Roadway Express got its start because of the rubber industry in Akron, Ohio. Carroll Roush and “Chick” Morrison founded a trucking company named R & M Transportation in 1930. R & Ms purpose was to transport tires manufactured in Akron to automobile companies. Soon, Carroll Roush's brother Galen, a local lawyer, joined the company. R & M Transportation changed its name to Roadway Express, Inc., before the end of the year.
Although many businesses suffered during the Great Depression, Roadway Express prospered. The company originally hired truckers who drove their own vehicles, but after World War II Roadway purchased its own fleet. As automobiles became more common and the road system improved throughout the United States in the decades following World War II, Roadway and other trucking companies benefited. Trucks became the preferred method of shipping for most businesses, surpassing railroads. Roadway built more than five hundred terminals across the United States to improve shipping times and to make the company more accessible.
Roadway Express has grown even more during the past few decades, going international in the 1980s. The company began serving Canada in 1992, and it opened a subsidiary named Roadway Bodegas y Consolidacion in Mexico in 1986. The firm expanded its services to other parts of the world as well in the 1980s and 1990s. As a measure of its success, Roadway Express became a publicly traded company on the NASDAQ in 1996.