New Regulations Under the MUTCD

The Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices, also known as the MUTCD, is the national standard for traffic control devices on all streets, highways, and other public roads. The MUTCD provides the purpose and application of traffic control devices such as signs, roadway striping, and traffic signals. In December of 2023, the Federal Highway Administration released the eleventh edition of the MUTCD. With the new edition come updated regulations and implementations of traffic control devices.

One of the many changes within the eleventh edition of the MUTCD is the Guidelines for Advance Placement of Warning signs. At Sain Associates, this chart is used on a daily basis for projects such as Road Safety Audits to determine the correct placement of warnings signs to alert drivers of changes in roadway alignment, intersecting roads, or other roadway characteristics.

As you can see from the figures, the eleventh edition of the MUTCD calls for roadway signs to be placed at further distances from the points of interest, giving roadway users more time to react to the sign (Table 2C-3).

Another change found within the MUTCD is the improved focus on Vulnerable Road Users. Vulnerable Road Users is a category that includes people using a transportation mode that lacks the protection of an outside shield and thus carries a higher risk of injury in a collision with a vehicle, such as pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorcyclists. The eleventh edition of the MUTCD provides information on the implementation of new traffic devices and better explains how and when to use existing devices. This includes specific guidance like improved pedestrian push button proximity in relation to sidewalk curb ramps.

Overall, the eleventh edition of the MUTCD brings updates and new information that helps make our roads safer for all roadway users, from motorized vehicle drivers to pedestrians. On January 18, 2024, the newest edition of the MUTCD became effective, and States must adopt the newest edition of the manual within two years of the effective date. Check out the MUTCD website to learn more.