Read the story and answer the questions that follow.
The revolution in transportation started with roads. In ancient times, the Romans had built splendid roads, but those crumbled during the Middle Ages. In Britain, the responsibility for road repair passed to church parishes. Local volunteers did the work. They didn’t care if the roads were bumpy since they rarely traveled far from home.
In the late 1700s, for most people travel over land was travail, which means toil, agony, hardship. Travelers suffered bone-jarring journeys over muddy, rutted roads. Passengers in horse-drawn coaches often got out to walk alongside the coach for stretches, because walking hurt less.
Eventually a few big landowners began pooling their money and hiring workers to build private roads called turnpikes. The word turnpike came from medieval times, when revolving gates tipped with sharp pikes were used to block certain roads. Those who wanted to use the roads had to pay a toll, and the tolls paid for construction and road repair.
In 1815, a Scotsman named John McAdam started putting into practice some scientific principles he’d been working on for road-building. He laid a foundation of crushed rock that raised a roadbed a few inches above the surrounding ground. Such roads drained well and held up to heavy traffic. Other road builders began to use McAdam’s system. On these better roads, merchants could haul heavier loads with fewer horses. Trade increased, prices fell, and over the course of a century, passenger traffic between British cities multiplied more than 10 times over.
John McAdam’s process for road surfacing is with us still. In fact, his name has become a word—macadam—used for roadways built by the principles McAdam developed. Macadam roads or driveways employ layers of small stones or finely ground rock over well-drained soil. He had left his home to fight in this cruel war.