County road criteria
Updates to the County Road Inventory are made annually by the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) in coordination with the counties. TxDOT has the right and responsibility to inventory and report county roads–regardless of county participation in the program–under its mandate from the Federal Highway Administration to inventory all public roads. As such, TxDOT reserves the right to add or remove roads to or from the inventory, as necessary.
Requirements for inclusion in the county road inventory
A road must meet the following criteria to be eligible for inclusion in the County Road Inventory
Open to the public
The road must be open to the public, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
- Exceptions include times of extreme weather or emergency conditions, or where hours of access are posted, such as park roads and landfills.
Clear of obstructions
The road must be clear of obstructions that would prevent public use.
- Must be passable by standard passenger vehicle.
- Must be free of barriers, such as fallen trees, flowing water, or eroded stream banks, that would prevent reasonable passage by standard passenger vehicle.
- Platted roads that have not yet been fully constructed and opened to traffic may not be included.
Located within the county
The road is physically located within the county and outside of a city.
- Roads that are maintained by another organization yet are physically located in the county are still considered county roads. These include public roads that are maintained by a Home/Property Owners Association (HOA/POA).
- Roads that are built by a developer and open to public travel yet have not been accepted into the county’s maintenance program are still considered county roads.
Accessible to public travel
The road is accessible to public travel. Roads that meet the following conditions do not qualify:
- Signed as “No Trespassing” or “Private.”
- Gated or locked.
- Restricted by any means intended to limit access other than restrictions based on size, weight, or class of registration. Note that toll plazas on public toll roads are not considered restrictive gates.
- Not connected with another public road.
- 911 roads vs. county roads: The 911 road network and County Road Inventory differ by intended purpose. Inclusion of a road in the 911 road network is not sufficient justification for inclusion in the County Road Inventory. First responders are only concerned with getting from one point to another using all possible options, without consideration of ownership (e.g. federal, state, county, city, and private roads, or pathways, driveways, and alleys). By contrast, the County Road Inventory is a subset of the overall transportation network, generally defined by ownership and the responsibilities of construction and maintenance.
- Inter-local agreements: While a county may maintain a city street, the obligation to do so lies in a written Inter-Local Agreement, and the city street is still owned by the city while the county is the sub-contractor that performs the work. The responsibility for the road is still the city’s. Therefore, even if that city street is maintained by the county, it will not be considered part of the county’s road inventory. Similarly, if a county road is maintained by a city, HOA, POA, or other local entity, it is still considered part of the county’s road inventory.
- Public road: A road is any road that is owned by a public authority and open to public travel. A public authority is any federal, state, county, town or township, tribal, municipality or local government. A public authority could also be an authority that finances, builds, operates, or maintains a facility, such as a toll road.