Wikipedia:WikiProject U.S. Roads/Standards

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The U.S. Roads WikiProject (USRD) developed these article standards for page formatting and layout based on best practices developed through dozens of Featured Article Candidacies and other discussions involving the wider Wikipedia community. These standards are not set in stone, however, and can be ignored if warranted for a particular highway article, but they should be used on nearly all highway articles under this project's scope. The state task force pages may contain additional guidelines that supplement or clarify these standards. If someone finds a case where the Wikipedia Manual of Style (MOS) and these standards conflict, that editor should follow the MOS and let USRD know so this document can be updated.


In order to have an article on Wikipedia, according to our guidelines, it must be notable. Before writing an article on a highway, we should check to make sure it is notable. For Interstate, U.S., and state highways, this is not a problem. Other streets, roads, and highways may not be notable. If you have questions, check Wikipedia:Notability and Wikipedia:WikiProject U.S. Roads/Notability to ensure your article won't be deleted due to notability concerns.


Article namingEdit

The standard article naming convention (where the page is located) for Interstate Highways is "Interstate [number]", and the convention for U.S. Highways is "U.S. Route [number]". State highway articles are generally titled in the form "[State] [road type] [number]" (e.g. Missouri Route 13, Oklahoma State Highway 3, New York State Route 17). Kansas and Michigan are the exception to this general trend, because those states' DOTs name their highways as "K-[number]" and "M-[number]" respectively. Each state's convention is listed at the page listed above. Naming conventions were determined after a long period of conflict, so ignoring or proposing drastic changes to these conventions is contentious.

Exception: Interstates in Alaska and Puerto Rico are listed under Interstate Highways in Alaska and Interstate Highways in Puerto Rico.

Names in proseEdit

Highway names in the main body of the article (i.e. the prose, not the infobox or junction table) can either be written out fully or abbreviated.

For state highways used in prose, the name of the state should generally be left off when it is not part of the "official" name and its use is straightforward, e.g. Route 76, not Missouri Route 76. (See WP:USSH for details.) If use of an official highway name in the prose would be ambiguous (e.g. a state highway in another state), the article title or other disambiguated form may be used.

When abbreviating a highway name in the prose, use a commonly abbreviated form as outlined below.

Displayed text for linksEdit

When linking to a state highway article, be sure to use the official name, especially for the cases where the official name and article title are different. For these cases, use the redirect from the official name when creating links if the context is already established. Displayed text for links to other routes in the prose may use an abbreviation or be written out fully as outlined above.

Text for links to other routes which are located in the infobox or exit list/major intersections table should use an abbreviated form. Use a common abbreviation for that state.

You can use the pipe trick to aid in forming a link. For instance, to link to the article with the title Florida State Road 50, type [[State Road 50 (Florida)|]] to get State Road 50. As long as the redirect from State Road 50 (Florida) to Florida State Road 50 exists, the link will be equivalent to typing [[Florida State Road 50|State Road 50]]. There is nothing wrong with linking to a redirect; do not "fix" these "pipe-tricked" links. This will ensure that articles are standardized but also not redundant.

Direct links using the article title can be used for situations where the context is not clear or for describing highways ending at state lines. For instance, one may be writing an article about roads through swampland in the United States and want to talk about SR 50 in Florida. In that case, you can write "The Cheney Highway, part of Florida State Road 50, crosses the St. Johns River swamp." Or you can word it differently: "The Cheney Highway, part of State Road 50, crosses the St. Johns River swamp in Florida."

Incorrect Correct
New York State Route 15 NY 15
Oklahoma State Highway 51 SH-51
Interstate 99 I-99
U.S. Route 20 US 20

Use the standard abbreviations for special ("bannered") routes ("Bus., "Byp.", "Alt.",...). Shorter types, such as Loop, Spur, and Truck can either be abbreviated or used in their full form. The type of special route may precede or follow the rest of the highway name (Bus. US 41 vs. US 41 Bus.).

Incorrect Correct
U.S. Route 222 Business
US 222 Business
US 222 Bus.
West Virginia Route 10 Alternate
WV 10 Alternate
WV 10 Alt.
U.S. Route 66 Bypass
US 66 Bypass
US 66 Byp.

Where a link is displayed next to a route shield, it should use an abbreviated form. Using the {{jct}} template will automatically format the link.

Creation of redirectsEdit

Redirects from the official name (as indicated at WP:USSH) to the article should be created at the same time a new state highway article is created. Redirects from the official name are of the form <Official name> <route number>. Often, the official name is ambiguous and will need to be disambiguated. Following standard Wikipedia disambiguation rules, the convention for disambiguation of an ambiguous official name is to follow the above format with the state name in parentheses, e.g. <Official name> <route number> (State name).

