Though our 34th President, Dwight D. Eisenhower, never drove a truck himself, he is, in many ways, responsible for the lifeblood of the trucking services industry–and the nation’s economy as a whole. It was President Eisenhower who, inspired by Germany’s new Autobahn network, championed the creation of a similar system for the United States: the Interstate Highway System.
Picking up from ideas first explored by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Eisenhower recognized the usefulness of a national highways system for both public, commercial, and military uses. With help from the Secretary of Defense, whom Eisenhower poached from General Motors, the Interstate Highway System was officially revealed in 1955 and construction began in 1956.
Throughout the next 30-odd years, the Interstate continued to snake through the continental United States, officially proclaimed complete in 1992. Of course, there’s more to the Interstate than just the roads themselves. For example, the distinctive “shield” design of Interstate signs used to unify the system was designed by a Texas Highway Department employee named Richard Oliver in 1957. The same year, a numbering scheme was developed that assigns east-west highways to even numbers and north-south highways to odd numbers. Triple digit “auxiliary” highways create detours or loops off of the main system. And even Alaska, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico joined in, albeit without any direct connections to other states.
Though the Interstate System unfortunately came at the expense of a functioning cross-continental mass transit system, the highways remain an integral part to the military, your summer road trips and getting your products fast with expedited shipping.