The City of Houston’s Major Thoroughfare and Freeway Plan (MTFP) is an integral tool in providing mobility for Houstonians throughout the City. The MTFP is the visual map to the greater Houston area’s major thoroughfare and highway improvements and is detailed in the city’s Code of Ordinances and produced by the Planning Commission. The plan outlines the proposed roadway improvements planned for the upcoming year to individual roads throughout the city.
This MTFP is produced by the City of Houston Planning Commission but is the combined effort of multiple government agencies, including the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) and the Federal Highway Administration. The agencies work together with the general public to produce an effective strategy to apply to plan, construct, and maintain Houston’s transportation network.
The city uses a street hierarchy system to help set building setback requirements and to set speed limits for the roadways. This street hierarchy classification system also separates roads out into five classifications; freeways/tollways, major thoroughfares, transit corridor streets, collector streets, and local streets. These classify the projected number of lanes for the roadway along with the amount of right of way (ROW) that is expected to be dedicated.
After being classified the road is broken down into one of three categories; of sufficient width, to be widened, to be acquired, or a fourth category for freeways/tollways of proposed/suggested alignment. These categories classify what the plan is going to be for that road for the upcoming year, whether that will be adding lanes, keeping the road the same width, or determining if ROW will need to be acquired to develop a specific road.
These categories and classification system are based on data collected by the multiple agencies that work on the plan. The data collected by these agencies is based on the characteristics of each roadway, along with projected traffic volumes, both current and proposed surrounding developments, and also include many other data points. After collecting the data points and determining the current and projected road conditions, the planning department compiles all of the information into the Major Thoroughfare and Freeway Plan.