Lists to help you make these redirects are at Wikipedia:WikiProject U.S. Roads/Redirects.

Article layoutEdit

Experience has shown that good highway articles have a number of layout features in common. Complete articles have a standard set of article sections, and other features give groups of articles a consistent and professional look-and-feel. Not all articles will need every section, but some are standard and must be included. A Lead is required in all Wikipedia articles, and sections like the Route description, History and some form of junction list are needed to completely cover a highway article.


The Lead is the untitled section at the beginning of the page. All Wikipedia guidelines about the lead apply to USRD articles. Depending on the route this section may just name the direction (E/W or N/S) and termination points, or may go into considerable detail. However, the majority of detail, such as progress by town or county, should be reserved for the body of the article. All sections of an article should be summarized in the lead in some fashion, whether it is a paragraph summary, or just a sentence that touches on the topic. Because the infobox (see the next section of these guidelines) is technically part of the lead, its junction list serves as a summary of that article section. The subject of the article, and any important alternate names should be listed in boldface text in the lead. If a historical designation redirects to an article, just as M-92 redirects to M-52, then that designation should be mentioned in boldface text in the lead as well.

State-detail articles for national routes have historically had a tough time at FAC and other venues because of the improper use of a bold title in the lead that links to the national article, a violation of the Manual of Style. The recommended form for calling attention to the national article is a hatnote which uses the {{Highway detail hatnote}} template as follows using the article U.S. Route 44 in New York as an example:

{{Highway detail hatnote|U.S. Route 44}}

resulting in a hatnote above the first paragraph:

U.S. Route 44 in the state of New York is a major east–west thoroughfare in the Hudson Valley region of the state. Its entire 65.98-mile (106.18 km) length is maintained by the New York State Department of Transportation. The route ...

Similar results can be obtained using other hatnote templates for situations where this template will not produce the desired results.


All articles should include an infobox. In most cases, {{Infobox road}} should be used. (Further documentation on fields the infobox accepts can be found on its template page.)

For articles on named interchanges, {{Infobox road junction}} should be used. For articles on highway systems, or list articles about a component of a state or national system, there is {{infobox state highway system}} as well.


Articles should include a map showing the route the highway takes. The displayed image should be no more than 290 pixels wide and no more than 172 pixels tall (the actual size of the map doesn't matter; the infobox will automatically scale it down to 290x172px). The Maps Department is responsible for the creation and maintenance of all maps. Please do not use the "map" parameter of the infobox to display a photograph. Photographs only show a single vantage point of a highway, and they typically cannot serve as a visual summary of the entire route of a highway.

Major intersectionsEdit

Infoboxes are supposed to be a quick summary of key facts of an article. They should not be too long, or they defeat that purpose. In the major intersections section of the infobox, USRD does not allow more than 10 junctions to be listed to further these goals. These are preferably Interstates; on longer articles, the most major Interstates (those ending in 0 or 5) should be the only ones mentioned. A shorter route can have more minor junctions, but the 10-junction limit still applies regardless. The major intersection list in the infobox should be an unbulleted list. Breaks in segmented routes can be reflected in this field using the section parameters of the infobox.

Lists of counties should be a comma-delimited list. Lists of cities should not be included, as this major cities parameter has been deprecated.

State abbreviation for communitiesEdit

Do not include the state abbreviation with town names for the junction list for a state highway or an article about an Interstate/US highway that is about the route in that state (i.e. US Route 50 in California), as it is implied that the town in question is in the same state as the road. Do include the state abbreviation in every other case.


The bottom section of the infobox provides a field for browsing all highways in a state in numerical order. This section standardizes the order they should be laid out in.

Type codesEdit

By default, three types are enabled for all states: Interstate, U.S., and state highway. To generate the correct type, the following should be entered into "previous_type" or "next_type", where applicable:

  • I for Interstates
  • US for U.S. routes
  • 2-letter state abbreviation for state highways

In some states, redirects exist for state highway types but making more redirects is not necessary nor recommended.

Bannered routes (such as West Virginia Route 10 Alternate) should not be included in the browse. Suffixed routes (such as New York State Route 252A) should. Use the "spur_of/spur_type" parameter for bannered routes instead.

Browsing precedenceEdit

Precedence for browsing is as follows:

...(46) Interstate U.S. route State highway (48)...
  I-47   US 47   Route 47

Interstates with the same number should be ordered first, followed by U.S. Routes, followed by primary state highways. If any secondary state or county highway systems are present, they may be included at the discretion of the state task force. The state task force should also determine the browsing order for their secondary highways.

