Access Management: Transportation Policy Considerations for a Growing Virginia

Report No: 99-R16

Published in 1998

About the report:

This report analyzes comprehensive highway access management programs and looks at the potential benefits and legal limits to Virginia adopting such a program to replace Virginia's rather limited site specific permitting process. In 1942, Virginia passed legislation defining the right of private homeowners and commercial establishments to make connections to state highways. Va. Code $33.1-197 (private entrances) and $33.1-198 (commercial entrances). The statutes established a permit process for commercial and private entrances to state highways, administered by VDOT in accordance with the Minimum Standards of Entrances to State Highways. However, the Minimum Standards do not establish a comprehensive access management plan for Virginia's highway systems and have been criticized for being too permissive. In 1980, CoIorado became the first state to enact a comprehensive highway access management code, with strict safety and traffic criteria for private accesses to public highways. Since that time, Florida and New Jersey have also adopted comprehensive programs. However, Virginia's access management process continues to be a case-by-case permit review process. This report considers the relative benefits of access management, analyzes the legal obstacles in Virginia for a comprehensive program and discusses options Virginia might consider. The report also includes an analysis of Virginia's legal and regulatory framework within which an access management program would operate and two alternative models for access management regulation to assist policy makers.

Disclaimer Statement:The contents of this report reflect the views of the author(s), who is responsible for the facts and the accuracy of the data presented herein. The contents do not necessarily reflect the official views or policies of the Virginia Department of Transportation, the Commonwealth Transportation Board, or the Federal Highway Administration. This report does not constitute a standard, specification, or regulation. Any inclusion of manufacturer names, trade names, or trademarks is for identification purposes only and is not to be considered an endorsement.


  • Donald L. Bowman, C. Colin Rushing

Last updated: December 12, 2023

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