All posts tagged “Interstates

comments 3

New “Highways of the USA” Map – Hawaii

Highways of the USA - Hawaii

Disclaimer: this was produced for April Fools Day and is not an actual product in the “Highways of the USA” print series.  

Pretty much as soon as I finished my monumental Highways of the United States project last year, people started asking me why I hadn’t included the two non-contiguous states of Alaska and Hawaii, both of which do actually contain federal highways in one form or another.

To be honest, after finishing the giant map of the lower 48 states and then splitting that up into all the maps of the different states and regions, I was pretty much exhausted and needed a break from the project. After two years of intensive research and design, can you blame me? Fast-forward to almost a year later, and I finally feel that I can revisit those requests for the two “missing” states. After a lot of thought, I’ve decided against doing Alaska, as my maps only show existing signed routes. While the Alaskan “A” Interstates exist on paper and in funding budgets, there’s not a single Interstate shield to be found along the highways of that state. Also, Alaska is freaking huge, and there’s no way I’m drawing/simplifying all that crinkly coastline!

Hawaii is a different matter, however, as its “H” Interstates – all on the island of O’ahu – are very definitely signed. There are three “major” highways: H-1 through H-3, and one three-digit loop highway, H-201. The major highways don’t follow the same odd/even numbering conventions of mainland Interstates, but are just numbered in the order that they were funded and constructed. Together, the four highways total just 55.4 miles (89 kilometres) in length, but feature some impressive (and expensive) engineering, especially along Interstate H-3.

And for all you people asking how the heck Hawaii can have Interstate highways when they clearly don’t travel interstate, hush. In this instance, “Interstate” refers to the method of federal funding and the minimum standards that the highway must adhere to. There are plenty of intrastate Interstate highways on the mainland: I-97 in Maryland is actually wholly contained within one county. More information on Hawaii’s Interstates here on the FHWA’s website.

The map uses the same design conventions and is drawn at the same scale as my other Highways of the United States maps, although I’ve introduced some appropriately tropical colours for each of the highways. To give a proper sense of scale, I’ve included the entire Hawaiian archipelago.

I definitely recommend that you click here to view a larger preview of the map in order to fully appreciate the majesty of the vast azure expanses of the Pacific Ocean surrounding these tiny islands.

comments 3

Project: 1947 Map of Interstate Highways, Digital Recreation

1947 Interstates Map: Digital Recreation

Prints for sale from $27

Having found and digitally restored the fantastic 1926 map of the U.S. Highway system,  I started to look around to see if I could find a similar map from the advent of the newer Interstate Highway network. However, all my usual sources (the Wikimedia Commons, the Library of Congress and other online research libraries) came up with either nothing or only low resolution scans — certainly nothing suitable for reproduction.

So, what’s a map-obsessed graphic designer to do in this situation? Why, redraw the whole thing faithfully from scratch in Adobe Illustrator, of course!

Read More

comment 0

Video: Printing the “Highways of the USA” Posters

I’m very pleased to report that full production of the 44″ x 72″ Highways of the United States posters has begun. I’d like to thank everyone who has ordered so far for their patience as we got this process up and running.

As you can see from the attached video, printing these beasts is quite the epic task: each poster takes about half an hour to run through the printer!

comments 4

Highways of the United States: Maps of States and Regions


In my post about the overall Highways of the United States project, I mentioned that the reason I made the map of the U.S. so big and detailed was so that I could break the map down into individual states and regions. Below is a gallery of all the maps available for sale. You can click on the “View Full Size” text in the gallery lightbox to see the largest preview for each map.

Posters from $27 in the Shop

Read More

comments 29

Project: Highways of the United States of America

Highways of the United States of America

44″ x 72″ Poster – $185 See Also: Maps of States and Regions

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: you’ll see why soon!

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  an enormous scrollable, zoomable version of the map to peruse!

Needless to say, this map is physically huge. My working Illustrator file was a massive 144 inches wide by 88 inches deep and posters are half that size – the smallest they can be and still retain good legibility. So why did I make the map so big and insanely detailed? Why was it important that the individual states retain their actual shape? Because I’m also making posters of individual states and regions.

And yes, there are posters for sale! Check out both the USA map and the individual state maps in my secure on-line store.

Highways of the USA in the store
comments 47

Project: Interstates as Subway Diagram (Revised Version)


Posters from $27

My original Eisenhower Interstate System in the Style of H.C. Beck’s London Underground Diagram is one of my most successful pieces of design, with almost 85,000 views on Flickr, countless posters sold, and inclusion in the excellent book Mapping America: Exploring the Continent (highly recommended for map geeks!).

Read More