Comments

The intent of this effort is to seek input from the MUTCD stakeholder community regarding the future of the MUTCD.  If you have thoughts regarding any of the white papers or other activities of this effort, please submit a comment using the form below.  Only those comments submitted through this form will be considered in revising the materials.  All pertinent comments will be posted.  Anonymous comments will be rejected.  Questions can be submitted to mutcd@civil.tamu.edu.  The form for submitting comments is located at the bottom of this page.

Comments related to the white papers that were submitted to this website prior to July 18, 2013 have been archived here.

Please note the following instructions for posting comments about the July 18, 2013 draft of the MUTCD Vision and Strategic Plan.

  1. Reviewer comments should be in the form of suggested changes to the language in this document or indicate support for existing statements.  If you do not agree with a statement in the document, be specific by indicating how you want the language to read.  General comments such as “I don’t agree with XXX” or “XXX needs to be expanded to address YYY” are more difficult to incorporate into future revisions of this document.  Comments that do not contain specific recommended changes to the language will be considered at a lower priority than comments containing recommended language changes.
  2. When making comments, reviewers should use the item number, and subitem number if appropriate, as a reference for the content in Chapters 2, 3, and 4 (i.e., item #23.c.i).  For content in other chapters, reviewers should reference the document page number at the bottom of the page (not the PDF page number) and line number.
  3. If you are submitting comments through the NCUTCD ballot process, please do not submit the same comment to this website.  If you submit a comment to this website, please do not submit the same comment through the ballot process.
  4. Reviewers should not post comments until they have reviewed the entire document.  For example, a reader’s recommended change related to an item in Chapter 2 may be addressed in a vision recommendation in Chapter 3.
  5. Comments related to specific technical content (such as suggestions related to the color of pavement markings) will be rejected.  The MUTCD VSP is not addressing specific technical content.
  6. While the tendency may be to make comments regarding statements they do not agree with, individuals should also indicate statements or content that they support or agree with.
  7. All comments are moderated by Gene Hawkins.
  8. Anonymous comments will be rejected.

22 thoughts on “Comments

  1. Item #17 – I agree with making a distinction between uniformity and consistency.

    Item #18, a – While the question posed in 18a might be important to political leaders, this question should not be included in this document. It should be deleted.

    Item #58, a&b – Delete the word “possibly” in the parentheses. It will definitely be necessary to show separate urban and rural intersections.

    Item #95, b, iii – Change to “Although it might be assumed that the NCUTCD process for evaluating rulemaking should be changed to accommodate modern communication methods, it has been found that without the opportunity for face-to-face discussion, it is difficult to effectively review a large number of proposed changes.”

    Item #513 – I strongly agree with this statement.

    Item #521 – I strongly agree with this statement.

    Item #527 – Since this item proposes specific MUTCD text and because some of the items 516 to 525 include subsections, not all of which are deemed appropriate for MUTCD inclusion, this item should state clearly what text should be included under Section 1A.XX MUTCD Guiding Rules:
    Section 1A.XX MUTCD Guiding Rules
    MUTCD content should comply with the following guiding rules:
    MUTCD content should be consistent with the purpose of the MUTCD.
    MUTCD content should establish the appropriate level of mandate for a given traffic control device principle.
    MUTCD content should be prepared so that it is useable by the intended MUTCD user
    and the level of mandate for the content.
    MUTCD content and changes to MUTCD content should be based on one or more of
    the following:
    a. Widespread national experience that conclusively demonstrates the traffic control
    device is effective.
    b. Peer-reviewed and published research that demonstrates the traffic control device
    is effective.
    c. A change in federal law or regulation related to traffic control devices.
    MUTCD content should not describe traffic engineering practices or other topics that
    are not traffic control device activities.
    MUTCD content should caution against over-control of the road user.
    The MUTCD should not serve as an educational document.
    While tort liability is often a traffic control device concern, it should not be a motivating factor in making decisions related to any traffic control device activity.
    The MUTCD should provide a means of accommodating advancements in traffic
    control device technologies and other traffic control device-related improvements in a
    timely manner but in a way that does not rush implementation of new technologies
    before they have been fully evaluated.
    MUTCD content should recognize that alternative traffic control device treatments or
    combinations of treatments may be as or more effective than the treatment specified in
    the MUTCD. MUTCD content should allow alternative treatments if there is adequate
    justification or evidence of equal or better performance as long as the alternative
    treatments do not compromise the uniform standards in the MUTCD.

    Item #533 – Since this item proposes specific MUTCD text, delete “The following heading definitions should be added to the MUTCD (see item 536 for a detailed description of each term):”

    Item #533, a&b – I agree with the concept of defining a Uniform Standard and a Consistent Standard. The NCUTCD will need to revisit each existing Standard in the MUTCD to identify which will be modified to a Consistent Standard by changing “shall” to “must.”

    Item #534 – This item is repetitious of Item #527, and it should be deleted.

    Item #537 – I don’t necessarily disagree with this item, but the concern covered in “a” could be handled by implementing realistic compliance dates, and the concern covered in “b” should not be necessary if the provisions listed in Item # 519 are followed.

    Item #539 – This item is worded more as a Strategic Plan statement than a Vision statement. The Vision statement should be: “ Rulemaking should only apply to Uniform Standards, Consistent Standards, and Guidance. Option, Preference, and Support statements should not proceed through rulemaking, but should be reviewed and approved through the NCUTCD process.”

    The sentence on lines 18 and 19 on page 43 should be deleted. We should affirmatively state that the MUTCD should be restructured, as in Item #540, not qualify it.

    Item #541, d – Delete all of d. While the majority of Volume I might be Uniform Standards, I would not recommend that this explicit statement be included in the Vision. Wherever Uniform Standards appear, their definition will apply regarding the ability to revise or modify them.

    Item #541, e&f – Delete as unnecessary since Item #539 has already stated what needs to go through rulemaking.

    Item #546, a – Add to the end of this statement, “with no more than 25 items covering material that was not previously approved as a recommendation from the NCUTCD.”

    Material previously reviewed and approved by the NCUTCD would not need to be reviewed again. The degree to which the relatively short time available in one NCUTCD meeting would compromise the effectiveness of the NCUTCD review would depend on how much new material needed to be reviewed.

    Item #546, b – Change this statement to, “Extend the docket comment period for NPA rulemaking that has more than 100 items or more than 25 items covering material that was not previously approved as a recommendation from the NCUTCD to encompass at least two NCUTCD meetings and publish the NPA no less than one month before a NCUTCD meeting.”

    Item #546, c – I strongly agree with this statement.

    Item #548 – I strongly agree with this statement.

    Item #552 – Add to the beginning of the first sentence, “Except as noted in #553,…”

    Item #807 – Change “2018” to “2016” in this and all the following items to comply with the decision of FHWA to publish a 2016 MUTCD.

    Item #809 – Change this item to the following to comply with the intent of FHWA to publish this material in the 2016 MUTCD:
    809. Changes introduced in the 2016 edition should be limited to:
    a. Incorporation of all NCUTCD recommendations submitted to FHWA since the last material included in the 2009 MUTCD.
    b. Incorporation of all NCUTCD recommendations which can be submitted to FHWA before the NPA is published (probably the June 2014 meeting will be the last NCUTCD meeting before the NPA is published)
    c. Content to address new technologies or treatments that have been introduced or developed since the 2009 MUTCD.
    d. Possible reorganizations of all Parts of the MUTCD prepared by FHWA staff, but without removing existing text or adding new text that was not previously submitted by the NCUTCD.

    Item #814 – Change “Chapter 2” to “Chapter 3”

  2. MUTCD Consultant Services comments on SVP
    Abbreviations
    Pg vi Add the following Abbreviations:
    1. (Access Board) U.S. Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board.
    2. (PROWAG) Proposed Guidelines for Public Rights-of-Way (this item may be deleted if the majority of the Edit commitee feels that the current rulemaking is enough to cover this item)
    3. (NPRM) Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (Federal Register Notice)
    4. (SNPRM) Supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking (Federal Register Notice)
    Items 2,3 & 4 are all Federal register notifications to the public for a Federal action that may affect the MUTCD.
    Chapter 1 Introduction
    Pg 2 after line 4 insert The Department of Justice is the federal agency with responsibility for issuing regulations implementing the requirements of title II of the ADA and for coordinating federal agency compliance activities with respect to those requirements. Title II applies to the programs and activities of state and local governmental entities. The Department of Justice and the Department of Transportation share responsibility for enforcing the requirements of title II of the ADA with respect to the public right of way, including streets, roads, and highways.
    After line 14 add a bullet Provide recommendations for an MUTCD that fosters safety and mobility for all road users , including bicyclists, pedestrians ( including pedestrians with disabilities) to the greatest extent practical.
    pg 4 line 4 add two bullets
    • The Access Board Proposed Guidelines for Public Rights-of-Way Published in the Federal Register on July 26, 2011
    • Supplemental Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on Shared Use Paths was published February 13, 2013.
    CHAPTER 2: 1 MUTCD OPINIONS, CHALLENGES, NEEDS, AND QUESTIONS

    pg 8 item
    4f. Maintenance : The Process of monitoring the visibility, crash worthiness acoustical and tactile features of a device and its performance and taking appropriate actions so that it will function in the intended manner throughout the life of the device and be replaced at the end of its useful life.

    Explanation Adding another maintenance feature relating to its mechanical guidance and crash worthiness. For example, an attenuator (say a TMA, which are in the MUTCD now) might still look fine, provide a visibility element and to some degree guidance, but due to a previous minor hit or improper installation, will not do its intended job. Another example would be drums with double bases, which are not officially crash worthy and will not perform part of its “intended function”.
    c. Traffic control devices placed in railroad right-of-way may appear to be traffic control devices on public roads but might actually be the responsibility of the railroads.

    pg 8 item 6b. Insert the word “clarified” A 2006 revision to 23 CFR 655.603 clarified the application of the MUTCD to privately-owned roads open to public travel
    item 6d. Insert the phrase ” are not aware of this requirement and” Many private property owners with roads open to public travel are not aware of this requirement and do not have staff or expertise to make traffic control device decisions.

    pg 9 add item 8b.xi Active warning to pedestrians with disabilities that vehicles are in conflict with the pedestrian crossing.
    pg 10 Item 17 a. Insert the phrase (including acoustical and tactile ) A specific traffic control device needs to have an identical meaning and general appearance (including acoustical and tactile ) regardless of where it is used. There can be no deviation from requirements related to meaning and appearance

    A state who writes their own would either do that for two reasons:

    1. They have for a very long time and perhaps they do out of tradition or just to be consistent; or …

    2. They disagree with most of the national text and a total rewrite is necessary for them.

    As far as any “significant differences”: we would need to poll those states.

    pg 16 item 44 Should be modified as follows. Adding more levels will be confusing to many users of the MUTCD. Many jurisdictions did not like the increase in the number of STANDARDS in the 2009 MUTCD. Therefore reduce the number of STANDARDS by redefining many of the STANDARDS to GUIDANCE and combine the thoughts in items 44 a-thru g as follows:

    44. There may be a need to provide more flexibility to the MUTCD content by modifying or redefining the level of mandates.
    a. Standard (required) traffic control device provisions that cannot be modified, revised, or exempted under any conditions.
    b. Guidance traffic control device provisions that establish a general range of required criteria or that may be modified, revised, or exempted in limited cases, such as at a specific site with conditions where meeting the standard is impossible or impractical. Traffic control device provisions that indicate recommended courses of action, but which can be revised, modified, or exempted for a variety of reasons. Deviations from Guidance provisions can be based on engineering judgment or engineering study.
    c. Option traffic control device provisions that indicate allowable deviations from a required or recommended provision. Use of an optional provision does not require the use of engineering judgment or engineering study.
    Traffic control device provisions that indicate a desirable course of action, but which carry no requirement, recommendation, or mandate. Deviations from preferred practice can may be based on engineering judgment.
    d. Support information that can explain the basis for specific provisions, cite external content that may be of value, or other information that has no level of mandate.

