About Thoroughfare Planning

What is a Thoroughfare Plan?

A Thoroughfare Plan is a long-range plan (50+ years) that identifies the location and type of roadway facilities that are needed to meet projected long-term growth within the area. The Thoroughfare Plan is not a list of construction projects but rather a tool to enable Counties and/or Cities to preserve corridors for transportation system development as the need arises.

Many of the proposed arterial and collector streets identified in the Regional Thoroughfare Plan will likely not be needed or constructed within the next 20 or 30 years. However, one of the purposes of the Regional Thoroughfare Plan is to preserve needed transportation corridors so that as development occurs in the future, Counties and/or Cities will have the ability to develop appropriately sized transportation facilities to serve the needs at that time.

A Thoroughfare Plan is…

  • Long range (50+ years)
  • Identifies type and general location of future transportation corridors
  • Preserves transportation corridors (i.e. right-of-way)
  • Guides future development
  • Promotes connectivity and design uniformity
  • Informs public of future roadway needs
  • Requires, through the platting approval process of cities and counties, appropriate dedication of rights-of-way and construction of identified thoroughfares by private land owners

A Thoroughfare Plan is Not…

  • List of construction projects
  • Commitment by local governments to build specific roads
  • Survey, design or engineering study showing the exact alignments
  • Ranking or prioritization of roadway improvements
  • Set timeframe for when a project should be complete
  • Financial plan or funding mechanism

Benefits of a Thoroughfare Plan

The advantage of a regional thoroughfare plan is that it indicates where entities should preserve roadway right-of-way (ROW) so that as development occurs or as traffic increases, the entity has sufficient space to develop appropriate transportation facilities. This planning tool designates a system of major roadways throughout the region intended to provide adequate access and mobility.

The Regional Thoroughfare Plan also supports orderly and anticipated development as private development occurs and minimizes disruption and displacement of people and businesses by providing a long-range, predictable plan.

Things to Consider

Roadway Alignments

A Thoroughfare Plan displays the proposed general alignments for the extensions of existing collector and arterial roadways and planned new roadways. It is important to note that the actual alignments of these roadways will likely vary somewhat from this plan and will be determined through the subdivision development process and the preliminary engineering phase of design.

Slight modifications to facility locations, such as a shift of an alignment several hundred feet one way or another or changes in roadway curvature are warranted and accepted as long as the intent of the Thoroughfare Plan to provide system connectivity and appropriate types of facilities is not compromised.

As development occurs, alignment studies will be needed to determine the exact location of some roadways, keeping in mind the overall purpose and intent of the Thoroughfare Plan and the alignments shown on it.

Functional Classification

An effective transportation system is comprised of a network of roadways, each with its own designation, function and capacity within the overall system. Each street segment contributes to the interconnectivity of the network. Therefore, for a network to operate efficiently, a complete network of roadways designed in a hierarchy from highway to arterial to collector is essential to local street networks.

Each link is intended to function according to its design capacity, in effect distributing traffic from the highest functional classification - highway or expressway - to the lowest design classification. Connectivity is key to providing an efficient, safe, and convenient roadway network for vehicular traffic.