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Highway Functional Classification Concepts, Criteria and Procedures



[2] The use of the term "Local" roadway in the context of functional classification is separate from the use of the term in a jurisdictional context. While it is true that roadways functionally classified as "Local" are often under the jurisdiction of a"local" entity (i.e., incorporated city), Local Roads are not always under local jurisdiction. Other roadway classifications, including Arterials, may also be under the jurisdiction of a local (i.e., non-state) entity.

[3] A higher functionally-classified road can "split" its traffic between two lower-level roads, with different levels of access and mobility.

[4] "Travel shed" refers to the general area from which most travelers originate.

[5] Vehicle miles of travel can be calculated as: DVMT = length in miles * annual average daily traffic volume.

[6] Context sensitive design describes a process and practice that considers the both the immediate environment of the roadway and the transportation needs of the communities it serves. For more information, see

[7] Department of Transportation, Guidelines for Updating Federal Aid Urban Boundaries and Functional Classification, July 2003

[8] The MassDOT Project Development and Design Guide,

[9] Technical Report 5, Highway System Classification, August 12, 2009,

[10] Institute of Traffic Engineers, Context Sensitive Solutions in Designing Major Urban Thoroughfares for Walkable Communities, March, 2010.

[11] Lund University, Department of Technology and Society, Arterial Streets Toward Sustainability, Sweden,

[12] Department for Transport, Manual for Streets, March 29, 2007

[13] FHWA has traditionally used this term to describe Urban Areas with a population greater than or equal to 5,000 and less than 50,000, derived from Urban Clusters

[14] Normalization here means simplifying the functional classification so that a roadway is classified with one meaning while urban/rural is a separate context in which the road is located.

[15] Although there is no specific FHWA policy on how often adjustments to urban area boundaries can be made, states are encouraged to make such adjustments as infrequently as possible and only when deemed absolutely necessary.

Updated: 10/20/2015
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