    Explanation for recommendation. The current and future MUTCD content/ text could be revised to the above criteria to keep it simple and avoid massive confusion to many users of the MUTCD .
    pg 16 insert under needs. after item 46
    There is a need for more research to develop devices to assist persons with disabilities to accommodate their safety and mobility to public rights of way.

    pg 26 Delete item 93
    pg 30. add an item to Challenges
    c. Advancements in technology could lead to a tendency to encourage the use of a new traffic control device without proper human factor studies.
    CHAPTER 3: 1 RECOMMENDED VISION
    pg 35 insert “international” in item 519 a. “Widespread national and/or international experience that conclusively demonstrates the traffic control device is effective.
    pg 37 528. Section 1A.XX Target Road Users
    528.a. Change as indicated in red below. Strike out unimpaired and replace it with ” licensed to drive ”
    a. One target road user group for traffic control devices is an operator of a vehicle. This target user is the reasonable and prudent individual who is alert, attentive, and licensed to drive, that has a basic proficiency in operating a vehicle on a specific facility, that has demonstrated a basic understanding of traffic control devices and traffic laws, and is operating in a legal and lawful manner that is appropriate for the facility and conditions, while demonstrating due care for the current conditions on the roadway.
    Explanation There are some drivers that may have a number of conditions that would be considered to be disabling unless they had modifications that enabled them to drive and be licensed to drive, including reduced vision that requires special optical devices, and missing or prosthetic limbs.
    The definition just targets the road user who doesn’t need many traffic control devices. This user would know how to stay alert, know the direction he/she is going (color of the stripes), wouldn’t need wrong ways, do not enters, one-ways signs. Would be able to function normally at a traffic signal, i.e. would not need supplemental mast arm signs, and wouldn’t need the conversion to flashing yellow arrow. This driver doesn’t need high retro values or contrasting signs; understands to look for pedestrians, therefore doesn’t need any warning devices, etc, etc, etc.
    The Sign Committee understands that we don’t design for the “worst” driver under the normal (bell) curve, but we certainly don’t design for this definition (528) either. We believe it is somewhere in the average to slightly below average range of drivers.

    pg 38 530. Section 1A.XX Traffic Control Device Activities:
    530.b Insert ” acoustical, tactile” Appearance: The process of establishing the general physical characteristics of a specific device as it appears to the road user. These characteristics include color, shape, legend, acoustical, tactile and the relative position and layout of individual elements.
    pg 39 533. Insert ” modified ” Section 1A.XX Definitions: The following heading definitions should be modified to the MUTCD

    a. Standard. A statement of required, mandatory, or specifically prohibitive practice regarding a traffic control device. The verb “shall” is used. Normally a standard cannot be revised or modified for any reason. Some Standard statements are sometimes modified by Options.
    b. Guidance A statement of normally required to provide consistent practice regarding a traffic control device. The verb “should” is used. Deviations from a consistent guidance are allowed when justified by an engineering study. A statement of recommended, but not mandatory, practice in typical situations, with deviations allowed if engineering judgment or engineering study indicates the deviation to be appropriate. The verb “should” is used. Guidance statements are sometimes modified by Options.
    d. Option. A statement of practice that is a permissive condition and carries no requirement or recommendation. Option statements sometime contain allowable modifications to a Standard or Guidance statement. The verb “may” is used.
    A statement of preferred practice in typical situations that carries no requirement or recommendations. But does have an expectation that there is indeed a preference established, and to continue uniformity, this option may be used to further participate in the development of such uniformity.
    Explanation :The definitions of these statements ought to stand out very clearly in the manual, strikingly so. Many users of the MUTCD simply assume the definitions as they negotiate through the text, without ever having read them nor understand fully the true definitions; keeping the definitions simple will decrease the misinterpretation and/or misunderstanding.

    f. Support. An informational statement that does not convey any degree of mandate, recommendation, authorization, prohibition, or enforceable condition. The verbs “shall,” “should,” and “may” are not used in Support statements.
    Basis for recommendation:
    Simple definitions are needed so that many users of the MUTCD will not be confused for the levels of mandate that are recommended.

    Pg 40-42 Change Item 536. MUTCD content should be structured to provide a range of mandates as described below:
    a. Uniform requirements (Standard)
    i. These represent requirements that are needed to establish uniformity across the nation as they relate to critical aspects of traffic control devices.
    ii. Normally standards are absolute and cannot be violated at any time under any circumstances.
    iii. Standards use the operative verb “shall.”
    iv. Standards are required for the meaning, acoustical, tactile and appearance aspects of traffic control devices. Uniform standards can also be established for other aspects of traffic control devices.
    v. There is little opportunity for the exercise of discretion in the execution of an activity defined by a standard. As such, activities associated with the execution of a standard are ministerial activities.
    vi. Some minor deviations from a standard are permitted.
    vii. Some Standards may be modified by an option.
    b. Consistent requirements (Guidance)
    i. These represent requirements that are needed to establish consistency across the nation as they relate to crucial aspects of traffic control devices.
    ii. Consistent Guidance define an expected practice that may have a minimum, maximum, or range of criteria.
    iii. Consistent Guidance use the operative verb “should.”
    iv. Consistent Guidance would most often apply to selected aspects of use and installation, but can be applied to other aspects of traffic control devices.
    v. Deviations from a consistent Guidance are discretionary activities and require an engineering study.
    c. Recommended practices (Guidance)
    i. These represent recommendations that are needed to promote consistency across the nation as they relate to various aspects of traffic control devices that are deemed important but not crucial.
    ii. Guidance defines a recommended practice.
    iii. Deviations from guidance may be appropriate due to a wide variety of factors.
    iv. Guidance uses the operative verb “should.”
    v. Guidance would typically apply to all traffic control device aspects except meaning and appearance.
    vi. If the action aligns with the recommendation of the guidance, there is no discretion in the use of guidance. As such, activities associated with the execution of guidance are ministerial activities.
    vii. Deviations from guidance are discretionary activities and require the conduct of an engineering study or the exercise of engineering judgment.
    d. Optional practices (Option)
    i. These represent alternatives that may improve the performance of traffic control devices.
    ii. Options define an optional practice.
    iii. Options use the operative verb “may.”
    iv. Options may exercise engineering judgment depending upon the specific language of the option
    v. Implementation of an option may be appropriate due to a wide variety of factors.
    vi. Options typically apply to all traffic control device aspects except meaning and appearance.
    vii. There is no expectation of compliance with (no requirement to use) an option statement. If an option statement is used, there may be standards or guidance associated with the implementation of the option.
    viii. The decision to implement an option is a discretionary act that may require the exercise of engineering judgment. Once a decision has been made to implement an option, the conduct of an option action is a ministerial act that does not require a decision
    e. Option Preferred practices (Preference)
    i. These represent preferences that are desirable to improve the performance of traffic control devices.
    ii. Options Preference defines a desired practice.
    iii. Deviations from Options preference may be appropriate due to a wide variety of factors.
    iv. Options Preference could typically apply to all traffic control device aspects except meaning and appearance.
    vi. There is no expectation of compliance with a Options preferred practice.
    vii. If the action aligns with the preference, there is no discretion in the use of preference. As such, activities associated with the execution of preference are ministerial activities.
    viii. Deviations from Options preference are discretionary activities and require the exercise of engineering judgment..
    f. Background information (Support)
    i. These represent statements that provide additional information about a traffic control device but which have no associated expectation of action.
    ii. Support does not use any of the other operative words (shall, , should, or may).

    Basis for recommendation: Keeping the current MUTCD structure will keep it simple and not confusing. The clarification of levels will provide greater flexibility to practitioners in those areas where flexibility is appropriate.

    pg 43 Item 541.c. Change last bullet from “Sound” to “Acoustical”
    pg 45 Item 542b. Change to read .
    b. The content in this volume would be presented as standards, guidance, options, and support.

    Pg 46 Item 546
    a. Limit the size of a single rulemaking action to no more than 100 items identified in the Federal Register notice.
    • i. Question: We are specifically asking for input on what is an appropriate value for the maximum number of significant items in a rulemaking.

    I don’t think there should be a maximum value place on items in a rulemaking. If the responders to the docket feel that they need more time to respond they should request additional time from FHWA.

    b. Extend the docket comment period for NPA rulemaking that has more than 100 items to encompass at least 2 NCUTCD meetings.
    • i. Question: We are specifically looking for input on what is an appropriate value for the length of a docket period with a large number of Federal Register items.

    The length of the docket period should be based upon the numbers of significant items in the docket.

    pg 47 Add an item 549d. The US Access Board publishes a regulation (or regulatory notice) having implications and / or impacts on traffic control devices.

    pg 47 item 552. Changes to MUTCD content should be proposed only if the changes are adequately justified by one or more of the following (see related item 519 for additional detail):
    a. Insert ” international ” Widespread national or international experience.
    b. Insert the phrase ” including safety and operational benefits to cyclist and pedestrians (including pedestrians with disabilities) ” Peer-reviewed and published research that indicate a safety, operational, or economic improvement; including safety and operational benefits to cyclist and pedestrians (including pedestrians with disabilities)

    CHAPTER 4: 1 RECOMMENDED STRATEGIC PLAN
    No recommended changes
    CHAPTER 5: 1 REFERENCES
    pg 53 Add the website ARCHITECTURAL AND TRANSPORTATION BARRIERS COMPLIANCE BOARD (US ACCESS BOARD) http://www.access-board.gov
    APPENDIX A: 1 CODE OF FEDERAL REGULATIONS 23 CFR 655 – No comment to Appendix A
    Insert a new Appendix B ADA laws and regulations may affect the content of the MUTCD
    Insert an Appendix B to add the ADA CFR 36 CFR Part 1190 or just add a summary (See information below) Then renumber the remaining appendixes
    Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires that state and local governments ensure that persons with disabilities have access to the pedestrian routes in the public right of way.
    The Department of Justice is the federal agency with responsibility for issuing regulations implementing the requirements of title II of the ADA and for coordinating federal agency compliance activities with respect to those requirements. Title II applies to the programs and activities of state and local governmental entities. The Department of Justice and the Department of Transportation share responsibility for enforcing the requirements of title II of the ADA with respect to the public right of way, including streets, roads, and highways.
    The Americans with Disabilities Act (42 U.S.C. 12101 et seq.) is a federal civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities. Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act covers state and local governments. The Department of Justice is responsible for issuing regulations to implement Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act, except for the public transportation parts. The regulations issued by the Department of Justice include accessibility standards for the design, construction, and alteration of facilities (other than facilities used in the provision of public transportation covered by regulations issued by the Department of Transportation)..The Department of Justice’s accessibility standards adopt, with additions and modifications, the Access Board’s current guidelines, which are discussed below under the Need for Rulemaking.5 See 28 CFR 35.104 and 35.151.
    The Department of Transportation is responsible for issuing regulations to implement the public transportation parts of Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act.6 The regulations issued by the Department of Transportation include accessibility standards for the design, construction, and alteration of facilities used in the provision of public transportation covered by the public transportation parts of Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The Department of Transportation’s accessibility standards adopt, with additions and modifications, the Access Board’s current guidelines, which are discussed below under the Need for Rulemaking. See 49 CFR 37.9 and Appendix A to 49 CFR part 37.
    The Department of Justice is responsible for overall enforcement of Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The Department of Justice has designated the Department of Transportation as the federal agency responsible for investigating complaints and conducting compliance reviews “relating to programs, services, and regulatory activities relating to transportation, including highways.” See 28 CFR 35.190 (b) (8).
    APPENDIX B: HISTORY AND GROWTH OF THE MUTCD
    pg 61 Add information to the table 4 about ADA information in parts 3,4,6 in the 2000,2003, 2009 editions
    APPENDIX C: 1 REVISING THE MUTCD – No comment
    APPENDIX D: 1 NATIONAL COMMITTEE ON UNIFORM TRAFFIC CONTROL DEVICES- No comment
    APPENDIX E: 1 FUTURE OF TRAFFIC CONTROL DEVICES
    No comment
    APPENDIX F: 1 TARGET GROUP OF DRIVERS
    pg 71- Change opening paragraph as noted in red :
    The issue of which drivers traffic control devices are intended to serve is important as it 5 addresses the extent to which agencies should try to accommodate the needs of a wide variety of 6 drivers. It would be simple to say that traffic control devices should accommodate all drivers on 7 roadways. However, this is not a practical expectation. “The target road user includes pedestrians (including persons with disabilities) and bicycles. All public agencies and private entities responsible for TCDs need to accommodate the safety and mobility of these road users. There are some drivers that agencies 8 may not be able to accommodate. Examples include:.
    October 16, 2013

  3. 1. Page 9, item 8.a., line 2. Based on my experiences in the vehicle emissions arena I submit that twenty years significantly understates the time it will take before current traffic controls are no longer needed. We will likely need to accomodate older vehicles, including antiques, for fifty plus years. To the extent that there may be socio-economic impacts associated with the incorporation of advanced technology on higher volume roads to the exclusion of current technology it could raise environmental justice issues.

