Earl Swift discusses how the U.S. interstate system changed the face of our country. The Big Roads: The Untold Story of the Engineers, Visionaries, and Trailblazers Who Created the American Superhighways follows a winding route through 20th-century American life, from the citizen-led “Good Roads” movement, to the driven engineers who conceived of the interstates and how they would work, to the protests that erupted when highways reached the cities, displaced people and carved up neighborhoods.
It’s hard to imagine it now, but in the mid-1920s, the U.S. only had 250 routes for cars. Today, there are more than 55,000 auto bridges, close to 4 million miles of road, and an intricate system of high speed super highways that connect every major city in the country.
These superhighways — which allowed drivers to travel long distances at high speeds — redefined American cities and culture.