From the American Association of State Highway
and Transportation Officials
This 46,508-mile web of superhighways has transformed our nation and our economy. It is a symbol of freedom and a tribute to human ingenuity – although some of the changes it has brought our nation have been controversial.
The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), which represents the state departments of transportation in the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico, provides a history of the Interstate Highway System and is planning to "Celebrate the Interstate!" both nationally and in individual states. AASHTO also will look at policy questions the nation faces as we move into the next 50 years in U.S. transportation.
The official 50th anniversary Web site is: http://interstate50th.org/
A Golden Anniversary for a Priceless Asset
The wide, relatively straight roadways in the Interstate Highway System were designed to be faster and safer than the two-lane roads that preceded them—designs that worked. And, the system has brought amazing changes to our way of life:
And yet somehow, it has come to be taken for granted. An increasing percentage of Americans cannot remember our nation without an Interstate Highway System. And, many Americans no longer experience it as the "open road" that spurred a generation of novels and films, as population growth has outstripped system expansion, and heavy use has led to congestion.
Half a century into the quantum mobility leap the Interstate System provided, it is time to reflect on what America has gained from it and ask what might need to change in future years to keep it working for us. 2006 will be "The Year of the Interstate."
AASHTO, which represents the state transportation departments that built, own, and continue to operate the Interstate Highway System, will sponsor numerous events and public activities in the coming year commemorating this important anniversary.
AASHTO and its members will join with other organizations to "Celebrate the Interstate!" and participate in forums that will help shape policy regarding the Interstate Highway System for years to come.