Arterial road

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An arterial road is a moderate or high-capacity road which is just below a highway level of service. Much like a biological artery, an arterial road carries large volumes of traffic between areas in urban centres. They are noted for their lack of residential entrances directly onto the road (except in older or more dense communities); they are designed to carry traffic between neighbourhoods, and have intersections with collector and local streets. Often, commercial areas such as shopping centres, gas stations and other businesses are located on them. Arterial roads also link up to expressways and freeways with interchanges.

The category is often subdivided into principal arterial roads and minor arterial roads, with the former category being for the more important and busier roads.

Arterial roads can originate in different ways: often, they were main rural roads that have been upgraded with the transformation of countryside into urban residential use; other times, they have been planned along with the suburban layout and built especially for that purpose.

The flow of an arterial road usually consists of large, signalled intersections (or traffic circles) with other arterial and many collector roads, and smaller intersections which have stop signs only for the smaller road. As stated above, any other entries to the road are for major commercial (or perhaps industrial) uses, designed for traffic; a large residential complex or apartment tower might have a single entrance onto the road.

Urban planners will often consider such roads when laying out new areas of development, as major utilities such as trunk sewers and water mains can be built through the same corridor.

Speed limits are typically between 30 and 50 mph (50 to 80 km/h) on arterial roads, depending on the degree of development and frequency of local access, intersections and pedestrians.

In mid-size communities, these streets can be a 5-lane corridor.

In the United Kingdom, Arterial Roads became best known during the 1930s when built to alleviate both unemployment but also traffic congestion. The biggest examples are in London and also the East Lancashire Road in the North West of England.

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