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National Highway Freight Network

What is the National Highway Freight Network?

The Fixing America's Surface Transportation Act (FAST Act) repealed both the Primary Freight Network and National Freight Network from Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21), and directed the FHWA Administrator to establish a National Highway Freight Network (NHFN) to strategically direct Federal resources and policies toward improved performance of highway portions of the U.S. freight transportation system.

The FAST Act also directed the FHWA Administrator prepare and submit to Congress a report that describes the conditions and performance of the NHFN biennially. The first Highway Freight Transportation Conditions and Performance Report is published as a standalone document and will also be included in the 23rd edition of the Conditions and Performance report to be published on a later timeline.

The NHFN includes the following subsystems of roadways:

  • Primary Highway Freight System (PHFS): This is a network of highways identified as the most critical highway portions of the U.S. freight transportation system determined by measurable and objective national data. The network consists of 41,518 centerlines miles, including 37,436 centerline miles of Interstate and 4,082 centerline miles of non-Interstate roads.
  • Other Interstate portions not on the PHFS: These highways consist of the remaining portion of Interstate roads not included in the PHFS. These routes provide important continuity and access to freight transportation facilities. These portions amount to an estimated 9,843 centerline miles of Interstate, nationwide, and will fluctuate with additions and deletions to the Interstate Highway System.
  • Critical Rural Freight Corridors (CRFCs): These are public roads not in an urbanized area which provide access and connection to the PHFS and the Interstate with other important ports, public transportation facilities, or other intermodal freight facilities. Nationwide, there are 4,412 centerline miles designated as CRFCs.
  • Critical Urban Freight Corridors (CUFCs): These are public roads in urbanized areas which provide access and connection to the PHFS and the Interstate with other ports, public transportation facilities, or other intermodal transportation facilities. Nationwide, there are 2,213 centerline miles designated as CUFCs.

The NHFN consists of the PHFS, other Interstate portions not on the PHFS, the CRFCs, and the CUFCs for an estimated total of 57,994 centerline miles.

States and in certain cases, Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs), are responsible for designating public roads for the CRFCs and CUFCs in accordance with section 1116 of the FAST Act. State designation of the CRFCs is limited to a maximum of 150 miles of highway or 20 percent of the PHFS mileage in the State, whichever is greater. State and MPO designation of the CUFC is limited to a maximum of 75 miles of highway or 10 percent of the PHFS mileage in the State, whichever is greater. Guidance in accordance with the FAST Act section 1116 will be developed to provide information on the identification, designation, and certification of these corridors.

Where is the NHFN?

Resources for accessing the NHFN data include

FAST Act NHFN Mileage

Designation/Re-Designation of the Primary Highway Freight System (PHFS)

The initial designation of the Primary Highway Freight System (PHFS) was set by the FAST Act as the 41,518 mile long network identified during the designation process for the MAP-21 highway-only primary freight network (PFN) under 23 U.S.C. 167(d). Information on the methodology and data used for the highway-only PFN designation is described in the October 23, 2015, Federal Register Notice — Final Designation of the Highway Primary Freight Network — Notice; response to comments [HTML, PDF 291KB]. The FHWA Administrator is required to re-designate the PHFS every 5 years to reflect changes in freight flows, including emerging freight corridors and critical commerce corridors. Each re-designation is limited to a maximum 3 percent increase in the total mileage of the system. Further guidance on input and factors for re-designation of the PHFS will be issued in the future.

Non-PHFS Interstates

The FAST Act included the entirety of the Interstate System—including Interstate facilities not located on the PHFS—in the NHFN; however, all Interstate System roadways may not yet be reflected on the attached national and state NHFN maps and tables.. FHWA will update the maps and tables on a periodic basis, incorporating any Interstate System routes missing currently, as well as those new roads added to the Interstate System that become part of the "non-PHFS Interstate System Highways" component of the NHFN under 23 U.S.C. 167(c)(2)(D).

In the interim, FHWA maintains an Interstate System Route Log and Finder. All Interstate System routes reflected in the Route Log and Finder are components of the NHFN, either as part of the PHFS (23 U.S.C. 167(c)(2)(A)) or non-PHFS Interstate System Highways (23 U.S.C. 167(c)(2)(D)). This resource depicts all Interstate System routes that will eventually be reflected in the forthcoming NHFN maps and tables.

If you are aware of a map or table with incorrect or outdated information, please contact the FHWA Office of Freight Management and Operations.


Staff Contact

Chandra Bondzie

PDF files can be viewed with the Acrobat® Reader®.

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