As the population grew, so did the number of cars on the road, which led to congested traffic that a highway system could easily fix. Nuclear proliferation was another reason to invest in a highway system; highway advocates reasoned that if there was ever an atomic threat, the highway system could help Americans evacuate cities quickly. Today, the interstate highway system is as useful as it has ever been; it helps drivers travel long distances in a shorter amount of time and eases the congestion of local roads, just as it did when it was first built.
But it took a long time to get to where we are today! It was Dwight Eisenhower who led the call for better roads in America. Before he was president, Eisenhower served in the military. Stationed in Germany, Eisenhower saw firsthand the effectiveness of the Reichsautobahnen road system. Back at home after WWI ended, Eisenhower took part in a celebratory road trip conducted by the military.
While traveling through the desert in Nevada, water was rationed to two cups per person per day, while the water supply was guarded until a new supply arrived…pulled by horses. The convoy finally arrived in San Francisco 6 days late, since they only managed to travel an average of 52 miles per day. This image accompanied the feature article by Charles F. Internal photographs remained mostly black-and-white. In the early s, the magazine would evolve as a reflection of a new leader, Federal Highway Administrator Dr. Thomas D. Larson, who took office on August 10, , under President George H.
He was focused on creating an intermodal transportation system and a multicultural workforce to help the country advance in a global marketplace. The legislation reshaped the Federal-aid highway program in ways that remain in place today. She had been on the editorial staff for several years, but became editor with the September issue. That changed in volume 56 when a contractor, Robert B. Bryant, appeared in the September issue as a member of the editorial staff.
The appearance was part of an evolution that was explained in a two-page article in the December issue.
Interstate Highway System
The magazine also underwent a design transformation to include use of full color in some internal sections of the magazine, more color photographs, and a more lively layout. It will communicate through a balance of text and visual elements and through a balance of substantive feature articles and technical articles. These changes took place between December and December Secretary of Transportation, did not interfere with the transformation of Public Roads that his predecessor had initiated.
Public Roads has just turned But in some ways, this issue of the magazine marks a rebirth. For example, among the topics included in the Summer issue were an automated highway system, intelligent vehicle-highway system architecture, highway finance, technology transfer from conservation science to infrastructure renewal, preservation of historic roads and bridges, and the interactive highway safety design model. The cover article discussed lessons learned about seismic-resistant bridge design in the wake of the Northridge Earthquake in the Los Angeles, CA, area.
Several issues would be focused on single themes, such as protecting the environment Spring , the newly designated National Highway System Spring , and the 40th anniversary of the Interstate System Summer Executive Director Frederick G. Guest editorials in each issue will provide an FHWA focus to issues and priorities that shape our national agenda.
Throughout history, transportation has been about finding ways to overcome distance. In dealing with that challenge, each generation thinks its time is the most complex in history—and each generation is right. The nature of the complexities is what separates generations.
The Southwest Bets on Interstate 11
Public Roads, like anything that lasts years, has been through many changes as our transportation system, technology, social concerns, and country have evolved amid a revolution of instant communication and computer applications. For years, Public Roads has reflected the complexities of evolving times while contributing to the betterment of our lives. To paraphrase General Stone, the magazine set up a watch, kept an eye on the whole country, and reported what was going on.
Richard F. For more information, contact Richard Weingroff at —— or richard. Public Roads This magazine is an archived publication and may contain dated technical, contact, and link information. The cover of Vol. The issue included a list of every State's progress during the first 18 months of the Federal-aid highway program. General Stone led the agency through , with time off for Army service during the Spanish-American War in Salutatory By , the good roads community already had several magazines devoted to its cause, including American Motorist, Better Roads and Streets , and Good Roads.
Logan W. His Progressive Era views are reflected in this November statement: "The entire movement for better roads should be so systematized and everywhere placed on so high a plane of honest and earnest effort that the cheap charlatanism of the professional promoter and the bungling efforts of the well-meaning but uninformed citizen should be no longer permitted. It began: With this issue of Public Roads the Office of Public Roads and Rural Engineering inaugurates the publication of a periodical devoted to better highways in the States of the Union and dedicated to those, both in official and private life, who are concerned in developing means of better rural communication, in facilitating the marketing of the crops of the Nation, and in aiding the solution of the daily more perplexing traffic problem.
Even girls were recruited for road work, although they were not mentioned in the article. The First Stage Like any publication that survives years, Public Roads has been through several stages. MacDonald became BPR's Chief in March , a post he would hold through changes in title and agency name until March , serving under seven Presidents.
The power of positive pavement management systems
Having helped create the Federal-aid highway program as a member of AASHO, he put it on a sound foundation, built cooperative relationships with the State highway agencies, continued the agency's strong research and engineering focus, and left BPR after laying the foundation for the Interstate System. AASHO said his retirement "marks the end of an era of highway progress of proportions undreamed of at the time he assumed office.
The cover of the second issue illustrated the problem by depicting a road near Canandaigua, NY, showing "what an excess of about thirty 7-ton units above normal traffic can do to a modern hard-surfaced highway. Distribution began in June and would not be completed until The magazine often described the latest pavement tests, including the equipment used.
The caption for this photograph from the May issue was: "The loaded, rubber-tired wheels of the testing machine bear with their full weight on the concrete. The machine is guided by the rails at the side of the experimental sections.
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One of the early focuses of the magazine was to report on progress of the Federal-aid highway program. Many covers, such as this one from the September issue, featured photographs of roads improved with Federal-aid funds. Fairbank Highway Research Station. Fairbank, who died on December 14, , was represented by Mrs. Francis Fairbank, wife of his cousin, for the unveiling of the plaque.
Whitton center and Fairbank's long-time friend and associate Pyke Johnson, retired president of the Automotive Safety Foundation. Herbert S. The March issue explained why. While a single bomb could make a train route useless, Germany's wide and modern highways could often be used immediately after being bombed because it was difficult to destroy such a wide swath of concrete or asphalt.
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These two experiences helped show President Eisenhower the importance of efficient highways. In the s, America was frightened of nuclear attack by the Soviet Union people were even building bomb shelters at home. It was thought that a modern interstate highway system could provide citizens with evacuation routes from the cities and would also allow the rapid movement of military equipment across the country.
Within a year after Eisenhower became President in , he began to push for a system of interstate highways across the United States. Although federal highways covered many areas of the country, the interstate highway plan would create 42, miles of limited-access and very modern highways. Eisenhower and his staff worked for two years to get the world's largest public works project approved by Congress. However, one of the most important aspects of the Interstate Highways was their limited access. Although prior federal or state highways allowed, for the most part, any road to be connected to the highway, the Interstate Highways only allowed access from a limited number of controlled interchanges.
The Largest Public Works Project in History
With over 42, miles of Interstate Highways, there were to be only 16, interchanges—less than one for every two miles of road. That was just an average; in some rural areas, there are dozens of miles between interchanges. The eight-mile piece of highway opened on November 14, The plan for the Interstate Highway system was to complete all 42, miles within 16 years by Actually, it took 27 years to complete the system.
The last link, Interstate in Los Angeles, was not completed until In , the red, white, and blue shield symbol for the Interstates' numbering system was developed.