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This directive was canceled December 6, 2013

FHWA Order H 1300.1B

FHWA Distribution System Handbook
Classification Code Date Office of Primary Interest
H 1300.1B August 23, 1999  

Par. 1. Purpose
2. Cancellation

  1. PURPOSE. To transmit the revised Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Distribution System Handbook.

  2. CANCELLATION. FHWA Order H 1300.1A, Distribution System Handbook, dated November 20, 1981, is canceled.

  3. COMMENTS. The Distribution System Handbook is revised primarily to improve its usefulness as a reference for personnel who are responsible for matters involving distribution of FHWA material. The major changes include the following:

    1. Transfer the Distribution Control Point (DCP) from the former Organization and Management Programs Division (HMS-10) to the Management Services Division (HAIM-20). The DCP is retitled as the Distribution Manager Point (DMP).

    2. Revision of distribution forms to reflect organizational changes and the new routing symbols.

George S. Moore signature
George S. Moore, Jr.
Director of Administration



  1. Purpose
  2. Scope
  3. Policy
  4. Definitions


  1. CBU Program Managers and SBU Directors
  2. Resource Center Directors and Division Administrators
  3. Distribution Manager Point
  4. FHWA DOT Warehouse Liaison Officer
  5. Distribution Representatives
  6. Originating Offices
  7. Recipients


  1. General
  2. Internal Distribution
  3. External Distribution


  1. General
  2. Organizational/Functional Method (levels)
  3. Standard Distribution List (ZTH lists)
  4. Special Distribution (FHWA-1090)
  5. Mailing Lists (FHWA lists)
  6. Canvassing


  1. Determining Distribution
  2. Distribution Forms
  3. Duplicating Request
  4. Distribution of Multiple-Part Issuances
  5. Final Processing


  1. Stock Procedures
  2. Stock Request Procedures


  1. General
  2. Special Distribution
  3. Standard Distribution
  4. Organizational/Functional Distribution

Note: Each of the following forms are in PDF file format, with file sizes indicated for easier downloading. To view PDF files, download the PDF File Reader.

Figure 1. Form FHWA-1489, Distribution Requirements (25 KB)
Figure 1a. Supplement to Form FHWA-1489 (6 KB)
Figure 2. Sample FHWA-1489 for a Washington Headquarters Office (21 KB)
Figure 3. Sample FHWA-1489 for a Resource Center (21 KB)
Figure 4. Sample FHWA-1489 for a Division Office (21 KB)
Figure 5. Form FHWA-1090, Distribution Guide (27 KB)
Figure 6. Form DOT F 1700.8, Duplicating Request (15 KB)

All forms in one file (82 KB)


  1. PURPOSE. To prescribe policy, procedures, and responsibilities for implementing the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Distribution System.

  2. SCOPE. The provisions of this Handbook cover all FHWA materials produced at Headquarters requiring distribution and apply to all organizational elements of the Washington Headquarters and field offices.

  3. POLICY. All FHWA materials to be distributed will be distributed in an efficient, responsive, and economical manner to assure that all organizations receive only that material necessary to their operation.

  4. DEFINITIONS. As used in this Handbook, the following definitions apply:

    1. Copy Requirements - the number of copies required by your organization to meet your distribution needs regardless of whether professionally printed or hot copied.

    2. Issuance or Materials - any item distributed by FHWA; includes publications, pamphlets, brochures, newsletters, magazines, books, reports, etc.

    3. Mailing List - a list established for distribution to external recipients. It contains names of recipients interested in a particular subject as well as to a specific issuance.

    4. Materials - see "Issuance or Materials."

    5. Organizational/Functional Distribution - the basic distribution method established by the Transportation Administration Service Center (TASC). In FHWA, it is used to distribute material to any FHWA organizational element, at various levels, and certain external elements, i.e., State Departments of Transportation.

    6. Special Distribution - a method used to distribute individual issuances when other methods are inappropriate. It is applied on a case-by-case basis.

    7. Standard Distribution List - a list established for use with a frequently recurring issuance and containing specific recipients and exact copy requirements of each. This list, also called a ZTH list (see Chapter 4 for discussion), is used only to distribute the issuance for which it was established.