    2. Page 11, item 24: Compliance can take multiple forms. It could be the absence of an approved device where warranted, the presence of an unapproved or non-conforming device or the presence of a device that is not warranted. I concur with the opinion expressed and suggest that it also raises a question regarding whether state DOT’s should be charged with an oversight role vis-a-vis local and private roads.

    3. As a general observation, a number of the statements characterized as “opinions” are facts. Item 29 on page 12 which lays out the shared responsibilities for implementation of the access requirements under the ADA is a good example. Consider differentiating between opinions and facts which may be best tendered as background considerations.

    4. Page 11, item 22.a.i.: It is not the MUTCD’s definition as a national standard that gives it legal status. I suggest deleting current i and saying “Its incorporation into 23 C.F.R. 655.603 gives it the force and effect of a federal regulation.”

    5. Page 11, item 25.e.: Strike “to tort liability lawsuits” and replace with “liability resulting from tort lawsuits.”

    6. Page 13, item 32.a.i.: Not familiar with the concept of “long” versus “short” no passing zone definitions and suggest the incorporation of an explanatory parenthetical.

    7. Page 13, item 32.b.iv.: Pennsylvania incorporates the MUTCD by reference into its regulations and provides supplemental material that includes, inter alia, traffic study elements, warrants, schematics and the implementation of certain responsibilities under the state’s veicle code. The state specific elements are primarily in addition to the MUTCD rather than in lieu of it.

    8. Page 14, item 32.d.i.: Not significantly. Pennsylvania has sovereign immunity with a waiver for dangerous conditions of state highways but that liability is capped. Primary consideration is safety.

    9. Pages 15-16, item 42.: Such a dialogue needs to take into consideration whether splitting the MUTCD as proposed would impact the ability of some states to incorporate by reference into their regulations those portions not subject to rulemaking.

    10. Page 16, item 43, lines 4 and 5: Strike “tort liability laws” and replace with ” the law on tort liabilty.” This recognizes the fact that tort liability may be the product of the common law principles in some jurisdictions rather than statute.

    11. Page 20, item 70: Respectfully disagree. Greater specificity plus reduced flexibility will likely translate into a greater exposure to liability because standards will be more rigidly applied, particularly by juries.

    12. Page 22, item 76: Do not see the point or basis for including such an opinion. The individuals referenced in item 77 will use it because it is integral to their job; just as they will utilize the AASHTO Green Book and other relevant publications.

    13. Page 25, item 87.b.: Delete “is,” replace with “force and effect of” and delete parenthetical.

    14. Page 32, item 507.a.i.: Suggest that consideration be given to development of review protocols to minimize conflicts between the ADA and its implementing regulations with the MUTCD.

    15. Page 34, lines 30 and 32: They should be “guidelines” or “rules” but cannot be both. Rules provide direction, not guidance.

    16. Page 34, item 516, line 39: Strike “irrelevant” and replace with “beyond its scope.”

    17. Page 36, item 520: I have difficulty seeing how uniformity of expectations and consistency can be achieved if such procedures are not included.

    18. Page 39, item 533.b.: I understand the rationale for the definitions but to the extent that the MUTCD has the force and effect of a regulation it is going to potentially be subject to the rules in each jurisdiction addressing the construction of regulations. In my experience the application of such rules to “shall” and “must” casts both as imperatives and they are considered as essentially synonomous. Even with the proposed definitions I therefore am concerned that in litigation a jury, and possibly even a judge, will afford “must” a higher level of mandate than it actually posesses. I would use “should” at the level set for “must” and something along the lines of “is advised to” in lieu of where “should” is currently used in subitem c.

    19. Pages 45 — 48, MUTCD Revisions: The proposed protocol is intriguing. I cannot say that I have ever seen anything comparable, even for regulations of greater complexity and controversy than typically attends the MUTCD. My concern is that the consequence of the proposed limits could be a continual, unbroken stream of MUTCD related rulemakings.

    20. Page 49, item 802: Not sure that the differences in exposure to tort liability from one state to another significantly impact the use of traffic control devices. Cases involving traffic control devices rarely arise primarily from circumstances where the MUTCD has been followed by a state. More common are cases where the MUTCD has not been followed or a deviation not adequately documented. In my experience most state actions are driven by safety considerations and sound engineering policy to the extent the state has the resources necessary for implementation. For states that do not have an economic defense to tort actions it would be far more beneficial to evaluate the effect of the phase-in periods/implementation obligations for new requirements to which a “shall” is attached.

  4. October 15, 2013
    Peter A. Speer
    Vice President of Sales
    Pexco LLC

    Comments on the 20-Year Vision and Strategic Plan for the MUTCD
    As submitted to: http://mutcd.tamu.edu/comments/

    TRAFFIC CONTROL DEVICES AS INDEPENDENT ELEMENTS
    Page 7, Line 16
    Further to our comments of October 8th, the opinion stated on line 16 includes the word “curb” in addition to channelization. On line 10, you define “channelizing devices” as a traffic control device, and then 6 lines later state than an “infrastructure element” that channelizes traffic – such as lane separator curb systems and other channelizers – are not traffic control devices.

    An initial section of the document defines traffic control devices as “all signs, signals, markings, channelizing devices or other devices that use colors, shapes, symbols, words, sounds and/or tactile information for the primary purpose of communicating a regulatory warning, or guidance message to road users on a highway, pedestrian facility, bikeway, pathway or private road open to public travel.” Under subpart “a.”, the section goes on to state the “Infrastructure elements that restrict the road users’ travel paths or vehicle speeds, such as curbs, speed humps, chicanes, channelization, and other raised roadway surfaces, are not traffic control devices.”

    Pexco strongly objects to the inclusion of the words “curb” and “channelization” in the enumeration of devices that are “not traffic control devices.” The use of these terms both contradicts and may confuse the reader when “channelizing devices” is an enumerated term in the preceding paragraph.

    A distinction should be made between curbs, an ambiguous term, and lane separators. Lane separators are commonly referred to as “curb systems” and are referenced in both 3H.01Channelizing Devices and 6F.72 Temporary Lane Separators the 2009 MUTCD.

    Lane separators, as commonly used, are devices that utilize colors and channelizing upright elements complimentary to adjacent pavement markings safely guide motorists, and therefore meet the approved definition of traffic control devices as stated on page 7, line 10 – 14. They are in widespread use throughout the country and continue to be proven, low cost traffic safety solution.

    Pexco recommends that the words “curb” and “channelization” be deleted from paragraph “1.a.”. Pexco further recommends that the sentence on page 7 line 10 be amended to read, “…signals, markings, lane separators and other channelizing devices…”.

  5. Item 518, page 35, lines 9 to 12:.

    Revise to read as follows:

    “MUTCD content should be prepared so that it is precise, articulate, and easily understood by the intended users of the MUTCD.
    a. Intended users of the MUTCD are the following user groups that represent practitioners responsible for conducting traffic control device activities.”

    Reason for suggestion: The existing phrase – “and the level of mandate for the content” does not communicate well. Thus, it is recommended for deletion. “Useable” is vague in meaning. Thus, “usable” has been replaced by “precise, articulate, and easily understood”. The proposed wording explicitly states who are the intended users of the MUTCD; the existing language does not do this.

    Item 77, page 23, line 4:

    Revise to read as follows: “the term engineer means an individual who”

    Reason for suggestion: This wordsmithing provides for a simpler statement that is more direct and emphatic.

    Item 518, page 35, lines 19 – 20:

    Revise to read as follows: “the term engineer means an individual who”

    Reason for suggestion: This wordsmithing provides for a simpler statement that is more direct and emphatic.

    Item 531, Proposed MUTCD Section on MUTCD User:

    Item 518 describes MUTCD users as Engineering, Technical, and Field. Why doesn’t Item 531 – proposed MUTCD language on MUTCD User also describe these three different classes of MUTCD users? I suggest that Item 531 should be expanded to identify these user groups.

  6. COMMENTS WITH REGARD TO NCUTCD DRAFT VISION & STRATEGIC PLAN

    Opinions (Page 7), Line 10

    Section provides a universal definition for Traffic Control Devices;

    “Traffic control devices are all signs, signals, markings, channelizing devices or other devices that use colors, shapes, symbols, words, sounds and/or tactile information for the primary purpose of communicating a regulatory, warning, or guidance message to road users on a highway, pedestrian facility, bikeway, pathway, or private road open to public travel.”

    Further, Line #15, same opinion, states;

    “Infrastructure elements that restrict the road user’s travel paths or vehicle speeds, such as curbs, speed humps, chicanes, channelization, and other raised roadway surfaces, are not traffic control devices.”

    Although these infrastructure elements identified herein may not meet the definition of a traffic control device, a distinction should be made between curbs, a nebulous term, and lane separators. Lane separators are commonly referred to as “curbing systems” and are referenced in both Chapters 3H (permanent applications) and 6F.72 (temporary applications) of the MUTCD.

    Lane separators, as commonly used, are devices that utilize colors and channelizing uprights complimentary to adjacent pavement markings as well as tactile information to communicate messages to the road user, and therefore meet the approved definition of traffic control devices. They are in widespread use throughout the country and continue to be an effective strategy where other devices cannot be used.

    In June of 2011, the Markings Technical Committee and the Edit Committee attempted to remove traffic lane separators from Part 3 of the Manual without industry’s input. (See below)

    01 Channelizing devices, as described in Sections 6F.63 through 6F.73, and 6F.75, and as shown in Figure 6F-7, such as cones, tubular markers, vertical panels, and drums, lane separators, and raised islands, may be used for general traffic control purposes such as adding emphasis to reversible lane delineation, channelizing lines, or islands. Channelizing devices may also be used along a center line to preclude turns or along lane lines to preclude lane changing, as determined by engineering judgment.
    Support:
    01a Although not defined as traffic control devices, lane separators and raised islands can be used for channelizing purposes.

    With that action in mind, if it is the intention of this document to further that effort and group lane separators with curbs, with the goal of having them eliminated from future editions of the MUTCD, then it will cause economic harm to companies who manufacture them as traffic control devices.

    It would be our recommendation that traffic lane separators not be considered as an infrastructure element such as those listed on Lines 16, & 17, but rather included with the list of traffic control devices as listed with the definition for those devices.

