Numbered highways in the United States

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

Interstate Highways


Interstate Highway

Shown: Interstate 95


Interstate Highway, 3-digit variant

Shown: Interstate 695

I-80 (CA).svg

Interstate Highway, state-name variant

Shown: Interstate 80 in California

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

US 20.svg

United States Numbered Highways

Shown: U.S. Route 20

US 6 (CA).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 25E.svg

Suffixed United States Numbered Highways

Shown: U.S. Route 25E

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

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

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.[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 Route in Arizona

Shown: State Route 89

Arkansas 87.svg

State Highway in Arkansas

Shown: State Highway 87

California 1.svg

State Route 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


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 Roads in Florida, tolled

Shown: State Road 417

Georgia 5.svg

State Route in Georgia

Shown: State Route 5


Route in Hawaii

Shown: Route 76


State Highway in Idaho

Shown: State Highway 1

Illinois 53.svg

Illinois Route

Shown: Illinois Route 53

Indiana 37.svg

State Roads in Indiana

Shown: State Road 37

Iowa 92.svg

State Highway in Iowa*

Shown: Iowa Highway 92


State Highway in Kansas*

Shown: K-99

Circle sign 1.svg

State Highway in Kentucky*

Shown: State Highway 1

Louisiana 3234.svg

State Highway in Louisiana*

Shown: Louisiana Highway 3234

MA Route 9.svg

State Route in Maine

Shown: State Route 9

MD Route 2.svg

Maryland state highway

Shown: Maryland Route 2

MA Route 24.svg

Route in Massachusetts

Shown: Route 24


State Trunkline in Michigan

Shown: M-28


Highway in Minnesota

Shown: Highway 55

Circle sign 1.svg

Highway in Mississippi

Shown: Mississippi Highway 1


Route in Missouri

Shown: Route 43


Route in Missouri, supplemental variant

Shown: Route M


Highway in Montana

Shown: Montana Highway 80


Secondary Highway in Montana

Shown: Montana Secondary Highway 326


State Highway in Nebraska

Shown: Nebraska Highway 2

Nevada 28.svg

State Route in Nevada

Shown: State Route 28

NH Route 16.svg

New Hampshire Route

Shown: New Hampshire Route 16

Circle sign 33.svg

Route in New Jersey

Shown: Route 33

New Mexico 14.svg

State Highway in New Mexico*

Shown: New Mexico State Road 14


Route in New York

Shown: New York State Route 7

Bronx River Pkwy Shield.svg

Parkway 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 Highway in North Carolina

Shown: North Carolina Highway 3

North Dakota 23.svg

State Highways in North Dakota*

Shown: State Highway 23


State Route in Ohio

Shown: State Route 2

Oklahoma State Highway 1.svg

State Highway in Oklahoma, new shield

Shown: State Highway 1

Circle sign 1.svg

State Highway in Oklahoma, old shield

Shown: State Highway 1

OR 3.svg

Route in Oregon

Shown: Oregon Route 3


Pennsylvania State Traffic Route

Shown: Pennsylvania Route 10

PA QR 3032.svg

Quadrant Route in Pennsylvania

Shown: State Route 3032 (Dauphin County)