    8. Strapped Distribution - simultaneous distribution of two or more related issuances, such as a research report and the FHWA Memorandum used to transmit the report.

    9. ZTH List - see "Standard Distribution List."


  1. CBU PROGRAM MANAGERS, SBU DIRECTORS, RESOURCE CENTER DIRECTORS, DIVISION ADMINISTRATORS, AND MOTOR CARRIER STATE DIRECTORS. CBU Program Managers, SBU Directors, Resource Center Directors, Division Administrators, and Motor Carrier State Directors are responsible for:

    1. designating a Distribution Representative for his or her organization and for submitting the name of that person to the Distribution Manager Point (DMP), and

    2. through the Distribution Representative, approving copy requirements for issuances received in their organization(s).

  2. DISTRIBUTION MANAGER POINT. The DMP, which is in the Management Services Division, Office of Information and Management Services, is responsible for administering the Distribution System and specifically:

    1. serving as FHWA liaison with TASC regarding all distribution matters,

    2. serving as FHWA liaison with the Department of Transportation (DOT) Warehouse regarding matters related to the stocking of FHWA materials,

    3. reviewing the proposed distribution of materials prior to submission to TASC for distribution,

    4. assisting the Distribution Representatives in determining the number of copies required by their respective offices for each issuance being distributed,

    5. monitoring the establishment, use, and maintenance of mailing lists,

    6. providing training to FHWA employees regarding the Distribution System requirements, and

    7. evaluating the Distribution System and recommending changes as appropriate.

  3. DISTRIBUTION REPRESENTATIVES. Distribution Representatives are responsible for:

    1. coordinating all distribution activities within their organizations,

    2. assisting originators in determining distribution requirements for proposed issuances,

    3. maintaining liaison with the DMP, and

    4. submitting copy requirements for their organizational elements and any changes in those requirements to the DMP.

  4. ORIGINATING OFFICES. The office originating materials to be distributed is responsible for:

    1. determining who needs to receive the issuance,

    2. selecting the appropriate distribution method,

    3. determining the number of copies to be stocked and the stock reorder point for all material, and

    4. establishing, maintaining and canvassing mailing lists, when such lists are needed.

  5. RECIPIENTS. Recipients are responsible for notifying their Distribution Representative of:

    1. copy requirements and any changes in those requirements,

    2. any changes in address or routing symbols, and

    3. any distribution problems.


  1. GENERAL. This chapter defines distribution of materials within FHWA and distribution of materials to external elements, e.g., State DOTs, metropolitan planning organizations, etc. The actual distribution of materials is performed by the TASC Distribution Requirement Section (SVC-121.21) based on instructions provided by the DMP. The Distribution Requirement Section packages the materials by addressee or routing symbol and forwards them to the DOT mailroom for mailing.

  2. INTERNAL DISTRIBUTION. Internal distribution is that distribution made to elements within FHWA.

    1. Washington Headquarters. Materials are distributed directly to the organizational elements in the Washington Headquarters.

    2. Field Offices. Materials are distributed in bulk to resource centers and division offices for dissemination within their organizational elements.

  3. EXTERNAL DISTRIBUTION. External distribution is that which is made to recipients outside of FHWA.

    1. The major categories of external recipients are:

        (1) other DOT elements and Government agencies,

        (2) State DOTs, metropolitan planning organizations (MPO), Governor's highway safety representatives (GHSR), and local governments,

        (3) State and local government associations and nongovernment organizations. FHWA distributes materials to these organizations when they:

          (a) have a major interest in the highway program, e.g., the National League of Cities, the National Governor's Conference, the National Association of Counties, etc.,

          (b) are subject to FHWA requirements imposed on a State, or

          (c) participate in, or are represented on, FHWA or State DOT committees, and

        (4) the public.

    2. The following criteria apply to issuances distributed to external elements.

        (1) All External Elements Except the Public. When it is in the best interest of FHWA, certain issuances, such as informative-type publications, technical or scientific reports, etc., may be distributed in sufficient quantity to meet the purpose of the issuance.

        (2) Public Distribution. Materials are generally provided to the public on a specific request basis. Exceptions are considered on an individual basis; for example, copies of issuances dealing with scholarships can be provided in quantity to selected public elements.


