Numbered highways in the United States

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Highways in the United States are split into at least four different types of systems.

  • Interstate Highways
    • The Interstate Highway System is a federally funded and administered (but state-maintained) system of freeways that forms the transportation backbone of the U.S., with millions of Americans relying on it for commutes and freight transport daily. Interstate highways are all constructed to precise standards, designed to maximize high-speed travel safety and efficiency. Interstate Highways also contain auxiliary routes, which are normally assigned a three-digit route number. All Interstate Highways are part of the National Highway System, a network of highways deemed essential to the defense, economy, and mobility of the country.
  • U.S. Highways
    • The U.S. Highway System (officially "United States Numbered Highways") is an older system consisting mostly of surface-level trunk roads, coordinated by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials and maintained by state and local governments. U.S. highways have been relegated to regional and intrastate traffic, as they have been largely supplanted by the Interstate system for long-distance travel except in areas (especially in the west) where the Interstate system is absent or underdeveloped. This has led to the decommissioning and truncation of U.S. Highways that were formerly vital long-haul routes, such as U.S. Route 21 and U.S. Route 66.
  • State Highways
    • Each state also has a state highway system. State highways are of varying standards and quality. Some state highways become so heavily traveled they are built to Interstate Highway standards. Others are so lightly traveled that they are roads of low quality.
  • County Highways
    • The final administrative level in some states is the county-maintained county highway. (The term "parish" is used instead in Louisiana.) County routes vary widely from well-traveled multilane highways to dirt roads into remote parts of the county.

Highways are generally organized by a route number or letter. These designations are generally displayed along the route by means of a highway shield. Each system has its own unique shield design that will allow quick identification to which system the route belongs. Below is a list of the different highway shields used throughout the U.S.

Shield list[edit]

Interstate Highways[edit]

I-95.svg

Interstate Highway

Shown: Interstate 95

I-695.svg

Interstate Highway, 3-digit variant

Shown: Interstate 695

I-80 (CA).svg

Interstate Highway, state-name variant

Shown: Interstate 80 in California

I-35W (TX).svg

Suffixed Interstate Highway

Shown: Interstate 35W in Texas

I-H1 (HI).svg

Hawaii Interstate Highway

Shown: Interstate H-1

I-H201 (HI).svg

Hawaii Interstate Highway, thin font variant

Shown: Interstate H-201

Business Loop 96.svg

Business Loop Highway

Shown: Interstate 96 Business (Lansing, Michigan)

Business Spur 75.svg

Business Spur Highway

Shown: Interstate 75 Business (Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan)

U.S. Numbered Highways[edit]

US 20.svg

United States Numbered Highways

Shown: U.S. Route 20

US 6 (1961 cutout).svg

United States Numbered Highways, California variant

Shown: U.S. Route 6 in California

US 66 Arizona 1926.svg

United States Numbered Highways, Old Style variant

Shown: U.S. Route 66 in Arizona

US 9W.svg

Suffixed United States Numbered Highways

Shown: U.S. Route 9W

US 66 (historic).svg

Historic United States Numbered Highways

Shown: Historic U.S. Route 66

Historic US 99 (CA).svg

Historic United States Numbered Highways, California variant

Shown: Historic U.S. Route 99 in California

Business plate.svg

US 1.svg

Business Route

Shown: U.S. Route 1 Business

By-pass plate.svg

US 60.svg

Bypass Route

Shown: U.S. Route 60 Bypass

US 71B.svg

Business Route, Arkansas variant

Shown: U.S. Route 71 Business in Arkansas

US 1 Business (MD).svg

Business Route, Maryland variant

Shown: U.S. Route 1 Business in Maryland

Truck plate.svg

US 9.svg

Truck Route

Shown: U.S. Route 9 Truck

Alternate plate.svg

US 40.svg

Alternate Route

Shown: U.S. Route 40 Alternate

Scenic US 412.svg

Scenic Route

Shown: U.S. Route 412 Scenic

Generic routes[edit]

Baldwin County Route 64 AL.svg

Generic county route

Shown: County Route 64 in Baldwin County, Alabama

St Louis County Route 7 MN.svg

Generic county route (Alternate shield)

