History of the Automobile and National Highway System


Technology for creating an automobile

1870 - 1880

Horseless Carriage

1890 - 1905

AAA-American Automobile Association


Model T Ford


US Route 1 and US Route 66 created


Ford Assembly Line Plant in Highland Park, MI thriving


The Lincoln Highway was America's first transcontinental highway


The Lincoln Highway was the first road across the United States of America. It originally spanned coast-to-coast from Times Square in New York City to Lincoln Park in San Francisco through 13 states: New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, Nevada, and California. In 1928, a realignment relocated the Lincoln Highway through the northern tip of West Virginia.

Great Depression


Automobile ownership declined during the Depression.


1939 - 1945

Rationing and military production lines limited the number of automobiles that could be manufactured

Interstate and National Defense Highway Act Passed


AASHTO develops numbering scheme for Interstate Highway System


In the numbering scheme, east–west highways are assigned even numbers AND the south–north highways are assigned odd numbers.

The Highway Beautification Act of 1965 (HBA)


Requires the Federal Highway Administration to ensure that the State transportation departments maintain "effective control of the erection and maintenance" of signs, displays, or devices, including outdoor advertising signs that are visible from the highway, beyond 660 feet of the Interstate right-of-way outside urban areas, and erected with the purpose of their message being read from the highway.

AASHTO present highway numbering policy initiated


The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) present numbering policy dates back to August 10, 1973. Within the continental United States, primary Interstates – also called main line Interstates or two-digit Interstates – are assigned numbers less than 100.

Congress enacts National Maximum Speed Law to 55 MPH

1974 - 1987

Law repealed: Power returned to states for setting speed limits


Interstate Highway System (IHS) is 46,876 miles in length


The Dwight D. Eisenhower National System of Interstate and Defense Highways, commonly called the Interstate Highway System (or simply the Interstate), is a network of limited-access highways (also called freeways or expressways) in the United States.

Yearly changes and designations of IHS corridors continues..


National Highway System (NHS) approximately 160,000 miles


Note: *The Interstate Highway System (IHS) is a subsystem of the National Highway System.