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Old 04-21-2016, 10:59 PM   #21
LokRobster
 
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Default Re: [AtE] Condition of Highways

One of my favorite things to watch for when driving across the country (mostly the U.S. between Texas and Oregon) are old roads that run near the Interstate Highways but are not used anymore.

They are usually covered with dirt and grown-over with grass (or weeds or sagebrush) and blend in with the terrain. You have to watch carefully, and see the most telling signs where the old Road used to cross a ditch or stream; the ruins of bridges or the gravel "build-up" of the road base often pop from the rest of the natural surroundings.

The roads like this that I've seen are probably often 40-60 years since use, I figure they stopped being driven on as soon as the main highway in the area was completed.

I think most ArE highways will be flatter than the terrain they're in, but covered with soil and plants. It'll be like travelling off-road but with less hazards...

If the road is travelled a lot, it will stay looking like a road, but lots of potholes and cracks since no one is likely doing maintenance.
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Old 04-21-2016, 11:15 PM   #22
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Default Re: [AtE] Condition of Highways

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So in my setting, I have a few monastic orders of mutants doing charity works because they believe their mutations are punishments from God, and they need to atone. How hard would it be for a monastic order with minimal resources to maintain the roads?
I read a few books about the great depression where locally at least the government contracted individuals to maintain stretches of road. One person with basic tools can maintain a passable road remarkably well.
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Old 04-21-2016, 11:45 PM   #23
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Default Re: [AtE] Condition of Highways

Where they haven't been destroyed by the Spanish or modern building activity, the Incan roads are still there today. Often they are still in use by pedestrians. They aren't much good for fast wheeled travel, but they are definitely better than the alternative of just striking out in the Andes - if you don't have anything bigger than big motorcycle.

In contrast to most Roman roads they do see pretty extreme weather regularly. Also they don't get much press coverage compared to the former.
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Old 04-22-2016, 12:20 AM   #24
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Default Re: [AtE] Condition of Highways

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Can anyone provide any data on what the quality of roads would be like After the End? My game will feature cars and motorcycles heavily, and I just want to get an idea of road conditions. I'm specifically talking about a nuclear attack, but any data on road condition After the End would probably be helpful.
Kinda depends on how badly you want things to degrade, just look at the Fallout series of games for how things look roughly 200 years later. Though I think they preserved things a fair bit better than what would realistically happen.
Another place to look is the first Mad Max movie, since they were still using the highways.
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Old 04-22-2016, 12:39 AM   #25
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Default Re: [AtE] Condition of Highways

CC roads are built to last 40 years in conditions of regular heavy use (trucks and cars). Ordinary maintenance is just patching the weak spots. They are resilient to extreme weather conditions and to chemical aggression.

I don't know how much they can last without any significant traffic on them. Guess double that time at least.
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Old 04-22-2016, 01:19 AM   #26
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Default Re: [AtE] Condition of Highways

So I was looking at road quality in GURPS Basic Set : Campaigns, and I noticed something interesting. If I say the road quality on highways has fallen from good to average, which the Basic Set defines as a dirt road, then the speed of a car or motorcycle becomes Top Speed * 0.5 mph. This puts most cars top speed at less than 30 mph, which means a horse at a full gallop traveling over the same terrain can conceivably catch up to them. Obviously, there's still big advantages to traveling in a motorized vehicle, given that they can maintain their top speed for much longer than a horse can gallop, but horses would still be extremely useful for highway bandits, who would only have to pursue their victims a short while. i kind of like that dynamic, and I think I might go with it. Does anyone see any flaw in my logic? Should road quality drop further than falling from good to average?
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Old 04-22-2016, 01:33 AM   #27
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Default Re: [AtE] Condition of Highways

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Originally Posted by wabishtar View Post
So in my setting, I have a few monastic orders of mutants doing charity works because they believe their mutations are punishments from God, and they need to atone. How hard would it be for a monastic order with minimal resources to maintain the roads?
Well, they can sure remove debris, kill plants which start growing on the road, and dump something into cracks and potholes. They can keep culverts unclogged and put out signs "BRIDGE OUT TURN LEFT". Those things will slow down damage and prevent travellers finding that there are three large trees across the road in a place where its impossible to just drive around them on the margins. Without a supply of ashphalt and mobile ovens for melting and pouring it I doubt they can repair serious breaks, so water will keep slipping into cracks, freezing, expanding, melting, ... I also think that concrete would be a problem ... even the Roman kind requires bulk shipments of specialized minerals (pozolanno) aside from lots of nasty work with lime and crushed stone. I would not expect them do be able to do much about the bridges.