Route descriptionEdit

Please note, section headings on Wikipedia are written in sentence case. This means that the first word and proper nouns are capitalized, but other words are not. Because of this, the "d" in "Route description" should not be capitalized.

This section is for describing the route itself and its progression across the state or country.

In the case of Interstate and U.S. routes, the description should be broken up by states using third level headings (===California===, for example). Otherwise, describe the routing through this state. Optionally, use {{main}} to define detail pages (like U.S. Route 24 in Illinois) at the beginning of the paragraph, followed by a general paragraph that contains less detail than the detail page. If no detail page exists, simply write a general paragraph of the route's routing through the state. States should be listed from south to north and west to east.

National-level Interstate and U.S. Highway articles should also include a floating table listing each state the route goes through and the length of each state's portion of the highway. Place the length table in this section, using {{lengths table}} to create the table header. For intrastate U.S. and Interstate routes, state detail pages, and state routes, third-level headings are not required, and these articles should not contain a length table.

Regardless of the route's length, progression should follow the mileposts as they are maintained by the state, typically from south to north, west to east.

For an article on a named interchange, the section can simply be titled "Description". The section then describes the interchange.


Any historical information known about the highway should be noted. Historical routes that other pages redirect to in the article (for example, NY 36A in NY 63) should not be bolded if mentioned in this section per WP:MOSBOLD; however, they can be bolded in the lead if discussed there.


This section is optional. Any concrete future plans regarding the future of the route. Proposed extensions, truncations, upgrades, or decommissionings would fall into this section. Special care should be taken to ensure all content included in this section is reliably sourced to be under serious consideration by highway officials and not mere speculation. In short, if the plans have not been mentioned by the appropriate DOT, or they haven't been published in a reputable news source, they should not appear in our articles.


This section is optional. If the road offers any special motorist services (such as motorist aid hotlines, service plazas, a dedicated law enforcement unit, call boxes, or a travel radio station), discuss them here. If very little can be written about the services (less than about two paragraphs or so) then this section should be merged into the route description. Most of these extra services are associated with turnpikes, and so this section will be less common on articles about free roads.


For articles on turnpikes only. This section should cover the cost to drive the entire turnpike, the system used to assess tolls (barrier, ticket-based, or wholly electronic), where toll plazas are located, and what, if any, electronic tolling system is accepted (E-ZPass or its equivalents) and whether open-road tolling is available.

Major intersections or Exit listEdit

All junction lists, regardless of whether they list exits or at-grade junctions, shall be designed in accordance with the international road junction list Manual of Style page (MOS:RJL).

The {{jcttop}}, {{jctint}}, {{jctco}}, and {{jctbtm}} system of templates, and variants of these templates specialized for use in a particular state, may be used to create a junction table. Use of these templates is not required; the equivalent direct table syntax can be used as long as it follows MOS:RJL specifications. However, the templates will be updated to accommodate any future changes to MOS:RJL, and articles using the templates will automatically update to follow those changes. Articles that do not use the templates will need to be manually updated, so using the templates is strongly advised.

Colors may be used to call attention to certain types of junctions and the conditions the road traveler may experience. Whether colors are used or not should be standardized on a statewide level. If used, colors and their meanings shall comply with the standards outlined in MOS:RJL.

The exact composition of this section, with regard to what is included and the title of the section, varies depending on the nature of the route:

Grade-separated interchanges only
Header shall be "Exit list". The exit list shall contain all interchanges present along the route.
Mixture of grade-separated interchanges and at-grade intersections
Header should be "Major intersections"/"Junction list" or "Exit list". All interchanges shall be included in the list. At-grade intersections with numbered highway routes should be included; at-grade intersections with non-numbered roads generally should not.
At-grade intersections only
Header should be "Major intersections" or "Junction list". In deciding what junctions should be included in a junction list for a surface road, the decision should be left to the task force overseeing roads for that region.

Old exit numbers may be listed so long as the change to mile-based exit numbers occurred within the last 5–10 years. Any old exit numbers that changed over before 2010 may be removed. However, this is not required, and the old numbers can remain.

Articles summarizing the full length of Interstates and U.S. Highways should include a bulleted list of intersections with other Interstates, U.S. Highways and other notable roads in place of a detailed intersection table. Full junction lists should be placed in the state-detail articles instead.

Auxiliary routesEdit

This section is optional. Use this description to provide links to all other articles. Editors may place the 3dI template in this section if the article route is a primary Interstate. If the article route is an auxiliary Interstate, treat it as a navbox and place it at the bottom of the article below all content.