Pennsylvania Turnpike logo.svg

Pennsylvania Turnpike System


Tolled State Routes in Pennsylvania

Shown: PA Turnpike 66

Rhode Island 3.svg

Route in Rhode Island

Shown: Route 3

South Carolina 6.svg

State Highway in South Carolina, new shield

Shown: South Carolina Highway 6


State Highway in South Carolina, old shield

Shown: South Carolina Highway 64

SD 10.svg

State Highway in South Dakota

Shown: South Dakota Highway 10

Tennessee 14.svg

State Route in Tennessee

Shown: State Route 14

Secondary Tennessee 14.svg

Secondary State Route in Tennessee

Shown: Secondary State Route 14

Texas 6.svg

State Highway in Texas

Shown: State Highway 6

Toll Texas 121.svg

State Highway in Texas, tolled

Shown: State Highway 121

Texas Loop 1.svg

State Highway Loop in Texas

Shown: Loop 1

Texas Spur 366.svg

State Highway Spur in Texas

Shown: Spur 366

Texas Beltway 8.svg

State Beltway in Texas

Shown: Texas Beltway 8

Texas FM 1960.svg

Farm to Market Road in Texas

Shown: Farm to Market Road 1960

Texas RM 2243.svg

Ranch to Market Road in Texas

Shown: Ranch to Market Road 2243

Texas Park Road 5.svg

Park Road in Texas

Shown: Park Road 5

Texas Recreational Road 2.svg

Recreational Road 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

Utah SR 12.svg

State Route in Utah

Shown: State Route 12

Vermont 15.svg

Vermont Route

Shown: Vermont Route 15

Circle sign 35.svg

Vermont Route, "state numbered town highway" variant

Shown: Locally maintained Vermont Route 35

Virginia 7.svg

Virginia State Route

Shown: State Route 7

Circle sign 7100.svg

Virginia State Highway, secondary or frontage state highway

Shown: State Route 7100


State Route in Washington

Shown: State Route 9


Primary State Highways in Washington

Shown: PSH 1


Secondary State Highways in Washington

Shown: SSH 1U


West Virginia Route*

Shown: West Virginia Route 46


West Virginia County Route

Shown: County Route 5

WIS 32 no arrows.svg

Wisconsin State Trunk Highway

Shown: State Trunk Highway 32

WIS County Z.svg

Wisconsin County Trunk Highway

Shown: County Trunk Highway Z


State Highway in Wyoming*

Shown: Wyoming Highway 24

A * means that the official name is unconfirmed.

Territorial Highways

American Samoa Highway 001.svg

American Samoa Highway*

Shown: Territorial Route 001

Guam route marker 8.svg

Guam Highways*

Shown: Guam Highway 8

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 3

Circle sign 10.svg

U.S. Virgin Islands Highway*

Shown: U.S. Virgin Islands Highway 10

A * means that the official name is unconfirmed.


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

External links


  1. ^ U.S. Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices, Section 2D.11
  2. ^ Signs for NYC Pkwys
  3. ^ "Internal Improvements Acts". South Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Retrieved 2007-06-08. 
  4. ^ Richard F. Weingroff. "From Names to Numbers: The Origins of the U.S. Numbered Highway System". Federal Highway Administration. Retrieved 2010-04-06. 

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • List of unused highways in the United States — An unused highway may reference a highway or highway ramp that was partially or fully constructed but was unused [ US R and NY TF1 Practice for the Real Thing. City of New York 20 June 2005. 15 Jan. 2007 [… …   Wikipedia

  • Speed limits in the United States — are set by each state or territory. Speed limits in the United States vary according to the type of road and land use. These speed limits do not exceed eighty miles per hour. Increments of five miles per hour are used. Additionally, these limits… …   Wikipedia

  • Rail transportation in the United States — Rail transport Operations Track Maintenance High speed Gauge Stations …   Wikipedia

  • Rail transport in the United States — This article is part of the history of rail transport by country series. Today, most rail transport in the United States is based in freight train shipments. Changing U.S. economic needs and the rise of automobile, bus, and air transport led to… …   Wikipedia

  • Exit numbers in the United States — An exit number is a number assigned to a road junction, usually an exit from a freeway. It is usually marked on the same sign as the destinations of the exit, as well as a sign in the gore.Interstate Highways The use of exit numbers on the… …   Wikipedia

  • Transportation in the United States — is facilitated by road, air, rail, and water networks. The vast majority of passenger travel occurs by automobile for shorter distances, and airplane for longer distances. In descending order, most cargoes travel by railroad, truck, pipeline, or… …   Wikipedia

  • List of numbered highways in Ohio — Highway markers for Interstate 71, U.S. Route 6 and State Route 2 Highway names …   Wikipedia

  • Roads in the United Kingdom — The A2 at Leyton Cross, Dartford. Roads in the United Kingdom form a network of varied quality and capacity. Road distances are shown in miles or yards and UK speed limits are in miles per hour (mph) or use of the national speed limit (NSL)… …   Wikipedia

  • Numbered routes in Rhode Island — Route 117 at U.S. Route 1 in Warwick The U.S. state of Rhode Island has 70 numbered routes, coordinated and signed by the Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT). Most of these are partly or fully state highways, roads owned and… …   Wikipedia

  • United States Numbered Highways — The system of United States Numbered Highways (often called U.S. Routes or U.S. Highways) is an integrated system of roads and highways in the United States numbered within a nationwide grid. As these highways were coordinated among the states,… …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”