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Long Range Planning Division -
Major Thoroughfare Plans


A Major Thoroughfare Plan (MTP) is a com­prehensive planning document that focuses on transportation and land use connections within a county. These plans are designed for rural counties in Tennessee that are not part of a metropolitan plan­ning area, and they provide each county with an un­derstanding of the conditions of the transportation system to better prepare for and respond to future development opportunities. The MTP will summa­rize existing and future transportation issues and needs along major roadways within each county. Recommendations will be made to address specific issues and needs.

Who is involved?

Several participants will be involved in the development of the Major Thoroughfare Plan. Coordinating with County and City personnel, the Community Transportation Planners of TDOT’s Office of Community Transportation (OCT) will lead the planning process. The OCT planners will draw on the expertise of other TDOT staff as well as from other State agencies such as the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) and the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development (ECD). In addition, OCT staff will partner with various development districts while formalizing these plans.

Why should my county want one?

Major Thoroughfare Plans are particularly useful for rural counties on the edge of rapidly urbanizing areas that are facing the impacts of growth. A Major Thor­oughfare Plan will provide assistance in preparing the counties for the increases in development. The Major Thoroughfare Plan will include information on the current and future needs for transportation investments and it can help guide ap­propriate policies to coordinate transportation invest­ments in the county.

What is the final product?

The MTP will include a “highway map” showing the functional classification, or character, of the roads within the county. Functional classification defines whether a road is urban or rural and whether it is an arterial or a local road. This docu­ment is required by Tennessee Statute in order to establish Subdivision Regulations. The County can adopt the highway map, and TDOT will use the highway map as a reference.

The results from the MTP on existing transportation needs will assist the county and TDOT in the identification and prioritization of future transportation projects. The creation of these maps assists in visualizing a well-connected roadway network.

The results from the MTP on future transportation needs will be used in TDOT’s regional and statewide long range plan­ning efforts. The identification of future needs will also be helpful for the County to better plan for future development.

The MTP represents a “Transportation Vision Plan” for the County. It will define a transportation vision for future development to help guide decisions concerning land use and investments in the transportation infra­structure.

If you would like to find out more about Major Thoroughfare Plans, please contact our office.