The chart above shows the miles of roads per square mile of land in US regions. Only the Northeast has more than two miles of road for every square mile of territory. For comparison, a typical Manhattan square mile has approximately 25 miles of roadways.
- The difference between the region with the greatest road coverage, the Northeast, and the region with the least, the West, is 1.74 miles.
- The Northeast has 4.88 times the road coverage that the West has.
- Only the West has less than one mile of roadways for every square mile of territory. It actually has less than half-a-mile of roadways for every square mile of land.
- Road length data is from 2015.
- Area data is from 2010.
- Road and area data come from different sources.
- The road network is very limited in Alaska, so much so that the state capital is not connected by road, and one in 78 people are pilots.
- The Northeastern US consists of New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Maryland, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Delaware, Maine, Rhode Island, and Vermont.
- The Midwestern US consists of Illinois, Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Missouri, Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota.
- The Southern US consists of Texas, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Virginia, Tennessee, Louisiana, South Carolina, Alabama, Kentucky, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Mississippi, and West Virginia.
- The Western US consists of California, Washington, Colorado, Arizona, Oregon, Utah, Nevada, New Mexico, Hawaii, Idaho, Alaska, Montana, and Wyoming.
What is astounding about the Northeastern US being the region with the most roads per area, is that even though it is so heavily paved, it is also the region with the most vehicles per mile of road in the country. It's as if, the region needs even more roads (or less vehicles, depending on one's perspective).
The number of miles of roadway per square mile of land for the United States as a whole is 1.09 which ranks it just below Washington and just above South Dakota.
United States Census Bureau. "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2016." Accessed December 12, 2017. http://factfinder2.census.gov.
United States Department of Transportation. 2016. "Table HM-10M - Highway Statistics 2015 - Policy | Federal Highway Administration." Accessed March 12, 2018. https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/policyinformation/statistics/2015/hm10m.cfm.