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U.S. Interstate Highways, as a Transit Map

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U.S. Interstate Highways, as a Transit Map

U.S. Interstate Highways, as a Transit Map

View the high-resolution infographic to see the most legible version.

Transit style maps are sort of a “rite of passage” for any upstart information designer.

People tend to be obsessed with them, and for good reason. What the maps lack in attention to fine details, they make up in their sheer ease of use, organization, and ability to reduce complex geography to simple, elegant shapes. They show the big picture in way that’s easy to follow, even for seemingly unrelated topics like the extensive road network of the Roman Empire.

Today’s infographic fits in with this theme, coming from designer Cameron Booth. Showcasing the network of Interstate Highways in the United States, it puts the transit map style to good use.

Note: The design shown is from about five years ago, but here’s an updated 2017 version in poster form.

The Interstate Highway System

You may know the network of roads simply as “the Interstate”, but it actually has a much longer and official sounding title: The Dwight D. Eisenhower National System of Interstate and Defense Highways. That’s because it was championed by President Eisenhower in the 1950s during his first term in office, after he saw the logistical effectiveness of the new Reichsautobahn in Germany.

Here are some facts about the Interstate Highway System that you may not know:

  • Part of the justification of building the system was to have a means to evacuate citizens from major cities during nuclear attacks.
  • The system was designed so that in an evacuation situation, traffic could be directed to move in all lanes in one direction.
  • In today’s dollars, the cost of construction was approximately $526 billion.
  • Activists got frustrated with the construction, and stopped highways in New York, Baltimore, Washington D.C., and New Orleans. As a result, some urban routes ended up as “roads to nowhere”.
  • In a mile of highway, there are about 3 million tons of concrete. In comparison there are 6.6 million tons of concrete in the Hoover Dam.
  • Roughly 374,000 vehicles travel on the I-405 in Los Angeles every day – no wonder it’s the city with the most traffic in the world.

Today, there are now approximately 47,856 miles (77,017 km) of highway in the system – about 6,000 miles (9,700 km) more than originally planned. Meanwhile, the Interstate Highway System accounts for one-quarter of all vehicle miles driven in the country.

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Maps

Ranked: Countries with the Most Embassies Around the World

The Global Diplomacy Index attempts to quantify and compare diplomatic networks by ranking countries with the most embassies worldwide.

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A map of the countries with the most embassies worldwide.

Mapped: Countries with the Most Embassies Around the World

This was originally posted on our Voronoi app. Download the app for free on iOS or Android and discover incredible data-driven charts from a variety of trusted sources.

Itโ€™s easy to contextualize a country’s economic might (GDP) or military prowess (military budgets), but what about diplomatic influence?

The Global Diplomacy Index by the Lowy Institute is an attempt to measure and compare diplomatic networks worldwide to understand the foreign ties that influence geopolitics.

From their 2024 update, we visualize the top 25 countries with the most embassies worldwide. Data for this graphic is current up to November 2023, and does not reflect diplomatic consequences from the Israel-Hamas war.

Ranked: Countries by Worldwide Embassy Count

China leads with 173 embassies around the world, eclipsing the U.S. (168) by just five more foreign posts.

Former colonial powers, France (158) and the UK (156) rank third and fourth respectively. Japan (152) rounds out the top five.

RankCountryEmbassies Overseas
1๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ณ China173
2๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ U.S.168
3๐Ÿ‡ซ๐Ÿ‡ท France158
4๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง UK156
5๐Ÿ‡ฏ๐Ÿ‡ต Japan152
6๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ช Germany148
7๐Ÿ‡น๐Ÿ‡ท Tรผrkiye145
8๐Ÿ‡ท๐Ÿ‡บ Russia143
9๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡ท Brazil135
10๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ณ India135
11๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡น Italy124
12๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธ Spain114
13๐Ÿ‡ฐ๐Ÿ‡ท South Korea114
14๐Ÿ‡ณ๐Ÿ‡ฑ Netherlands106
15๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ฆ Saudi Arabia104
16๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ญ Switzerland102
17๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฆ Canada98
18๐Ÿ‡ฟ๐Ÿ‡ฆ South Africa98
19๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ฉ Indonesia92
20๐Ÿ‡ต๐Ÿ‡ฑ Poland91
21๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฟ Czech Republic91
22๐Ÿ‡ต๐Ÿ‡ฐ Pakistan89
23๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡ท Argentina87
24๐Ÿ‡ญ๐Ÿ‡บ Hungary87
25๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ช Sweden87

Note: As of November, 2023.

The index notes some key findings in the regional footprint of all these foreign posts as well.

For example, China has a larger diplomatic presence in Africa, East Asia, and the Pacific, while the U.S. leads in the Americas, Europe, and South Asia. This reflects the two superpowersโ€™ trade and economic ties as well.

Meanwhile, Tรผrkiye and India have grown their diplomatic networks the most in recent years. Interestingly, both countries prioritized Africa in their new outreach. In fact, India is a key export destination for many African countries.

Russia meanwhile had to close 14 foreign missions since it invaded Ukraine in 2022, slipping two ranking spots between 2017 and 2022.

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