, connecting places.

17. State Highways:

The roads that connect significant parts of the state within it are called State highways, and they are the second main roads. All state highways connect to the national highways ultimately.

18. District Roads:

The roads that connect markets and production places to state and national highways are called district roads. Minor district roads and major district roads are the two types of district roads. Minor district roads are laid within the region, whereas major district roads connect the main parts of the area to the headquarters of the neighboring district.

19. Rural Or Village Roads:

Since villages or rural areas have a low traffic, they are provided with low-quality roads. Village or rural roads connect all the nearby villages to the other districts or nearby towns.

Roads Based On Usage:

20. All-Weather Roads:

All-weather roads are the ones that can be accessed throughout the year irrespective of the weather.

21. Fair-Weather Roads:

As the name suggests, Fair-weather roads are roads that can be accessed only during fair atmospheric conditions.For example, some roads are accessible only during summer, and they are not accessible during floods, cyclones, heavy rains, or snow.

Roads Based On Carriageway:

22. Paved Roads:

Paved roads are roads designed with hard pavement course materials like cement concrete, bituminous, and WBM.

23. Unpaved Roads:

Unpaved roads are not designed with a hard pavement course like earthen, Murram, or kankar.

Roads Based On Rigidity:

24. Flexible Roads:

Four layers are used to lay a flexible road, out of which bituminous material is used for the underlying sub-base, base, subgrade course, and the outer surface layer, which is called a wearing course and hence the flexible name road. There is a chance of these roads fetting disintegrating quickly with heavy traffic and therefore requires periodic maintenance.

25. Rigid Roads:

Non-flexible roads have only three layers, namely surface course, base, and subgrade and an example of this type of road is a cement concrete road.

Roads Based On Topography:

26. Hilly Roads:

Roads that can handle the hilly areas’ frequent steep bends, ups, and downs are called Hilly roads. When compared to plain roads, hilly roads require more capital and take more time.

27. Plain Area Roads:

As the name suggests, plain area roads are roads constructed on primary areas with very few bends. As a result, these roads require less planning and execution time.

Roads Based On The Economy:

28. Low-Cost Roads:

Low-cost roads are constructed with the available local soil and locally available materials and which require less capital. When there is meagre pedestrian traffic, low-cost roads are preferred.

29. Medium-Cost Roads:

Medium-cost roads are rods constructed using Bitumen and are considered when the area has occasional high traffic. The perfect example of these types of road is the road to travel from village to nearest town.

30. High-Cost Roads:

High-cost roads are constructed using cement concrete, or Bitumen and state and national highways are perfect examples for these types of roads. However, for producing them, colossal capital is required.

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We hope this article has given you an insight into the types of roads in India and the things taken into consideration while making the classification. Although classification standards vary from country to country, the most common variety is Speed and accessibility. So don’t forget to let us know if you found this article helpful!


1. What material is considered the best for the construction of roads?

For the construction of roads, Asphalt is by far the best material because when compared to concrete, it is easier to handle Asphalt. Petroleum byproducts, gravel, stone, sand are the essential constituent aggregated materials.

2. What applications do cement concrete roads have?

Some of the main applications of cement concrete roads are as follows:

  • Runways takeoff, taxiways, parking aprons.
  • Heavy-duty industrial floors.
  • Heavyweight vehicles’ parking grounds.
  • Beds at ports for handling and storage containers.
  • Bridge decks.
  • Toll station pavements.

3. What is the classification of roads based on the lanes?

There are four types of classification you might have observed based on the number of lanes:

  • Single lane road.
  • Double lane road.
  • Three-lane road.
  • Multi-lane road.

4. What are forest roads?

The roads or tracks that can carry horse-drawn wagons or motorized vehicles exclusively for forestry purposes such as logging or conservation are called forest roads. Depending on the local rules, forest roads may be open to mountain bikers or ramblers.

5. What are plastic roads, and where are these roads in implementation?

The roads made entirely of plastic or plastic composites in combination with other materials are called plastic roads. USA, South Africa, Mexico, Vietnam, the Philippines are many countries that built their very first plastic roads. The roads containing waste plastic work better than traditional roads, as per a growing number of studies.

Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is based on pure research. The website is not responsible for the accuracy and authenticity of the data.


About Yashasvi

Yashasvi developed a deep passion for writing ever since she was completed her Master’s in Mass Communication and Journalism from Andhra University, Visakhapatnam and has chosen a career that is driven by creativity. A Parenting expert who believes in communicating effectively with a personal touch, she writes about pregnancy, baby care, lifestyle, and just about anything else.