National Highways Map of the United States


This map, issued in 1918 by the National Highways Association (NHA), shows the 150,000-mile (241,402-kilometer) network of roads proposed by the NHA. Under the slogan “Good roads for everyone!” the NHA advocated a “four-fold system” of roads that would include national highways to be built and maintained by the federal government, and systems of state, county, and township or town roads. The map associates the building of roads with national defense and “preparedness” for U.S. involvement in World War I, as symbolized by James Montgomery Flagg’s iconic figure of Uncle Sam in the lower left. The NHA was established in 1911 to promote the development of an improved national road network in the United States. It was one of many groups to grow out of the Good Roads Movement, which was begun in the 1880s by bicyclists interested in improving the nation’s roads. At that time, local governments were mainly responsible for building and maintaining roads, which were primarily used by farmers to transport goods to market or to railroad terminals for long-distance transport. Road conditions could vary drastically, and often even well-kept roads would simply feed into rutted paths. The photographs on the map contrast the economic and social costs of poor roads with the benefits of improvements. The map includes lists of the NHA’s officers and affiliates, information about the NHA proposal, and an appeal to the public to support the organization and its goals.

Date Created

Subject Date

Publication Information

National Highways Association, Washington, D.C.


Title in Original Language

National Highways Map of the United States: Showing One Hundred Fifty Thousand Miles of National Highways Proposed by the National Highways Association

Additional Subjects

Type of Item

Physical Description

1 map : color ; 75 x 124 centimeters


  • Scale 1:3,800,000

Last updated: March 21, 2016