  7. Comments on Draft 20-Year VSP for MUTCD (version 7/18/2013)
    Paul Carlson (Oct 9, 2013)

    Congrats to Gene and others that assisted with the development of this document. There are many good thoughts and observations captured in the document. It can be overwhelming to think about the amount of work that is needed to pursue the ideas and concepts laid out. Personally, I am very much looking forward to participating in, and experiencing, the next 20 years of MUTCD evolution.

    • One area that is not addressed adequately is the process currently used to draft new language and maintain the MUTCD. While the FHWA has some staff devoted to this job, the NCUTCD plays a key role as well. Page 1 briefly discusses the process in paragraph 2. What I was hoping to see in a subsequent part of the document was more thought and recommendations given to the process. My experience is that the NUCTD does as good of a job as is can given that it is nearly 100% volunteer effort and most work gets accomplished in the two 3-day meetings each year. If time is running short, or a topic is highly technical, the NCUTCD tends to move it along without proper consideration. Likewise, topics are dealt with individually which leads to unintended consequences regarding impacts on others areas in the MUTCD. Is the process the best that it can be? I would like to see how the process to develop and maintain the MUTCD compares to other significant documents such as the HSM or HCM. Those documents are developed and maintained through support by AAHSTO and TRB committee work. How can the Research Committee of the NUTCD work with other related committees such as the TRB TCD committee to develop NCHRP-like projects to provide resources for more thought and innovation regarding MUTCD formatting, language development, and other areas of improvement (see Item 65 on Page 20). I would like to see some additional language added regarding the need to reassess how MUTCD material is developed and how the MUTCD is maintained. I’m not talking about taking it out of the FHWA jurisdiction, I’m talking about how to improve the near-100% volunteer effort that FHWA relies on now.

    • One of the items that makes it difficult to provide national uniformity in all areas is the winter maintenance activities of northern tier states. I didn’t see this item mentioned. Specific examples of applications that it can impact are:
    o Use of RRPMs for nighttime delineation (versus delineators or other roadside devices)
    o Non-uniformity of marking condition throughout a calendar year, which limits the functionality of V2I potential such LDW systems
    o Justification of overhead sign lights in areas of snow

    • Another item I didn’t see included but I’ve heard discussion about is the need to start documenting the justification for specific decisions regarding changes or additions to the MUTCD. Some of that is captured in the rule-making process. It seems like a reference document could be developed to catalog decision thinking, reports, data, etc. that were used to make specific changes or additions. Each section of the MUTCD could have a reference number that would refer to a specific item in the reference document.

    • Section 530
    o Where does driver understand fall within the definitions listed?
    o Within appearance, should brightness, intensity, flash pattern/rate, etc be included?
    o Under installation, what about reaction time?
    o Where does the discussion come into play about upgrading to meet new regulations such as moving from 8 to 12 inch signal lens, all cap SNSs to initial cap SNSs, etc. To me, this would be a new subitem in 530.

    • Section 533
    o I think these added terms go against the effort to simplify the MUTCD
    o Can the author provide multiple specific examples for each term (to help with understanding)?
    o Consistent Standard and Guidance seem way too similar without some examples.
    o I specifically disagree with use of the “ought” term. It’s not even in Microsoft Word’s dictionary and in my mind has the same meaning as “should.” But probably more importantly, if you Google “ought vs should” you will see that those who love the English language like we love TCDs think that ought is more explicit than should. If these terms are eventually used in the Manual, they need to be fully vetted.
    o Let’s consider an example. The most commonly recognized TCD in the world…the Stop sign. I assume that the red background with white letters would be a “Uniform Standard.” However, both color red and white are not exact. There are different criteria for their daytime and nighttime performance…and that criteria include a range of performance levels. Based on the way the terms are explained, color of a Stop sign would then be a “Consistent Standard.” And if so, deviations could be justified. I don’t think that is the intent here. This is one of probably many loop holes in the way these terms have been proposed.

    • I’m wondering if we could develop a protocol/process of new material. Most new items are considered piecemeal and sometimes in a hurried fashion without understanding how other Parts of the Manual might be impacted.

    • In Chapter 4, I would like to see specifics on how the Research Committee of the NCUTCD can help drive new processes for the NCUTCD or FHWA. I’m currently thinking that they can develop problem statements for NCHRP or FHWA funding that allow time and energy (beyond volunteer work) to be spent working on various high level items such as developing ideas and examples of streamlined MUTCD Parts, developing a pilot reference document for a specific Part of the Manual, developing PSs aimed at strategic growth areas such as full-matrix signing, LED signing, V2I items, adaptive signing, etc. There should be an outline of how the Research Committee can coordinate and partner with other organizations to facilitate long-term funding to support the MUTCD.

    • The CFR language in Appendix A is interesting. I have not read it in a long time. It does remind me of an issue that I have always had with 1A.09 which reads, “This Manual describes the applications of TCDs, but shall not be a legal requirement for their installation.” To me, this statement is meant to say that the MUTCD was not written to say when you shall install a device. Only that devices shall be uniform…such as a Stop sign being 8-sided with red background and white STOP and white border. However, the Manual has many places with requirements of application, such as 2C.06.

    • In the Growth Appendix B, I would like to see comparisons to other documents to put the growth of the MUTCD into perspective. Showing its growth in isolation is a little misleading. See Scott Wainwright’s comment of Aug 2 concerning growth of shall statements being misleading with respect to perception of ‘09 Manual being more prescriptive.

    • I can’t remember where, but somewhere in the VSP there is a discussion about assessing the economic impact of MUTCD changes/additions. I would like to see more discussion on that topic.

    • Since the 2009 Manual was issued, the FHWA has seemed to back off of compliance dates for new regulations. I think a lot of agencies saw that as a good thing but I’m not so sure it is. If there is no compliance date, then agencies are supposed to address non-compliant devices via “systematic-upgrades.” See MUTCD Intro, I-3. There is no timeline set for systematic replacement and agencies are then left to decide when to upgrade. They might wait for the device to become worn out, knocked down, vandalized, etc. The longer agencies wait to upgrade, the more liability risk they incur. Without specific compliance dates, many agencies loose the justification needed to allocate funds to upgrade specific devices. As a result, the upgrades are slow to be implemented, and are implemented at various times throughout the country, leading to non-uniformity and more exposure to tort claims. I would like to see some discussion in the VSP on this topic. Maybe I’m off base here.

    • Probably the most significant issue in 2013 regarding the Manual is the FHWA effort to “streamline” the document. There is very little information in the VSP concerning this on-going effort. Maybe by design. If so, can there be a note added to explain?

  8. The following comments represents and overview of the thoughts of members of the Traffic Engineering staff at the Massachusetts Department of Transportation and summarized by State Traffic Engineer, Neil Boudreau.

    Item 505 – This statement is the key to defining what is considered a uniform standard versus a consistent standard (Item 533). Some TCD’s exhibit principles that make them firm or uniform standards, i.e. a stop sign has an octagonal shape and is always white legend on red background, or that a green colored light has a defined meaning, regardless of application type. However, unique geometric and/or environmental conditions specific to a part of the country provides justification to allow for deviation from the intended “standard” use of the TCD.

    Item 512 – Concern as to how “weak” the legal requirement to follow standards would be, if practitioners had broad leeway to develop context-sensitive solutions. We find very different issues in following the Green Book to the letter versus following the MUTCD to the letter. I find that the concept of allowing flexibility in the type of standard (Item 533) provides transportation agencies with a means to employ engineering judgment, but use of CSS will take this too far and weaken the governance of the MUTCD.

    Item 520 – Discussion mentions excessive use of traffic control devices. It would be good to have some stronger language cautioning against unnecessary signage that are used in blanket installations (I’m thinking of R10-12 and W13-1P, in particular). The tendency right now is to ignore the language that’s already in the MUTCD requiring engineering study before use of certain signs, e.g. W13-1P.

    Item 533 – Splitting verbs into shall, must, should, may, and ought seems to be unnecessarily complicated. The current system (shall, should, may) works fairly well and can only be enhanced by the clarification on the type of a standard that would offer the use of “Uniform” and “Consistent” sub-categories. Use of terms like preference or support should be reserved for use in an updated practitioner guide.

    Item 536 – If implemented, MUTCD should include a summary table listing the Uniform requirements (verb “shall”) contained within.

    Item 538 – I am in agreement with keeping the MUTCD as a single document. Expanded use of hotlinks/smart tags would be very welcome. Combining or linking content from the SHSM, which is now a separate document from the MUTCD, would make designing traffic plans easier.

    Item 540 – If the MUTCD is to be split into separate volumes it would make practitioner use of the MUTCD much more difficult because related information that is now in a single section (or a handful of adjacent sections) would potentially be split into three different areas, 1 in each volume. This is similar to the situation we experience now in having the MUTCD and SHSM being contained in separate but seemingly related documents.

    NOTE: I am in agreement with the premise of the suggestion presented by Jonathan Upchurch on July 29, 2013 at 5:35 pm that would keep the ultimate updated MUTCD into 3 Divisions within one main document. “Item 540 – The MUTCD for the mid-2030s should be structured as a single document with three major divisions, as listed below and as described in Items 541 through 543.
    a. Division 1: Definitions, Meaning, and Appearance
    b. Division 2: Use, Operation, and Removal
    c. Division 3: Installation and Maintenance (Typical Applications)”
    Reason for Suggestion: To most people the word “Volume” means a separately bound book. Thus, when readers read Items 540 to 543 [in the July 18 version] they will think that the MUTCD would be divided into three separate documents. My understanding of the intent of Item 540 is to have a single document, but the July 18 version wording is confusing.
    Item 545 – Revisions, particularly to correct simple errors, but also to incorporate interim approvals, should be published on a somewhat regular schedule of every 2-3 years.

    Item 546 – The proposed answers to Questions 546 a. and 546 b. provide a reasonable number of items to be considered for rulemaking.

    Item 548 – Full agreement on the justification for gaining the insight, knowledge and support of the membership of the NCUTCD as a defined component of the Federal Rule Making Process.

    Item 552 – Full agreement on the need to obtain proper justification for introducing proposed changes to the MUTCD via the rulemaking process.

    Items 801, 802 and 803 – While the intention of the MUTCD is to provide uniformity to the practice and implementation of Traffic Engineering, the notion that we will ever get to a point where a “one size fits all” document is impractical. By the pure basis that this country was founded and affords the states the ability to set general laws to govern their territory, we may never find a means to achieve full compliance with the “national” MUTCD.

    Item 809 (b) – Next MUTCD should incorporate some larger changes, particularly regarding ADA compliance, bicycle treatments (bike signals, treatments for roundabouts), and RR crossings (incl. LRT/BRT in exclusive or shared ROW crossing or sharing space on urban streets).

  9. Chapter 2, Item 5 (page 8, line 16) – Consider changing “public roadways” to “within the public right-of-way”

    Chapter 2, Item 8.a (page 9, line 2) – The duration statement of “for at least twenty years” may not be appropriate for all users and agencies. Consider changing or deleting the specific numerical reference, perhaps with “for the foreseeable future”

    Chapter 2, Item 48.c (page 16, line 45) – Regarding the question put forth, the statement “a manual with requirements, recommendations, and options” would be my preference

    Chapter 2, Item 50 (page 17, line 6) – Regarding the question of the intended meaning of the word “uniformity,” I would offer that uniformity is defined as having consistent meaning and clear expectations of adherence behavior for the intended audience.

