Thoroughfare Plan


With adoption, the Plan 2020 update to the Marion County Thoroughfare Plan is complete and no further updates are planned for this website.  This site’s content will be retained for archival purposes. Please visit the City of Indianapolis website for future updates.

What is the Plan?

The Marion County Thoroughfare Plan is an element of the Marion County Comprehensive Plan that establishes policies regarding the development of a multi-modal transportation network for all major streets and corridors in Marion County. It designates a system of major roadways throughout the county intended to facilitate travel and handle the bulk of traffic. It includes freeways and primary and secondary arterials (high-capacity urban roads).

The plan proposes street widening or additions, either to improve the street network or to accommodate future travel demands based on population and employment projections. The plan is connected to a broader regional transportation plan.

The Thoroughfare Plan specifies the proposed right-of-way for each existing and proposed street segment based on its functional classification, proposed number of lanes, and the level of development surrounding it. This helps to protect areas that abut thoroughfares from new development and thereby reduces the cost of future land acquisition and disruption to nearby structures should the roadway need improvements.

Who uses the Plan?

The plan is used by the City of Indianapolis for federal street maintenance funding and for determining priorities for street maintenance duties such as snow plowing. For the excluded cities of Marion County, it also determines which streets are maintained by the City of Indianapolis and which are maintained by the excluded cities.

The Thoroughfare Plan is often consulted when private development is reviewed for zoning and permitting processes and when determining if any portions of the land must be set aside for future transportation needs.

How is the Plan implemented?

Widening and new street additions are implemented as funding at the federal, state and local level permits. The plan determines street maintenance priorities that are implemented immediately. Acquisition of new rights-of-way for future widening and street additions is implemented incrementally through the zoning and permitting process as private development occurs.

How is this update different from past updates?

The Indianapolis-Marion County Thoroughfare Plan 2020 addresses the same technical considerations as the previous plan, but it takes a decidedly different approach:

  • It follows a “Complete Streets” model and attempts to balance the needs of motorists with those of cyclists, pedestrians and transit users. Note: the key word is “balance.”
  • It takes into account the role of the thoroughfare system in the development of the local and regional economies and as a means for enhancing employment and the quality of life.
  • Its updated assessment of future right-of-way needs results in more refined and realistic courses of action that will lead to improved land use.
  • It is highly integrated with the City’s other plans for land use, economic development and investment strategies.