As Highway all major roads are referred to in North America that serve the long-distance transport.

United States

Early highways

The first transcontinental highways emerged after 1913 and were designated as National Auto Trail. They were often named after the President of the United States, for example, the Lincoln Highway from New York City to San Francisco or the Jefferson Highway from New Orleans to Winnipeg in Canada. Another famous highway was the Dixie Highway from Miami to Sault Sainte Marie, Michigan. These old names are still sometimes used.

These highways were marked by colored bands on telephone and telegraph poles, on which colored letters symbolized the street name. "L " stood for Lincoln Highway; " JH " between two blue stripes stand for Jefferson Highway; " DH " stand in white letters on a red background for Dixie Highway. Other streets were named after the signs, such as Black Diamond Highway or Red Arrow Highway.

A " highway" has nothing to do at a high speed. Previously village streets were mostly higher placed, to make them of freak weather to traffic mobile. The " traffic " consisted of horse-drawn carriages and bullock carts.

United States Highway

→ See also: List of United States Highways

As a United States highway that American major roads are referred to, which correspond to the German federal highways or main roads.

1924 planned traffic politicians the introduction of a nationwide network with through roads that were designated as United States Highway. The following year, 1925, a provisional list of U.S. Highways was published. The final list was published on 11 November 1926. In 1927, the previous name badges have been replaced by number signs, which could, however, have a different design in every state. Many U.S. Highways run as Ortsdurchfahrten by large and small cities. The United States highways as well as the State Highways are funded by the respective State.

The numbering of U.S. Highways is decided not by the federal government, but by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials ( AASHTO ).

The numbering scheme knows one-, two - and three-digit numbers. The U.S. Highways with the numbers 1-101 are transcontinental highways. Odd numbers run in a north-south direction, just numbers in an east-west direction. Major north-south roads end with the number 1, important east -west streets with the digit 0 The further the road is located in the west or south, the higher the street number. In contrast, the interstate highways to use a reverse numbering scheme. Road numbers 101 are side streets that deviate from the main route; example is U.S. Highway 331 is the third minor road which branches off from the US-31.

Additives such as E and W ( East and West), N and S ( North and South) denote sections; For example, US- 31E, U.S. 31W, 70N, and U.S. U.S. 70S.

Additional Schlenker are called Alternate routes ( routes A ) or as a bypass and business routes ( routes B ). As a National Scenic Byway are currently 125 designated roads, which are characterized by an outstanding archaeological, cultural or historical significance or a high entertainment value or particularly significant natural and environmental circumstances. This rather important regional highways run under fanciful names like ... greenway ( " scenically interesting " ), ... pike ( highway -like road connection ) or ... belt ( wide local or city bypass ).

The former U.S. Highway 66 is probably the best-known U.S. Highway. The longest one is U.S. Highway 20, which runs from Boston, MA on the east coast across the continent over more than 5,400 miles to Newport, OR on the Pacific.

Interstate Highway

→ Main article: Interstate Highway

The American counterpart to the European highways are Interstate Highways. They included in 2004 on a network with a length of 75,376 kilometers ( 46,837 miles ). The first Interstates were built in the 1950s on the initiative of the then U.S. President Eisenhower. On all interstate highways, there are speed limits that are established by the respective states.

Maximum speed

The top speed is regulated by the states. For the Federal roads and other two-lane country roads were in different U.S. states different rules. Originally, Interstate highways on level ground should a travel speed of 70 bis 80 mph enable ( 113-129 km / h). 1974, the maximum speed limit on 55 mph was (89 km / h) lowered to save gasoline in 1973 after the oil crisis. After the oil crisis of the speed limit for the promotion of road safety was maintained ( " Drive 55 and stay alive! " ), But the claim was especially in the sparsely populated area states away from the big cities with little enthusiasm. Although the federal government had no legislative competence on this issue; States that met different regulations, but threatened the setting of federal money for road construction, so that no state broke away.

1987, the maximum speed limit on highways outside of urban areas to 65 mph (105 km / h) was increased, provided that the states permitted this; in urban areas as well as on two-lane country roads 55 mph was maintained. Originally, the regulation provides that highways that had no interstate number (such as U.S. 23 in Michigan) were still treated as highways - this led to some renumbering ( as developed in the Illinois highways I- 39 and I -88, the even earlier than U.S. 51 and IL 88 were renamed ). In 1995, the govern the maximum speed was left entirely to the states.

Some states raised the speed limit to 70 or 75 mph ( 113 and 121 km / h). The state of Montana abolished the speed limit on interstate highways and urged motorists to " prudent and reasonable " ride on. This regulation was declared because of their vague wording unconstitutional and instead introduced a speed limit of 75 mph. In some counties of the State of Texas a speed limit of 80 mph applies in some states at night a lower speed limit also applies than during the day.


The highway network in Canada consists of the Trans-Canada Highway and the Highway of the provinces.