    Chapter 2, Item 58.a.i (page 18, lines 28-30) – Given the diversity of intersection configurations across the nation, it may be too difficult to create a “typical” application for intersection control to illustrate “all signing to be used on the approaches and departures to the intersection…”

    Chapter 2, Item 85 (page 25, line 16) – Regarding the question of should the MUTCD content be written with a traffic engineer as the intended audience, my response is “yes!” By all means, the MUTCD should be written for an audience that is professionally licensed to practice engineering, with specific expertise in the field of transportation.

    Chapter 2, Item 86 (page 25, lines 21-23) – Regarding the question of writing the MUTCD so non-engineers can make decisions regarding specific traffic control device activities, my response is “no!” The MUTCD should be written so that reasonable people with similar training and experience would make the same decisions regarding the placement and operation of traffic control devices.

    Chapter 2, Item 111 (page 29, lines 16-17) – Regarding the question of the degree of review on studies to support changes to the MUTCD, I suggest that all studies should be reviewed and approved by the FHWA.

    Chapter 2, Item 121 (page 30, lines 37-38) – Regarding the question of the best way to deal with the development of innovative traffic control devices, I would respond that it is through the existing experimentation process.

    Chapter 3, Item 528.b (page 37, line 29) – I suggest changing “pedestrians” to “other users not operating a vehicle,” since target road users include people on segways, roller skates, skateboards, as well as passengers in vehicles (who sometimes assist in interpreting traffic control device meanings and communicating that to the driver of a vehicle).

  10. October 08, 2013
    Peter A. Speer
    Vice President of Sales
    Pexco LLC

    Comments on the 20-Year Vision and Strategic Plan for the MUTCD
    As submitted to: http://mutcd.tamu.edu/comments/

    TRAFFIC CONTROL DEVICES AS INDEPENDENT ELEMENTS
    Page 7, Line 16
    The statement on channelization is confusing and contradictory. On line 10, you define “channelizing devices” as a traffic control device, and then 6 lines later state than an “infrastructure element” that channelizes traffic is not a traffic control device.

    An initial section of the document defines traffic control devices as “all signs, signals, markings, channelizing devices or other devices that use colors, shapes, symbols, words, sounds and/or tactile information for the primary purpose of communicating a regulatory warning, or guidance message to road users on a highway, pedestrian facility, bikeway, pathway or private road open to public travel.” Under subpart “a.”, the section goes on to state the “Infrastructure elements that restrict the road users’ travel paths or vehicle speeds, such as curbs, speed humps, chicanes, channelization, and other raised roadway surfaces, are not traffic control devices.”

    Pexco strongly objects to the inclusion of “channelization” in the enumeration of devices that are “not traffic control devices.” The use of this term both contradicts and may confuse the reader when “channelizing devices” is an enumerated term in the preceding paragraph.

    Pexco recommends that the word “channelization” be deleted from paragraph “1.a.”

    MUTCD AS AN AUTHORITATIVE REFERENCE DOCUMENT
    Page 12, line 36
    Pexco agrees with John Fisher’s comments of January 20, 2013: “I strongly believe that the application, location/placement, operation, maintenance and removal of TCDs are valid purposes of the MUTCD. These aspects of TCDs are vital for promoting uniformity and improving traffic safety and therefore should be part of the “national standard”.”

    Page 15, line 33
    Pexco strongly disagrees with the stated “need to limit the amount of material that can be included in the document”. Pexco agrees with John Fisher’s comments of January 20, 2013: “The MUTCD has not experienced a notable surge in the level of detail associated with traditional TCDs. Rather, the MUTCD has embraced many new TCDs and has addressed multi-modal needs for which new MUTCD provisions have been developed. Consider how technology has led to an increase in the types of TCDs, such as in-pavement warning lights, embedded lights on warning signs, blank-out symbol signs, etc. Also, consider how the need to address other road users, such as older and handicapped pedestrians, bicyclists, light rail transit, toll and managed lanes, etc., has led to new provisions on how best to serve them. Naturally, the more technology and modes that are addressed the larger the MUTCD becomes. It would not be an option to avoid expansion of the MUTCD by ignoring advances in technology and enlightened thinking regarding multi-modal needs. Besides, the size of the MUTCD should not be a concern, since it is available in electronic format.”

    Pexco further agrees with the comments made by Scott Wainwright August 08, 2012: “I don’t believe that other important standards, such as building codes, electrical codes, zoning ordinances, etc. artificially limit the size of their documents if the material is deemed important, as TCD uniformity certainly is. Size of document is immaterial when smart search engines, cross-indexing, hot links, pop-ups, etc. are available and used to make it easy for a user to find what he or she needs.”

    MUTCD USE AND USERS
    Page 25, line 3
    Pexco agrees with John Fisher’s comments of January 20, 2013: “I believe that the proposed target audience is too narrow. If the target audience is limited to only professional traffic engineers with extensive experience, then the MUTCD would not be accessible to nor comprehended by those with less experience who aspire to master knowledge of the “national standard”…. The reality is that there is no single audience for the MUTCD. While the core audience may be those who have responsibility for TCDs, the term, “target audience” tends to be exclusive. The MUTCD needs to be written for an inclusive audience since a variety of users depends on it to one degree or another. In summary, the audience should be “all those who play a role in planning, designing, operating and maintaining TCDs.”

    FUNDAMENTAL ASSUMPTIONS
    Page 32, line 5
    Pexco strongly disagrees with 503.c.i. stating that “size is not an appearance characteristic”. This is completely nonsensical and this item should be deleted. All you have to do is take a look at Figure 6F-7 Channelizing Devices to see that size matters! From minimum heights on drums to minimum widths on Type 2 barricades, size clearly establishes uniform characteristics across the nation. If you are creating a “national standard” for uniform traffic control devices, the size of the device MUST be included.

    Pexco also strongly disagrees with the inclusion of the word “size” in the second sentence of 503.f and recommends that word be deleted from that sentence.

    FUNDAMENTAL RECOMMENDATIONS
    Page 35, line 9
    Pexco strongly disagrees with Guiding Rule #519. Guiding Rule # 519 is overly prescriptive regarding peer review of research. As a private sector company we invest considerable resources of time, personnel and money in the development of new devices or the improvement of existing devices. In return, we expect a reasonable “Return on Investment”. Delays in bringing these devices to market adversely affect our return. We frequently submit research regarding the effectiveness of our products directly submitted to the FHWA which as the owner of the MUTCD should be able to make a decision as to whether that research is sufficient to include the device in the Manual. “Peer review” is an overly academic process that would cause an inordinate and unjustifiable delay in the introduction of the device, thus adversely affecting ROI and possibly delaying the deployment of life saving devices.

    MUTCD CONTENT
    Page 42, line 11
    Pexco strongly disagrees with #537 which proposes that “When new traffic control device principles are added to the MUTCD, they should typically be introduced as non-mandatory practices and maintained as such for at least one edition of the MUTCD.” As stated above, research is conducted before the introduction of new devices into the Manual. That research should serve as the basis for a decision as to whether a practice is mandatory or not. It seems counterintuitive to wait for an entire MUTCD cycle, recommended to be 8 or 10 years, to institute a practice that may support our national goal of moving Toward Zero Deaths.

    MUTCD REVISIONS
    Page 45, line 43
    Pexco believes that a schedule to revise the Manual every 8 – 10 years is far too infrequent given the pace of change of technology today. As previously discussed, as a private entity we often make considerable financial investment in the development of new products, especially those that advance safety. We believe that principles and practices to implement proven new technologies should be introduced to the Manual as quickly as those technologies are available. This objective would lead one to conclude that the time between revisions should be shorter, rather than longer.

    Page 47, line 37
    Pexco disagrees with recommendation #552.b. which suggests that changes to the MUTCD should require research that is published and “peer reviewed.” As stated earlier, as a private market company we look to gain a return on investment (ROI) on new products. There is a direct element of that ROI which is linked to the amount of time it takes from product research and development to product deployment. Peer reviews equate to longer times which equate to a reduced ROI. Pexco believes that FHWA is perfectly capable of reviewing research and making a decision as to whether a new or updated device(s) should be included in a NPA for the Manual.

    Pexco also believes that in the near future the primary venue for the MUTCD will be e-technology based. Given that assumption, we have very little concern about the size of the document in terms of page count and more concern about the organization and ease of “search functions” especially on smaller (i.e. hand-held) devices.

    APPENDIX B:
    Page 59, line 20
    Pexco disagrees the conclusion that simply because there are more shall’s and should’s in the 2009 MUTCD, it is therefore more prescriptive. Pexco agrees with Scott Wainwright’s comments of August 2, 2013: “The last 2 sentences (lines 18-22) of the 2nd paragraph on page 59 in Appendix B should be re-written to say: “The number of shall and should statements in the 2009 MUTCD has grown significantly from the 2003 MUTCD, as shown in Table 3. This increase is due predominantly to the addition of new devices and new topics that were not in the 2003 edition, such as flashing yellow and flashing red arrow turn signal displays, automated flagger assistance devices (AFADs), toll road/toll plaza signing, signing for managed lanes, community wayfinding signs, and more than 50 other unique new devices or revisions in devices that were deemed by NCUTCD and/or FHWA as being needed to address new technology, emerging new applications such as electronic toll collection, and device improvements as found effective by research (see Table 4.)”

  11. Section 514: It is not clear whether this section applies only to public agencies or whether is applies also to private contractors. I recommend revising (a) to include private contractors. Same comment for Section 518
    Section 522: Do not agree. Change wording perhaps, “The MUTCD should serve all intended users and provide an appropriate level of educational portions.”
    Sectrion 523: Agree fear of tort liability should not dictate language or decision to include/not include subjects. Add, “Language, phrases, should not be compiled to attempt dictation of liablity issues.”
    Section 540-543: “The 2030s MUTCD should be structured in manner of technical devices and programming available at that time and not dictated by this 2014 document.”
    Section 533: See difficulty in presenting six new levels of definition types, leave with current four.
    Section 531: “Those individuals trained and certified as work zone traffic control supervisors shall not excercise discretionary activities.”
    Section 546: “Single comment to NPA are welcome but should not dictate a change to MUTCD based on one comment from Water Valley, Texas.”
    Section 808: Suggests no changes in MUTCD for next two editions. That seems to say we will meet for many meetings beginning now but not make significant changes until the 2025 edition. If true, why would state and local governments approve travel to our meetings.

    Said and done.

  12. The statutes and regulations regarding traffic control devices and their application are for the purpose of developing and implementing a uniform system of traffic control devices, and the purpose of the MUTCD is to serve as a complete and authoritative reference for the the application, design, use and operation of this system.

    We should consider a lesson learned many years ago by the railroads. The railroads have uniformity issues equivalent, at least, to those which we face in the highway mode. Their issues involve many aspects of their business including track, tunnel and bridge engineering; criteria for car clearances; interoperability of signals and communications; and handling cars at interchange, to name a few.

    The word “standard” is not used in that industry. Although every aspect of railroad engineering and operation is addressed through the American Railway Engineering and Maintenance of Way Association (AREMA) and published in a voluminous Manual, the various aspects of their efforts are published as “Recommended Practices”. The AREMA Recommended Practices are applied to railroads in Canada, the US and Mexico.

    AREMA defines Recommended Practics as:

    “. . . a material, device, design, plan, specification, principle or practice recommended to the railways for use as required, either exactly as presented or with such modifications as may be necessary or desirable to meet the needs of individual railways, but in either event, with a view to promoting efficiency and economy in the location, construction, operation or maintenance of railways. It is not intended to imply that other practices may not be equally acceptable.”

    If we are able to develop some similar terms or definitions for the MUTCD, it would go a long way toward resolving the current issues surrounding the current levels of mandate.

    And, we need to continually keep the most basicquestion in Traffic Engineering in mind. It is, “What does the driver see?”.

