We tend to think of public transportation as a modern invention – but the Romans used segmented paving stones for public highways that sped troops, trade goods, tax collectors and administrators that ran and funded the empire.
Roman roads were paved with locally available stone materials, but the Romans knew and applied sound, common engineering practices:
A bedding layer of cementitious materials
Several layers of graded rubble topped with paving stones to ensure mechanical durability and proper drainage
Today, 2500 years later, we still follow the same principles.
In modern times, concrete pavers took off as a building material in Europe after World War II.
Rebuilding efforts after World War II faced major shortages of building materials. German and Dutch road designers and contractors were forced to find replacements for clay brick which was needed for houses They developed cost effective, uniform size concrete-based pavers made from readily available materials. The new concrete pavers were tolerant of unstable sub-base and traffic loads, and could be installed by relatively unskilled labor.
In the 1960s a German Engineer Fritz von Langsdorff licensed a shaped interlocking concrete paver (ICP) and developed shapes and colors that tremendously increased design choices
Other German manufacturers followed suit with improved manufacturing and installation methods
Interlocking concrete paver advantages included dimensional consistency, pavement strength and stability, and moisture tolerance. Designers also had access to shapes, colors and textures not available in concrete or clay brick.
In the 1970s the interlocking paver concept was imported into North America, starting in Canada and working south into the US.
Over 50 years many innovations have been introduced, including