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Bibliography, 50th Anniversary Interstate Highway System



Compiled by
Richard F. Weingroff



Altshuler, Alan, and Luberoff, David, Mega-Projects:  The Changing Politics of Urban Public Investment, Brookings Institution Press and Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, 2003.  (A history of public investment in major urban projects, including the Central Artery/Tunnel Project in Boston, with emphasis on the consequences and the future of mega-projects.)

Brodsly, David, L. A. Freeway, An Appreciative Essay, University of California Press, 1981.

Bryan, Mike, Uneasy Rider: The Interstate Way of Knowledge, Alfred A Knopf, 1997. (Noting that the U.S. numbered "blue" highways are a vision of the past, Bryan takes off on a "Blue Highways" type journey along the Interstate routes of the Southwest.)

Cima, Bill, Rest Area Guide: To the United States and Canada, College Publications, 5th Edition, May 1997.

Coster, Graham, A Thousand Miles from Nowhere: Trucking Two Continents, North Point Press, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1995). (In which the author accompanies an English trucker from England to Russia and an America trucker across the United States.)

Cribb, John, A Field Guide to Interstate 95, Madison Books, 1989. ("The Traveler's Companion to the History, Geography & Trivia that Lie Beneath the Nation's Busiest Highway.")

Cupper, Dan, The Pennsylvania Turnpike: A History, Applied Arts Publishers (P.O. Box 479, Lebanon, Pennsylvania 17042), Second Revised Edition, 2001. (Excellent history of this landmark turnpike, updated for the 60th anniversary.)

Davies, Pete, American Road: The Story of an Epic Transcontinental Journey at the Dawn of the Motor Age, Henry Holt and Company, 2002. (The story of the 1919 convoy on which Dwight D. Eisenhower learned the value of good roads.)

Eisenhower, Dwight David, "Through Darkest America with Truck and Tank," At Ease: Stories I Tell to Friends, Doubleday and Company, Inc., 1967. (This chapter discusses Eisenhower's trip in 1919 with the first U.S. Army transcontinental truck convoy.)

eXitSource: A Complete Directory of Services, Businesses & Attractions Within a Quarter Mile of Every Exit on Every Major Interstate From Coast to Coast in the United States, Interstate America. 2001.

Garreau, Joel, Edge City: Life on the New Frontier, Doubleday, 1991. (A pragmatic look at a phenomenon of the late-20th century, edge cities spurred as an unintended consequence by the Interstate System.)

Gillespie, Angus Kress, and Rockland, Michael Aaron, Looking for America on the New Jersey Turnpike, Rutgers University Press, 1989.  (This has become something of a classic.)

Haycraft, William R., Yellow Steel: The Story of the Earthmoving Equipment Industry, University of Illinois Press, 2002.

Herow, William C., Rest Areas & Welcome Centers Along US Interstates, Roundabout Publications (P.O. Box 19235, Lenexa, Kansas 66285), 2001.

Hickok, Beverly, Development of the Interstate Highway Program:  1916 to Date, University of Transportation Studies, University of California, June 1980.  (A selected bibliography based on the holdings of the Institute of Transportation Studies Library.)

Hunter, Dave, Along the I-75, Mile Oak Publishing, Inc., 11th Edition, 2003. (A Guidebook for I-75, including services, scenery, history, battlefields, and attractions.)

Kost, Mary Lu, Milepost I-80 San Francisco to New York, Milepost Publications, 1993.

Leavitt, Helen, Superhighway-Superhoax, Doubleday and Company, Inc., 1970. (A dust jacket blurb conveyed the theme: "From Sea to Shining Sea: we are strangling in a concrete straitjacket that pollutes the environment and makes driving a nightmare." The classic early 1970's diatribe on the subject.)

Lewis, Tom, Divided Highways: The Interstate Highway System and the Transformation of American Life, Viking Press, 1997. (Companion to an October 1997 PBS documentary of the same name.)

Marks, Christine, Interstate 75 and the 401, The Boston Mill Press, 2nd Edition, 2002. (A travel guide from Toronto to Miami.)