Modern roads just are not designed for very long lives like the best Roman and Inca roads, any more than modern buildings are.
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Old 04-22-2016, 01:43 AM   #28
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Default Re: [AtE] Condition of Highways

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In my hometown there's a few blocks of lightly used road that is rumored to have been paved in concrete decades ago (like when the city first laid concrete roads for automobiles) and never touched. I can vouch that ever since I heard that rumor (maybe 20+ years ago) I've never see it repaved. The road has a few cracks, but not into small pieces. Like maybe a city block being in ten total pieces. The sidewalks down the side of it are in worse shape.

Mostly it was my friends condemning the fact the asphalt roads it connected to tore themselves to pieces every winter with potholes and needed a resurfacing every decade or so. My guess though is the road surface is a good material and it gets just enough traffic to prevent plants from breaking it up.
Probably the surface. There's also a road like that in the city I live, apparently it hasn't had to be re-done in something like 50-years and it was a main road for the city when it was built.

Also apparently the roman roads where smooth, but time has eroded the mortar between the blocks of stone.

Last edited by scc; 04-22-2016 at 01:44 AM. Reason: time span
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Old 04-22-2016, 02:01 AM   #29
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Default Re: [AtE] Condition of Highways

Some of the reasons why good roads were uncommon historically also work in the Wasteland:

- Roads let merchants and goods through, but also invading armies. So being at the end of a snaky mountain road has its advantages (Afghanistan still has almost no railway network because of considerations like this)
- Everyone is tempted to try to collect taxes and tolls, while pressure to spend them on the roads does not always exist
- The benefit of roads is unevenly distributed: most of it goes to the destination, and to travellers, but most of the length of the road goes through thinly populated rural areas with no money and nothing much to sell. So if the polities are small, some may just not want to bother to keep up the roads.
- Everyone along the path of the road has to agree on some things like the direction of long roads, rut/lane widths, capacity of ferries ... but being stubborn on one of those things is a good way to show independence, or people get worried that accepting someone else's weights and measures leads to slavery.
- Resources are scarce, and there are lots of other ways to use the resources which would be used building and maintaining roads

So there should be places where someone deliberately broke a road or tore town a bridge to protect their town, places where a militia is charging ridiculous tolls, places where the locals refuse to do maintenance and avoid travellers, places where some local potentate made them tear up the roads and rebuild them to a new standard, and places where they are salvaging the roads or just ignoring them while they work on another urgent project like keeping the dam from bursting or building the Anti-Mutant-Wall-Which-Shall-Never-Be-Crossed-Praise-Thelohd.

Edit: The resulting Area Knowledge and Current Affairs rolls to pick routes with good roads and few tolls or bandits, and social skills to get local help crossing rivers or bridging gaps or removing deadfall, also give someone other than the driver and the tech a chance to shine in a cross-country adventure.
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Last edited by Polydamas; 04-22-2016 at 02:29 AM.
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Old 04-22-2016, 09:39 AM   #30
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Default Re: [AtE] Condition of Highways

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... or building the Anti-Mutant-Wall-Which-Shall-Never-Be-Crossed-Praise-Thelohd.
For some reason, this reminds me of the Rabbit Proof Fence in West Australia. Or the one in Queensland, Australia. Or the Dingo Fence. Australia has a real history of building giant long fences to try to stop pest animals.

The fences haven't been 100% successful, but they seem to have helped other control measures by slowing migration of new animals. Of course, animal population models are very hard to apply to humans, since our reaction to a fence is more than "try to climb it or dig under it". Often it's "get 50 friends and knock it all down" or even "hire that one expert and blow it up".
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