What is the MUTCD?

What is the MUTCD? 

     MUTCD stands for the”Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices.”  The purpose of the MUTCD is to set minimum standards for all Traffic Control Devices used on U.S. roads and highways.  Traffic Control Devices (TCD) include all road signs, highway markings, electronic traffic signals, railroad crossings, and road-way construction zone areas.    State and local transportation planners and traffic engineers refer to the MUTCD as they design our roads and highways in order to provide clear driving instructions for motorists and pedestrians.  It is crucial to improving safety and mobility of all road users.  This is accomplished by creating a recognized standard of road-way communication for users across America to promote safety, reduce crashes, and improve traffic flow.  Road signs and markings throughout the United States are uniform in size, shape and color.  People can drive with confidence in unfamiliar areas of the country because the signs and road markings communicate a familiar, clear and concise message. Travelers from Washington State can rely on their knowledge of traffic markings when driving in Florida.  Whether traveling near your home or in a different town a red octagon or red circle means STOP;  orange signs warn of road construction areas; and  double white lines on a two lane road indicate a no passing zone.   

     As you can see, it is very important that all public and private roads comply with the MUTCD standards so that the safest possible environment is available for travelers.  The MUTCD is the U.S national standard for using traffic control devices, but State transportation agencies differ in the way in which they comply with the MUTCD standards.  Some States adopt the MUTCD as their State standard, some States adopt the MUTCD with supplements, and other States create their own State Traffic Control Device manuals based on the MUTCD standards.  When a new edition or revision of the MUTCD is issued, States have 2 years to adopt it, with or without a State supplement, or to adopt a State MUTCD that is in substantial conformance with the new edition of the National MUTCD.  States must adopt the new 2009 edition by January 15, 2012.  Adoption Status of the 2009 National MUTCD by States.  Non-compliance of the MUTCD can result in loss of federal-aid funds and increase of liability. 

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