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Functional Classification

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These maps depict roadways color-coded according to their functional classification (arterial, collector, local). The functional classification of a roadway refers to the character of services that it is intended to provide. In general, roads either serve to provide mobility or access for vehicles to locations. Planning developed the functional classification system in 1993 in cooperation with the Metropolitan Planning Organizations and in accordance with Section 1006(c) of the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act. Planning maintains the functional classification system on an ongoing basis. Functional classification divides roadways into the following three general categories:

Arterials: Arterials provide the highest level of mobility at the greatest vehicular speed for the longest uninterrupted distances and are not intended to provide access to specific locations. Arterials are further subdivided into Principal Arterials and Minor Arterials. Interstates are considered to be arterials but are given their own category in these maps.

Collectors provide some level of both mobility and access. They collect traffic from local roads and funnel it to arterials. In rural areas, collectors are further subdivided into Major Collectors and Minor Collectors.

Local roads:
Local roads provide access to abutting land with little or no emphasis on mobility. The term “local road” should not be confused with local jurisdiction. Most, though not all, functionally classified local roads are under city or town jurisdiction.

Other Features Included

  • Municipal boundaries
  • Urbanized area boundaries
  • Railroads (except on statewide maps)
  • Ponds and streams
  • MassDOT Highway District boundaries

Geographic Areas Available (PDF Downloads)

  • Statewide (2.37 MB) 
  • MassDOT Highway District One (3.44 MB), Two (3.6 MB), Three (2.11 MB), Four (3.30 MB), Five (2.95 MB), Six (3.58 MB) 
  • Town - Available by request

Data Source

  • Road Inventory Year-end File - 2013


For a more detailed view of the road network, try our Road Inventory Interactive Map.

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