I thought about foot highways months ago. My momma told me that foot traffic is not like car traffic and that large highways would be the least used.

But just because it is that way with humans does not mean that it would be the same way for my Kepler Bb humanoids when they have an established civilization.

So first, before I even went to the rest stops and everything else, I separated humanoids into 3 groups. Those would be:

  • Casual walkers(the majority)
  • Runners(People training for disasters, people trying to lose weight, etc.)
  • Load carriers(Hunters, salesman, etc.)

I was thinking at first for the smallest roads that there be no running, even for people who are going to run. So everybody would be going at at most 5 mph(maximum human walking speed) on the smallest roads. For a 4 lane road, this is when it is critical for runners to either stop running or start running depending on direction of traffic. 12 lanes would be the maximum(6 lanes per direction) number of lanes feasible for foot traffic. On such a 12 lane road, both directions would have 3 lanes for walkers and load carriers and 3 lanes for runners.

Rest stops are another critical thing for foot traffic. There are 4 main things that would require the humanoid to find the closest rest stop. Those 4 are:

  • Out of breath(of which runners, overweight people, and pregnant women are more prone to)
  • Muscle soreness(of which everyone is prone to)
  • Muscle cramps(of which runners and pregnant women are more prone to)
  • Pulled muscle(of which load carriers are more prone to)

And for these 4 things, what is done is different.

For humanoids that are out of breath, water is given as is a snack but most importantly the humanoid rests.

For humanoids with muscle soreness, the humanoid is given heat and cold along with rest.

For humanoids with muscle cramps, the humanoid is given heat, cold, and a muscle relaxer along with rest.

For humanoids with a pulled muscle, the humanoid is given heat, cold, high protein meals, and absolute rest of the pulled muscle.

Is there anything that would prevent this kind of foot traffic system from being plausible?

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Check out Ann McCaffrey's Runner of Pern which follows a running courier delivery messages. It goes into a lot of details on exclusive runner trails, rest stops and runner injuries. $\endgroup$ Oct 22, 2017 at 3:58
  • $\begingroup$ I added reality check tag, because content of this question looks like just the thing this tag was meant for. $\endgroup$
    – Mołot
    Oct 22, 2017 at 12:55
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ If travelling by foot is the primary means of transportation for the individual on this world, running for fitness is unlikely to be a thing. $\endgroup$
    – Separatrix
    Oct 23, 2017 at 7:44
  • $\begingroup$ There seems to be an assumption that the roads are always crowded. That's usually true only at certain times each day (culturally determined), and in certain locations (most traffic is local). Also, what's preventing chronically-crowded or chronically-congested segments of road from simply being widened a foot or two? This is an established civilization, after all. $\endgroup$
    – user535733
    Oct 23, 2017 at 15:15
  • $\begingroup$ Are there alternative methods of transport; what are they? If walking is the main transport method (which I think quite feasible), then you need to expand your categories, include daily commutes to and from work, and consider the impact of things like wheelbarrows and handcarts. You could also expect increased stamina and general health, although wear and tear would be high. Life expectancy would be low, because it would be difficult to maintain such a lifestyle into old age. $\endgroup$
    – Lee Leon
    Oct 24, 2017 at 7:09

2 Answers 2


Historically speaking there have been "highways" for walkers, and they have never been too broad.

They were usually located before and after mountain passes, where the only possibility to travel were either by foot or with some animal (horse or donkey), or with carriage.

They never reached the dimensions you suggest, for a simple reason: being the travel velocity distribution more uniform than today's car and also being the traffic volume smaller, they were sufficient.

You only find something similar to your 12 lanes road in heavily crowded areas such as Hachiko crossing in Shibuya, Tokyo.


The ancient Maya may be an instance that shows some similarity to what you describe. In general the presence of horses, donkeys and mules and in much later time’s trains and cars tend to be disruptive of the sort of world that you are describing.

The ancient Maya had no beasts of burden at all, so away from the major rivers all traffic was by foot. As some of the best trade routes were between river basins there was a great deal of foot traffic across country. Tikal is a prime example. The net effect being to make settlement density higher and the area controlled by each city state smaller.

It has been calculated that the vast majority of Mayan warfare was conducted within 3 days march of base due in part to logistical difficulties.

I’m not sure that your 12 lane walk way would develop in quite the way you describe as there is less need for strict lane segregation for walkers than for motorised traffic. That said two way segregation would make sense on busy walkways and possibly even a slow and a fast lane each side. Your 6 lanes either side seems a little high but is not inconceivable.

You need to consider the distance between settlements as these are the ultimate pit stops for walkers with Inns, doctors, walker care centres and plenty of scope for rest and refreshment. In between these settlements I suggest you need two types of stop.

Every few miles a stop with water, rest and shelter and at least every 5-10 miles a larger stop where food, basic medical aid and overnight rest facilities are available as might be expected in a traditional traveller’s inn.

Another issue that you might need to consider is evacuation. If someone were to seriously injure themselves in a fall for instance, they might not be able to walk out. In such cases some of Sudan chair arrangement might be needed to take them to the nearest settlement. This would probably be expensive but might be covered by some form of insurance similar to our car insurance.


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