Highway Functional Classification


The purpose of highway functional classification is to define the role a roadway plays in the nation’s road network.  A roadway’s functional classification is based upon its level of travel mobility and access to property according to a hierarchy of travel service it provides. Functional classification is used as factor in roadway geometric design and as an influence in land use planning and zoning.  Functional classification is also used to determine a roadway eligibility for federal-aid funding assistance.  The Division of Statewide Planning is responsible for the maintenance and periodic update to Rhode Island’s highway functional classification system, as required by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA).

Under the federal transportation authorization Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21) and Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (FAST-Act), states utilizing federal funds for all transportation projects are required to prioritize resources towards maintaining the condition and performance of roadways on the National Highway System (NHS). The NHS consists primarily of Principal Arterials including the Interstates, Other Freeway and Expressways, and Other Principal Arterials roadways. Roadways not included on the federal aid system are ineligible for federal-aid funds. Therefore, a roadway’s functional classification has significance when the State determines project eligibility and priority under the State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP).

 Additional information on highway functional classification can be found at the following:

State and Municipal Highway Functional Classification Maps and Tables: