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 (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]

Middlesex County Route 601 NJ.svg

Generic county highway

Shown: County Route 601 in Middlesex County, New Jersey

St Louis County Route 7 MN.svg

Generic county highway (Alternate shield)

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

Forest Route 16.svg

Generic Forest Highway

Shown: Forest Highway 16 in Michigan

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 3.svg
State Routes in Alabama

Shown: State Route 3

Alaska 1 shield.svg
Alaska Routes

Shown: Alaska Route 1

American Samoa Highway 001.svg
American Samoa Highway*

Shown: Territorial Route 001

Arizona 87.svg
State Routes in Arizona

Shown: State Route 87

Arizona 303.svg
State loop redesignations in Arizona

Shown: Arizona State Route 303

Arkansas 7.svg
State Highways in Arkansas

Shown: State Highway 7

California 1.svg
State Routes in California

Shown: State Route 1

Colorado 14.svg
State Highways in Colorado

Shown: State Highway 14

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 5.svg
State Roads in Florida

Shown: State Road 5

Toll Florida 417.svg
State toll roads in Florida

Shown: State Road 417

Georgia 11.svg
State Routes in Georgia

Shown: State Route 11

Guam route marker 1.svg
Guam Highways*

Shown: Guam Highway 1

HI-11.svg
Routes in Hawaii

Shown: Route 11

ID-75.svg
State Highways in Idaho

Shown: State Highway 75

Illinois 1.svg
Illinois Routes

Shown: Illinois Route 1

Indiana 37.svg
State Roads in Indiana

Shown: State Road 37

Iowa 3.svg
State Highways in Iowa*

Shown: Iowa Highway 3

K-4.svg
State Highways in Kansas*

Shown: K-4

Circle sign 80.svg
State Highways in Kentucky*

Shown: Kentucky Route 80

Louisiana 1.svg
State Highways in Louisiana*

Shown: Louisiana Highway 1

MA Route 11.svg
State Routes in Maine

Shown: State Route 11

MD Route 2.svg
Maryland state highways

Shown: Maryland Route 2

MA Route 28.svg
Routes in Massachusetts

Shown: Route 28

M-28.svg
State Trunklines in Michigan

Shown: M-28

MN-1.svg
Highways in Minnesota

Shown: Highway 1

Circle sign 15.svg
Highways in Mississippi

Shown: Mississippi Highway 15

MO-5.svg
Routes in Missouri

Shown: Route 5

MO-supp-M.svg
Routes in Missouri, supplemental variant

Shown: Route M

MT-200.svg
Highways in Montana

Shown: Montana Highway 80

MT-sec-323.svg
Secondary Highways in Montana

Shown: Montana Secondary Highway 323

N-92.svg
State Highways in Nebraska

Shown: Nebraska Highway 92

Nevada 318.svg
State Routes in Nevada

Shown: State Route 318

NH Route 16.svg
Routes in New Hampshire

Shown: New Hampshire Route 16

Circle sign 47.svg
Routes in New Jersey

Shown: Route 47

New Mexico 120.svg
State Roads in New Mexico*

Shown: New Mexico State Road 120

NY-17.svg
State Routes in New York

Shown: New York State Route 17

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 24.svg
State Highways in North Carolina

Shown: North Carolina Highway 24

North Dakota 200.svg
State Highways in North Dakota*

Shown: State Highway 200

OH-7.svg
State Routes in Ohio

Shown: State Route 7

Oklahoma State Highway 3.svg
State Highways in Oklahoma, new shield

Shown: State Highway 3

Circle sign 3.svg
State Highways in Oklahoma, old shield

Shown: State Highway 3

OR 140.svg
Routes in Oregon

Shown: Oregon Route 140

PA-18.svg
Pennsylvania State Traffic Routes

Shown: Pennsylvania Route 18

PA QR 3032.svg
Quadrant Routes in Pennsylvania

Shown: State Route 3032 in Dauphin County

Pennsylvania Turnpike logo.svg
Pennsylvania Turnpike System


Turnpike-66.svg
Tolled State Routes in Pennsylvania

Shown: PA Turnpike 66

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

Rhode Island 114.svg
Routes in Rhode Island

Shown: Route 114

South Carolina 9.svg
State Highways in South Carolina, new shield

Shown: South Carolina Highway 9

SC-9.svg
State Highways in South Carolina, old shield

Shown: South Carolina Highway 9

SD 20.svg
State Highways in South Dakota

Shown: South Dakota Highway 20

Tennessee 1.svg
State Routes in Tennessee

Shown: State Route 1

Secondary Tennessee 14.svg
Secondary State Routes in Tennessee

Shown: Secondary State Route 14

Texas 16.svg
State Highways in Texas

Shown: State Highway 16

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 1.svg
Park Roads in Texas

Shown: Park Road 1

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

Circle sign 10.svg
U.S. Virgin Islands Highway*

Shown: U.S. Virgin Islands Highway 10

Utah SR 24.svg
State Routes in Utah

Shown: Utah State Route 24

Vermont 100.svg
Vermont Routes

Shown: Vermont Route 100

Circle sign 35.svg
Vermont Routes, "state numbered town highway" variant

Shown: Locally maintained Vermont Route 35

Virginia 40.svg
Virginia State Routes

Shown: State Route 40

Circle sign 620.svg
Virginia State Routes, secondary or frontage state highway

Shown: State Route 620

WA-20.svg
State Routes in Washington

Shown: State Route 20

WA-PSH1.svg
Primary State Highways in Washington

Shown: PSH 1

WA-SSH1-U.svg
Secondary State Highways in Washington

Shown: SSH 1U

WV-20.svg
West Virginia Routes*

Shown: West Virginia Route 20

WV-Sec-5.svg
West Virginia County Routes

Shown: County Route 5

WIS 35.svg
State Trunk Highways in Wisconsin

Shown: State Trunk Highway 35

WIS County Z.svg
Wisconsin County Trunk Highways

Shown: County Trunk Highway Z

WY-789.svg
State Highways in Wyoming*

Shown: Wyoming Highway 789


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]