  13. Item 68a and Appendix B. I concur with Scott Wainwright’s comments dated August 2nd and his proposed changes to the draft Vision and Strategic Plan. Scott’s proposals are to delete Item 68a and to make changes to Appendix B.
    The perception that the 2009 MUTCD is much more prescriptive has taken on a life of its own – without underlying evidence to support the contention that the 2009 edition is more prescriptive. Scott presents objective data to show that the perception is untrue.
    Scott Wainwright’s analysis shows that the increase in “shalls” is mostly the result of new material added to the Manual, rather than a large “swing” in the use of “shalls” that reduces the ability to use engineering judgment.

    I have attempted to dig a little deeper into “the weeds”. The number of “shalls” in the 2009 edition is 914 more than in 2003. Scott reports that 762 of 914 new “shalls” were the result of the addition of new topics and new devices that were not in the 2003 MUTCD. I asked Scott if it would be correct to conclude that the balance of 152 “shalls” reflected instances in which the MUTCD became more prescriptive (such as changing from “should” to “shalls”). Here is Scott’s reply.
    “There was a lot of re-writing, reorganization, repetition, etc. of 2003 text that took place in producing the 2009 editions. I feel certain that there weren’t 152 “should” or “mays” that got strengthened to “shalls”. I believe most of the 152 resulted from consciously deciding to repeat certain sentences in a given section into a different section and/or different part – for emphasis, for clarity, to make it easier on users by eliminating the need to follow a cross-reference back to a different place in the Manual. I think some others resulted from re-writing sentences for clarity and in doing so it resulted in some additional “shalls” — not more actual requirements, but more occurrences of the word.”

    Scott concluded by stating that he felt that instances in which “should” were upgraded to “shalls” probably constituted only about a one percent increase in the number of “shalls”.

    The above information further emphasizes that the 2009 edition did not “tighten the screws” and impose more requirements to the extent that many believe.

    General: Dwight Kingsbury makes many good points in his comments submitted on August 20th. My following comments complement Dwight’s comments and emphasize the need for the Vision and Strategic Plan to say more about streamlining.
    As of late June, 2013 the focus of the Federal Highway Administration is on “streamlining” the MUTCD. “Streamlining” undoubtedly means different things to different people. To some, the concept of “streamlining” may simply equate to creating an MUTCD that is smaller in size. A better description of “streamlining” – in my view – would be: “improving the ease of use of the MUTCD”. There are a variety of ways in which ease of use could be improved. The following is a partial list of ways included in Chung Eng’s June 27 presentation to the National Committee.
    • Develop smart search apps
    • Improve organization of content; reorganize content where opportunities for improving flow are identified
    • Eliminate redundancy and unnecessary language
    • Provide cross-indexing
    • Provide info in modular or tabular format
    • Provide more hotlinks and pop-ups
    • Better position figures with associated text
    • Use more summary tables and figures to reduce text
    • Reorganize / reconfigure existing figures to better manage space

    The 20-Year Vision and Strategic Plan is almost completely silent on streamlining. Item 61 points out that “The MUTCD is a large and complex document.” Item 67 notes that “The size of the MUTCD can make it challenging to use….”. Item 69 states that “There is a need to reduce complexity of the MUTCD….” and offers some ways to do so. However, the Vision and the Strategic Plan make no recommendations for streamlining the MUTCD. The Strategic Plan description makes no recommendations on streamlining for any of the proposed editions of the MUTCD – 2018, 2025, or 2033 – other than smart tags for the 2033 edition. This is a major shortcoming.

    I suggest that an additional Item be added under Fundamental Recommendations in the Recommended Vision.

    Item 5XX. The MUTCD should be produced in the form, format, and content that provides the best possible ease of use by the user.

    I suggest that Item 808 be revised as follows.

    Item 808. The emphasis areas for developing the 2018 MUTCD should be:
    a. restructuring of the levels of mandate within the 2009 MUTCD;
    b. streamlining the MUTCD to improve ease of use.

    I also suggest that a new item be added, as follows.

    Item 8XX. Streamlining can include, but not be limited to, the following approaches to improve ease of use of the MUTCD.
    a. Develop smart search apps
    b. Improve organization of content; reorganize content where opportunities for improving flow are identified
    c. Eliminate redundancy and unnecessary language
    d. Provide cross-indexing
    e. Provide info in modular or tabular format
    f. Provide more hotlinks and pop-ups
    g. Better position figures with associated text
    h. Use more summary tables and figures to reduce text
    i. Reorganize / reconfigure existing figures to better manage space
    j. Improve consistency on what information about devices is presented
    k. Provide subheadings to help a user find information on a particular subtopic

  14. No. 537, I would like to see all new devices added to the MUTCD as optional and kept there for a least one full cycle before becoming recommended and at least two full cycles before becoming mandatory. This way, the agencies who are having the problems that the devices are designed to address can use them while the agencies not having the problems can schedule upgrades more systematically, assuming that they ever do become universal. This also would help to avoid some of the issues mentioned by various of the State DOT’s whereby FHWA made them prioritize their safety priorities (through the Strategic Highway Safety Plans), which having approved, FHWA then preempted by forcing resources to spent making devices uniform despite demonstrated safety needs elsewhere.

    No. 551, the cost of updating infrastructure should look not only at items mandated by the MUTCD but also at costs due to industry trends and other government agencies. A perfect example of this is the changes pedestrian heads. The mandated change from Walk/Don’t Walk to Man/Hand generally coincided with the industry wide shift to LED, resulting in a smooth upgrade at fairly minimal additional cost (it helped that Man/Hand had been an option since at least the 1989 MUTCD). The change to countdown is being a lot more painful as all of the new LED pedestrian signals are being forced out long before the end of their useful service life.

    I did not see it covered in any of the bullets, however I think that the practice of providing compliance dates for MUTCD changes should be resurrected. If the costs of implementing a specific change within a reasonable time are astronomical, perhaps FHWA should reconsider whether the change being discussed is really all that important.

    In terms of restructuring the MUTCD so that portions are not adopted by a formal rule-making, I fear that within a few short years the non-mandatory portions of the MUTCD will have not of been updated in a timely fashion, resulting in ever-growing inconsistencies between the mandatory portion and the other portion. This worry is based in part on FHWA’s seeming inability to publish the Standard Highway Signs and Marking book in time to support a new MUTCD edition and in part from seeing what has happened to documents like the Traffic Control Devices Handbook.

  15. General Note: The MUTCD authors need to be aware that automated (autonomous, self-driving, driverless) vehicle technology is advancing at such a rapid rate that Google have indicated that they aspire to have vehicle technology capable of unmanned operation in public hands by 2017. Having researched this subject in depth and breadth for the last two years, and attended the TRB Workshop on Road Vehicle Automation on both years that it has been held I am satisfied that this Google aspiration is both credible and highly probable. This therefore potentially impacts on the MUTCD in a number of interesting ways – not least of which we would have a completely new type of road user that was never envisaged in the previous incarnations of this document. Following I will refer to vehicles capable of NHTSA Level 4 automation as Automated Vehicles (AVs):

    Page 33, Chpt 3, 528. Section 1A.XX Target Road Users:
    Suggest a new sub-section ‘c.’ that encompasses this completely new type of road user – it would be best to refer to the laws in Nevada, Florida, California and District of Columbia for the appropriate definitions.

    Page 45, Chpt 3, 544
    Given the transformative nature of AVs, and their potential to dominate road transportation in possibly as few as 15 years, then it may be appropriate to consider a major revision of the MUTCD well in advance of 8-10 years.
    This could be seen as an outworking of 545, d.

    Page 69, line 6
    Change: “Fully automated vehicles on selected major facilities” to simply “Fully automated vehicles capable of unmanned travel” or, “Fully automated vehicles capable of NHTSA Level 4 automation.”
    Google have categorically stated that they are developing their technology to operate on the existing road network, and to not require any specific infrastructure changes. To suggest that their use be limited to ‘major facilities’ therefore seems to be seeking to lead the technology development, and inappropriate.

    When both the Automated and Connected Vehicle Technologies are considered, as well as the potential for the implementation of Automated Vehicle Zones where manually driven vehicles will only be permitted in certain circumstances, then a whole new area of the MUTCD could be developed where the primary aim is to communicate the road scenario to a ‘robot’, rather than to humans.

  16. This is to propose inclusion of an item in the section on “MUTCD Structure” to recommend reorganization of some MUTCD sections for purposes of enhancing consistency of presentation of device information.

    After the summer 2013 NCUTCD meeting, Jonathan Upchurch called my attention to the fact that, although FHWA’s presentation at the meeting expressed interest in pursuing their initiative to “streamline” and simplify use of the MUTCD (without splitting the Manual, as they had initially proposed) and suggested various reorganizational measures that might be undertaken to accomplish this, the current draft VSP says almost nothing about streamlining.

    The draft acknowledges the difficulty of using the current Manual in a number of items. Item 56 describes a few of the Manual’s organizational characteristics that challenge users. Item 59 asserts a need “to improve the structure and organization” of the MUTCD. Item 69 observes that the MUTCD is “complex, cumbersome, and challenging to use”.

    In the section on “MUTCD Structure”, item 538 discusses use of smart tags (as an internal cross-referencing tool) to simplify use of the MUTCD, but no other measure for simplifying use is mentioned. Even with smart tags, lack of consistency in the presentation of information about different devices and applications, and the sheer piling on of quantities of text in some sections, without content-related subheadings or other navigational aids, would still challenge users.

    In their NCUTCD presentation, FHWA included a list of ideas for “streamlining” the Manual that included  

    -Improve organization of content; reorganize content where opportunities for improving flow are identified
    -Provide info in modular or tabular format

    Presumably modular or tabular formatting might minimally involve identifying the topics of portions of existing text within a section (e.g., “Device purpose” or “Intended meaning”, “Device design”, “Criteria for use”, “Placement”, “Combination with related devices”, “Co-installation with other device(s)”, “Alternate device/treatment for same purpose”, etc.) by means of subheadings, or labels in a parallel table column or in the margins, or organization of topics within labeled text boxes and sidebars.

    While such a modular or tabular reformatting should be helpful, it would allow (in a minimal implementation, with no changes in existing text of a section) existing inconsistencies in the types of information presented in different sections and chapters to remain, with resulting potential for confusion. By making such inconsistencies more apparent, it might conceivably even increase potential for confusion, by allowing unintended inferences (i.e., by suggesting that if a given section has nothing to say about some aspect of usage of a discussed device, even though the same aspect of usage is clearly addressed in a nearby section that describes other devices, then the Manual has nothing to say about that aspect for the given device).

    In some sections, for example, the Manual explicitly discusses placement of a device, whereas other sections that describe devices are silent about placement, because placement guidelines are provided in a separate section the Manual user is expected to be familiar with or, at least, to find and consult. Similarly, many sections present specific criteria for use of a device, whereas the criterion in 1A.08 P03 is mentioned only in that section; any user contemplating use of a regulatory device is presumed to be familiar with that section.

    Other inconsistencies involve the way in which an optional use is allowed or implied. In many sections, an Option statement explicitly allows some application of a device. In 2C.50, though, a Standard statement (P04) describes a condition on the use of certain non-vehicular warning signs at (pedestrian, snowmobile, and equestrian) crossing locations, even though no preceding Option statement in the section mentions permission of such use; the Standard statement implicitly indicates that some otherwise undescribed applications are permitted, functioning as a de facto combination Standard-Option statement. Such inconsistencies blur the function of Standard statements and lend support to the “permissive” interpretation of device usage (i.e., that plausible but unmentioned uses of an optional device are permissible unless explicitly prohibited).

    Therefore, beyond simply reorganizing content for better “flow” within sections, and reformatting content within sections, it may be helpful to make sections more self-contained by incorporating, where this is not already done, a brief (hotlinked) reference to content relevant to a device that is presented in another section. Also, where permission to use an (otherwise unmentioned) application of a device is presently implied by a Standard or Guidance statement, it may be helpful to introduce a preceding Option statement that explicitly allows the application.

