Arterials carry longer-distance traffic flow for regional, intercommunity and major community purposes. The primary difference between freeways and major arterials is access. Freeways have fully controlled accesses with no at-grade intersections, while arterials include limited at-grade intersections. Arterials can carry significant traffic volumes at higher speeds for longer distances and are seldom spaced at closer than one-mile intervals.
Collectors link local roads with the arterial road system. Both mobility and access are of equal importance on these roadways. Travel speeds and volumes are moderate, and distances traveled are short to medium. Traffic on collector roads typically has an origin or destination within the nearby area.
In both rural and urban areas, the primary function of local roads is to provide access to adjacent land uses, whether they are residences, businesses, or community facilities. Local roads are closely spaced, two lanes wide, and carry relatively lower traffic volumes short distances. They generally are internal to or serve an access function for a residence, farm, single neighborhood or development, and generally, should lead traffic to a collector road.