The Evolution of the U.S. Interstate

iStock
iStock

Following the passage of the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956 at the behest of President Dwight D. Eisenhower, 9067 miles of paved road were constructed in over a dozen states. This, of course, was the first year of the U.S. Interstate, a system that now covers nearly 50,000 miles and accounts for a quarter of all highway traffic in the country.

Geotab, a company specializing in GPS vehicle tracking devices, illustrated the evolution of the Interstate System with a new infographic. It charts the growth of what some have hailed as the “greatest public works project in history.” (However, not everyone loved it, and some people who had been displaced by the construction organized protests in the ‘60s, causing work to shut down in some areas.)

Regardless, it remains a crucial part of America's transportation network. To see how the interstate has changed over the years, check out Geotab’s infographic below.

Start Planning for Fall Now With This Interactive Foliage Map

While summer doesn't officially end until September 22, it’s never too early to get excited for fall foliage season. To see when the leaves outside your window will be at their most brilliant, check out this map for the 2018 season from SmokyMountains.com.

The tourism website puts together this annual interactive visual by pulling historical weather data and forecasts for the upcoming months from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration as well as historical leaf peak trends. By using the slider at the bottom of the map, you can see when fall foliage is expected to peak across the contiguous United States.

As of September 10, for example, most of the country was rendered in green, which meant the leaves had not started to change yet. Move just a week or two ahead into mid-September, however, and the northern and central states show up with blotches of fall colors, with the lightest shade of yellow indicating minimal leaf change and deep red signaling peak foliage. By early November, most of the U.S. is brown, which means the leaves have passed their peak.

While the leaves of deciduous trees start to change hues at roughly the same time each year, the exact patterns vary based on factors like rain and temperature.

"Although simply entering rainfall, temperature data, elevations, and other data points into a model will never be 100 percent accurate, this combined with our proprietary, historical data drives our model to become more accurate each year," says SmokyMountains.com co-founder and CTO Wes Melton, who created the map.

Now that you know when exactly the trees will hit their peak, you need to make sure you’re around to see them. Here are some of the best spots in the U.S. to take in the seasonal show.

This Interactive Family Tree Shows How Europe's Monarchs Are Related

Royals from Norway, Denmark, Belgium, Monaco, and elsewhere gathered at the 2010 wedding of Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden.
Royals from Norway, Denmark, Belgium, Monaco, and elsewhere gathered at the 2010 wedding of Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden.
Jonas Ekstromer-Pool, Getty Images

Thanks to a history of intermarriage, Europe's royal families are all tied to each other in some way. For instance, Queen Elizabeth II is third cousins with most of Europe’s monarchs, including Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden, Margrethe II of Denmark, and former Belgian ruler Albert II. To explore how the monarchies are connected, Expedia created an interactive family tree that lets you see the ties between different royals. While the feature is geared toward exploring the family ties of Nordic royalty, since European monarchs are basically all related, just about everyone appears on the same family tree eventually.

Royally Connected by Expedia.se

To expand the tree and explore different monarchs' ancestry, click the plus signs above their photos. The crowns indicate that the person is a ruling monarch, while the interlocking circles indicate a marriage. Each graphic is color-coded to show whether the royals are related to the monarchies of Norway, Denmark, Sweden, or another country. Clicking on each face brings up a window with pertinent information on each royal, like their title and their heritage. (Though he is the king of Sweden, Carl XVI Gustaf, for instance, is 70 percent German, 10 percent French, and 20 percent British.)

The tree goes back to the Victorian era—to Victoria herself, in fact, as Carl XVI Gustaf is the great-great-grandson of the long-ruling British monarch. Victoria's granddaughter, Margaret of Connaught, married Sweden's Gustaf VI Adolf in 1905. They had Gustaf Adolf, father of the current king, in 1906. Carl XVI Gustaf's mother, Sibylla, was also a great-grandchild of Victoria's, descended from her youngest son, Prince Leopold, but unfortunately, the family tree doesn't let you explore her line.

Still confused? Navigate the graphic yourself above, or visit the full version on Expedia's website.

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER