The proliferation of poorly located and closely spaced driveways, intersections, and traffic signals can impede a highway's ability to move traffic and to provide convenient access. Applying access management techniques will help manage these features and balance the competing demands for traffic mobility and land access.
In general, access categories are based on the function of the roadway. Standards are set for managing the frequency, location, and design of driveways, intersections, signals, medians, turn lanes, and other features. These standards are adjusted according to each access category - more restrictive on the lower class, less restrictive on the higher. The goal of access management is to protect the safety, capacity, and traffic flow on the highway system while providing access to adjacent property as appropriate and necessary.
ODOT has identified an access category for each roadway on the state system. The local ODOT Districts are responsible for assigning and maintaining the access inventories for their system. The local ODOT District can be contacted to determine the access category of a route.
ODOT is committed to an access management program that:
- Improves public safety by reducing accidents
- Preserves the useful life of the highway system by maintaining highway capacity
- Facilitates the movement of people and goods by reducing travel delay and congestion
- Supports orderly economic development by providing appropriate access to property consistent with the operation and safety of the highway
- Minimizes transportation costs by making highways more efficient
- Encourages closer cooperation between state and local governments in land use and transportation decisions
In 1996, ODOT Executive Leadership identified Access Management as a strategic department initiative. Director Jerry Wray appointed an Access Policy Committee to carry out this initiative. Today, that initiative has culminated in the State Highway Access Management Manual, effective beginning September 1, 1998.
The State Highway Access Management Manual identifies:
- Administrative procedures and requirements including the permit application, review, and approval process; construction compliance; permit variances and appeals; and change of use conditions affecting access permits
- Definition and description of the access categories applied to all sections of state highways outside of local jurisdictions
- Requirements for conducting Traffic Analyses and Traffic Impact Studies