Shown: County Route 7 in St. Louis County, Minnesota

Forest Route 16.svg

Generic Forest Highway

Shown: Forest Highway 16

Indian Route 18.svg

Generic Indian Route

Shown: Indian Route 18

US Bike 76 (M1-9).svg

Generic U.S. Bicycle Route

Shown: U.S. Bicycle Route 76

US Bike 13 (M1-8).svg

Generic numbered bicycle route

Shown: Bicycle Route 13

State highways and other similar systems[edit]

Many state highway markers are designed to suggest the geographic shape of the state or some other state symbol such as its flag. Most of the others are generically rectangular or some other neutral shape. The default design for state highway markers is the circular highway shield, which is how state highways are designated on most maps. Several states still use the circular shield for road signage on their state highways.[1]

Alabama 5.svg

State Routes in Alabama

Shown: State Route 5

Alaska 1 shield.svg

Alaska Routes

Shown: Alaska Route 1

Arizona 89.svg

State Routes in Arizona

Shown: State Route 89

Arizona Loop 303.svg

State loop redesignations in Arizona

Shown: Arizona State Route 303

Arkansas 87.svg

State Highways in Arkansas

Shown: State Highway 87

California 1.svg

State Routes in California

Shown: State Route 1

Colorado 62.svg

State Highways in Colorado

Shown: State Highway 62

Connecticut Highway 15.svg

Routes in Connecticut

Shown: Route 15


Elongated circle 1.svg

State Routes in Delaware

Shown: State Route 1

DC-295.svg

District of Columbia Routes

Shown: District of Columbia Route 295

Florida 60.svg

State Roads in Florida

Shown: State Road 60

Toll Florida 417.svg

State toll roads in Florida

Shown: State Road 417

Georgia 5.svg

State Routes in Georgia

Shown: State Route 5

HI-76.svg

Routes in Hawaii

Shown: Route 76

ID-1.svg

State Highways in Idaho

Shown: State Highway 1

Illinois 53.svg

Illinois Routes

Shown: Illinois Route 53

Indiana 37.svg

State Roads in Indiana

Shown: State Road 37

Iowa 92.svg

State Highways in Iowa*

Shown: Iowa Highway 92

K-99.svg

State Highways in Kansas*

Shown: K-99

Circle sign 1.svg

State Highways in Kentucky*

Shown: State Highway 1

Louisiana 1263.svg

State Highways in Louisiana*

Shown: Louisiana Highway 1263

MA Route 9.svg

State Routes in Maine

Shown: State Route 9

MD Route 2.svg

Maryland state highways

Shown: Maryland Route 2

MA Route 24.svg

Routes in Massachusetts

Shown: Route 24

M-28.svg

State Trunklines in Michigan

Shown: M-28

MN-55.svg

Highways in Minnesota

Shown: Highway 55

Circle sign 1.svg

Highways in Mississippi

Shown: Mississippi Highway 1

MO-43.svg

Routes in Missouri

Shown: Route 43

MO-supp-M.svg

Routes in Missouri, supplemental variant

Shown: Route M

MT-80.svg

Highways in Montana

Shown: Montana Highway 80

MT-sec-326.svg

Secondary Highways in Montana

Shown: Montana Secondary Highway 326

N-2.svg

State Highways in Nebraska

Shown: Nebraska Highway 2

Nevada 28.svg

State Routes in Nevada

Shown: State Route 28

NH Route 16.svg

Routes in New Hampshire

Shown: New Hampshire Route 16

Circle sign 18.svg

Routes in New Jersey

Shown: Route 18

New Mexico 14.svg

State Highways in New Mexico*

Shown: New Mexico State Road 14

NY-7.svg

Routes in New York

Shown: New York State Route 7

Bronx River Pkwy Shield.svg

Parkways in New York City and Upstate New York[2]

Shown: Bronx River Parkway

Meadowbrook Pkwy Shield.svg

Parkway on Long Island, New York

Shown: Meadowbrook Parkway

NC 3.svg

State Highways in North Carolina

Shown: North Carolina Highway 3

North Dakota 23.svg

State Highways in North Dakota*

Shown: State Highway 23

OH-2.svg

State Routes in Ohio

Shown: State Route 2

Oklahoma State Highway 1.svg

State Highways in Oklahoma, new shield

Shown: State Highway 1

Circle sign 1.svg

State Highways in Oklahoma, old shield

Shown: State Highway 1

OR 3.svg

Routes in Oregon

Shown: Oregon Route 3

PA-10.svg

Pennsylvania State Traffic Routes

Shown: Pennsylvania Route 10

PA QR 3032.svg

Quadrant Routes in Pennsylvania

Shown: State Route 3032 (Dauphin County)