  1. GENERAL. This chapter discusses the methods used to distribute FHWA material, and provides information on establishing copy requirements. In addition, procedures are provided for maintaining these requirements on a current basis.


    1. Description. Organizational/functional distribution is designed for issuances to be distributed to designated organizational levels, at quantities determined by the recipient. This method permits the originating office to designate as recipients organizational elements or functions at the Washington Headquarters and field office levels. Distribution is simplified because the levels selected (e.g., division level in the Washington Headquarters, office level in the resource centers, etc.) are uniform nationwide, thereby facilitating packaging and mailing. Actual delivery to individual employees is performed by the receiving organizational elements. Chapter 7 contains an explanation of the distribution codes.

    2. Establishing Copy Requirements of the Recipients

        (1) For issuances distributed using the organizational/functional method, copy requirements and changes to those requirements are determined by the Distribution Representatives for each level of interest within their organizations. These requirements and changes are submitted to the DMP on Form FHWA-1489, Distribution Requirements and its supplement. This form and instructions for completing it are shown on Figures 1 and 1a of the Appendix. The Appendix also contains examples illustrating completed forms for a Washington Headquarters office (Figure 2), a resource center (Figure 3) and a division office (Figure 4).

        (2) Division offices also include requirements for State DOTs, GHSR's, and MPO's in their copy requirements.

    3. Implementing Method. The organizational/functional method of distribution is initiated by indicating on the Duplicating Request instructions as to what level to use. Chapter 5 discusses the processing procedures.


    1. Description. The standard distribution list method is used with frequently recurring issuances for which specific copy requirements have been identified. These lists target FHWA and other DOT modes as recipients.

    2. Structure. Standard distribution lists are identified using a TASC coding structure based on a group of three letters, indicating the agency (for FHWA, the letters are ZTH), followed by a number indicating the specific list (e.g., ZTH-1, ZTH-2, etc.). The list itself contains identification of recipients by routing symbol and specific copy requirements. A minimum of 11 separate routing symbols is required to establish a list.

    3. Establishing Lists. The originating office, with the assistance of the DMP, determines that a recurring issuance requires distribution which cannot be satisfactorily accomplished using other methods. A completed Form FHWA- 1090, Distribution Guide (Figure 5 of the Appendix), is submitted to the DMP to establish a standard distribution list.

    4. Using Lists. The originating office notes the code assigned to the list, e.g., ZTH- 70A, on its duplicating request of distribution instructions. Chapter 5 discusses the processing procedures.


    1. Description. The special distribution method distributes individual issuances and is determined on a one-time basis. It is used only when neither the organizational/functional method nor the standard distribution list method will provide the necessary distribution, for example, when an unusually large or small number of copies must be distributed to certain recipients. Copies of FHWA research reports are often distributed using this method since they have fairly specialized audiences. The special distribution method can be used in combination with the organizational/functional and/or standard distribution list methods.

    2. Structure and Use. Special distribution is used on an individual, one-time basis. The originator specifies the recipients and the number of copies the recipients will receive on Form FHWA-1090, Distribution Guide.


    1. Description. A mailing list is used for distribution to certain external recipients. It contains names and addresses of recipients identified to receive specific issuances. Once established, TASC assigns it a designation consisting of the agency identification and number or number/letter combination, e.g., FHWA-5, FHWA-21A.

    2. Establishing and Maintaining Lists. If an originating office determines, in cooperation with its Distribution Representative, that no mailing list exists which can meet its distribution requirements, a new mailing list may be established. A minimum of 50 addressees is required to establish a mailing list, and it must be used at least quarterly. Distribution Representatives will coordinate with the DMP on development and maintenance of a list.

    3. Using the Lists. The originating office notes the number assigned to the mailing list on its duplicating request or distribution instructions. See Chapter 5 for further processing procedures.

    4. Privacy Act Considerations. FHWA Order H 1320.1, Public Availability of Information Handbook, stipulates that an individual's name or address, or other personal information, shall not be sold, rented or otherwise disclosed unless such action is specifically authorized by law. Questions concerning the uses of mailing lists for purposes other than distribution of FHWA material should be directed to the Management Programs and Analysis Division, Office of Information and Management Services.

