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][failed verification]

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:

  • 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.[6]
  • Photography of road signs, bridges or various highway artifacts
  • Collecting old road maps
  • Writing about the history of highways,[7] highway terminology and the design of graphics or fonts to facilitate the work of others.[8]

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] However, since the online community service by Pixnet was discontinued in 2012, the site moved to http://www.twroad.org/.

Relationship with governments[edit]

In Taiwan, the Ministry of Transportation and Communications' Directorate General of Highways (公路總局) has held occasional Road Fan Conferences (公路迷座談會) since 2011 to allow roadfans and highway transportation-related organizations to make suggestions to the government.[16]

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. Archived from the original on September 5, 2006. Retrieved January 20, 2007.
  2. ^ a b c 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. ^ "My Clinched Freeways". Mike the Actuary's Musings. Archived from the original on August 21, 2008. Retrieved November 16, 2007.
  7. ^ Kelly, John (February 21, 2005). "A Long Way to Go for a Refund". Washington Post. p. C11. Retrieved June 27, 2008.
  8. ^ "Roadgeek Fonts". Michael Adams' Blog. Retrieved December 19, 2014.
  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. ^ 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. Archived from the original on June 19, 2011. 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.(in Chinese)
  15. ^ "公路邦 > 討論區首頁". 公路邦. Archived from the original on September 4, 2011. Retrieved September 30, 2011.
  16. ^ "官民合作‧大道開闊 公路總局舉辦第二次公路迷座談會". Archived from the original on April 5, 2016.
  17. ^ 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]