Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices for Streets and Highways
UPDATED January 4, 2021
Official Interpretation 2(09)-174 (I) – Uses of and Nonstandard Syntax on Changeable Message Signs
On January 4, 2021, the FHWA issued Official Interpretation 2(09)-174 (I) to provide clarification regarding messaging and uses of Changeable Message Signs (CMS).
Check out the MUTCD News Feed for up-to-the-minute information on new items such as Interim Approvals, Official Interpretations, Policy Statements, Federal Register notices—everything you need to make the most of your MUTCD and keep road users on the move!
Notice of Proposed Amendments—11th Edition of the MUTCD
The Notice of Proposed Amendments (NPA) for the 11th edition of the MUTCD is now available for public comment in the Federal Register. The NPA represents a comprehensive update to the MUTCD, incorporating the results of over 150 Official Experiments of novel traffic control devices and applications, Official Interpretations, Interim Approvals, and other research conducted both independently and by the Traffic Control Device Consortium Pooled Fund.
Current Edition of Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices for Streets and Highways
The Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices for Streets and Highways, 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 is the most current edition of the official FHWA publication.
Your MUTCD — Guiding You for Over 80 Years
On November 7, 2015, the U.S. celebrated 80th birthday of the MUTCD. Whenever you see an easy-to-read sign, a bright edgeline marking on a foggy night, the countdown timer at a crosswalk, or a well-placed bike lane, take a moment to reflect on the more than eighty years of progress and innovation that the MUTCD embodies. This progress has resulted in safer, more efficient travel on our Nation's roads. Over the years, the MUTCD has unknowingly become the traveler's best friend and silent companion, guiding us on our way along the streets, bikeways, back roads, and highways. As the direct means of communication with the traveler, traffic control devices speak to us softly, yet effectively and authoritatively. From glass "cat's-eye" reflectors to glass beads to microprismatic sheeting, nighttime sign visibility has advanced significantly. Active devices at rail crossings save lives by giving us a positive message about train traffic. And countdown timers on pedestrian signals help us cross a busy street. So the next time you hit the pavement, the path, or the pedals, you can be sure that the MUTCD, through our dedicated professionals who make complex decisions on what devices to install, will help you get where you want to go safely, efficiently, and comfortably! The MUTCD…it's all about you!
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