Map of United States Proposed National Highways System, 1915


The National Highways Association (NHA) was established in 1911 to promote the development of an improved national road network in the United States. Under the slogan “Good roads for everyone!” the NHA proposed a 150,000-mile (241,402-kilometer) network of roads, based on a four-fold system of national, state, county, and town or township highways and roads. This map, issued by the NHA in 1915, shows (in red) the tentative routes of the 13 principal transcontinental highways in this network, and the connecting system of other major highways, totaling 100,000 miles (160,934 kilometers; in blue). The proposed names of the 13 routes are given and linked to the routes on the map by a numerical key. The table at the top provides estimates of the numbers and percentages of people living in counties traversed by the proposed national highways or counties adjoining them. Besides issuing brochures and circulars aimed at convincing citizens of the need for a national road system, the NHA was a prolific producer of maps. Cartographic work was done at an office in South Yarmouth, Massachusetts, where approximately 40 people were employed on the property of Charles Henry Davis (1865–1951), president and cofounder of the NHA. Davis believed that these maps would be helpful to a national highways commission that he hoped would be established and that they would assist the states in integrating their roads into a national system. Congress never embraced the plan put forward by the NHA, but the organization and its maps helped to promote the cause of a national road network.

Date Created

Subject Date

Publication Information

National Highways Association, Washington, D.C.


Title in Original Language

National Highways Map of the United States Showing Principal Transcontinental Highways and Connecting System of One Hundred Thousand Miles of National Highways Proposed by the National Highways Association

Additional Subjects

Type of Item

Physical Description

1 map : color ; 78 x 125 centimeters


  • Scale 1:3,800,000

Last updated: March 21, 2016