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This photo was taken with my iPhone6Plus; I did a modest edit in Snapseed.

Part of the East LA Interchange (it is too large to photograph from one location). Here are the connectors to/from the Hollywood Freeway (US101) and the San Bernardino Freeway (I-10). The red sky is due to the fires in the foothills north of this location.

The latest in my series of transit map-style diagrams - this time, of the U.S. Highway system. That's U.S. Routes (like Route 66), not to be confused with the newer Interstate Highway system (I-5, I20, etc.). Without a doubt, this is the most complex map of this type I have attempted.


As always, comments, suggestions and corrections are gratefully accepted.

After almost two years of single-handed research, design, checking and cross-checking, I’m incredibly proud and thrilled to present my latest map project. It shows every single current and signed Interstate Highway and U.S. Highway in the contiguous 48 states in a style very similar to my previous Interstates as Subway Map and U.S. Highways as a Subway Map projects. Having made two separate maps that showed each type of road, I really had to at least try to combine them both into one map, didn’t I?


However, I’d stop short of calling this a “subway map”. While still taking many design cues from that genre, I’d rather call it a “simplified road map” instead. Because of the insane complexity of the two combined networks, there’s a lot more adherence to geography here than in those previous, more stylised diagrams. Yes, the roads have been straightened out a lot – especially the Interstates – but many cities fall pretty much exactly where they would be on a “real” map, and roads cross state borders at or very near the correct locations. The overall shapes of the states have also been preserved as much as possible.


The map follows much the same design principles as the previous ones: white circles with black strokes denote named places (cities, towns, etc.) where two or more roads intersect. The more roads at that location, the larger the dot. Named places at intersections are always shown, even if they’re just a teeny-tiny little hamlet. Not all roads meet at named places, so there are intersections with no labels. Places that fall along a road between intersections are shown as a “tick”, and are included if they have a population of 1,000 or over (thanks, Wikipedia!). Obviously, some places are left off the map for clarity in very populous urban areas, especially if they are considered as part of a “greater” metropolis: I apologise in advance if your home town is missing. There’s still an incredible 4,385 named places on the map!


Having to show different types of roads on the same map meant that an additional level of complexity was introduced. I decided that stroke width was the best way to differentiate between two-digit Interstate Highways (the thickest stroke at 8 points wide in my working file), three-digit Interstates (6pt) and U.S. Highways (just 4pt wide). As before, bright colours were assigned to the “major” routes as defined by AASHTO: these are two-digit routes ending in “0″ and “5″ for Interstates, and “0″ and “1″ for U.S. Highways. The U.S. Highways use a lighter tint of the corresponding Interstate colour to differentiate between them if they ever run in close proximity (this is rare, but it does happen: I-55 and U.S. 51 share the same roadway out of New Orleans, for example). Four different greys are then used for the “minor” routes, with cool greys being assigned to odd-numbered routes and warm greys used for even routes. Minor Interstates are represented in darker greys than the minor U.S. Highways to reinforce their higher position in the information hierarchy.


Roads that touch on the map while running parallel to each other are actually sharing the same physical roadway: in AASHTO-speak, they are “concurrent”. Because of the scale of the map, I can’t always show where a U.S. Route might leave a concurrent Interstate to serve a town and then rejoin again immediately afterwards.


Roads that run closely parallel without touching are not concurrent, but are sharing the same corridor. This often happens where an Interstate has supplanted a U.S. Route as the main highway through an area. While I’ve tried my best to show these corridors as accurately as possible, there are instances where the roads are on the “wrong” side of each other compared to the real world. This is especially true when a winding old U.S. Routes cross and recross a (much straighter) Interstate highway multiple times in a short distance.


But enough talk, here's a giant 12,000px-wide version of the whole map to look at!

Looking north(west)bound towards the Four-Level Interchange, i.e. the junction of this freeway with the Pasadena/Harbor Freeway (SR-110/I-110).

Part of the East LA Interchange (it is too large to photograph from one location). Here are the connectors to/from the Hollywood Freeway (US101) and the San Bernardino Freeway (I-10).

Multiple colored US shields are a rare sight anymore in Florida. US 17 was represented by yellow signs and US 92 had blue. They're in pretty good shape, installed in 1985. The colored-shield era came to an end in 1993, with only a few stragglers of Florida's past remaining.

