Great Inventions of the 19th Century
Modern roads
Faster, cheaper and safer. Networks of modern roads were built to meet the ever-increasing demand of land transport.
Modern roads originated in response to the requirements of the rapidly expanding automobile industry. Attempts to build road vehicles, including cars, carriages and trams, with steam-powered and internal combustion engines started as early as the beginning of the 19th century, laying the foundations for the invention of the modern car. Developments in the techniques and materials of road building were at hand to meet the increasing demand for faster and safe roads. In the Arab and Ottoman world, new roads were built at the initiative of the Ottoman sultans or of the local reformers, or by the colonial powers. The new roads affected entire regions, reshaping traditional communication routes according to the commercial needs of a globalised world. Later in the early 20th century, more roads were built in the Arab states.
More about

Modern roads
Construction du pont de Bordeaux en 1821

Partie du Recueil. Topographie de la France. Département de la Gironde


National Library of France , Paris, France


Early in the 19th century, new construction techniques were applied to the building of roads and bridges. The construction of public roads facilitated industrialisation and the use of new means of transport.

See Database entry for this item

In this Exhibition
About the Exhibition
Innovative technologies
Postal services and telecommunications
Water: The fount of all life