Types of Roads

Roads can be classified in various types based on material, traffic, location, function and much more, road transport is an essential network for any country, as road access increases, speed decreases.

Roads contribute significantly to economic growth and development, also brings significant importance to development of nation.

They also offers access to employment, social, health and training services makes a highway network essential to struggle against poverty.

It will increase trade and commerce of the nation, promotes tourism, speeds transportation services, offers door-to-door service.

Different Types of Roads or Classification of Roads:

Classification of roads based on materials:

1.Earthen roads:

These are earthern roads in which earth is the primary constituent of road probably provided within the village area.

2.Water bound macadam roads (W.B.M.):

WBM road consists of broken pieces of stones of dimension varying from 25 mm to 75 mm which are laid in three layers on prepared sub-grade.

The larger sized pieces of stones are laid within the backside course.

These roads can also be usually provided within the village area, nowadays W.B.M. is the compact base for the bituminous road and concrete road.

3.Murrum Roads:

Murum is obtained by meteorological agencies from the disintegration of igneous rocks, while roads made of murum are known as murum roads.

4.Earthen Roads:

Earthen materials are an impure type of limestone hence this road is provided where lime is offered in an affordable quantity.

These types of roads are in low high quality and efficiency.

5.Bituminous road or tar roads:

Bituminous road is the flexible pavement water-bound macadam surface is prepared then smaller chips of stones, size varying from 16 mm to 20 mm with bitumen are laid in the thickness varying from 30 mm to 40 mm.

Bitumen acts as a binder, this road gives a smooth wearing to course for the layer at the top of the road, while the life span of the bituminous road is short and durability is less as compared to the concrete road.

There is a possibility of developing corrugations due to heavy traffic, its repairs work is easy but the maintenance cost is more.

6.Cement concrete road:

This road is the structure of the rigid pavement consists of a rigid wearing surface on the top of the sub-base then with base course and then sub-base to compacted subgrade.

The life span of the concrete road is long and its durability is also more as compared to the bituminous road.

There is no possibility of developing the corrugations due to rigid pavement, its repair work is difficult due to the rigidity of concrete & its maintenance cost is quite low.

Classifcation of roads based on traffic:

Primarily based on visitor’s volume, the roads are classified as follows:

7.Light Traffic Roads:

The roads that are carrying 400 vehicles each day is known as light traffic roads.

8.Medium Traffic Roads:

If a road is carrying 400 to 1000 vehicles per day then it is a medium traffic road.

9.High Traffic Roads:

If a road is carrying is greater than 1000 vehicles per day, then it is considered as high traffic highway.

Classification of roads based on location and function:

10.Major District Roads (MDR):

The responsibility of construction and maintenance of those roads lies with district authorities, however, the state government provide a grant for the development of those roads.

11.Other District Roads (ODR):

This has a decrease in design specification than MDR.

12.Village Roads (VR):

These types of roads are essential from an area improvement perspective, while they are typically unmetalled with single-lane width of stabilized soil or gravel.

The responsibility of construction and maintenance of those roads lies with the native district authorities.

13.National highways (NH):

Roads having the width from 7 m to 15 m connect the capital cities of the various states in the country are called as national highways.

The national highway makes a very important link or network for transportation of men and materials.

National highways carry fast and heavy traffic.

14.State highways (SH):

The roads having a width varying from 7 m to 10 m connect the national highways and the district places in states are known as state highways (SH).

State highways carry medium to fast traffic.

15.District roads:

Roads which connect each district place to the taluka place are known as district roads, the width of this road varies from 5 m to 8 m.

The design speed of vehicles on the district roads is less than the design speed on highways, these roads carry moderate traffic.

Classification of roads based on use:

16.Pedestrian Ways:

Pedestrian ways are solely constructed for pedestrians and no vehicles are permitted in this way.

17.Cycle Tracks:

Cycle tracks or bicycle tracks are provided on either side of the pavement for cyclists therefore they will travel safely.


Motorways are often known as expressways, just a few vehicles are accessible to make use of these types of roads, cars that might move with high-speed acceleration are permitted in this way.

Motorways make the journey quick and supply comfort for high-speed vehicles.


Expressways are a separate class of highways with superior facilities, design standards, and through routes having a really excessive quantity of traffic.

These highways should allow solely fast-moving vehicles.

Expressway could also be owned by the central government or state government relying on whether the route is a national highway or state highway.

Arterial roads: Roads primarily for through traffic on a steady route, however with an excessive level of traffic mobility are generally known as arterial roads.

Sub-arterial roads: Roads mainly through traffic on a stationary route, however, have a lower level of traffic mobility than arteries commonly known as sub-arterial roads.

Collector streets: Roads that provide access to arterial streets, collect and distribute traffic from local streets are known as collector streets.

Local streets: Roads which provides access to abutting streets are known as local streets.

Also read: Road Drainage, Principles of Planning & Road Pattern

Classification of road based on Rigidity:

20.Flexible Roads:

Flexible roads include a versatile layer as a pavement surface which requires proper maintenance, otherwise, it may be disintegrated simply with heavy traffic.

All types of roads are included in this category apart from concrete roads.

21.Rigid roads:

Rigid pavements are non-flexible and cement concrete roads are included in this category.

Classification of roads based on topography:

22.Plain Area Road:

The roads constructed on the flat flooring are known as plain area roads.

23.Hill Area Roads:

Roads constructed in hilly areas are known as hilly space roads or ghat roads in a spiral form.

Also read: Types of Pavement, Types of Sand & Types of Bridges


Roads can be classified into several types, the most common classification is based on speed and accessibility, while their classification standards vary from one country to another.

Hello, I'm Rahul Patil founder of Constructionor.com, I had studied B.E. Civil. This blog provides authentic information regarding civil structures, equipment, materials, tests & much more.

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