You Can Get There From Here

How the Interstate Highways Transformed America
Hanlon, Martin D.
Date published: 
August 1998

Proposed in 1944 and begun in 1956, the Interstate highway system's 42,500 miles of limited access highway reach 42 state capitals, 90 percent of the country's urban population and 45 percent of its rural population. This intricate system changed the American economy and profoundly affected American life. It altered the balance between urban and suburban environments; opened up vast rural areas to population growth; changed the nature of how and where goods are manufactured and moved and affected race and class relations throughout the country. Arguably, the creation of the interstate highway system influenced national development in the second half of the twentieth century much in the same way the creation of the railroads did in the nineteenth century. In his fascinating history, Martin Hanlon looks at the creation of the highway system during the peak of cold war hysteria and brings its story up to today to show the way in which this vast system truly changed the way Americans live.