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Backroad found in Yorkshire Dales.

A backroad is a secondary type of road usually found in rural areas.

In North Carolina, where they are also referred to as "blue roads", backroads are one- or two-laned roads off of larger roads such as parkways, and are often constructed of gravel.[1]

In Vermont, the Natural Resources Conservation Service has established a Better Backroads program to help towns and organizations deal with road-related soil erosion problems through grants. Both paved and unpaved backroads are eligible for these grants, which seek to protect water quality from sediment accumulation caused by road and ditch erosion.[2]

Many back-roads in North Carolina were created when the states rural transportation system began investing for factories to located outside of urban areas and into rural areas. This created a system of back-roads that allowed for factories to disperse away from busy urban areas. This was done in the late 1940's under Governor Kerr Scott where investment began and was known as the states rural farm-to-market road system. The idea for the farm-to-market road system was to connect farms out in rural areas to the markets in which they sold their produce, this would allow for easy transportation for those who transported there goods to market places. Ultimately these types of roads became state highways or nice quality roads however, the importance of there beginnings is that they began as rural back-roads for agricultural purposes.[3]

Backroad Safety[edit]

Backroads are less safe than other roads, with much higher fatality rates. A 2015 study by TRIP (a national transportation research group) in the United States found that backroads have a traffic fatality rate of 2.18 deaths per 100 million vehicle miles traveled, while the average across all US roads is 0.38. Of all vehicle miles traveled in the United States, 22% are driven on backroads, but 43% of vehicle collisions in 2015 (15,132 out of 35,092) occurred on backroads. In 2015, Texas had the highest number of rural non-interstate traffic deaths at 1,259, with California in second place at 1,219 deaths.[4] Backroads tend to have narrow lanes, limited or non-existent shoulders, inconsistent pavement with gravel patches, sharp curves, steep slopes, and poor visibility. The majority of American backroads were built early in US road history, prior to modern safety standards and vehicle designs.[5]

Examples of Backroads[edit]

Paved backroad
Unpaved backroad near talavdi.
Narrow backroad near Raunds New England farm.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Sheila Turnage and Jim Hargan, Compass American Guides North Carolina', (Edition 5, Random House, 2009) ISBN 1-4000-0904-9, ISBN 978-1-4000-0904-6, p. 273, found at Google Books. Accessed February 15, 2010.
  2. ^ Vermont NRCS. "Better Back Roads". Official website. United States Department of Agriculture. Archived from the original on 4 March 2010. Retrieved 17 February 2010.
  3. ^ Greene, Tyler Gray (2018-05-07). "Farm to Factory: Secondary Road Building and the Rural Industrial Geography of Post–World War II North Carolina". Journal of Southern History. 84 (2): 277–310. doi:10.1353/soh.2018.0086. ISSN 2325-6893.
  4. ^ "TRIP". Retrieved 2018-06-03.
  5. ^ "TRIP". Retrieved 2018-06-03.

External links[edit]