United States Bicycle Route System
The United States Bicycle Route System (also U.S. Bicycle Routes, abbreviated USBRS) is a developing network of interstate long-distance cycling routes in the United States. The system utilizes multiple types of bicycling infrastructure, including off-road paths, bicycle lanes, and low-traffic roads. The USBRS is the bicycle equivalent to the system of United States Numbered Highways. Envisioned to traverse the entire country, the USBRS is analogous to other national cycling route networks such as the Dutch LF-routes, the United Kingdom's National Cycle Network, and is as comprehensive as the international EuroVelo network that spans Europe.
The USBRS was established in 1978 by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), the same body that coordinates the numbering of Interstate Highways and United States Numbered Highways. In 1982 the first two routes of the system were established, and remained the only two until the 2010s. Then, many proposed routes were moved into planning stages in 2010, and the system received its first major expansion in 2011; steady growth and interest in the system has followed since. As of 2013, ten parent routes and three child routes exist across twelve states, covering 6,196 miles (9,971 km). The system, once fully connected, is projected to encompass over 50,000 miles (80,000 km) of bike routes.
Like United States Numbered Highways and many national routing systems, the U.S. Bicycle Route system is designed to roughly follow a grid. Mainline routes are the major cross-country routes and are represented with one- or two-digit numbers. Even-numbered routes are planned to primarily run east-west, with low-numbered routes in the north and high-numbered routes in the south. Odd-numbered routes will primarily run north-south, with low-numbered routes starting in the east and ascending in number toward the west. Three-digit numbers are assigned to auxiliary routes, with the last two digits denoting the parent that the auxiliary connects to. Much like other routing systems, the grid is sometimes violated; for example, U.S. Bicycle Route 76 (USBR 76) is projected to turn to the north in Colorado and end in Oregon as opposed to California, south of (and temporarily concurrent with) USBR 20 but far north of USBR 50.
The existing USBR 1 will be the easternmost route, though USBR 5 will run farther east of it in Virginia and the Carolinas. The westernmost and northernmost routes are USBR 97 and USBR 8, respectively, both of which are in the State of Alaska. Outside of Alaska, the westernmost route is expected to be USBR 95 and the northernmost USBR 10. USBR 90 is expected to be the southernmost route. Despite the analogy the system has to the U.S. Highway system, the USBRS's route numbers do not necessarily trace the same route as the corresponding U.S. Highway number; for example, while USBR 1 will run close to the East Coast and thus parallel U.S. Route 1 (US 1), the projected route of USBR 10 generally follows US 2.
In order for a route to qualify as a U.S. Bike Route, it needs to connect two or more states, connect multiple U.S. Bike Routes, or connect a U.S. Bike Route with a national border.
The first routes were defined in 1982: U.S. Bicycle Route 1 (USBR 1) from North Carolina to Virginia, and the stretch of USBR 76 from Illinois through Kentucky to Virginia. These two routes remained the only routes in the system until 2011. In the interim, only minor routing changes had been made in Virginia.
AASHTO established a new task force in 2003 to study expansion of the system. The task force included state and federal highway officials and representatives from bicycling organizations. In October 2008, AASHTO approved a national-level corridor and route designation plan. Other organizations involved in the effort include state departments of transportation, the Federal Highway Administration, and the Adventure Cycling Association.
In early May 2011, the first major expansion of the system was made. Five new parent routes, two child routes, and one alternate route were created, along with modifications to the existing routes in Virginia and the establishment of USBR 1 in New England.
- U.S. Bicycle Route 1 now has an additional run from the state of Maine to New Hampshire.
- U.S. Bicycle Route 1A is a sea-side alternate route for USBR 1 in Maine.
- U.S. Bicycle Route 8 runs from Fairbanks, Alaska, along the Alaska Highway, to the Canadian border.
- U.S. Bicycle Route 108 runs from its parent route in Tok, Alaska to Anchorage.
- U.S. Bicycle Route 208 follows the Haines Highway from the Alaska Marine Highway terminal in Haines to the Canadian border.
- U.S. Bicycle Route 20 runs from the St. Clair River through the state of Michigan to Lake Michigan.
- U.S. Bicycle Route 87 follows the Klondike Highway from the Alaska Marine Highway terminal in Skagway to the Canadian border.
- U.S. Bicycle Route 95 follows the Richardson Highway from Delta Junction, Alaska to the Alaska Marine Highway terminal in Valdez.
- U.S. Bicycle Route 97 is entirely within Alaska, and it runs from Fairbanks, through Anchorage, to Seward.
Across 2013, several other additions to the system were made. After approval in 2012, signage for USBR 45 in Minnesota was completed in the summer. An expansion of USBR 76 into Missouri was signed in October, and both Tennessee and Maryland entered the system on November 5 with USBR 23 and USBR 50, respectively. Florida has also begun planning on four bicycle routes, including its stretch of USBR 1 and USBR 90.
