FHWA is seeking input in eraly 2016 on improving the ability to view content in the 862-page MUTCD and developing a structure to make it easier to use.

Highways Agency Seeks Input on Modernizing MUTCD

FHWA is seeking input by Feb. 18 on improving users' ability to view content in the 862-page MUTCD and developing a structure to make it easier to use.

The Federal Highway Administration is now seeking input from state and local traffic experts nationwide to help shape future editions of the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices for Streets and Highways, known as the MUTCD. FHWA wants help from traffic engineers, traffic control device technicians, and other stakeholders because it is laying the groundwork for future MUTCD editions that can reflect the growing number and application of traffic control devices and advances in traffic control technology.

The DOT agency also wants input on how to improve users' ability to view content in the 862-page MUTCD and how to develop a structure to make it easier to use. The manual is the national standard for signs and other tools used to improve mobility and make travel safe and efficient for drivers, pedestrians, and bicycle riders, but in recent years, the transportation community has expressed concerns related to its size and complexity -- and it has become too large to print cost-effectively since its creation 80 years ago, according to FHWA.

The agency's Federal Register notice asks:

  • Should MUTCD content continue to be written with traffic engineers as the intended audience?
  • In future editions, should FHWA strive to reduce the amount of explanatory language included in the manual and, if so, what types of explanatory language should be removed?
  • If explanatory and supplementary information is removed, should it be retained in a separate document?

The MUTCD was incorporated by reference into the Code of Federal Regulations beginning with the publication of the 1971 edition. It includes three levels of provisions – "shall," "should," and "may" – so local transportation authorities have leeway to accommodate differing roadway environments. Ten editions have been published since 1935; the next edition is tentatively slated to be published in late 2018.

The most recent edition of the MUTCD, published in 2009, is available at http://mutcd.fhwa.dot.gov/pdfs/2009r1r2/pdf_index.htm.

FHWA is accepting online comments through Feb. 18 via www.regulations.gov.

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