Bannered routesEdit

A section describing for the highway's bannered routes (business routes for Interstate articles), if applicable. If there are only a few bannered routes, describe them here. If there are many, split the description off into its own list (see Bannered routes of U.S. Route 71 as an example) and use this section to list simply the routes and their locations, with a hatnote at the top of the section linking to the list.

Articles on individual bannered routes are discouraged unless there is something unusual about them that would warrant them having their own article. Examples include being a freeway, having an extraordinary length, a significant history separate from the parent highway, etc.

See alsoEdit

Place links to related articles here. Do not link to articles already linked elsewhere in prose. This section should also be used to link to Portal:U.S. Roads or a state-specific road portal as well as the appropriate state or city portals.


Place all references in the appropriate locations in the text of the article, using the <ref></ref> tags. In the References section, use the {{reflist}} tag, and all references will appear here.

External linksEdit

Place all external links which are not references here. Links which only relate to one state on an article pertaining to a full Interstate or U.S. route should be placed under a third-level heading or, if it exists, on the appropriate state-detail page. Since Commons, Wikivoyage and other Wikimedia Foundation websites are separate from Wikipedia, any appropriate links to those sites belong in this section. The {{Attached KML}} template also links to Google and Bing's mapping services, so it should be in this section as well. The KML box should appear after any boxes for our sister sites to give some priority to those sites.


All state highways should be filed into the correct category. (Look at a similar article from the same highway system to determine which is the correct category.) Sortkeys for the category should be of the form nnnA, where nnn is 3-digit route number, and A is the letter designation if any (e.g. Route 1A is "001A", Route 2 is "002").

Deprecated sectionsEdit

These sections may be present in older articles. If found, they should be removed from the article, their contents merged elsewhere.

Major citiesEdit

In the past, a second infobox entitled "Major cities" was sometimes added to articles to list several prominent cities as part of the route description. However, no published secondary sources have been found that are useful for determining the inclusion or exclusion of a particular city within the box. Due to the lack of such sources, practical standards can not be set. Basing guidelines on criteria such as population, local prominence, or number of junctions/interchanges becomes a subjective exercise and a source of contention. Therefore, the use of "Major cities" boxes has been deprecated by consensus, and similar lists should not be used in articles. Major cities should not appear outside of the article prose, except in conjunction with a major intersection or terminus entry in the article's infobox or junction table.

Communities along the routeEdit

Formerly, this section contained a list of communities, which could range from small hamlets to large cities, along the route. Depending on the length of the route this may include only major communities, or just the few hamlets the route passes through.

This section has been dropped, as all cities should be mentioned in the route description. When found in an article, ensure all cities listed are mentioned in the route description, and remove the section.


This section is deprecated per WP:TRIVIA. It included trivia or facts about a route. When found in an article, merge the trivia to a relevant part of the article.


Use and placement of shields should be done in compliance with the Wikipedia policies for Use of icons in articles and Alternate text for images. In a nutshell, the MOSICON policy states shields should only be used where they add value to the article, and not just for decoration. The USRD project has typically interpreted this to mean no shields in the body of the article. Shields should be limited to the identifying image in the infobox and as a means of identification where multiple highway types are present in tables (such as the major intersections table). The ALT text policy is to aid those that use audio devices to overcome visual impairments. In a nutshell, every image used (including shields) must either have alternate text added, or if used for identification only (such as in the infobox or major intersection table) must have the link parameter removed.

In the infobox's termini and major junctions fields, shields should be displayed before the name/link to other intersecting highways (e.g.   K-10). If a junction list is present, it should likewise contain shields before the names of intersecting highways. For concurrent highways, the shields should come first followed by the links (e.g.    I-44 / SH-3). Using {{jct}} to generate shields and links will ensure proper image/link formatting and compliance with the ALT text policy.

Shields displayed at the top of the infobox should be 70px in height. (For most wide three-digit shields, this will require a width of 88px.) Auxiliary/banner plates (Alternate, business, etc.) should be 70px in width. Shields in the infobox, junction lists, and exit lists should be 20px in height (requiring a width of 25px for most wide three-digit shields), except in the event where a 20px height will cause the shield to be less than 20px in width. In this event, the shield should be 20px in width.

Talk pagesEdit

{{WikiProject U.S. Roads}} should be placed at the top of all talk pages of articles related to U.S. Roads with the "type" parameter set to either:

  • Interstate for U.S. Interstate Highways
  • US for U.S. Routes
  • trail for Auto Trails
  • US66 for articles related to U.S. Route 66

The state parameter(s) should be set to the two-letter postal abbreviation for the state(s) through which the highway passes. U.S. territories substitute the appropriate abbreviation. For non-route articles that do not pertain to a state, leave this option off the template to display the standard U.S. Roads banner.