List of routes and planned corridors
As of November 2013, ten parent routes officially exist, so most of the items listed below are presently defined only as "Prioritized Corridors" which are "50-mile wide areas where a route may be developed." Subsidiary routes, of which only three currently exist, are grouped with their one- or two-digit parent. Twelve states currently have approved or signed routes within them: Alaska, Kentucky, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia. Alaska has the most of any state, with six active routes in total.
|Route number||States with approved routes||Locale||Official length||Formed||Notes|
|Maine, New Hampshire, Virginia, North Carolina||Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Washington, D.C., Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida||?||?||1982||One of the original routes, which only officially exists in Maine, New Hampshire, North Carolina, and Virginia, but unofficial signs exist along some of the planned route from the Canadian border in Maine to Key West, Florida. It is expected to be integrated with the East Coast Greenway.|
|Maine||Maine||178||286||2011||This is a sea-side alternative to U.S. Bicycle Route 1 in Maine.|
|USBR 5||Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia||0||0||Planned to run from USBR 76 in Virginia south to Savannah, Georgia, east of USBR 1.|
|Alaska||Alaska, Yukon, British Columbia||?||?||2011||The northernmost route in the system, USBR 8 was approved from Fairbanks to the Canadian border, following the Alaska Highway.|
|Alaska||Alaska||?||?||2011||A spur of Route 8 that starts in Tok and ends in Anchorage at USBR 97.|
|Alaska||Alaska, British Columbia, Yukon||?||?||2011||A spur of Route 8 that follows the Haines Highway.|
|USBR 9||New York||0||0||Planned to run from the Canadian border in New York to New York City. Initially planned to be designated USBR 3.|
|USBR 10||Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota, Montana, Idaho, Washington||0||0||Northernmost planned route in the contiguous United States, roughly following the U.S. Route 2 highway.|
|USBR 14||Montana, Idaho, Washington||0||0||Missoula, Montana to Seattle, Washington vicinity.|
|USBR 15||New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, Florida||0||0|
|Michigan||Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota, Montana, Idaho, Washington, Oregon||310||499||2011||Routing in Michigan has been approved, from the international Bluewater Ferry to Canada in Marine City, Michigan, and is planned to incorporate the Lake Michigan Carferry crossing between Ludington, Michigan and Manitowoc, Wisconsin.|
|USBR 23||Tennessee||Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama||0||0||2013||Planned to run from south of Louisville, Kentucky south to northern Alabama. Route in Tennessee was approved in 2013.|
|USBR 25||Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama||0||0||Planned to run from north of Detroit, Michigan south to Mobile, Alabama.|
|USBR 30||Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota, Montana||0||0||Planned to incorporate a ferry crossing on Lake Michigan between Michigan and Wisconsin.|
|USBR 35||Michigan, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi||500||805||2012||Planned to run from Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan to USBR 45 on the Mississippi River in Mississippi or Louisiana. Michigan portion dedicated on May 19, 2012.|
|USBR 36||Michigan, Indiana, Illinois||0||0||Planned from Detroit, Michigan to USBR 45 along the Mississippi River in Illinois or Iowa.|
|USBR 37||Wisconsin, Illinois||0||0||Planned to run from USBR 10 near the border with Michigan's Upper Peninsula south to Chicago, Illinois. Originally planned as part of USBR 66.|
|USBR 40||New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Illinois, Iowa, South Dakota, Wyoming||0||0||Planned to run from New York City to Yellowstone National Park.|
|USBR 41||Minnesota, Wisconsin||0||0||Planned to run from the Canadian border in Minnesota south to the Mississippi River and USBR 45 in Wisconsin.|
|USBR 45||Minnesota||Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi, Louisiana||0||0||2012||Planned to incorporate the Mississippi River Trail and run from northern Minnesota south to New Orleans, Louisiana, it is unclear whether this route will primarily run along either the west bank or east bank of the Mississippi River. Route was approved May 21, 2012.|
|USBR 50||Maryland||Delaware, Washington, D.C., Maryland, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Colorado, Utah, Nevada, California||0||0||2013||Planned to be one of the longest routes, stretching from Cape Henlopen State Park in Delaware through Washington, D.C. in the east to near San Francisco, California. Route in Delaware County, Ohio approved in 2012, and in Maryland following the C&O Canal Towpath was approved in 2013.|
|USBR 55||North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas||0||0||Planned to run from the Canadian border in North Dakota south to the Mexican border in Texas.|
|USBR 65||North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas||0||0||Planned to run from USBR 10 in North Dakota south to USBR 84 near Lubbock, Texas.|
|USBR 66||Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, California||0||0||Planned to roughly follow the decommissioned U.S. Route 66 highway from Chicago, Illinois to Los Angeles, California. Originally planned to continue north to Wisconsin on what is now planned as USBR 37.|
