The Federal Highway Administration established a Functional Classification Schema in 1989 that classifies roadways by their functions. The three basic categories that comprise our highway system are local roads, collectors, and arterials. Local roads serve homes, businesses, farms, and small communities, and provide access to collector roadways. Collectors channel traffic from the local roads to the arterials, which provide safe, reliable, and efficient travel between larger towns and major cities. The key purposes of all roadways are to provide access and mobility. Local roads chiefly provide access, while mobility is the primary function of arterials. Figures 1-1 and 1-2 illustrate the relationships between the classes of roadways and their relative functions.
Figure 1-1. Hierarchy of Our Highway System
Figure 1-2. Access and Mobility
Data Source: Figures 1-1 and 1-2 are redrawn from Figure II-1 and II-4 of FHWA Functional Classification Guidelines, 1989, Office of Planning, Federal Highway Administration, US Department of Transportation. (www.fhwa.dot.gov/planning/fcsec2_1.htm).
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