Good Roads

"Good Roads"

“The average automobile is better than the average road…. The common cause of delays is defective roads, not defective machines.” - Motor Age, 1904
good roads tax

From the El Camino Real, to the Overland Trail, and later, the modern interstates, California roads have always presented challenges for their users. It was not the introduction of the automobile, but the bicycle, that led to the first calls throughout the country for “Good Roads.”

By the 1890s, the need for an improved system of roads reached a critical stage. An alliance of wagon drivers, bicyclists, the humane society and the first “automobilists” started calling for major improvements to the nearly impassable roads throughout the state.

In 1908, Californians voted for the first time to tax themselves in an effort to realize their dream of creating the “Good Roads” they had so long desired.

California State Capitol Museum – The Road Ahead Exhibit

This is a website specifically for the “The Road Ahead: The Automobile’s Impact on California” Exhibit. Dates: May 23, 2018 – April 29, 2019 at the California State Capitol Museum.

For Museum-related information such as contacts, hours and location: Visit