[Talk-us] highway=trunk for NHS routes?

Bill Ricker bill.n1vux at gmail.com
Sat Dec 31 17:22:04 UTC 2016

On Sat, Dec 31, 2016 at 4:21 AM, Volker Schmidt <voschix at gmail.com> wrote:

> You can find detailed PDF maps of all NHS Routes, state-by-state at a web
> page of the Federal Highway Administration
> ​[...]. On these maps you will find plenty of NHS roads that are
> definitively not trunk roads.
> Just two examples in Arizona:

I will agree isn't what could handle 'trunk' volume in a densely settled
area in EU or NY.
If we follow the physical description checklist rigidly, we'd conclude
there are few trunk roads outside of metropolises.

Both appear to be well maintained in the photos; the width of paving
greatly exceeds the two marked lanes. Out where "50 Miles to Next Gas"
signs still live, this is a major road.

US160 is the most significant road for literally miles. ​
US180 is the tourist main feeder to the Grand Canyon . .

Wikipedia says [0]

> The *National Highway System* (*NHS*) is a network of strategic highways
> <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Highway> within the United States
> <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States>, including the Interstate
> Highway System <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interstate_Highway_System> and
> other roads serving major airports, ports, rail or truck terminals, railway
> stations, pipeline terminals
> <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pipeline_transport> and other strategic
> transport facilities. Altogether, it constitutes the largest highway system
> in the world.
> Individual states <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/U.S._state> are
> encouraged to focus federal funds on improving the efficiency and safety of
> this network. The roads within the system were identified by the United
> States Department of Transportation
> <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Department_of_Transportation>
>  in cooperation with the states, local officials, and metropolitan
> planning organizations
> <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metropolitan_planning_organization> and
> approved by the United States Congress
> <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Congress> in 1995.

So being on this list should assure the road is among the best maintained.

Oh, because we don't have green A signage on the NHS designated routes, and
we only map what is physically there ?
The Mapillary photos show modern video billboards. If the advertisers
recognize it as a trunk worth their time, we can too.
Being better maintained or wider than other in the greater area is physical.

Richard's comment

>    "(FWIW, the current distinction between highway=trunk and
> highway=primary in
> the US seems so arbitrary that I actually render them both the same for
> cycle.travel)"
suggests forcefully that our current  rule for US is NOT working.

Looking at states i'm more familiar with than AZ, Massachusetts [1] and
Maine [2] , these NHS roads are pretty much what the locals think of as the
main connections between cities/regions, which is a reasonable "human"
translation of "trunk".

I do see some "MAP-21 NHS Principal Arterials" that are feeders to the
presumed trunks, unclear if they deserve trunk status. I also see some
interesting omissions, US20, MA30, MA9 are not included end to end, but
only selectively.  But if that means federal funding is concentrated on
portions of US20 that are in NHS at expense of those not, then they will be
physically different despite same signage.

This proposal is better than what we have now -- in rural areas at least .

( ​I love that FHWA has these maps posted publicly. 35 years ago i produced
a similar state-and-city atlas for a DOT rail safety office ​... with a
plotter and color Xerox[tm] copier.  Lost to history.
personal to Volker - thanks for pointing these out to me ! )

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Highway_System_(United_States)


Bill Ricker
bill.n1vux at gmail.com
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