The Bureau of Public Roads (BPR) commissioned Gen. John J. Pershing in 1922 to draw a map of priority roads in the event of war.
The Pershing Map, effectively a blueprint for the future national highway system, was the first official topographic road map of the United States. It included 78,000 miles of roads emphasizing coverage in coastal areas and border crossings.
The War Department wanted a highway network that was adequate for industrial and commercial needs and would also adequately serve military requirements. Most of the roads identified in the Pershing Map were incorporated into the Federal‐aid system of highways.