Chart of the Day: Driving Distance versus Atomic Bomb Location

Here’s a blast from the past that is technically a chart:

I saw this on Twitter the other day, but I don’t remember where. So apologies to whoever posted it.

As you might recall, the 1956 Interstate Highway Act was actually titled the “National Interstate and Defense Highways Act.” According to Wikipedia:

The addition of the term “defense” in the act’s title was for two reasons: First, some of the original cost was diverted from defense funds. Secondly, most U.S. Air Force bases have a direct link to the system. One of the stated purposes was to provide access in order to defend the United States during an attack. All of these links were in the original plans, although some, such as Wright Patterson were not connected up in the 1950s, but only somewhat later.

Cities back then were seen as weaknesses simply because their density made them theoretically easy targets for Russian nukes. Freeways and driving were one solution to the threat of nuclear war.

Actually, however, automobiles do not make good bomb shelters. Or so I have been told… Do not use your car as an atom bomb shelter.

9 thoughts on “Chart of the Day: Driving Distance versus Atomic Bomb Location

  1. Frank Phelan

    I’m loath to further subsidize private automobiles, but the idea of diverting military spending to road construction and maintenance is a winner with me. I’m good with fixing our own roads, as opposed to blowing up infrastructure on the other side of the globe.

    Note I referred to “military spending”, not “defense spending” as the article does. I don’t feel any more secure after having spent over one trillion dollars on our recent foreign adventures, which have not been defensive in nature.

    1. Alex SchieferdeckerAlex Schieferdecker

      This is a really funny suggestion that I kinda want someone to try. I want to see the political reaction towards a serious proposal for diverting a chunk of the defense budget towards interstate maintenance.

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