Roadgeek

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An abandoned early U.S. Route 66 alignment in southern Illinois in 2006.

A roadgeek (from road + geek) is an individual involved in "roadgeeking" or "road enthusiasm"—an interest in roads, and especially going on road trips, as a hobby. A person with such an interest is also referred to as a road enthusiast, road buff, roadfan or Roads Scholar, the latter being a play on the term Rhodes Scholar.[1][not in citation given]

Interest[edit]

Roadgeeks view their interest as an appreciation of engineering and planning feats:

The numbering zones for A-roads in Great Britain
FHWA Series fonts—also known as Highway Gothic or the Interstate typeface

However roadgeeks are not necessarily interested in motor vehicles;[2] there may also be an interest in cartography and map design. Enthusiasts may focus on a single activity related to roads, such as driving the full length of the highway system in a specific area, researching the history, planning and quirks of a particular road or national highway system. They occasionally are quoted in the press on topics related to the history of roads.[3] Sometimes, road geeks are called "highway historians" for the knowledge and interests.[4]

Even the numbering system can be a subject of deep interest, as Joe Moran describes in his book "On Roads: A Hidden History":

Activity[edit]

Example activities include:

  • Creating fonts and other graphic elements to share with other enthusiasts[6]
  • Taking road trips for the roads rather than for the destination, sometimes referred to as roadgeeking or Roads Scholaring
  • Comparing the extent of their travels with other enthusiasts, such as the number of Interstate Highway sections that have been wholly traveled.[7]
  • Photography of road signs, bridges or various highway artifacts
  • Collecting old road maps
  • Writing about the history of highways,[8] highway terminology and the design of graphics or fonts to facilitate the work of others.

Roadgeeking online[edit]

In 2002, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that road enthusiasm was an Internet phenomenon. There is a Usenet newsgroup, misc.transport.road, where participants discuss all facets of roads and road trips from "construction projects to quirks and inconsistencies in signage".[9] These individuals who anticipated each Rand McNally road atlas release each year found a community of others online who were also interested in roads as a hobby. These communities of people could share photos, swap their thoughts on the highways in their areas and "debate the finer points of interchange design."[9]

Yahoo Groups and Forums[edit]

There are several Yahoo Groups dedicated to Roadgeek activities, including the "Roadgeek YahooGroup".  group itself and many regional or special interest groups.

Web based forums are also popular, the largest is "AARoads Forum". .

SABRE[edit]

Started in 1999, the Society for All British and Irish Road Enthusiasts (SABRE), originally known as "Study and Appreciation of the British Roads Experience",[10] is one of the larger and most prominent communities of road enthusiasts online.[11] The organization hosts a large collection of articles and histories of particular roads and terminology, online photo galleries, discussion forums,[12] and an application to overlay and compare historical roadmaps.[10] Although SABRE is primarily an online group, members organize group tours to visit sites of interest.[2]

Taiwan websites[edit]

In 2006, a board called "Road" (Chinese: 公路板) in the PTT Bulletin Board System, which is a Taiwanese forum, was established.[13] Because some Taiwanese road enthusiasts didn't know how to use a terminal or BBS reader to access it, the web forum Taiwan Highway Club (Chinese: 公路邦; literally, "Highway State") was started in 2008;[14] it contains subforums allowing users to discuss road policies, and to add news about, and post pictures of, highways.[15]

Partial list of roadgeek topics[edit]

One of many "Spaghetti Junctions", this one is in Birmingham, England

Brazil[edit]

Republic of Ireland[edit]

  • The Mad Cow Roundabout located at junction 9 on the M50 was notoriously congested and locally known as the Mad Cow roundabout instead of its actual name the Red Cow interchange.[17]

United Kingdom[edit]

United States[edit]

Arizona[edit]

  • Interstate 15 only traverses 30 miles through the northwest corner of the state, but is considered one of the most scenic interstate routes as it winds through the Virgin River Gorge.

Arkansas[edit]

California[edit]

Zzyzx Road exit sign on Interstate 15

Colorado[edit]

Westbound I-70 on a viaduct inside Glenwood Canyon paralleling the Colorado River

Maryland[edit]

Missouri[edit]

The Y-Bridge looking east
  • Galena Y-Bridge, an unusual bridge with three land connections.

Montana[edit]

New York[edit]

North Carolina[edit]

Ohio[edit]

Oklahoma[edit]

Oregon[edit]

Pennsylvania[edit]

Virginia[edit]

Washington[edit]

  • Interstate 82, which is not only completely north of Interstate 84, but also runs predominantly north–south, despite its even number.