McMurtry, Larry, Roads: Driving America's Great Highways, Simon and Schuster, 2000. (The novelist travels Interstate highways, with essays about the driving experience, what he sees along the roads, and what it reminds him of from literature and life.)

McNichol, Dan, and Ryan, Andy, The Big Dig, Silver Lining Books, 2000. (Text and photographic history of development and construction of the Boston's Central Artery/Tunnel Project. Explains why this has been one of the most challenging engineering projects in the history of the Interstate System.)

McNichol, Dan, The Big Dig at Night, Silver Lining Books, 2001. (Photographs by Stephen SetteDucati.)

McNichol, Dan, The Roads That Built America, Barnes and Noble Books, 2003. Paperback edition, 2005. (Although described as "The Incredible Story of the U.S. Interstate System," the book covers the evolution of American roads from authorization of the National Road in 1806 through Boston's Big Dig. It discusses the history, construction, and impacts of the Interstate System and provides background information on early road pioneers, U.S. officials such as Logan Page and Thomas H. MacDonald, President Dwight D. Eisenhower, Federal Highway Administrator Mary E. Peters, and many others.)

McPhee, John, Annals of the Former World, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1998.  (Compilation of four books by McPhee, who uses a journey along I-80, and observations of its road cuts, to describe the geology of a continent, plate-tectonics, and geologic time.  The four books are:  Basin and Range (1980), In Suspect Terrain (1982), Rising From The Plains (1986), and Assembling California (1986).  Assembling California contains a tour de force minute-by-minute reconstruction of the 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake.)

Morgan, James, The Distance to the Moon: A Road Trip into the American Dream, Riverhead Books, 1999. (A road trip helps the author describe America's love affair with the car and the open road—"the epic entanglement that's defined this century and reshaped the face of America." Along the way, he interviews former Federal Highway Administrator Frank Turner, one of the Founding Fathers of the Interstate System.)

Crossing America:  National Geographic Guide to the Interstates, National Geographic Society, 1995.  (A guide to the sights a traveler can visit along the Interstate highways.)

The Next Exit: The Most Complete Interstate Highway Guide Ever Printed, The Next Exit, 11th Edition, 2002.

Posner, Stan and Phillips-Posner, Sandra, Drive I-95, Travelsmart, 2003.  (Exit information, plus, maps, history and trivia about I-95 from Boston to the Florida border.)

Rose, Mark H., Interstate Express Highway Politics 1941-1989, University of Tennessee Press, 1990 (Revised Edition). (Excellent scholarly history of the origins of the Interstate System, with a chapter on its construction.  Essential to understanding how the Interstate System came about.)

Slotboom, Erik, Houston Freeways:  A Historical and Visual Journey, Published by Oscar F. Slotboom, 2003.  (A thorough, well illustrated book on the subject.)

The States and the Interstates: Research on the Planning, Design and Construction of the Interstate and Defense Highway System, American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, 1991. (Development of the Interstate System from the perspective of the State highway officials who built it. Based on oral history interviews with State and Federal officials.)

Sweet, James Stouder, The Federal Gasoline Tax at a Glance: A History, Bybee House, 1993. (A short history of the gas tax, available for $5.95 from Bybee House, 116 East Glendale Drive, Boone, NC 28607.)

Talese, Gay (Author); Davidson, Bruce (Photographer); Rethi, Lili (Illustrator), The Bridge: The Building of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, Walker and Company, 2002. (Paperback edition of his 1970 book, with a new preface and afterword by Talese.)

Tsipis, Yanni, Building the Mass Pike, Arcadia Publishing, 2002. (Photo essay on construction of the Massachusetts Turnpike in the Images of America series.)

Tsipis, Yanni, Boston's Central Artery, Arcadia, 2000. (Photo essay with captions describing construction of the Central Artery during the 1950's in the Images of America series.)

Vanderwarker, Peter, The Big Dig: Reshaping an American City, Little, Brown, and Company, 2001. (Behind the scenes look at the Boston Central Artery/Tunnel Project for grade school children--and up!)

