Road Jurisdiction

As in all counties in Michigan, all roads in Oakland County fall into one of three categories of road jurisdiction: 1. State highways (MDOT) 2. County roads (RCOC) 3. City or village streets.

There area a total of approximately 5,600 miles of roads, including all jurisdictions, in Oakland County. Below is a detailed look at each of these levels of jurisdiction.

State Highways


State highways fall under the jurisdiction of the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT). Included under this heading are all highways with letters in their names, such as "M", "US" or "I". Examples include M-24, M-1, M-5, US-24, I-75, I-696, etc.

Generally, all freeways fall under MDOT jurisdiction, as do the major inter-county roads such as Woodward Avenue (M-1) and Telegraph Road (US-24). In all, there are 310 miles of state highways in Oakland County.

County Roads


The Road Commission for Oakland County (RCOC) is responsible for a 2,600-mile county road system, which is the largest county road system in the state. In fact, RCOC's road system is second in size only to the state highway system.

RCOC also still has more than 750 miles of gravel roads. In addition, under contract with the Michigan Department of Transportation, RCOC provides routine maintenance on the 310 miles of state highway in Oakland County. RCOC also maintains approximately 90 percent of all traffic signals in the county, including RCOC's own signals, state highway signals, and city street signals.

Legal Authority


The Road Commission is not part of Oakland County general government. It is a legally separate entity, receiving the bulk of its operating funds directly from the state. RCOC does not directly receive property taxes for road maintenance or improvements. RCOC operates with a budget in excess of $90 million and with 548 employees (the same number RCOC had in 1974).

RCOC has jurisdiction over all roads in all the townships in the county. Additionally, it has jurisdiction over many of the primary, or "mile-type" roads (Big Beaver, Southfield Road, Pontiac Trail, etc.) in the cities and villages in Oakland County.

City & Village Streets


Unlike townships, cities and villages, according to Michigan law, are allowed jurisdiction over roads within their boundaries. Over the years, some cities and villages have taken jurisdiction over some of the roads within their boundaries. Most often this has occurred at the time the community incorporated.

The cities and villages have jurisdiction over all neighborhood or subdivision streets. Whether a city or village or the Road Commission has jurisdiction over major streets within the community depends upon a variety of factors and differs from community to community.

Here are some facts about cities and villages in Oakland County and their streets.
  • There are 40 cities and villages in Oakland County.
  • In all, the cities and villages in Oakland County have jurisdiction over approximately 2,700 miles of roads.
  • In nearly every city and village, the jurisdiction of the major streets is divided between the community and the Road Commission.