|USBR 70||Colorado, Utah, Arizona, Nevada, California||0||0||Planned to run from USBR 76 in Colorado to USBR 66 in California.|
|USBR 75||Colorado, New Mexico, Texas||0||0||Planned to run from USBR 76 in Colorado to USBR 90 near El Paso, Texas|
|Virginia, Kentucky, Illinois, Missouri||Virginia, Kentucky, Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Oregon||?||?||1982||One of the two original routes, this is planned to be expanded to the longest route, running from the existing eastern terminus near the Atlantic Ocean in Virginia west to the Pacific Ocean west of Eugene, Oregon. The number refers to 1776 and the U.S. bicentennial year 1976 when this was the "Bikecentennial" route. Like USBR 1, unofficial signs exist in places along the route, which is officially only in Virginia, Kentucky, and Illinois. Route approved and signed in Missouri in October 2013.|
|USBR 79||Nevada, Utah, Arizona||0||0||Planned to run from USBR 50 near Reno, Nevada to USBR 90 near Phoenix, Arizona.|
|USBR 80||North Carolina, Tennessee, Arkansas, Oklahoma||0||0||Planned to run from North Carolina coast to Oklahoma City|
|USBR 84||South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, Texas, New Mexico||0||0||Planned to run from South Carolina coast to El Paso, Texas|
|USBR 85||Washington, Oregon, California||0||0||The easternmost of three routes serving the three West Coast states.|
|Alaska||Alaska, Washington, Oregon, California||?||?||2011||The middle route of three serving the three West Coast states and Alaska. It is planned to use the Alaska Marine Highway to connect Bellingham, Washington to Skagway, Alaska. Currently, the only approved route follows the Klondike Highway.|
|USBR 90||Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, California||0||0||The southernmost route, running from near Jacksonville, Florida west to San Diego, California.|
|Alaska||Alaska, Washington, Oregon, California||?||?||2011||The westernmost planned route in the contiguous United States, USBR 95 currently runs from Delta Junction, Alaska to Valdez, via the Richardson Highway. It is planned to follow the Alaska Marine Highway from Valdez to Bellingham, Washington, and then it will go south to San Diego, California. It is expected to incorporate the Pacific Coast Bicycle Route.|
|Alaska||Alaska||?||?||2011||The western most route in the system, USBR 97 is entirely within Alaska, and it connects Fairbanks, Anchorage and Seward.|
- U.S. state bicycle route systems
- Delaware Bicycle Route 1
- List of Georgia State Bicycle Routes
- List of New York State Bicycle Routes
- List of bicycle routes in North Carolina
- List of BicyclePA bicycle routes
- Other national, subnational, and international bicycle route systems
- EuroVelo – Europe's international cycle route network
- National Cycle Network – the United Kingdom's national cycling route network
- Route Verte – Quebec's provincial cycle route network
- Trans Canada Trail – Canada's national cycling route network
- Ray Lahood (July 2, 2010). "US Bicycle Route System begins connecting America". United States Department of Transportation. Retrieved July 7, 2010.
- "AASHTO Approves New U.S. Bicycle Routes Across America". adventurecycling.org. Adventure Cycling Association. May 11, 2011. Retrieved August 23, 2011.
- Sullivan, Ginny (May 11, 2011). "It's Official! New U.S. Bicycle Routes Approved". blog.adventurecycling.org. Adventure Cycling Association. Retrieved August 23, 2011.
- Adventure Cycling Association (June 2011) (PDF). The United States Bicycle Route System: Corridor Plan (Map). http://www.adventurecycling.org/routes/nbrn/USBRSCorridorMap.pdf. Retrieved August 23, 2011.
- "New U.S. Bicycle Routes Approved in Maryland and Tennessee". adventurecycling.org. Missoula, Montana: Adventure Cycling Association. 2013-11-05. Retrieved 2013-11-05.
- AASHTO. Route Number Designations, via the Maine Department of Transportation website. Retained June 30, 1982. Retrieved May 12, 2006.
- "AASHTO Ad Hoc Task Force on U.S. Bicycle Routes" (PDF). Retrieved 2006-05-12.
- "AASHTO Task Force on Numbered Bicycle Routes" (PDF). Retrieved 2007-01-27.
- Adventure Cycling Association-Background on Current USBRS Effort. Retrieved June 28, 2009.
- "Surface Transportation Authorization Act of 2009- Committee Draft" (PDF). Retrieved 2009-06-28.
- "Florida planning U.S. Bicycle Route for long-distance bike travel". 2013-11-10. Retrieved 2013-11-11.
- Ray Lahood (June 17, 2011). "US Bike Route showing no signs of growing pains". United States Department of Transportation.
- Woodward, Calvin (December 21, 2008). "New interstate road map takes shape for bicyclists". The Intelligencer. Associated Press.
- "Grand Opening & Ribbon Cutting US Bicycle Route 35 - Traverse City, MI". Michigan.gov/AASHTO 2012 Spring Meeting website. Retrieved May 15, 2012.
- "New U.S. Bicycle Routes Approved". Adventure Cycling Association (press release), May 21, 2012. Retrieved May 22, 2012.
- "Mississippi River Trail receives state bikeway designation, becomes first US Bicycle Route in Minnesota". Retrieved 2013-11-09.
- Eichenberger, Bill (2012). "Delaware County part of coast-to-coast bike trail". ThisWeek Community News. Retrieved 2013-11-13.
- "USBR 76: Missouri Officially Designated and Signed". 2013-10-02. Retrieved 2013-11-09.
- U.S. Bicycle Route System - Adventure Cycling Association
- The United States Bicycle Route System: Corridor Plan - Adventure Cycling Association
- U.S. Bicycle Routes - AASHTO