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U.S. Department of Transportation, Office of Public Affairs, Washington, D.C., www.dot.gov/affairs/briefing.htm - News

FHWA 03-13
Friday, January 11, 2013
Contact: Doug Hecox
Tel: 202-366-0660

FHWA Proposes to Simplify National Traffic Control Manual

Agency Seeks Public Input to Proposed Streamlining of MUTCD

WASHINGTON — The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) today proposed changes intended to simplify the format of the guidance and regulations on the design and installation standards for traffic signs, road surface markings and traffic signals. The agency is proposing to divide the 800-page “Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices for Streets and Highways” (MUTCD) into two smaller documents. One document would contain federal requirements, and the second document would contain guidance, which are not federal requirements, but are recommended practices. FHWA is not proposing any new regulations as part of this restructuring notice.

“Safety is our highest priority, and we want to make sure our safety requirements and recommendations are clear and easy to follow,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.

The proposed changes are intended to make the MUTCD easier to navigate and reduce confusion that can impede local compliance efforts. The change, if adopted, is expected to make the MUTCD a simpler and more effective safety resource.

“The MUTCD had very simple beginnings, and we’d like it to be simple again,” said FHWA Administrator Victor Mendez. “Our proposal would make it easier for state and local transportation engineers to better serve the driving public.”

The MUTCD, which has been administered by the FHWA since 1971, sets the minimum standards for traffic control devices throughout the country. It originated in the early 1920’s, when state and local transportation officials realized the need for a standardized system of uniform road elements to protect drivers and make navigation easier.

The request for comment on proposed changes appeared in the Federal Register.

The public has until March 12, 2013, to comment.

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FHWA Press Releases

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