Lehigh Valley Airport does have one redeeming sign feature, this button copy panel showing nearby cities. There's also a nicely-faded PA 987 shield which still looks better than the acorn example.

Gantry for I-530 and US Routes 63, 65, and 79, along with AR 190.

Olympus XA2

Fuji Velvia 100f Xpro

Ellisville, FL

Tucked between the towns of La Junta and Trinidad on an extremely desolate stretch of U.S. Route 350 is the ghost town of Delhi. Not much happens here anymore; there is only one inhabited building in town, the general store to the left has been closed for decades, the highway only sees one car every 15 minutes, and even the BNSF Raton Sub to the north has been degraded to two daily Amtraks per day.

Looking north(west)bound towards the Four-Level Interchange, i.e. the junction of this freeway with the Pasadena/Harbor Freeway (SR-110/I-110).

This is a 55 mph stretch of US Route 6 between Fremont and Sandusky, Ohio. There are some snow drifts moving across the highway.


Salina, KS- I-40 & US 40 E Bound at the departure of Exit 252 serving K-143 and Ninth Street. The state route runs 4.68 miles north through agricultural areas terminating at US 81. Ninth Street serves the main city to the south eventually becoming Planet Avenue in which both roads together were once part of US 81.

Superhighway Hypnosis -

What do you watch out for in Singapore prior to the finishing line? A hundred traffic lights in front and a zillion chatty bus engines right behind. Even on the expressway, you have to make way for unruly vehicles with pent up rage. How queer is a road without cars? What do purple skies with burnt orange mare tails look like? I was clueless up just before I arrived on the interstate roads in the States. There’s something about the mood, the melancholia distance on the undulating asphalt that I seriously like. From the moment the urban area melts away in the rearview mirror and bulbous mountains come into sight, time is of no essence and I forgot what I came for. While my emotion soars to the beat of the music, strangely the deviating clouds on the horizon hovered so low down the lanes. And oh, by the way, my favorite strip on the pavement lies on the barren region laden with thorns. The desert highway with no signs of life has amber rectangle eyes on both sides of the mid parallel lines. People don’t realize it, but I find them amazingly attractive more than ever when they shine and guide at night. Yawn! The routine of pack, unpack and four hours of sleep never bothered me. The sun sets another day and tomorrow dawns a new journey. Get in the van and the cougar will speed until the ribbon below is velvet like silk. Wherever the weathered wheels take me, in the destination named know where.

And now, back to our regularly scheduled U.S. Highway System photos, history, and other information.


United States System of Highways

Adopted for Uniform Marking by the

American Association of State

Highway Officials

November 11, 1926


Department of Agriculture

William M. Jardine, Secretary


Bureau of Public Roads

Thomas H. MacDonald, Chief




Update: This photo was #441 on Flickr's Explore page on February 22, 2009. Woohoo!





This is a fairly unusual highway southeast of Bowling Green, Ohio. There are no reduced speed warning signs when traveling east out of Bowling Green. The road switches to a two-lane undivided highway from a four-lane divded highway (65 mph) then goes through an intersection before continuing a little bit and crossing a bridge. The first notification of the 55 mph speed limit is located east of the bridge, about a half mile after the highway switched to two lanes and intersected with Dunbridge Road. So it is legal to go 65 mph through an intersection on a two-lane highway then have to slow down to 55 mph afterwards even though the highway retains the same standards for a couple more miles and does not have another intersection after Dunbridge Road for another mile. Since the first couple miles of the two-lane section were built to be converted into a four-lane divided highway (if traffic increases) it has no houses or businesses located on the road and generally ground level intersections are limited to about one per mile. The divided highways I notice with speed limits of 60 have many more hazards such as traffic lights, driveways, and businesses on them.

A 70 mph section of US Route 68 northbound near Springfield, Ohio

The Quechee Gorge is one of the Vermont's most spectacular scenic wonders. USRoute 4 crosses the narrow 165ft. ravine that was cut by the rushing waters of the Ottauquechee River.


from Sherri_USA_PostcardHeaven(1-10)

This is a 55 mph stretch of US Route 6 between Fremont and Sandusky, Ohio. There are some snow drifts moving across the highway.


Completed construction of route 13.Johnson County

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