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Design Standards

Title 23 USC 109 provides that design standards for projects on the National Highway System (NHS) must be approved by the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation in cooperation with the State highway departments. The Secretary has delegated this authority to the Federal Highway Administrator.

The State highway departments, working through the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) develop design standards through a series of committees and task forces. FHWA contributes to the development of the design standards through membership on these working units, sponsoring and participating in research efforts, and many other initiatives. Following development of the design standards, FHWA uses a formal rulemaking process to adopt those it considers suitable for application on the NHS.

Projects off the NHS

Title 23 USC 109 provides that projects (other than highway projects on the NHS) shall be designed, constructed, operated, and maintained in accordance with State laws, regulations, directives, safety standards, design standards, and construction standards.


Michael Matzke
Office of Program Administration
E-mail Michael

Updated: 07/29/2014

United States Department of Transportation - Federal Highway Administration