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Functional Classification & Urban Area Boundary

The FHWA Urban Area Boundary (UAB) typically represents an adjustment or revision to the Census Urban Area Boundary and is fixed by responsible state and local officials in coordination with each other.

The reason Census Urban Area Boundaries are revised is to smooth out geographic irregularities, maintain administrative continuity, and encompass fringe area having residential, commercial, industrial, and/or national defense significance. The FHWA UAB is fixed also to determine capital program funding and eligibility. It is also used for statistical reporting purposes (HPMS) and for control of outdoor advertising. The FHWA UAB must be approved by the U.S. Department of Transportation. The Planning Data Search Tool & Viewer depicts the approved 2010 FHWA UABs for both large and small urbanized areas in the State of Indiana.

The lead agency in the designation of FHWA UABs in large urban areas is the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO). Federal regulation requires that states designate MPOs in urban areas with populations of 50,000 or more. MPOs are responsible for ensuring that federal-aid transportation projects in the metropolitan area result from a continuing, comprehensive and cooperative transportation planning process.

Indiana has 16 urbanized areas served by 14 MPOs. MPO membership includes local elected officials, representatives of transit operators and state DOTs and, in some cases, representatives from other state agencies or organizations involved in transportation policy or programming. The lead agency in the designation of FHWA UABs in small urban areas is the Division of Program Development within INDOT. Small urban areas are defined by Indiana as those areas with population between 5,000 and 49,999.

Functional Classification

Functional classification is the process by which streets and highways are grouped into classes, or systems, according to the character of service they are intended to provide. Basic to this process is the recognition that individual roads and streets do not serve travel independently in any major way. Rather, most travel involves movement through a network of roads. It becomes necessary then to determine how this travel can be channelized within the network in a logical and efficient manner. Functional classification defines the nature of this channelization process by defining the part that any particular road or street should play in serving the flow of trips through a highway network. (FHWA Functional Classification Guidelines)

Additional information regarding functional classification can be found on the Federal Highway Administration website.

To request changes to the functional classification system, please download the application, fill it out, and follow the submission instructions.

Accessing the Data

The Roadway Inventory and Functional Class Viewer is the definitive tool for accessing the most recent state data regarding functional class, NHS, state routes, various boundaries, and more. The viewer is usually updated every week. Map navigation tools are located in the upper left corner, with basemaps and layer tools in the upper right.

Related Links

Contact Information

Mark McMahan
Manager - Roadway Inventory
Indiana Department of Transportation
100 N. Senate Ave., IGCN N758-PL
Indianapolis, IN 46204

Erik Larson
Functional Class and Special Networks Coordinator
Indiana Department of Transportation
100 N. Senate Ave., IGCN N758-PL
Indianapolis, IN 46204

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