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THE PURPOSE AND UTILITY OF HIGHWAYS The Development of Highway Systems Transportation Problem.—Public highways, like many other familiar things, are utilized constantly with little thought of how indispensable they are to the conduct of the business of a nation or of the intimate relation they bear to the everyday life of any community. The degree to which a nation or a community perfects its transportation facilities is an index of its industrial progress and public highways constitute an important element in the national transportation system. It is to be expected that the average citizen will think of the public highway only when it affects his own activities and that he will concern himself but little with the broad problem of highway improvement unless it be brought forcibly to his attention through taxation or by publicity connected with the advancement of specific projects. National in Scope.—The improvement and extension of the highway system is of national importance just as is development and extension of railways, and concerted action throughout a nation is a prerequisite to an adequate policy in regard to either. It is inconceivable that any community in a nation can prosper greatly without some benefit accruing to many other parts of the country. Increased consumption, which always accompanies material prosperity, means increased production somewhere, and people purchase from many varied sources to supply the things that they want. Good transportation facilities contribute greatly to community prosperity and indirectly to national prosperity, and the benefits of highly improved public highways are therefore national in scope. This fact has been recognized in Europe, notably in England, France and Belgium, where the public highways are administered largely as national utilities. Until recent years, highway improvement in the United States has been subordinated to other more pressing public improvements, but during the World War the inadequacy of the transportation system of the United States became apparent. While such an unprecedented load upon transportation facilities may not recur for many years, it has become apparent that more rapid progress in highway improvement is necessary and in the United States the subject is now likely to receive attention commensurate with its importance