Waggoner, Holly, Skyway to the Sun, Omnigraphis Publishers, 1988. (The story of the Sunshine Skyway, "a proclamation of man's ingenuity, perseverance, and vision.")



Banasiak, David, "Origins of the Interstates," Roads and Bridges, June 1996. (One of several articles celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Interstate System.)

Barnes, Fred, "In Praise of Highways," The Weekly Standard, April 27, 1998.

Di Salvatore, Bryan, "A Reporter at Large: Large Cars," The New Yorker, September 12 and 19, 1988. (A two-part article about the life of a trucker on the Nation's Interstate highways.)

Foust, Dean, "The Boom Belt," Business Week, September 27, 1993. (Cover story on I-85, with the blurb: "Drive Interstate 85 from Georgia to the Carolinas, and you'll travel through the heart of an economic success story. There are lessons for the rest of the country.")

"40th Anniversary Special Section," Roads and Bridges, June 1996 (collection of articles on the 40th anniversary of the Interstate System).

Geistlinger, Lee, "First Person: Frank Turner," Roads and Bridges, June 1996. (An interview with former Federal Highway Administrator Frank Turner provides the framework for a biographical sketch of the highway legend.)

Grantz, Walter C., "The Immersed Tunnel Method," American Heritage of Invention and Technology, Summer 1996.  (Uses the I-95/Ft. McHenry Tunnel in Baltimore, Maryland, to explain the immersed tunnel method of construction.)

Heppenheimer, T. A., "The Rise of the Interstates," American Heritage of Invention and Technology, Fall 1991.

Martin, John M., Jr., "Proposed Federal Highway Legislation in 1955," The Georgetown Law Journal, January 1956.

McPhee, John, "A Fleet of One:  Eighty Thousand Pounds of Dangerous Goods," The New Yorker, February 17 & 24, 2003.  (The excellent writer, McPhee, travels the country with a trucker and his 65-foot chemical tanker.  Fine portrayal of commercial life on the road.)

Milgrom, Melissa, "What Exit?" Metropolis, August/September 2001. ("From celebrated superhighway to despised eyesore in only half a century. A brief history of the New Jersey Turnpike.")

Mitchell, John G., "30 Years on Ike's Autobahns," Audubon, November 1986. (A trip along I-75 provides the framework for a look at the history and impact of the Interstate System on the occasion of its 30th anniversary.  This is one of the best items to emerge from the 30th anniversary of the Interstate System.)

Oliver, David C., "Upon Shoulders of a Giant:  Thomas MacDonald and the Federal-Aid Program" (October 1989), "In the Shadow of a Giant:  H. S. Fairbank and Development of the Highway Planning Process" (October 1991), "In the Footsteps of a Giant:  Francis C. Turner and Management of the Interstate" (Spring 1994), Transportation Quarterly.  (This three-part series by an FHWA official describes the accomplishment of three of the great figures in 20th century highway development.)

Rose, Mark H., "Reframing American Highway Politics, 1956-1995," Journal of Planning History, August 2003.  (Mark Rose, author of the outstanding Interstate Express Highway Politics 1941-1989, focuses on the evolution of metropolitan planning organizations and how Federal officials " framed the institutional relationship that guided transportation politics and subsequent land uses." )

Rose, Mark H., and Seely, Bruce E., "Getting the Interstate System Built: Road Engineers and the Implementation of Public Policy, 1955-1985," Journal of Policy History, Vol. 2, No. 1, 1990. (The authors of the two best histories of highway development in the United States collaborate on the challenges posed by Interstate construction.)

Schwartz, Gary T., "Urban Freeways and the Interstate System," Southern California Law Review, Vol. 49.406, March 1976. (Insightful look at creation of the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956, and criticism of the urban elements of the System.  Reflects Schwartz’ interviews with many of the key figures.)

