Desert Hills Area Transportation Study

Thank you for your interest in MCDOT’s Desert Hills Area Transportation Study.

The purpose of the Desert Hills Area Transportation Study (ATS) is to evaluate the existing and future roadway systems to determine gaps in connectivity for roadway users. Those gaps can lead to access issues to and from properties and services. Recent emergency events in the area have resulted in concerns by residents on accessibility options in the Desert Hills area. 

Watch the below video to get an overview of the Desert Hills ATS.

The following key project issues and challenges have been identified:

  • Identification of connectivity gaps in the roadway network;
  • Right-of-way and physical constraints;
  • Roadway deficiencies such as pavement, shoulders, and drainage infrastructure; and
  • Steep topographic conditions limiting potential connectivity.

Study Objectives

    • This includes evaluation of MCDOT maintained and non-MCDOT maintained roadways on section lines and mid-section line alignments.
  • Evaluate physical opportunities/constraints.
  • Avoid or minimize impact(s) to residents quality of life

Study Schedule

  • The duration of the study is anticipated to occur over a 12-month period, which began in February 2021 and is scheduled to be completed by February 2022.
  • The study just completed the existing and future condition analyses phase with forthcoming future transportation network recommendations and final report.
    • The purpose of the existing and future conditions analysis is to evaluate existing and future conditions within the study area, including review of opportunities and constraints that could help identify roadway segments that may or may not be suitable for future roadway improvements.

For Frequently Asked Questions regarding this study, click here.
For a Fact Sheet regarding this study, click here.

Tell us what you think

We want to hear from you. Tell us your thoughts about the Desert Hills Area Transportation Study. Visit or scan the adjacent QR code to fill out a brief survey and help us get a better understanding of the roadway needs in the Desert Hills study area.

If you would like to speak with someone directly regarding this area transportation study, please contact Jessica Brinton, Project Manager, by phone at (602) 506-4178 or by email at

Existing Conditions Overview

  1. Study Area
  2. Land Ownership
  3. Land Use
  4. Employers
  5. Demographics (2020)
  6. Future Projections (2040)

The study area is generally bounded by Desert Hills Drive to the north, 35th Avenue to the west, Dove Valley Road to the south, and 28th Street to the east as shown in the map, and includes approximately 18 square miles of unincorporated land in northern Maricopa County. The study area is adjacent to the City of Phoenix Municipal Limits to the south, the Town of Cave Creek Municipal Limits to the east, and the suburban master planned community of Anthem to the north.

The area is predominantly rural in nature with large lot single family residential nestled between surrounding mountains and buttes. Additional areas of influence for the study area include Carefree Highway from 7th Avenue west to I-17 and Gavilan Peak Parkway from Carefree Highway north to the Desert Hills Drive alignment.

Link to Full Size Exhibit

Transportation Network Overview

  1. MCDOT Maintained Roadways
  2. Roadway Surface
  3. Existing Multimodal Network
  4. Crash Overview

MCDOT owns and maintains approximately 66.25 centerline miles of arterial and collector roadways within the study area as illustrated in the map.

Link to Full Size Exhibit