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Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices

Interim Approval 17 for the Optional Use of Three-Section Flashing Yellow Arrow Signal Faces

The FHWA has issued Interim Approval 17 that permits the optional use for a protected/permissive turn phase of a three-section flashing yellow arrow (FYA) signal face that uses the middle section to show both the FYA and the steady yellow arrow. Agencies may also continue to use the four-section FYA signal face for protected/permissive turn phases that is described in Sections 4D.20 and 4D.24. This interim approval has no impact on the use of a three-section FYA signal face for a permissive only turn phase as described in Sections 4D.18 and 4D.22.

Standard Highway Signs and Markings

The 2009 MUTCD sign layouts are available. The Federal Highway Administration has developed the design details of the new signs added in the 2009 Edition of the MUTCD and signs whose designs have been modified in the 2009 MUTCD. The new and modified designs are provided in the form of a 2012 Supplement to the 2004 Edition of Standard Highway Signs.

The Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices, or MUTCD defines the standards used by road managers nationwide to install and maintain traffic control devices on all public streets, highways, bikeways, and private roads open to public travel. The MUTCD is published by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) under 23 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), Part 655, Subpart F.

The MUTCD, which has been administered by the FHWA since 1971, is a compilation of national standards for all traffic control devices, including road markings, highway signs, and traffic signals. It is updated periodically to accommodate the nation's changing transportation needs and address new safety technologies, traffic control tools and traffic management techniques.

On December 16, 2009 a final rule adopting the 2009 Edition of the MUTCD was published in the Federal Register with an effective date of January 15, 2010. States must adopt the 2009 National MUTCD as their legal State standard for traffic control devices within two years from the effective date. The Federal Register notice, which provides detailed discussion of the FHWA's decisions on major changes from the 2003 edition, can be viewed at http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2009/pdf/E9-28322.pdf (PDF, 716KB).

FHWA does not print copies of the MUTCD. National organizations have partnered and printed hard copies of the MUTCD. These hard copies are available for sale. Go to ATSSA, ITE, AASHTO, or IMSA to get sales information.

On May 14, 2012 final rules adopting Revisions 1 and 2 of the 2009, MUTCD were published in the Federal Register with an effective date of June 13, 2012. The Federal Register notices, which provide detailed discussions of the FHWA's decisions can be viewed at:

  • Revision 1 - National Standards for Traffic Control Devices; the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices for Streets and Highways; Revision; Final Rule [FHWA Docket No. FHWA-2010-0170] (PDF 229KB, HTML)
  • Revision 2 - National Standards for Traffic Control Devices; the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices for Streets and Highways; Revision; Final Rule [FHWA Docket No. FHWA-2010-0159] (PDF 242KB, HTML)

The PDF version of the 2009 MUTCD with Revision Numbers 1 and 2 incorporated, dated May 2012 of the MUTCD is the most current edition of the official FHWA publication.

What's New

  • June 20, 2014: Federally-funded research was conducted by the Texas Transportation Institute (TTI) regarding the effectiveness of various flash patterns for Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacons (RRFBs). The initial experimentation with RRFBs that led to the eventual interim approval for this device only tested one relatively complex flash pattern. Before proposing to add this new device to the MUTCD, the FHWA was interested in finding out if a simpler flash pattern that included more dark time would be equally or more effective at getting motorists to stop for pedestrians at uncontrolled crossings. The TTI research showed that two different simpler flash patterns were just as effective as the currently-approved pattern. An overview of the study and an executive summary that provides the detailed results are available on the TTI Web site. One of the simpler flash patterns is approved for optional use based on an official interpretation.
  • On April 7, 2014, the FHWA issued a directive, Policy on Sponsorship Acknowledgment and Agreements within the Highway Right-of-Way, outlining the conditions under which Acknowledgment signing may be installed for the sponsorship various highway-related services. This directive is an update of the policy issued March 13, 2012. The directive can be viewed in the Policy Statements area.
  • On June 17, 2013, the FHWA published a Response to the Request for Comments in the Federal Register. The direct link to the June 17th Federal Register notice is http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2013-06-17/pdf/2013-14266.pdf. Given the lack of support from the MUTCD user community, the FHWA will not proceed with splitting the MUTCD into two documents at this time. Instead, the FHWA will focus on options that would make the MUTCD easier to use. The FHWA believes that focusing on these types of options while continuing to explore ways to enhance and streamline the current MUTCD updating process will best serve the user community. The FHWA will use the valuable information offered in the responses to guide its approach to updating the MUTCD.
  • On January 11, 2013, the FHWA published a Request for Comments (Docket ID: FHWA-2012-0118) in the Federal Register soliciting input on the option of splitting the material in the MUTCD into two separate documents in the interest of providing a simpler, streamlined MUTCD that would be easier to use, and if it is split, what are some of the potential formats for doing so. The direct link to the docket is http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=FHWA-2012-0118.

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