Other[edit]

Roadgeek websites (partial)[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Wear, Ben (December 12, 2004). "Road to Future or a Dead End". Austin American-Statesman. Retrieved January 20, 2007. [dead link]
  2. ^ a b c d Gupta, Lila Das (January 17, 2005). "Never Mind the Trainspotters". The Daily Telegraph (London). Retrieved April 9, 2009. 
  3. ^ Gordon, Sarah (November 2, 2009). "M1 and Watford Gap Celebrate 50 Years...with a 6p Cup of Tea". The Daily Mail (London). Retrieved June 21, 2011. 
  4. ^ Miller, Matthew (February 22, 2009). "Looking Back: I-496 Construction, a Complicated Legacy". Lansing State Journal. pp. 1A, 8A. 
  5. ^ Moran, Joe (2009). On Roads: A Hidden History (Hardcover ed.). London: Profile Books. p. 77. ISBN 1-84668-052-2. 
  6. ^ "Roadgeek Fonts". Michael Adams' Blog. Retrieved December 19, 2014. 
  7. ^ "My Clinched Freeways". Mike the Actuary's Musings. Archived from the original on August 21, 2008. Retrieved November 16, 2007. 
  8. ^ Kelly, John (February 21, 2005). "A Long Way to Go for a Refund". Washington Post. p. C11. Retrieved June 27, 2008. 
  9. ^ a b Lamb, William (September 22, 2002). "'Road Geeks' Ramp Up Their Hobby on the Information Superhighway". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. p. C1. Retrieved July 20, 2008.  (subscription required)
  10. ^ a b "Society: About Us". Society for All British Road Enthusiasts. Retrieved June 21, 2011. 
  11. ^ a b c Milmo, Cahal (October 29, 2004). "Round the Bend? How We Became a Nation of Roadies". The Independent (London). Retrieved April 9, 2009. 
  12. ^ Greenacre, Simon (September 10, 2008). "Society for All British Road Enthusiasts". Total Vauxhall. Gloucester: A & S Publishing. ISSN 1474-1393. Retrieved June 14, 2011. 
  13. ^ 公告 公路板開了~ (in Chinese). Road board of PTT Bulletin Board System. Retrieved September 30, 2011. 
  14. ^ 【公路邦】成立 (in Chinese). Road board of PTT Bulletin Board System. Retrieved September 30, 2011. (Chinese (Taiwan))
  15. ^ "公路邦 > 討論區首頁". 公路邦. Retrieved September 30, 2011. 
  16. ^ "Lei nº 11.314, de 3 de Julho de 2006" (in Portuguese). 
  17. ^ Bielenberg, Kim (January 19, 2008). "My Mad Cow Break (Wish You Were Here)". Independent.ie (Independent News & Media). Retrieved April 9, 2009. 
  18. ^ McMahon, Martin. "Oklahoma Terminus: Arkansas SH-43". Roadklahoma. Archived from the original on September 30, 2007. Retrieved July 17, 2008. 
  19. ^ Scott, Harrison Irving (2002). Ridge Route: The Road that United California. Torrence, California: H.I. Scott. ISBN 978-0-615-12000-3. 
  20. ^ Leff, Lisa (May 14, 2002). "Behind the Wheel: Road Scholars Driven to Go the Extra Mile; A Small but Dedicated Band of Buffs Spends Free Time Studying and, Yes, Traveling the State's Highways and Byways". Los Angeles Times. p. B2. Retrieved June 27, 2008.  (subscription required)
  21. ^ Staff (May 31, 2011). "Going-to-the-Sun Road Information and Transit System". National Park Service. Retrieved June 21, 2011. 
  22. ^ "Historic Columbia River Highway". Retrieved June 21, 2011. 
  23. ^ Google Inc. "Wytheville". Google Maps (Map). Cartography by Google, Inc. http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=Wytheville,+va&sll=37.0625,-95.677068&sspn=53.432436,114.257812&ie=UTF8&ll=36.943993,-80.982628&spn=0.106464,0.22316&z=13. Retrieved March 16, 2012.
  24. ^ Herron, Kenneth (November 27, 1995). "RFD unmoderated group misc.transport.misc" (TXT). Internet FAQ Archives. Advameg. Retrieved August 16, 2009. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Beresford, Kevin (2004). Roundabouts of Great Britain (Hardcover ed.). London: New Holland. ISBN 978-1-84330-854-6. 

External links[edit]