Is it just me, or are people actually beginning to pay more attention to the histories of roads? Road history is something I'm exploring in my own (fairly slow-moving) research at the moment, relating to Massachusetts' Route 2, the road I spend a good deal of my time on. But a couple of interesting pieces of work also came to my attention this summer, focusing on both the distant and recent past of one of the east coast's most-traveled corridors.
The King's Best Highway: The Lost History of the Boston Post Road, the Route That Made America (Scribner, 2010), which follows the first organized postal route in colonial America (Ben Franklin, anyone?). The book isn't terribly weighty, but it does give a sense of some of the political, military, and other factors that went into creating the road, which has now morphed into coastal Route 1 and inland Route 91 in central New England.
There's a bit more critical depth in parts of National Public Radio's series about everyone's least favorite road, I 95. I'm looking forward to going through the segments in detail one of these fine days, although some things about the mix are a little jarring--for example, the juxtaposition of a segment on the hardships of migrant workers traveling up and down the coast with one called "Eat Your Way Down I-95." I guess that's how it is with highways, though--love 'em, hate 'em, can't hardly avoid 'em.