Transport on roads can be roughly grouped into two categories: transportation of goods and transportation of people. In many countries licensing requirements and safety regulations ensure a separation of the two industries.

The nature of road transportation of goods depends, apart from the degree of development of the local infrastructure, on the distance the goods are transported by road, the weight and volume of the individual shipment and the type of goods transported. For short distances and light, small shipments a van or pickup truck may be used. For large shipments even if less than a full truckload a truck is more appropriate. In some countries cargo is transported by road in horse drawn carriages, donkey carts or other non-motorized mode. Delivery services are sometimes considered a separate category from cargo transport. In many places fast food is transported on roads by various types of vehicles. For inner city delivery of small packages and documents bike couriers are quite common.