  6. CANVASSING. Canvassing is conducted to ensure that distribution is carried out in an efficient and economical manner. The DMP will schedule a periodic review of each distribution method and will notify the appropriate offices of the action necessary to ensure that each method is maintained on a current basis. The following describes the canvass method used for each type of distribution:

    1. Organizational/Functional Distribution Lists. The Distribution Representatives review their current Forms FHWA-1489, Distribution Requirements and its supplement, to determine whether the indicated quantities reflect the current needs of their organizations. This review considers only the quantity requirements of the receiving organizations. Revised forms are submitted, if needed.

    2. Standard Distribution Lists. The Distribution Representatives review the lists established and maintained by their organizations or survey the recipients, and submit revised forms, if needed.

    3. Mailing Lists

        (1) The canvassing of mailing lists is done by direct mail survey using self- mailer letters, canvass cards or other appropriate forms supplied by the TASC Distribution Requirements Section.

        (2) The canvass returns are forwarded, no later than ten (10) work days following the scheduled cut-off date of the canvass, to the DMP for submission to the TASC Distribution Requirements Section. The cut-off date is determined by adding to the mailing date the number of days allowed for the addressees to return cards. Mailing lists must remain inactive during the canvass period, and no additions, changes or deletions will be processed until the list has been updated.

        (3) The TASC Distribution Requirements Section updates mailing lists based on inputs received from the canvass returns.



    1. The originating office decides who should receive an issuance and which method is appropriate. The distribution should include any organizational elements which:

        (1) are responsible for standards, criteria, or procedures established or affected by the issuance,

        (2) are responsible for implementing the issuance,

        (3) are affected by the issuance,

        (4) are referenced in the issuance, or

        (5) were recipients of the original issuance, in the case of a change or revision.

    2. The Distribution Representative should be consulted during the developmental stage of the proposed issuance, and will assist in preparing the appropriate distribution form(s).

    3. The DMP is also available for assisting in determining the distribution and the appropriate method.


    1. Once the distribution requirements have been determined and the method selected, the originating office completes the following form, unless only a standard distribution list or a mailing list will be used. In such a case, the list identification is included under "Special Instructions" on the Duplicating Request (see paragraph 3).

    2. Form FHWA-1090, Distribution Guide. This form (Figure 5 of the Appendix) indicates special copy requirements, and may be used in combination with the organizational/functional method and standard distribution lists. Two copies of this form must be submitted to the DMP with the issuance. Complete the form as follows:

        (1) Enter the title of the issuance in Block 1.

        (2) In the "AMT" column, enter the number of copies to be distributed to each recipient. The number of copies for State DOTs is included in the amount for the appropriate division office.

        (3) Enter the total number of copies required in Block 2.

        (4) For external distribution, preaddressed mailing labels must be provided. Preaddressed 9" x 12" envelopes are acceptable for items distributed in limited quantities.

  3. DUPLICATING REQUEST. Form DOT F 1700.8, Duplicating Request (Figure 6 of the Appendix), indicates the printing specifications. The originating office supplies the following information on the Duplicating Request:

    1. agency name, name of contact, routing symbol of originating office, building, room number, and telephone number;

    2. special instructions, such as the standard distribution list number or the mailing list number, overtime/rush justification, extra copies needed for the originating office, and any other pertinent information; and

    3. the signature of the approving officer.


    1. Multiple-part issuances can be distributed simultaneously by using strapped distribution. Distribution of such items is made from one set of distribution instructions with equal numbers of each item going to each recipient. The items will be mailed out at the same time and, if possible, in the same envelope or package. Multiple-part issuances are items such as two or more volumes of a report, a report and its transmittal Memorandum, etc.

    2. Prior to distribution, individual parts of a multiple-part issuance may be at more than one location. This most commonly occurs when a report is being distributed with a Memorandum. In such cases, distribution instructions will clearly indicate the location of the items being distributed, i.e., on hold in the TASC distribution section, stored in originating office, etc. When the items, or a part of the issuance, are stored in an originating office, the Management Services Division (HAIM-20) will arrange for delivery to the TASC distribution section.


    1. After distribution is determined and the appropriate forms are completed, the originating office submits the items to be distributed, along with the distribution and printing forms, to the DMP.

    2. The DMP completes the appropriate paperwork and forwards the issuance to the Government Printing Office for printing and then to TASC for distribution.


