What is the Regional Thoroughfare Plan?
The Regional Thoroughfare Plan is a plan for both the existing and future road network that addresses the need for an adequate and sustainable transportation network that improves connections and provides travel route alternatives to reduce congestion. Ideally, this infrastructure will be in place either before or as development occurs to meet the travel needs of the Birmingham-Hoover metro area. The Regional Thoroughfare Plan provides the basic structure for a functional classification system of roadways. This functional classification system will designate the role of each major route within the regional transportation network. The Regional Thoroughfare Plan also supports local planning efforts by providing guidance to ensure that local governments are maximizing and levaraging their transportation investments.
Why Is a Thoroughfare Plan Needed?
Balancing congestion reduction and transportation system management strategies, while at the same time allowing for new land development, has proved to be a challenge for the Birmingham metropolitan area. A Regional Thoroughfare Plan for the Birmingham metropolitan area is needed to ensure that congestion, particularly in major travel corridors, is comprehensively addressed at multiple levels and across jurisdictional boundaries. Additionally, the Regional Thoroughfare Plan protects and/or preserves roadway right-of-way and guide roadway network access management. Finally, the Regional Thoroughfare Plan aids municipalities to better guide land development, and influence how travelers to, from, through, and within their boundaries get around.
In order to accomplish improvements necessary to address identified travel issues, the Regional Thoroughfare Plan established a regional thoroughfare network that promotes cross-jurisdictional coordination, consistency and continuity for a multimodal transportation network. The Regional Thoroughfare Plan also considered the relationship and integration of all surface transportation travel modes.
How was the Regional Thoroughfare Plan Assembled?
The Birmingham Regional Thoroughfare System was assembled around the existing functionally classified arterial roadway network. Congested conditions and regional significance were also used as criteria for identifying and designating regional thoroughfares. Congested conditions are determined by the Birmingham Regional Congestion Management Process. Regional significance is identified in the Birmingham 2035 Regional Transportation Plan. The most significant roadways have been designated as regional thoroughfares.
How Will the Thoroughfare Plan Be Used?
The Regional Thoroughfare Plan is a component of the Regional Transportation Plan (RTP). It is used to guide roadway functional classification designations and advise the Birmingham metropolitan area's transportation planning process. As the RTP is updated, the Regional Thoroughfare Plan will be used to help evaluate and prioritize RTP projects. The Regional Thoroughfare Plan also will be used to:
- Establish roadway functionality
- Identify variations in arterial alignments and classification
- Recognize the need to increase roadway capacity
- Advise future right-of-way needs
- Generally identify new roadway alignments and connections
- Provide consistent roadway design guidelines by functional classification
- Consider strategies for improving roadway operations, and
- Identify solutions for addressing deficiencies in the transportation network
The RTP is an analytical tool that informs local planning efforts by advising municipalities about the potential impacts that their transportation decisions have on their immediate neighbors and other communities beyond their jurisdictional boundaries. Guidance for how to address all roadways in the local planning process is provided by a separate but equally important tool, the Local Thoroughfare Development Guidebook. This Guidebook is specifically designed to assist municipalities to plan, develop, and manage their local transportation system.