    Such additions to sections might superficially seem inconsistent with FHWA’s suggestion (for streamlining) to “Eliminate redundancy and unnecessary language”. However, “redundant” text included in some sections may well have been motivated by a recognition of the confusion and oversights that can arise when aspects of usage of a device are addressed in other sections not referenced in the section that most specifically introduces and describes use of the device. If “device-introducing” sections were reformatted in a more self-contained modular or tabular fashion, the presentation would not necessarily increase the length of the Manual, because such formatting can eliminate the need for complete sentences. Instead of using a complete sentence to refer the user to section NL.NN for some aspect of device usage, for example, a simple link to “NL.NN” could be inserted in an appropriately labeled table cell (e.g., “Placement”).

    Such reorganization and formatting could make the MUTCD a more “transparent” document.

    I therefore suggest that a new item be inserted in the section on “MUTCD Structure”, following item 538, to address streamlining measures. The new item could quote or paraphrase the bullet points quoted above (as Jonathan discussed with me–I think he intends to post another comment here), but should additionally clarify that reorganization could be undertaken not merely for purposes of “improving flow”, as FHWA seems to anticipate, but for purposes of increasing the consistency of presentation in sections primarily concerned with introducing and describing specific devices, as discussed above. This could be done by including, in the new item’s list of streamlining measures, some wording like:

    “Improve the consistency of presentation in sections that introduce use of specific devices, by exploiting modular or tabular reformatting to include internal links to make such sections more consistently self-contained and transparent, and to present all optional applications as explicit Options”.

  17. 540 “should be structured as a multi-volume single document” Keep the MUTCD as a single document single volume.

  18. Section 1A.XX

    Do NOT use Shall, Must, Should, May, and Ought.

    Stay with Shall, Should, and May.

    Also while it is rare, a traffic engineer should be able to change a “shall” based on an engineering study.

  19. Chaptrer 3 Chapter Namer Recommended Vision page 32 Lines 37-39
    Excellent point, agree completely. Need to further expand by bringing the comments from Appendix F into this section.

    Recommendations shown in bold letters

    “507. Traffic control device principles should:
    a. Consider the needs of all road users, but should not be expected to accommodate 100 percent of the needs of 100 percent of road users 100 percent of the time:”

    ADD:
    i. the road user is expected to behave in a reasonable, prudent and lawful manner and,
    ii. the road user is expected to be attentive to the task at hand when traveling the right of way and not distracted or under the influence and,
    iii. the road user is using the right of way as intended and not for other purposes such as play, protests, sale of merchandise etc.

    Chapter 3 Chapter Name Recommended Vision Page 32 Lines 42-44
    b. Account for human factors concepts such as expectancy, visual performance, comprehension, detection, and reaction time.
    i. Auditory, and tactile perception are additional human factors concepts that relate to pedestrians that may need to be accounted for.

    ADD: (taken from a)

    ii. The ADA and the associated regulations establish requirements that must be met for certain traffic control devices

    Appendix F Appendix Name: Target Groups of Drivers Page 71 Lines 8-18
    Appendix is well written and covers critical information. It suggested to convert “Driver” to “road user” as noted to cover all persons that use the right of way.

    There are some (drivers) road users that agencies may not be able to accommodate.

    Examples include:

    • (Drivers) Road users who are not: operating a vehicle, riding a bicycle or walking in a legal, reasonable and prudent manner. This includes:
    (Drivers) Road users who are intoxicated, under the influence or otherwise legally impaired,
    Drivers who do not have a driver’s license,
    (Drivers) Road users who are not operating in accordance with the law or that are not complying with traffic control devices, and/or
    • Drivers who are not properly trained to operate a vehicle. This includes:
    Drivers who may have a license in another country but who are not familiar with driving practices in the U.S.,

  20. This is the first of several comments I will submit on the July 18, 2013 “ballot version” of the MUTCD Vision and Strategic Plan (VSP). Others will follow later. This comment is in regard to item 68.a. and Appendix B, which is referenced in item 68.a.

    I recommend that:

    – Item 68.a. needs to be deleted in its entirety, and

    – The last 2 sentences (lines 18-22) of the 2nd paragraph on page 59 in Appendix B should be re-written to say: “The number of shall and should statements in the 2009 MUTCD has grown significantly from the 2003 MUTCD, as shown in Table 3. This increase is due predominantly to the addition of new devices and new topics that were not in the 2003 edition, such as flashing yellow and flashing red arrow turn signal displays, automated flagger assistance devices (AFADs), toll road/toll plaza signing, signing for managed lanes, community wayfinding signs, and more than 50 other unique new devices or revisions in devices that were deemed by NCUTCD and/or FHWA as being needed to address new technology, emerging new applications such as electronic toll collection, and device improvements as found effective by research (see Table 4.)”

    – I also recommend that a new Table 4 be added to Appendix B, immediately after Table 3. Table 4 would be titled “New Topics Added to MUTCD Resulting in New Shalls in 2009 Edition” and the table would include this data:
    Chp. or Sect. # New Subject Matter Shalls Added in New Material
    1A.13 Definitions – added terms defined 9 (note 1)
    2B.27 Jughandle Regulatory Signs 5
    2B.35 Slow Vehicle Turnout Regulatory Signs 1
    2B.43, 44, 45 Roundabout Regulatory Signs 5
    2B.68 Gates (other than RR xing) 7
    2C.06-2C.10 Horiz Alignment Warning Signs – revs 6
    2C.35 added Depth Gauge sign 2
    2C.37 added Ramp Metered When Flashing sign 1
    2C.43 new W9-7 sign 1
    2C.62 NEW plaque 2
    2D.27 Lane Designation Aux Signs 3
    2D.33 Combin. Lane-Use/Destin. Overhd Guide Sign 6
    2D.38 Destination Signs at Rdbts 2
    2D.39 Destination Signs at Jughandles 1
    2D.50 Community Wayfinding Signs 36
    2E.20, 21, 23 Option Lane Guide signs 27
    Chp 2F Toll Road Signs 60
    2G.01-07, 09-15 Reorg & Amplific of Pref Lane Signing material 17 (note 2)
    2G.08 Pref Lane Warning Signs on Median Barriers 3
    2G.16, 17, 18 Managed Lane Signing 35
    2H.08 Acknowledgement Signs 12
    2I.04 Interstate Oasis Signs 4
    2J.01 added 24-hr Pharm signs 5
    2J.09 Specific Svc Trailblazer Signs 8
    Chp. 2L Changeable Message Signs 16
    3B.04, 3B.05 Dotted Lines for Non-continuing Lanes 4
    3B.17 Do Not Block Intersection Mkngs 2
    3B.22 Speed Reduction Mkngs 3
    3B.24 Chevron & Diag X-Hatch Mkngs 6
    Chp. 3C Roundabout Mkngs 5
    Chp. 3E Mkngs for Toll Plazas 5
    Chp. 3H Channeliz Devices for Mkng Pattern Emphasis 5
    Chp. 3J Rumble Strip Mkngs 3
    4C.10 New Warrant #9 4
    4D.08 Added u-turn arrow indications 4
    4D.04, 4D.17-25 New mat’l on LT Phasing Displays (FYA & FRA) 223
    4E.09-4E.13 Accessible Ped Signals & Detectors – revs 39
    Chp. 4F Ped Hybrid Beacons 19
    4G.04 Emergency-Vehicle Hybrid Beacons 11
    Chp. 4K Hwy Trf Signals at Toll Plazas 4
    6D.03, 6E.02 added High-Vis Safety Apparel 10
    6E.03 added flashlight method of flagging 8
    6E.04, 05, 06 AFADs 64
    6F.60 Portable CMS 13
    6F.63-6F.68 Channelizing Devices 15
    8A.07 Quiet Zones 1
    8B.04 Stop & Yield Signs at Passive Xings 11
    8C.07 Wayside Horns for RR & LRT Grade Crossings 1
    Chp 8D Pathway Xings 16
    9B.09 Bikeway Selective Exclusion Signs 1
    9B.20 Bicycle Destination Signs 5
    9B.24 Bikeway Ref Location Signs 5
    9C.07 Shared Lane Mkngs 1

    TOTAL ADDED 762

    Note 1: 19 in 2009 vs. 10 in 2003 (incl Parts 1, 4, 9 defns)
    Note 2: 83 in 2009 vs. 67 in 2003 (46 in 2B + 21 in 2E)

    Reason for recommendations: On lines 18-22 on page 59 of Appendix B, which is referenced in item 68.a., the increase in the number of shalls by 914 from the 2003 to the 2009 edition is given as the basis for the statement that the 2009 edition is “more prescriptive” than the 2003 edition and is “very prescriptive in nature”, and (as stated in item 68.b.) this has reduced the ability to exercise engineering judgment. I have conducted a comprehensive analysis of the sources of the 914 additional shalls and have found that those statements made in Appendix B and item 68.a. are incorrect and highly misleading. My analysis found that 83 percent (762 of 914) of the new shalls are the result of the addition of new topics and new devices that were not in the 2003 MUTCD. The specific data is in the new Table 4 recommended above. As can be seen, the new topics and devices are those that were recommended by NCUTCD between 2003 and 2007 (pre-NPA for the 2009 edition) or that were developed by FHWA for urgent new emerging applications (electronic toll collection and other toll road signing issues, managed lanes, etc.) that NCUTCD had not yet been able to address. It is noteworthy that 223 of the 914 new shalls were a result of adding the new flashing yellow arrow and flashing red arrow turn signal displays recommended by NCUTCD and reorganizing the text on turn signal displays to be more logical and useable. None of the flashing arrow turn signal displays are required to be used, but if an agency chooses to install them, then the associated shall statements become operative, just as is the case with the vast majority of devices in the MUTCD.

    My analysis also found that, of the 914 new shalls, the NCUTCD’s docket comments only disagreed with 101 and the NCUTCD actually recommended 68 additional shalls (that were not in the NPA) in its docket comments. (Spreadsheets with this data can be provided upon request.) It is an underlying but unstated theme of Appendix B that FHWA has forced so many additional shalls into the 2009 edition and has made the document “much more prescriptive” but the facts show that is not the case. In fact, the vast majority of the new shalls were either recommended by or agreed to by NCUTCD, and the vast majority of them were due to new topics and devices being added – not from increasing the mandate level of 2003 shoulds and mays to shalls. It is highly incorrect and misleading to characterize the 2009 edition as being more prescriptive and allowing less engineering judgment. The statements in Appendix B need to be revised as recommended above and item 68.a. needs to be deleted.

  21. 1. Items 540 to 543. Suggest substituting the word “Division” for the word “Volume” in all four Items and re-write Item 540 as follows.

    “540. The MUTCD for the mid-2030s should be structured as a single document with three major divisions, as listed below and as described in Items 541 through 543.
    a. Division 1: Definitions, Meaning, and Appearance
    b. Division 2: Use, Operation, and Removal
    c. Division 3: Installation and Maintenance (Typical Applications)”

    Reason for Suggestion: To most people the word “Volume” means a separately bound book. Thus, when readers read Items 540 to 543 [in the July 18 version] they will think that the MUTCD would be divided into three separate documents. My understanding of the intent of Item 540 is to have a single document, but the July 18 version wording is confusing.

    2. Add the following item after existing Item 8.
    “Item XX. Advancements leading to improved traffic control devices can be identified through research.”

    3. Add the following item after existing Item 515.
    “Item XXX. The FHWA and the National Committee should continue to advocate for traffic control device research that will evaluate the effectiveness of existing and proposed traffic control devices.
    “Basis for recommendation: Improvements to traffic control devices can be identified through research.”