  1. STOCK PROCEDURES. Reports, forms, and other FHWA items are stocked in the DOT Warehouse. The number stocked and reorder level are determined by the originating office and the FHWA DOT Warehouse Liaison Officer (HAIM-20).

  2. STOCK REQUEST PROCEDURES. A written request for stocked materials shall be submitted to the DOT Warehouse (Form DOT F 1320.9, Route Slip, is adequate for this purpose). Separate requests are submitted for forms, publications and other items stored in the DOT Warehouse. These requests may also be FAXed to 301-386-5394.

    1. Requests for publications must include the publication number; i.e., FHWA-SA-98-001.

    2. Offices may request less than 50 copies of a publication directly from the DOT Warehouse. A request for 50 copies or more must include a justification and must go through the DMP.

    3. Routine mailing time can be up to 14 working days from receipt of a request at the DOT Warehouse.


  1. GENERAL. All distribution codes are translated from the distribution forms submitted by the originating office. The following discussion of codes is included for informational purposes, since originating offices do not assign these codes. To determine distribution, see Chapter 4, Distribution Methods, and Chapter 5, Processing Procedures.

  2. SPECIAL DISTRIBUTION. The Form FHWA-1090, Distribution Guide, implements this method of distribution.

  3. STANDARD DISTRIBUTION. The standard distribution lists are indicated by the code letters, ZTH, followed by a number or a number/letter combination, for example, ZTH-2 or ZTH-70A. The digits indicate a specific list.

  4. ORGANIZATIONAL/FUNCTIONAL DISTRIBUTION. The indication on the Form 1700.8 of which level to use implements this method.

    1. Coding Structure. The coding structure is based on the following:

        (1) Standard Codes. These codes indicate distribution to the principle organization levels in FHWA, i.e., Headquarters, Resource Centers, Divisions, etc.

        (2) External Codes. Three external codes - SH, GR, and MP - indicate State DOTs, Governor's highway safety representatives, and metropolitan planning organizations, respectively. Distribution to these elements is made through the division offices.

        (3) Distribution Level Code. The distribution level is the extent within the recipient elements to which distribution is made. The distribution levels are shown as follows:

          (a) Level 1. Administrator, Deputy Administrator, Executive Director, CBU Program Managers, SBU Directors, Office Directors in CBU and SBU organizations, Resource Center Directors, Division Administrators, and Motor Carrier State Directors.

          (b) Level 2. Division Chiefs in Office Director Offices, Field Office Staff heads, Federal Lands Division Engineers; and above.

          (c) Level 3. State DOTs, Governor's Highway Safety Representatives, and Metropolitan Planning Organizations.

    2. Examples of Organizational/Functional Codes. The following examples are given to illustrate the versatility of this distribution method and the arrangement and interpretation of the codes. The quantities have been determined by the recipient at each level with this method of distribution.

        (1) General Distribution. For an issuance which will be distributed to all FHWA organizational elements to Level 2, the following code is used:

          Level 2: Headquarters, Field

        (2) Distribution Codes at Different Levels. The following illustrates distribution of an issuance to different levels:

          Level 2: Headquarters
          Level 1: Field

        (3) External Elements. If distribution is being made to Level 2 in FHWA, and copies are required for external elements, i.e., State DOTs, which are indicated at Level 3, the following distribution code is used. Distribution to the State DOTs is made by the division offices.

          Level 2: Headquarters, Field
          Level 3: State DOTs (through Divisions)


Note: Each of the following forms are in PDF file format, with file sizes indicated for easier downloading. To view PDF files, download the PDF File Reader.

Figure 1. Form FHWA-1489, Distribution Requirements (25 KB)

Figure 1a. Supplement to Form FHWA-1489 (6 KB)

Figure 2. Sample FHWA-1489 for a Washington Headquarters Office (21 KB)

Figure 3. Sample FHWA-1489 for a Resource Center (21 KB)

Figure 4. Sample FHWA-1489 for a Division Office (21 KB)

Figure 5. Form FHWA-1090, Distribution Guide (27 KB)

Figure 6. Form DOT F 1700.8, Duplicating Request (15 KB)

All forms in one file (82 KB)

Page last modified on October 19, 2015
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