Minnesota Department of Transportation

511 Travel Info

Roadway Data

Information about Minnesota's roads from the LRS and Roadway Characteristics database

traffic on a highway

National Highway System (NHS)

Information and updates concerning our nation's vital roads

The National Highway System (NHS) consists of roadways important to the nation's economy, defense, and mobility, and was developed by the Department of Transportation (DOT) in cooperation with the states, local officials, and metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs). The NHS includes the following subsystems of roadways (a specific highway route may be on more than one subsystem):

  • Interstate - The Eisenhower Interstate System of highways retains its separate identity within the NHS.
  • Other Principal Arterials - These are highways in rural and urban areas which provide access between an arterial and a major port, airport, public transportation facility, or other intermodal transportation facility.
  • Strategic Highway Network (STRAHNET) - This is a network of highways which are important to the United States' strategic defense policy and which provide defense access, continuity and emergency capabilities for defense purposes.
  • Major Strategic Highway Network Connectors - These are highways which provide access between major military installations and highways which are part of the Strategic Highway Network.
  • Intermodal Connectors - These highways provide access between major intermodal facilities and the other four subsystems making up the National Highway System.

NHS and MAP-21

Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21) has elevated the priority of the NHS system by increasing the share of federal aid dollars targeted to the system and by requiring regular reporting of performance for the condition and the function of this system. MAP-21 authorizes funding for five formula programs, the largest of which is the National Highway Performance Program (NHPP). The goals of the NHPP are:

  1. provide support for the condition and performance of the National Highway System (NHS)
  2. provide support for the construction of new facilities on the NHS
  3. ensure that investments of federal-aid funds in highway construction are directed to support progress toward the achievement of performance targets established in a state's asset management plan for the NHS

Changes to the NHS in Minnesota

MnDOT must submit any proposed NHS changes to the FHWA for approval. For state owned roads this process is initiated by the district engineer, for non-state owned roads this is initiated by the District State Aid Engineer (DSAE).