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Introduction to the MUTCD. 2009 Edition. Adam Larsen Safety Program Engineer FHWA Wyoming Division 307-771-2951 Logistics. Health and safety (emergency exits, procedures for evacuation, etc.) Please mute cell phones/Pagers Breaks (restrooms) Lunch arrangements

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Introduction to the MUTCD

2009 Edition

Adam Larsen

Safety Program Engineer

FHWA Wyoming Division


  • Health and safety (emergency exits, procedures for evacuation, etc.)
  • Please mute cell phones/Pagers
  • Breaks (restrooms)
  • Lunch arrangements
  • Other site-specific issues
  • Have you used the MUTCD?
    • 2003?
    • 2009?
self introductions
Self Introductions
  • Name
  • Agency
  • Title/Responsibilities
  • Why are you here?

Adam Larsen

Wyoming FHWA Safety Program Engineer


this is a workshop expect to do some work
This is a workshop!Expect to do some work!
  • Ask your questions as you have them.
    • Parking Lot
  • Work problems and exercises


  • Color code
  • References


2009 mutcd
2009 MUTCD
  • Final Rule adopted
    • In Federal Register
    • December 16, 2009

Federal Highway Administration

Office of Transportation Operations


2009 mutcd1
2009 MUTCD

500+ changes from the 2003 MUTCD.

compliance dates
Compliance Dates
    • Compliance dates are listed in Table I-2
    • Most devices need to conform only when undergoing heavy maintenance, replacement, or systematic upgrading.
  • Unless a particular device is no longer serviceable, non-compliant devices on existing highways and bikeways shall be brought into compliance with the current edition of the National MUTCD as part of the systematic upgrading of substandard traffic control devices (and installation of new required traffic control devices) required pursuant to the Highway Safety Program, 23 U.S.C. § 402(a).
  • In cases involving Federal-aid projects for new highway or bikeway construction or reconstruction, the traffic control devices installed (temporary or permanent) shall be in conformance with the most recent edition of the National MUTCD before that highway is opened or re-opened to the public for unrestricted travel [23 CFR 655.603(d)(2)].
new compliance dates table i 2
New Compliance Dates (Table I-2)
  • 2B.40 Qty and Location of One-Way Signs (2019)
  • 2C Horizontal Alignment Signs (2019)
  • 2D.45 Interchange Guide Sign Changes (2019)
  • 2E Left Hand Exit Changes (2014)
  • 3B Dotted Lane Lines (2016)
  • 4D & 4E Signal Timing Changes (2014)
  • 5C, 6D, 7D High Visibility Apparel (2011)
  • RR Crossing Changes (2019)
why a new mutcd
Why a New MUTCD?





mutcd history
MUTCD History
  • 1927 Manual and Specifications for Standard Road Markers and Signs (for rural roads)
  • 1930 Manual on Street Traffic Signs, Signals, and Markings (for urban streets)
  • 10 new MUTCD editions since
  • Highway Safety Act of 1966 – MUTCD becomes law
why a new mutcd1
Why a New MUTCD?








Traffic Operations

Technology Developments

what is the mutcd
What Is the MUTCD?

Manual on





what is the mutcd1
What Is the MUTCD?

National standard, mandatory by law, for all traffic control devices installed on any street, highway, or bicycle trail open to public travel.

Code of Federal Regulations: 23 CFR 655.603

Law for

Signs, Markings, Signals

big change mutcd applies to private roads that are open to public travel
BIG CHANGEMUTCD applies to private roads that are “open to public travel”

Toll roads and roads within shopping centers, airports, sports arenas, theme parks, and similar business or recreation facilities that are privately owned, but the public is allowed to travel without access restrictions

  • In simple terms:
    • Standard for all Traffic Control Devices for all Streets and Highways open to public travel
    • Federal Law (and adopted into State Law)
    • All agencies must comply
tcds defined
TCDs Defined
  • What?
    • Signs, signals, markings, and other devices
  • Why?
  • Where?
tcds defined1
TCDs Defined
  • What?
    • Signals, markings, and other devices
  • Why?
    • regulate, warn, or guide traffic
  • Where?
tcds defined2
TCDs Defined
  • What?
    • Signs, signals, markings, and other devices
  • Why?
    • regulate, warn, or guide traffic
  • Where?
    • placed on, over, or adjacent to a street, highway, or bikeway
section 1a 08 certain signs and other devices are not considered to be traffic control devices
Section 1A.08 – Certain signs and other devices are not considered to be traffic control devices

The OVERALL theme of the MUTCD is


with roadway users

why are tcd s important

Nighttime - few cues remain

Task more difficult

Daytime - many cues available

Driver task relatively easy

Why are TCD’s Important?
  • The way we communicate to road users
why is the mutcd important
Why Is the MUTCD Important?
  • Treating similar situations in a similar way
  • Promotes safe, efficient, orderly movement of all road users
  • Simplifies the task of the road user
  • Aids in recognition and understanding
  • Reduces perception/reaction time


mutcd language categories
MUTCD Language Categories
  • Standard
  • Guidance
  • Option
  • Support
  • A statement of required, mandatory, or specifically prohibitive practice regarding a traffic control device.
  • All standards are labeled, and the text appears in bold type.
  • The verb shall is typically used.
  • Standard statements are federal law (23CFR655).
  • A statement of recommended practice in typical situation, with deviations allowed if engineering judgment/study indicates the deviations are appropriate.
  • All Guidance statements are labeled and italicized.
  • The verb should is typically used.
  • A statement of a practice that is permitted. Options carry no requirement or recommendation.
  • Options may contain allowable modifications to a Standard or Guidance.
  • All Option statements are labeled.
  • The verbmay is typically used.
  • An informational statement that does not convey any degree of mandate, recommendation, authorization, prohibition, or enforceable condition.
  • Support statements are labeled.
  • The verbsshall, should, and may are not used in Support statements.
where can i get the mutcd
Where can I get the MUTCD?
  • FREE Online -- FHWA’s MUTCD website


  • Buy hard copy book from ITE, ATSSA, AASHTO
format of the 2009 mutcd
Format of the 2009 MUTCD

Paragraphs are numbered!Guidance statements are italicized