Map Monday: The US Overlaid By Road Straightness

Via CityLab, Here’s a map that, if I hadn’t told you, you probably wouldn’t be able to figure out. It’s the US mapped according to the percentage of curved roads:

straigh roads map

Here’s the description from the creator, who readily admits his data is flawed in that OpenStreetMap is not yet complete:

The Mid-west USA and Canadian prairies have the most straight roads. Nearly all of the roads there are straight. This broadly matches my theory.

Q: Does this explain anything at all about Midwestern sensibilities?


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6 Responses to Map Monday: The US Overlaid By Road Straightness

  1. sheldon mains June 29, 2015 at 4:04 pm #

    It only means that there are less obstacles to go around and less steep hills to climb. It has way more to do with geography than sensibilities.

    • Bill Lindeke
      Bill Lindeke June 29, 2015 at 4:20 pm #

      sure but how does geography/topography affect sensibilities? are flatlanders different somehow? more stoic? more prone to gazing off into the distance blankly? more prone to speeding?

      • brad June 29, 2015 at 4:39 pm #

        Sounds like you need to read Bill Holm’s Horizontal Grandeur. “There are two eyes in the human head – the eye of mystery, and the eye of harsh truth – the hidden and the open – the woods eye and the prairie eye. The prairie eye looks for distance, clarity, and light; the woods eye for closeness, complexity, and darkness. The prairie eye looks for usefulness and plainness in art and architecture; the woods eye for the baroque and ornamental”

  2. Al Davison
    Alexander Davison June 29, 2015 at 6:46 pm #

    My guess is that it’s because of predominantly agricultural land that’s divided up by the Public Land Survey System

  3. NorSKI99 June 30, 2015 at 10:54 am #

    Good question – I think Sheldon, Brad and Alex are all right.

    And thanks for sharing, Brad! Your description of Horizontal Grandeur sure grabbed my attention as a ‘flatlander’-planner type,

    Although to clarify, it’s an essay. I found it published in the compilations ‘Tallgrass Prairie Review’ and ‘Inheriting The Land: Contemporary Voices from the Midwest,’ (now on hold for me a the library!)