This Policy Memorandum was Canceled June 23, 1999.
|FHWA Policy Memorandums - Office of Environment and Planning|
ACTION: Urban Area Boundaries
|Date: February 10, 1992|
|Associate Administrator for Program Development||HEP-12|
| Regional Federal Highway Administrators
Federal Lands Highway Program Administrator
Our October 7, 1991, memorandum provided preliminary guidance on the above subject and requested that the States and metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) begin to develop plans for updating the existing functional classification in anticipation of legislation requiring a functional reclassification study. With enactment of the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act (ISTEA) of 1991 on December 18, 1991, the States and MPOs should now take appropriate steps to adjust the Census -designated urban area boundaries, if necessary, and complete the functional reclassification of all public roads and streets. The purpose of this memorandum is to provide final instructions for completing these efforts. Instructions for proposing routes for the National Highway System (NHS) will be transmitted at a later date.
Specific instructions and schedules for adjusting the Census-designated urban area boundaries and completing the functional reclassification are contained in Attachments 1 and 2; however, several points regarding these activities are summarized below.
Urban Area Boundaries
A preliminary schedule (Attachment 4) showing key steps in completing the designation of urban area boundaries, conducting the functional classification and developing the proposed NHS is attached for your information. The dates established for submitting the urban area boundaries and functional classification maps are consistent with this schedule.
We will use a GIS to develop necessary maps and related summaries for the reports to Congress on the functional reclassification and the proposed NHS. A significant amount of work is required, both in-house and by contract, to develop this capability; therefore, strict adherence to the deadlines established by this memorandum are critical. Because the new functional classification maps may not be available for a year or more, we want to use existing information to the greatest extent possible to develop the GIS base network. Accordingly, we are requesting that the division offices submit maps depicting the existing principal arterials in urbanized areas to the Planning and Programming Branch (HEP-12) for the States identified in Attachment 5. Using the results of the existing functional classification, we can develop the GIS base network and then make appropriate changes to reflect the results of the new functional classification.
We request that urban area boundaries and functional classification maps be submitted to the Planning and Programming Branch as they are approved. This will allow us to proceed with necessary changes to the GIS base network as quickly as possible. In addition to the submittal of maps depicting the urban area boundaries and the functional classification results, it would be extremely beneficial to the GIS effort to also receive this documentation on microcomputer diskettes or nine-track tapes in a ASCII, ARC/INFO or AutoCAD format if available.
The instructions in this memorandum are also applicable to the territories.
Technical questions regarding urban area boundaries should be directed to Mr. Frank Clark on (FTS) 366-5006; technical questions regarding functional classification should be directed to Mr. Gorman on (FTS) 366-5001. Policy questions should be directed to Mr. Tom Weeks on (FTS) 366-5002 or Mr. Dick Torbik on (FTS) 366-0233.
URBAN AREA BOUNDARIES
Section 101(a) of Title 23 defines urban areas as urban places of 5,000 or more population and urbanized areas as designated by the Bureau of the Census. This section also allows the States and local officials to adjust the Census-designated urban area boundaries, subject to approval by the Secretary. The requirements of FHPM 4-6-3 (reissued without change in the new Policy Guide) continue to apply for establishing urban area boundaries to conform to the 1990 Census except as modified below.
Schedule and Maps
The States should submit the urban area boundaries for urbanized and small urban areas to FHWA by June 30, 1992. All necessary coordination and adjustments should be made to enable approval by division offices by August 31, 1992.
Maps identifying the approved boundaries should be sent to the Planning and Programming Branch (HEP-12) as soon as possible after each approval to facilitate the preparation of a GIS data base. Each map should show the 1990 Census-designated boundary and the urban area boundary as defined by 23 U.S.C. 101(a). The map scale for urbanized areas should be no greater than 1:100,00. In addition to the maps submitted for the urban area boundaries (and functional classification results), it would be extremely beneficial to the GIS effort to also receive this documentation on microcomputer diskettes or nine-tract tapes in a ASCII, ARC/INFO or AutoCAD format, if available.
Where the urban area boundary is the same as the 1990 Census-designated boundary, a map does not need to be submitted to HEP-12 until the functional classification results are submitted. A list of such areas should be provided to HEP-12 as soon as possible so that the boundary details can be obtained from Census Tiger files for developing the GIS base. It is important that the conventions established in Attachment 2 be followed for identifying the urban area boundaries. Physical features (e.g., streets, rivers, etc.,) making up the boundaries should be clearly labeled.
1990 Census urbanized area boundaries are shown in detail on large scale maps sent by the Bureau of the Census directly to each division office beginning in December 1991.
1990 Census urban place boundaries (nonurbanized areas) are shown on Census maps available at the data centers that have been established in each State.
Urbanized Area Boundaries and Metropolitan Area Boundaries
The urbanized area boundaries defined by 23 U.S.C. 101(a) should not be confused with the metropolitan area boundaries required by Section 1024 of the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991. The metropolitan area boundaries must cover at least the existing urbanized area and the contiguous area expected to become urbanized within the 20-year forecast period. Although the metropolitan area boundary is needed for the urban planning process and expands the area eligible for certain Federal-aid funds, it does not meet the definition for urban boundaries established by 23 U.S.C. 101.
Criteria for Census Urbanized Area Boundaries
The States and MPOs should note that Census boundaries have been drawn more tightly for 1990 to emphasize urbanized population and housing. They no longer automatically include adjacent large concentrations of nonresidential land use such as industrial parks, office complexes, major airports. There is also less incorporation of nearby urban places and closing or smoothing of boundary indentations. Unusually narrow corridors and small areas occur outside the main Census urbanized area because they are part of urbanized incorporated places. State and local officials are under no obligation to include any of the intervening nonurbanized area within the urban area boundary.
