JF Ptak Science Books Quick Post
"Only within very recent years has the paramount influence of roads upon the nation's life been adequately realized", so starts this article in the Scientific American for January 5, 1918. No doubt--between 1914 and 1918, the motor vehicle registration doubled and then nearly doubled again (1.7 million to 6.1 million over five years). And since it is far more relatively easy to make cars than the roads they drove on, it is safe to assume that with this enormous increase in road traffic that it made planners and engineers of various shapes and sizes really think about the issue of roads in the future, as they could well see that car production was exploding and that car prices were making the auto affordable to just about everyone.
These artistic displays of quantitative data really do convey a message to a general audience--that aside from the engineering that went into them. It is also useful to the historian or reader in history, or anyone interested in how people got from one place to another 100 years ago, and on what sort of surface they were making their way on...and what the surface of that road meant to the traveler. I do not recall Mr. Holmes making any statements regarding travel time and the conditions of the roads on which the travel was made, but I have no doubt that he would have considered them using data much like this.