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Why Does Functional Classification Matter?

Highway Lights - Seward Highway, looking south along Turnagain Arm, near McHugh Creek Alaska. Oct. 2009. Photo by Steve Jochens, Alaska DOT&PF

Why it matters to me or my community.

Circumstances in which a roads’ functional classification is taken into account include:

  • Roadway design, construction, and level of maintenance
  • Emergency relief funding sources
  • Project ranking, scoring, and funding
  • Modeling air quality conformity
  • Other management issues



Due to the implications of a road’s functional classification, agencies, tribes, and the public may be very interested in Functional Classification

  • Functional classification is one of the initial considerations in roadway design. In conjunction with traffic volumes, design speed, and characteristics of the road corridor and adjacent properties, functional classification helps guide the determination of lane and shoulder width and the width of slopes adjacent to the roadway. There are numerous considerations in roadway design; functional classification is a starting point.
  • Functional classification is a planning tool for access management.  For ADOT&PF owned roads, generally, the higher the functional classification a road has, the more restrictive ADOT&PF will be regarding access onto the road.  Communities can use functional classification as a tool for their own land use planning and driveway permitting.
  • Access roads in Alaska’s rural communities provide important links to transportation systems and public facilities. Agency, tribal, and public participation during the functional classification process will help ADOT&PF identify key roads in rural Alaska, functionally classify them, and enter them into the statewide database. Communities can use functional classification to decide how to allocate their resources for road improvements.
  • Functional classification is one of many factors that are considered when evaluating projects for Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP) funding.  Functional classification also affects the amount of local match a community may be responsible for when a project is being funded under the STIP. For more information about the STIP, please visit the following ADOT&PF website: Functional Classification site


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