Urbanized areas and urban places in close proximity may continue to be included within a common urban area boundary upon agreement of State and appropriate local officials. However, separate boundaries for urbanized areas over 200,000 population should be shown and must not encroach upon the Census designated limits of another urbanized area.
Identification of Boundaries
Where an urban area boundary coincides with or is close to a road or street, care should be take to clearly show whether the road or street is within or outside the urban area.
Section 1006 of the ISTEA specifies that each State (including the Territories) functionally reclassify the roads and streets in the State in accordance with guidelines and a time schedule established by the Secretary of Transportation. Section 1006 further specifies that the Secretary shall approve the functional reclassification and submit a report to the Congress not later than September 30, 1993. The guidance contained in the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) manual, Highway Functional Classification - Concepts, Criteria and Procedures, March 1989, as modified by Attachment 3, will be used for conducting the functional reclassification.
The States should submit maps depicting the functional classification results with tables summarizing mileage and VMT by functional system to the FHWA division offices for review and approval by December 31, 1992. Division offices should complete their review and approval by March 31, 1993.
Workshops will be held in each region, on request, from February to June 1992. Please contact Mr. Robert Gorman (FTS) 366-5001 to schedule a workshop. The 8-hour workshop will include discussions of both urban area boundaries and functional classification.
To assist HEP-12 in preparing for the workshops, the regions and divisions are requested to submit specific questions or issues that have been raised to date on urban area boundaries and functional classification in advance of the workshops.
The division offices should review the States' submittals and ensure that total mileage and VMT for each functional classification is within the recommended ranges listed in the manual, Highway Functional Classification Concepts, Criteria and Procedures. If a State exceeds these ranges there should be sound justification for doing so. The divisions are requested to consult with the regions and HEP-12 if the principal arterial mileage in rural or urban areas exceeds the percentages established in the guidelines. It is also important that the States coordinate with adjacent States to ensure that there is continuity across State lines for all arterial routes.
The metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) must be fully involved in the functional classification effort. The States should initiate coordination with the MPOs and then work closely with the MPOs during the functional reclassification to ensure continuity at the urban boundaries and to provide assistance as needed. Each State should provide a statement with its submission to the division offices that the MPOs have been fully involved in the functional reclassification.
The States should submit two maps depicting the functional classification results. The maps should be at an appropriate scale and clarity so that route numbers and other significant geographical details can be easily identified. One map should include all functional classes above local and should be retained in the division office as a permanent record. The other map should identify all arterial highways and urban area boundaries. Two copies of the second map should be sent to HEP-12 once the functional reclassification is completed and approved, but not later than March 31, 1993.
Division offices may specify how many maps (and at what scale) are necessary to depict the entire functional classification. For the maps that are sent to HEP-12, a separate map for each urbanized area (at a scale of 1:100,000) and any small urban area (if necessary) and a statewide map depicting the rural routes are requested.
The following conventions should be adhered to:
(All future routes classified should be depicted with the appropriate color but should be shown as dashed lines.)
Table of mileage and VMT:
A table summarizing the mileage and cumulative VMT for each functional classification should be provided for each urbanized area, for all urban roads, and for all rural roads within the State. A recommended format is attached.
Mileage and VMT
|Minor Arterials||Major Collectors||Minor Collectors||Local||Total|
NOTE: UZA = URBANIZED AREA. Identify UZA by name.
Highway Functional Classification -
Concepts, Criteria and Procedures
This addendum supplements the manual, Highway Functional Classification - Concepts, Criteria and Procedures, March 1989, to provide more flexibility for classifying routes that cross urban boundaries and to provide specific criteria for including future or proposed routes.
Routes Crossing Urban/Rural Boundaries
The manual provides for rural routes (other than principal arterials) to be upgraded to a higher classification level when they cross an urban boundary. Although the principle is sound, rigid application has presented difficulties for some States. Accordingly, this addendum to the guidelines is intended to provide greater flexibility for deciding on an appropriate place for changing the functional classification when rural routes cross an urban boundary, taking into account changes in traffic conditions, the degree of urban development and other factors. Instead of automatically upgrading the functional classification of a rural route that crosses an urban boundary, the rural classification may be continued inside the urban boundary until there is a more logical and acceptable place for a change.
The manual discusses procedures for conducting a functional classification based on projected facilities and usage for some "future year"; however, the manual does not provide criteria for including future or proposed routes into a functional classification of existing facilities. Because the functional classification will support the designation of the National Highway System which is expected to include some future routes, this addendum establishes criteria for determining which future routes should be included in the functional classification of existing routes. Future routes should be functionally classified with the existing system if they are included in an approved short range improvement program and there is a good probability that the route will be under construction in the reasonably near future (up to 6 years). Where applicable, the same classification should be given to the future route and to the existing route that it will replace until the future route is constructed.
instructions to field.
and MPOs adjust Census-designated boundaries
if necessary. Submit for approval.
Adjust & approve. Field
submit to Headquarters.
& transmit instructions to field.
Discuss with AASHTO and NARC.
provide T/A on request.
& MPOs complete functional reclassification.
Submit for approval.
Field submit to headquarters.
for GIS (ORNL).
report to Congress.
|National Highway System|
instructions to field.
AASHTO & NARC.
and major connectors.
and MPOs develop propsed NHS.
Submit maps and descriptions to FHWA.
|5. Adjust coordinate.|
|6. Identify NHS on GIS.|
submit report to Congress.
Maps depicting the existing principal arterials in urbanized areas are requested for the States identified below. This information is needed to facilitate the development of the geographical information system data base that will be used to support the development of a proposed National Highway System.
This Policy Memorandum was Canceled June 23, 1999.