Some of us like travelling and navigating using the highway numbers and, if on the interstate, exit numbers. You can find out how mile markers work by reading the article “What are Mile Markers?” by clicking here. Now I will be explaining how the numbers on the interstates and state highways were determined.
In all cases, numbers ending in an odd number always (or supposed to) run from north to south. In contrast, numbers ending in an even number run east to west. If there is a highway or interstate performing a second function for that similar interstate, it will start with a one, two, three, and the list goes on. If it is a single digit like 5, the second to last digit is a zero. Looking at it from the flip side of things, if there is a three-digit interstate or highway, the last two digits would be the root of a more familiar interstate or highway in which we can assume it is helping. In some scenarios, there may be multiple interstates with the same exact number in different states. For example, There is an I-470 that runs around Topeka, KS and a I-470 that goes near Independence, MO. It is true that you can find them in different states, but never in the same state.
It is easier to figure out the pattern for interstates. Going west to east, odd numbers mostly ending with five go from 5 to 95. Going north to south, even numbers mostly ending on zero go from the Mexico border to the Canada border. Not all interstates, especially in the eastern part of the United States, don’t always end with a 5 or a 0. Depending where the last digit is located on the number scale with 5, at least at some point, it will be at the right spot. I say this because interstates and highways like to intersect or cross sometimes. This is something to keep in mind because it may not seem like the pattern works where you are at, but it may be in a different state that the pattern occurs.
A question that may come to mind is, ”What about the nation’s highways and not interstates?” This may be trickier to spot. I believe it is the case that with state highways, they are, for the most part, random. For the nation highways, however, if you look hard enough, you notice there is a pattern. From east to west, U.S. highways go in order from 1 to 101 from the Atlantic coast to the Pacific coast. From south to north, U.S. highways go in order from 2 to 98 from the Canada border to the Mexico border. In some states, remember, it may not be perfect because again, highways, especially this kind, like to overlap each other from time to time. They don’t even have to meet. At some point, going in order, earlier digits in the number scale should be more north/south or west/east than the other. That is the trick to spotting the pattern for U.S. highways.
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