Roadways are enormously important to all countries. Without roadways, farmers can't get their produce to market, factories can't transport goods to retail outlets, and people can't get from one point to another without a lot of difficulty. Countries or regions without adequate roadways cannot function. That is why all governments place a great deal of emphasis on infrastructure: because if people, goods and services can't get around, than an economy can't function and a society can't evolve.
One of the earliest known roadways is the Appian Way, constructed in ancient Rome as a means of transporting military supplies to soldiers in the field. The Appian Way was begun in the 4th Century B.C., and was the precursor to a major push for more and better roads for both military and commercial purposes.
In the United States, the Federal Highway Act of 1956, considered one of then-President Dwight Eisenhower's crowning achievements, provided what was then the most extensive and impressive interconnected highway system in the world. Its construction enabled the more efficient, and less costly, transport of goods between cities and states, and allowed for an increasingly mobile population to travel the country more widely and quickly. Today, the country's roadways remain as vital as ever. The United States Department of Commerce, citing the American Trucking Association, states that "trucks moved 9.2 billion tons of freight, or about 67 percent of all freight tonnage transported domestically" during 2011. Clearly, use of the roadways remains vital to the functioning of the economy.