Functional Classification

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Geographic Areas     

    Urbanized - Areas designated by the Census Bureau having a population of 50,000 or more

    Small Urban - Areas designated by the Census Bureau having a population of 5,000 or more and not part of an urbanized
    area, also referred to as urban clusters on the maps

    Rural - All areas not designated urbanized or small urban

Rural Functional Classification System

        Rural principal arterial

    • Serves corridor movements of substantial statewide or interstate travel

    • Serves all urban areas of 50,000 and over population and a majority of those over 25,000

    • Provide an integrated network without stub connections

        Rural minor arterial

    • Link cities and large towns (and other generators, such as major resorts)

    • Spaced at such intervals so that all developed areas of the state are within a reasonable distance of an arterial highway

    • Provide service to corridors with trip lengths and travel density greater than those served by rural collectors or local systems

    • Design should be expected to provide for relatively high overall speeds, with minimum interference to through movement

        Rural major collector

    • Provide service to any county seat not on an arterial system, to larger towns not directly served by higher systems

    • Link the above to nearby larger towns or routes of higher classification

    • Serve the more important intra-county travel corridors

        Rural minor collector

    • Spaced at intervals, consistent with population density

    • Collect traffic from local roads and bring all developed areas within a reasonable distance of a collector road

    • Provide service to the remaining smaller communities

    • Link local traffic generators with their rural hinterland

        Rural local

    • Serves primarily to provide direct access to adjacent land

    • Provide service to travel over relatively short distances as compared to collectors or other higher systems

    • All facilities not on one of the higher systems

    Urban Functional Classification System

        Urban principal arterial

    • Serves the major centers of activity of a metropolitan area

    • Highest traffic volume corridors

    • Roads serving the longest trip desires

    • Carry a high proportion of the total urban area travel on a minimum of mileage

    • Carry significant amounts of intra-area travel

        Urban minor arterial

    • Interconnect with and augment the urban principal arterial system and provide service to trips of moderate length at a lower level of travel mobility than principal arterials

    • Include all arterials not classified as a principal and contains facilities that place more emphasis on land access, and offer a lower level of traffic mobility

        Urban collector

    • Provides land access and traffic circulation within residential neighborhoods, commercial, and industrial areas

    • Distributes trips from the arterials through these areas to their ultimate destination

    • Collects traffic from local streets and channels it to the arterial system

        Urban local

    • All facilities not on one of the higher systems

    • Serves primarily as direct access to abutting land

    • Serves as access to the higher order systems

    • Through traffic movement is deliberately discouraged

    SPECIAL NOTE:  The VDOT Commissioner has identified specific federally functionally classified minor arterial highways that will be subject to the VDOT Access Management regulations and standards for principal arterial routes under the authority granted in VA Code §33.1-198.1. These routes were identified based on their regional significance and value for emergency evacuation purposes.  For more information on the Access Management regulations and standards, please refer to the information and maps available on VDOT’s access management's Web page.

    Page last modified: Oct. 14, 2012