    4. Item 519b. I strongly, strongly agree with this. There have been instances in the past in which changes to the Manual were made that were based on research that was not of the quality to achieve peer-reviewed publication.

    5, Item 526. Suggest adding an item d that reads as follows: “Promote safety and mobility for all road users to the greatest extent practicable.”

    6. Item 530. Revise a. to read, “a. Meaning: The message the device is intended to convey and the expected road user response to the device.”

    7. Item 533. If the concepts for Uniform Standard, Consistent Standard, and Preference are adopted, I suggest an alternative to the proposed use of “must” and “ought”. I suggest that Consistent Standards statements continue to use the term “shall” and that the passages of Consistent Standards be highlighted with a subtle shading. I suggest that Preference statements use the word “can” and that the passages of Preference statements be highlighted with a subtle shading (different color than Consistent Standard statements). The reasons for this suggestion are described in the following paragraphs.

    Reason for Suggestion: I am not yet comfortable with the words “must” and “ought”. While I know that the MUTCD can define terms as it wishes (i.e., a term could be defined differently in the MUTCD than the commonly accepted definition), I think it would be more logical to rely on the commonly accepted definitions. Below are the synonyms given in my WORD thesaurus for the terms must, should, and ought.

    must means should, need, want

    should means must, would, ought, ought to, have to

    ought means must, should, have to

    There is very little difference in the meaning of these three words. I wish that we could identify alternative words for must and ought, but I have been unsuccessful in identifying better alternatives.

    It is also worth pointing out that the word “must” is already used roughly 50 times in the MUTCD. Thus, using “must” in Consistent Standard statements, while it is also being used in about 50 other locations in the Manual would introduce some confusion.

    8. Item 533. If Uniform Standard and Consistent Standard are adopted, there needs to be a definition of Uniformity and a definition of Consistency or at least an explanation of these concepts (these concepts are described in Item 17). Existing Section 1A.06 – Uniformity of Traffic Control Devices may need to be revised, and also expanded to include Consistency.

    9. Items 4, 5, 67, 67a, 72a, 530. Reason for Suggestion: I have discomfort with “meaning” and “appearance/design” being described as “activities”. Application, installation, operation, maintenance, and removal are activities that are carried out by the USER of the MUTCD. “Meaning” and “Appearance/design” are not activities carried out by a user of the Manual, but, rather, are determined by the UVC or the writers of the MUTCD. I suggest the revisions shown in following paragraphs. I’ve looked at subsequent use of the term “activities” within the VSP document and I think my suggestion is consistent with the use of the term “activities” in nearly all locations within the VSP document. In those few locations where it is not, I have made suggestions for additional revisions. By the way, “activities”, as used in Item 4 is not a term that is currently used in this fashion in the MUTCD.

    9a Item 4. Revise to read:
    “The characteristics associated with traffic control devices include the following:
    a. Meaning: The meaning of a specific device and the expected road user response to the device.
    b. Appearance/Design: The general physical characteristics of a specific device as it appears to the road user. These characteristics include color, shape, legend, and the relative position and layout of individual elements.”

    9b New Item 5. A new Item 5 would consist of the remainder. I.e.,

    “The activities associated with traffic control devices include the following:
    a. Application/ Use: The process….
    b.
    c. etc. “

    9c Item 67. Suggest changing to: “MUTCD content addresses the characteristics of, and various activities associated with, the use of traffic….”

    9d Item 67a. Suggest changing to: “…likely a function of which of these characteristics or activities the principle is related to.”

    9e Item 72a. Change to read, “…in the MUTCD related to the characteristics and activities of…”

    9f Item 530. Consistent with my suggestion for Item 4, divide this proposed new section of the Manual into two new sections, as follows.

    “Section 1A.XX Traffic Control Device Characteristics. The characteristics associated with traffic control devices are:
    a. Meaning: The message the device is intended to convey and the expected road user response to the device.
    b. Appearance: The general physical characteristics of a specific device as it appears to the road user. These characteristics include color, shape, legend, and the relative position and layout of individual elements.”

    “Section 1A.XX Traffic Control Device Activities The activities associated with traffic control devices are:
    a. Use: The process….
    b. Installation: The process…
    c. Operation: The process…
    d. Maintenance: The process…
    e. Removal: The process….”

  22. COMMENTS ON

    20-YEAR VISION AND STRATEGIC PLAN

    July 18, 2013 Ballot Version

    Ray Lewis

    Traffic Engineering Division
    WVDOT, Division of Highways

    1. A discussion of the purpose of the MUTCD has been prepared and is attached..

    2. Page 13, Lines 28-33(Item 32): I strongly concur in the need to reinstitute the National Committee on Uniform Traffic Laws and Ordinances (NCUTLO). Traffic engineers tend to think of this body only in terms of the Rules of the Road, but the Uniform Vehicle Code and Model Traffic Ordinance deal with all aspects of vehicles and operators, including titling; registration; equipment; enforcement; municipal traffic court operations, and others. Perhaps, if others are not interested, it could be housed within AAMVA or the national Governors’ Safety program. The NCUTLO could possibly be a subcommittee of the NCUTCD, but it would severely narrow its scope.

    3. Page 8, Lines 25-37 (Item 6): It took a lot of chutzpa for the Federal Highway Administration to extend the reach of the MUTCD to private property. Neither West Virginia nor approximately 30 other States have the authority to enforce such a rule. The WEST VIRGINIA CODE, for instance, specifies that the “system of traffic control devices” is applicable only on State-maintained highways and other publicly-maintained roads.

    4. Page 13, Item 32: Since this section deals with challenges, it is appropriate to include private property rights (see previous entry) and third parties over whom the State Code provides for limited authority (such as the railroads).

    5. Page 11, Lines 19-21 (Item 32): See previous entries.

    6. Page 14, Lines 12-17 (Item 33): This discussion raises the question of Part V of the MUTCD, “Low Volume Roads”. This Part needs to be removed. It serves little purpose when a subdivision of 25 homes, by itself, will generate sufficient volume to move the road out of the “low-volume” category.

    7. Page 16, Lines7-38 (Item 44): The division of content into Standards, Guidance, Options and Support makes the MUTCD difficult to read. It is also subject to twisting and misinterpretation in a litigation setting. Further, the “Levels of Mandate” can be contradictory, at least upon first reading.

    8. Page 17, Lines 27 and 28: There is indeed a need to evaluate the purpose and content of the MUTCD. It additionally needs to be considered in the context of how it is actually used. The MUTCD is nothing more than a reference document. The driver population, for the most part, will recognize and understand nearly all traffic control devices and react correctly. Six and seven year olds are taught about traffic control devices when they go to a Safety City. A technician with only a modicum of training can properly place, space and install most devices with only light supervision by an engineer. The engineer or designer can nearly always make field decisions without having to refer each one to the MUTCD. The Manual needs to be available but it is not, in practice, consulted regarding every decision every day.

    9. Page 18, Lines 6-8 (Item 56): The MUTCD needs to be reformatted to its pre-2000 layout of clear, readable text; shall, should and may statements as absolutely necessary, and without arcane standards which it may or may not be possible to apply or to conform to in every situation.

    10. Page 20, Lines 44-46 (Item 70): “The desire to avoid tort liability risks leads to the creation of more specific MUTCD language/content, which can reduce the flexibility to make engineering decisions”. This has the potential of generating more, not less, exposure when it becomes necessary to improve a non-standard situation, which most are.

    11. Page 24, Lines 28-30 (Item 79): The MUTCD does not have to be all things to all people. It needs to be a clearly written reference document which can be read and understood by the traffic engineering community, who would have the responsibility and the ability to explain it to other interested parties and/or the public as needs arise.

    12. Page 27, Lines 30-32 (Item 98): “Rulemaking for the new MUTCD creates the potential for numerous challenges with respect to unintended consequences of insufficiently coordinated content”. . . Not to mention the effects on uniformity when changes are adopted but must be phased in over time due to costs, and the potential for adoption of devices and/or practices that are insufficiently reviewed or researched.

    13. Page 28, Lines 30-32 (Item 105): The answer to the size of the changes associated with a new edition of the MUTCD is simple: Subject the proposed changes to a more rigorous evaluation and review before offering them for inclusion.

    14. Page 28, Lines 31-37 (Item 104): This paragraph summarizes the situation regarding MUTCD revisions. The bar needs to be raised considerably.
    .
    15. See also Pages 1A-5 through 1A-7 of the 1988 MUTCD, as revised by Revision 5. This procedure works if it is not bypassed.

    16. Page 29, Lines 18-20 (Item 112): The most appropriate owner would be ITE. Failing that, AASHTO would be the next choice.

    17. Page 30, Lines 37-38 (Item 121): Failure to apply the procedures already in place opens the door to improper and/or inappropriate devices and practices.

    18. Page 35, Lines 32-45 (Item 519): I wholeheartedly support this Guiding Rule. Had it been followed this exercise would not be necessary.

    19. Page 40, Lines11-16 (Item 535): I disagree. Traffic engineers are seldom attorneys. Two steps are necessary: Reactivate the NCUTLO; and document decisions and exceptions to standards in accordance with good engineering practice.

    20. Page 40, Lines 17-42 (Item 536): The MUTCD content recommended would be expected to complicate matters even further. We need to abandon the current scheme of breaking the material apart and ranking the fragments by mandate.

    21. Page 49, Lines 17-35 (Items 801, 802, 803): Unless a specific question must be answered, I don’t feel there is anything to be gained from such inquiries. This time could be better spent on the subject of documentation. WHAT do you document; WHO does the documentation; and WHERE should it be filed? All States have some version of a Tort Claims Act, but all have different legal environments, and tort law is predominately governed by case law rather than by statute law. Also, too many engineers, when confronted with something different, have a propensity to let the fear of liability govern their actions. We should NOT encourage this viewpoint. The best way to avoid liability is to do the best engineering possible, and document your decisions.

    Attachment
    Purpose of the MUTCD

    Gene Hawkins made a comment early in his material that rang true. That is, that no one has ever specified the exact purpose of the MUTCD. This dispatched several trains of thought on my part; I decided that two are especially pertinent to the process.

    First, although we adopt the MUTCD by Commissioner’s Order in accordance with Federal and State laws, what we are REALLY adopting is a system of traffic control devices which is described by the MUTCD. We have been wrangling among ourselves and with the FHWA over a supporting document rather than the desired product, which is the physical traffic control system on the road and street network. The MUTCD states as much in Section 1A.09:

    Standard:
    This Manual describes the application of traffic control devices, but shall not be a legal requirement for their installation.

    Taking this to its logical conclusion, I recommend that the Purpose of the MUTCD be stated something like this:

    The purpose of the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices is to serve as a comprehensive reference covering the uniform design, placement and operation of traffic control devices. The MUTCD contains the information supporting the application of uniform traffic control devices or systems of devices. These devices and systems are those which are identified as being necessary or desirable for the regulation, warning or guidance of road users at a given location based on an engineering study or engineering judgment. Such engineering studies or exercise of engineering judgment must be performed in accordance with acceptable principles and practice. The MUTCD is not intended to establish a mandate for the installation of a traffic control device or devices.

    It has not been emphasized enough that the MUTCD establishes no legal mandate to use or not use a particular means of traffic control; and the “Shall” statements don’t “kick in” until the decision to use a particular device has been made.

    Up until the release of the 2000 MUTCD, I don’t believe that many traffic engineers saw the MUTCD as a regulatory document. The 1988 MUTCD had the words “shall”, “should”, and “may” in the text, but these words were used in the context of specific devices once they had been selected. Editions of the MUTCD prior to 2000 were written in the form of references, and the language and format did not translate well to the different environment and usage required.

    Sometime between 1988 and 2000, a good resource book hatched into something bad.

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