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Highway Numbering
Highway Numbering in California

U.S. Bicycle Route System

US Bicycle Route SystemThe U.S. Bicycle Route System (USBRS) is a developing national network of bicycle routes connecting urban and rural communities via signed roads and trails. Created with public input, U.S. Bicycle Routes direct bicyclists to a preferred route through a city, county, or state. As of 2020, over 14,000 miles are currently established in 29 states and Washington DC – and many routes are signed.

The USBRS was established in 1978 by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) for the purpose of "facilitating travel between the states over routes which have been identified as being more suitable than others for cycling." The National Corridor Plan for the (USBRS) was established by AASHTO in 2008. The Adventure Cycling Association (ACA) manages the USBRS route-designation process nationally for AASHTO.  The system is developing through partnerships between transportation agencies, bicycle and trail organizations, and volunteers. Routes are nominated for official designation by state departments of transportation and approved by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO). Designation of a U.S. Bicycle Route means that the state department of transportation and all jurisdictions along the route have given their support.

In California, routes are designed through the following process:

  1. Create a turn-by-turn route map.
  2. Obtain buy-in from local jurisdictions for their portion of the route.
  3. Obtain Caltrans Districts and Caltrans Divisions buy-in to the proposed route.
  4. Complete and submit USBRS route designation application to AASHTO

To donate and help build the USBRS, click here.

Current Routes

USBR System - National Corridor Plan for CaliforniaThe majority of USBRs have been designated since 2011, and the focus in the last five years has been on designating routes rather than promoting them. As expected, there are more plans and intentions to sign, map, and promote the USBRS than are examples where it has already been done. The National Corridor Plan may be found here; the image shows the plan for California:
(Image source: Adventure Cycling/National Corridor Map)

The National Corridor Plan is the blueprint for U.S. Bicycle Route development, and shows what the 50,000-mile network will look like when complete. Corridors that have been developed into routes and officially designated as U.S. Bicycle Routes are shown with dark solid lines. Undeveloped corridors are shown with light dotted lines, and are generally only concepts until a route is researched and designated. Corridors can be added or changed depending on the opportunities and interests of a given state. To date, 14,598 miles of U.S. Bicycle Routes have been established in 29 states: Alaska, Arizona, California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and the District of Columbia. The Adventure Cycling page on the NCP provides a downloadable map.
(Source: Adventure Cycling/National Corridor Plan)

In California, the following routes are defined with ACA and have Turn-by-Turn Maps:
(Source: USBRS Best Practices Final Report, August, 2016 (PDF))

The following are Concept Routes (without maps):

To see currently designated routes and download details maps, visit USBRS Maps and Route Resources at Adventure Cycling.


Adventure Cycling Association: U.S. Bicycle Route System

Caltrans: U.S. Bicycle Route System (USBRS)

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