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Kurumi Ranks the 2-digit interstates

(January 2001)

In America, we have a compulsion to rank things. Top ten lists, March Madness, salary surveys, and all sorts of other competitions and studies help us determine who's number one and who are the losers.

Even highways are not immune to this: but the number of variables involved in comparing highways can lead to intractable disagreements unless you limit the discussion to such easily measured values as number of lanes or miles. Something as vaporous as "most prominent" or "most important" highway can't be determined to everyone's satisfaction.

Until now.

I developed a Perl script that assigns numerical values to various attributes of each 2-digit interstate highway. The end result: a ranking in decreasing order of prominence. The most important highway turns out to be Interstate 95 ("so easy to use, no wonder it's number 1!"). The beauty of this approach is that numbers don't lie and the results are undisputable.

Too bad the study is flawed; I'm demanding that you accept my assumptions (see below) as golden: having attribute X is worth Y points, and so on. This rhetorical tactic is not all that uncommon in any sort of debate. However, you can download the script, adjust the parameters as you see fit, and generate new results. The script first prints out the parameters, then lists how each interstate fared.

Here are the results from the Perl script without modifications. I-95 is the most important interstate, while Idaho's I-86 is the one least likely to be missed. Flame on!

Results

Scoring:
Each mile in length: 1
Each state occupied: 200
Each international border touched: 100
Each major 2di generated: 200
Each minor 2di generated: 100
Each major 2di intersected: 100
Each minor 2di intersected: 50
Each 3di it's a parent of: 150
Each 1M pop in metro areas served: 100
Include I-99: no

 1. I-95: 14443
 2. I-80: 13907
 3. I-90: 12035
 4. I-10: 10710
 5. I-70: 7925
 6. I-75: 7837
 7. I-40: 7754
 8. I-5: 6732
 9. I-94: 6714
10. I-35: 6581
11. I-15: 6236
12. I-55: 4994
13. I-20: 4958
14. I-65: 4438
15. I-64: 4145
16. I-81: 4124
17. I-85: 3814
18. I-77: 3211
19. I-87: 3046
20. I-76e: 2943
21. I-78: 2894
22. I-29: 2653
23. I-25: 2509
24. I-57: 2431
25. I-84w: 2321
26. I-74: 2314
27. I-71: 2293
28. I-44: 2245
29. I-91: 2140
30. I-59: 2092
31. I-30: 2064
32. I-24: 1868
33. I-93: 1810
34. I-45: 1784
35. I-84e: 1743
36. I-96: 1742
37. I-79: 1739
38. I-69: 1660
39. I-26: 1511
40. I-88w: 1293
41. I-39: 1249
42. I-8: 1245
43. I-83: 1135
44. I-76w: 1035
45. I-37: 942
46. I-89: 938
47. I-4: 900
48. I-66: 876
49. I-17: 846
50. I-82: 843
51. I-86e: 800
52. I-16: 719
53. I-43: 692
54. I-72: 682
55. I-68: 614
56. I-49: 606
57. I-12: 535
58. I-88e: 531
59. I-19: 463
60. I-27: 424
61. I-97: 418
62. I-86w: 413