Pennsylvania Turnpike logo.svg

Pennsylvania Turnpike System


Turnpike-66.svg

Tolled State Routes in Pennsylvania

Shown: PA Turnpike 66

Rhode Island 3.svg

Routes in Rhode Island

Shown: Route 3

South Carolina 170.svg

State Highways in South Carolina, new shield

Shown: South Carolina Highway 170

SC-64.svg

State Highways in South Carolina, old shield

Shown: South Carolina Highway 64

SD 10.svg

State Highways in South Dakota

Shown: South Dakota Highway 10

Tennessee 14.svg

State Routes in Tennessee

Shown: State Route 14

Secondary Tennessee 14.svg

Secondary State Routes in Tennessee

Shown: Secondary State Route 14

Texas 6.svg

State Highways in Texas

Shown: State Highway 6

Toll Texas 121.svg

Tolled State Highways in Texas

Shown: State Highway 121

Texas Loop 1.svg

State Highway Loops in Texas

Shown: Loop 1

Texas Spur 366.svg

State Highway Spurs in Texas

Shown: Spur 366

Texas Beltway 8.svg

State Beltways in Texas

Shown: Texas Beltway 8

Texas FM 1960.svg

Farm-to-market roads in Texas

Shown: Farm to Market Road 1960

Texas RM 2243.svg

Ranch-to-Market Roads in Texas

Shown: Ranch to Market Road 2243

Texas Park Road 5.svg

Park Roads in Texas

Shown: Park Road 5

Texas Recreational Road 2.svg

Recreational Roads in Texas

Shown: Recreational Road 2

Texas NASA Road 1.svg

State NASA Road in Texas

Shown: NASA Road 1

Texas OSR.svg

Old San Antonio Road in Texas

Shown: Texas OSR, the first road in Texas

Texas Business 70-G.svg

Texas State Highway Business Routes

Shown: Texas Business State Highway 70-G

Utah SR 128.svg

State Routes in Utah

Shown: Utah State Route 128

Vermont 15.svg

Vermont Routes

Shown: Vermont Route 15

Circle sign 35.svg

Vermont Routes, "state numbered town highway" variant

Shown: Locally maintained Vermont Route 35

Virginia 7.svg

Virginia State Routes

Shown: State Route 7

Circle sign 620.svg

Virginia State Routes, secondary or frontage state highway

Shown: State Route 620

WA-9.svg

State Routes in Washington

Shown: State Route 9

WA-PSH1.svg

Primary State Highways in Washington

Shown: PSH 1

WA-SSH1-U.svg

Secondary State Highways in Washington

Shown: SSH 1U

WV-46.svg

West Virginia Routes*

Shown: West Virginia Route 46

WV-Sec-5.svg

West Virginia County Routes

Shown: County Route 5

WIS 35.svg

Wisconsin State Trunk Highways

Shown: State Trunk Highway 35

WIS County Z.svg

Wisconsin County Trunk Highways

Shown: County Trunk Highway Z

WY-24.svg

State Highways in Wyoming*

Shown: Wyoming Highway 24

A * means that the official name is unconfirmed.

Territorial Highways[edit]

American Samoa Highway 001.svg

American Samoa Highway*

Shown: Territorial Route 001

Guam route marker 1.svg

Guam Highways*

Shown: Guam Highway 1

PR primary 1.svg

Puerto Rico Highway

Shown: Puerto Rico Highway 1

PR urban primary 1.svg

Puerto Rico Highway, Urban primary variant

Shown: Puerto Rico Highway 1

PR secondary 139.svg

Puerto Rico Highway, Secondary variant

Shown: Puerto Rico Highway 139

PR tertiary 301.svg

Puerto Rico Highway, Tertiary variant

Shown: Puerto Rico Highway 301

Circle sign 10.svg

U.S. Virgin Islands Highway*

Shown: U.S. Virgin Islands Highway 10

A * means that the official name is unconfirmed.

History[edit]

In 1918, Wisconsin became the first state to number its highways.[3] In 1926 the American Association of State Highway Officials (AASHO) established and numbered interstate routes (U.S. route numbers), selecting the best roads in each state that could be connected to provide a rational network of "federal" highways.[4]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]