In this episode, we explore numbering systems in state highways. It is the start of a four part miniseries on highway numbers in California. Specifically, this episode explores the rhymes and reason for the assigning of signed route numbers to highways with the state shield. This includes looking at the patterns in those numbers, and how the numbering system stands today after the Great Nenumbering. The subsequent episodes in the miniseries will explore the numbering system of US Highways, the numbering of and the history of California’s Interstates, and the signed county route system.
The episode also explores another numbering system on state highways: Post Miles. As opposed to sequential mileage numbers as is found in other states, California uses a system called post miles that identifies points along a highway using a combination of a county and a mile point from the southern/western county line, possibly with clarifying prefixes or suffixes. We discuss this system is good detail.
Our interview is with Andy Richardson, who retired from Caltrans as a Subject Matter Expert in Geographical Information Systems, Linear Referencing Systems, and Postmiles. Andy worked as a GIS specialist for the State of California since 1988, including Caltrans between 2001 and his retirement in 2021. In his last years at Caltrans, he implemented the Department’s current Linear Referencing System.
Here are some relevant links (I may edit this to add more links in later):
- California Highways:
- Numbering: Signing in California / Signing Standards
- Numbering: Numbering of California State Routes
- Numbering: Exit Numbers
- Numbering: Postmiles
- The Great Renumbering: California State Highways Before 1965
- Postmile Tool
- California’s Postmile System (PDF)
- State Highway Postmiles (Dataset, Dept of Fish and Wildlife)
- Caltrans GIS Data:
- Caltrans Design Manual: Designation of Highway Routes
- Exit Numbering – CA Numbered Exit Uniform System (Cal-NExUS)
- California Road System (interactive map)
- California LRS Fact Sheet (PDF)
- August 1934 CHPW: State Highways to be Numbered and Signed
- March/April 1964 CHPW: Route Renumbering
- California Open Data Portal
Here’s the link to the show:
And here’s the link on Anchor.FM:
Episode 1.08 will continue the numbering miniseries, and we’ll be looking at numbers on the US Highway system (black and white shields): what are the numbering patterns and algorithms, and how route numbers are approved. We’ll also look at the history of US highways in the state. Looking forward, Episode 1.09 will explore Interstate numbering and all things Interstate; and 1.10, will look at the County Sign Route system. As always, we’re looking for interviews for future episodes. If you have any leads, please contact us:
- For 1.08: Someone familiar with AASHTO’s role in highway numbering.
- For 1.10: Someone familiar with the county sign route system, either from the Caltrans office that coordinates the program or the a county Public Works person.
We encourage you to explore our back catalog through this site or our Anchor.FM home.