"The Sunshine Skyway Bridge: A History of Challenges," Florida Engineering Society Journal, March 1987. (A special section of articles about construction of the new Sunshine Skyway Bridge from St. Petersburg to Bradenton, Florida.)

TR News, March-April 2001. ("Tribute to American Highway Legend Frank Turner," features articles by Alan E. Pisarski ("The Frank Turner Story") and Bruce E. Seely ("An Historical Appreciation"), as well as tributes by Damian J. Kulash, Peter G. Koltnow, Jonathan L. Gifford, and Francis B. Francois.)

Taylor, Nick, "Roads That Bind Us: Interstate Highways, a Guide to Rediscovering America," Travel Holiday, August 1990.

White, Leland J., "Dividing Highway: Citizen Activism and Interstate 66 in Arlington, Virginia," Washington History, Spring/Summer 2001. (Detailed look into the history of I-66 and how its design evolved inside the Capital Beltway in the face the community opposition.)

Wilson, Bill, "Mr. Highways: A Legend Passes," Roads and Bridges, November 1999. (A tribute to former Federal Highway Administrator Frank Turner following his death on October 2, 1999.)



(Generally available from University Microfilms International, Ann Arbor, Michigan)

Barrow, Robert Van, The Politics of Interstate Route Selection: A Case Study of Interest Activities in a Decision Situation, The Florida State University, 1967.

Chernoff, Michael Light, The Social Impacts of Urban Sections of the Interstate Highway System, University of Massachusetts, 1976.

Crane, Stuart R., Federal Financing for Toll Projects Incorporated in the Interstate Highway System, Indiana University, 1967.

Ellis Clifford Donald, Visions of Urban Freeways, 1930-1970, University of California at Berkeley, 1990.

Goodwin, Jr., Herbert Marshall, California's Growing Freeway System (2 Parts), University of California, 1969.

Korr, Jeremy Louis, Washington’s Main Street:  Consensus and Conflict on the Capital Beltway, 1952-2001, University of Maryland, 2002.  (Draws on cultural landscape analysis, ethnography, and planning history to study the Capital Beltway as a physical artifact and a social institution.)

Riddick, Winston Wade, The Politics of National Highway Policy, 1953-1966, Columbia University, 1973.

Rose, Mark Howard, Express Highway Politics, 1939-1956, The Ohio State University, 1973.

Seely, Bruce Edsall, Highway Engineers as Policy Makers: The Bureau of Public Roads, 1893-1944, University of Delaware, 1982.


America's Highways 1776-1976, Federal Highway Administration, 1976. (Over 500 pages of history prepared as the FHWA's contribution to the Bicentennial. Out of print but available in libraries or through inter-library loan.)

Belasco, Warren James, Americans on the Road: From Autocamp to Motel, 1910-1945, The MIT Press, 1981. (Classic work on the subject.)

Davidson, Janet F., and Sweeney, Michael S., On The Move:  Transportation and the American Story, National Geographic, 2003.  (Extensive, well-illustrated companion to "America on the Move," the permanent exhibition that opened at the Smithsonian Institution’s Museum of American History on November 22, 2003.)

Lay, Max G., Ways of the World: A History of the World's Roads and of the Vehicles That Used Them, Rutgers University Press, 1992. (Detailed history of road development throughout the world.)

Patton, Phil, Open Road: A Celebration of the American Highway, Simon and Schuster, 1986. (As the title suggestions, this is a "celebration" of a wide range of highway-related topics, from the history of highways to the pleasures of the open road.)

Seely, Bruce E., Building the American Highway System: Engineers as Policy Makers, Temple University Press, 1987. (Outstanding scholarly history of the FHWA, from its origins as the Office of Road Inquiry to the 1980's.)

Witzel, Michael Karl and Steil, Tim, Americana:  Roadside Memories, Lowe and B. Hould Publishers, 2003.  (The road is a pavement.  Just beyond the road is life—the gas stations, drive-ins, restaurants and Historic Route 66 that are among the subjects of this book.)

For a more extensive bibliography of a range of highway-related publications, see:

Last updated: Friday, June 30, 2023