2009 Edition Introduction
01 Traffic control devices shall be defined as all signs, signals, markings, and other devices used to regulate, warn, or guide traffic, placed on, over, or adjacent to a street, highway, pedestrian facility, bikeway, or private road open to public travel (see definition in Section 1A.13) by authority of a public agency or official having jurisdiction, or, in the case of a private road, by authority of the private owner or private official having jurisdiction.
02 The Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) is incorporated by reference in 23 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), Part 655, Subpart F and shall be recognized as the national standard for all traffic control devices installed on any street, highway, bikeway, or private road open to public travel (see definition in Section 1A.13) in accordance with 23 U.S.C. 109(d) and 402(a). The policies and procedures of the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) to obtain basic uniformity of traffic control devices shall be as described in 23 CFR 655, Subpart F.
03 In accordance with 23 CFR 655.603(a), for the purposes of applicability of the MUTCD:
- Toll roads under the jurisdiction of public agencies or authorities or public-private partnerships shall be considered to be public highways;
- Private roads open to public travel shall be as defined in Section 1A.13; and
- Parking areas, including the driving aisles within those parking areas, that are either publicly or privately owned shall not be considered to be "open to public travel" for purposes of MUTCD applicability.
04 Any traffic control device design or application provision contained in this Manual shall be considered to be in the public domain. Traffic control devices contained in this Manual shall not be protected by a patent, trademark, or copyright, except for the Interstate Shield and any items owned by FHWA.
05 Pictographs, as defined in Section 1A.13, are embedded in traffic control devices but the pictographs themselves are not considered traffic control devices for the purposes of Paragraph 4.
06 The need for uniform standards was recognized long ago. The American Association of State Highway Officials (AASHO), now known as the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), published a manual for rural highways in 1927, and the National Conference on Street and Highway Safety (NCSHS) published a manual for urban streets in 1930. In the early years, the necessity for unification of the standards applicable to the different classes of road and street systems was obvious. To meet this need, a joint committee of AASHO and NCSHS developed and published the original edition of this Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) in 1935. That committee, now called the National Committee on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (NCUTCD), though changed from time to time in name, organization, and personnel, has been in continuous existence and has contributed to periodic revisions of this Manual. The FHWA has administered the MUTCD since the 1971 edition. The FHWA and its predecessor organizations have participated in the development and publishing of the previous editions. There were nine previous editions of the MUTCD, and several of those editions were revised one or more times. Table I-1 traces the evolution of the MUTCD, including the two manuals developed by AASHO and NCSHS.
|Year||Name||Month / Year Revised|
|1927||Manual and Specifications for the Manufacture, Display,
and Erection of U.S. Standard Road Markers and Signs
(for rural roads)
|1930||Manual on Street Traffic Signs, Signals,
and Markings (for urban streets)
|1935||Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices
for Streets and Highways (MUTCD)
|1942||Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices
for Streets and Highways - War Emergency Edition
|1948||Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices
for Streets and Highways
|1961||Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices
for Streets and Highways
|1971||Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices
for Streets and Highways
|11/71, 4/72, 3/73, 10/73,
6/74, 6/75, 9/76, 12/77
|1978||Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices
for Streets and Highways
|12/79, 12/83, 9/84, 3/86|
|1988||Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices
for Streets and Highways
|1/90, 3/92, 9/93, 11/94,
12/96, 6/98, 1/00
|2000||Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices
for Streets and Highways - Millennium Edition
|2003||Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices
for Streets and Highways
|2009||Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices
for Streets and Highways
07 The U.S. Secretary of Transportation, under authority granted by the Highway Safety Act of 1966, decreed that traffic control devices on all streets and highways open to public travel in accordance with 23 U.S.C. 109(d) and 402(a) in each State shall be in substantial conformance with the Standards issued or endorsed by the FHWA.
08 The "Uniform Vehicle Code (UVC)" is one of the publications referenced in the MUTCD. The UVC contains a model set of motor vehicle codes and traffic laws for use throughout the United States.
09 The States should adopt Section 15-116 of the UVC, which states that, "No person shall install or maintain in any area of private property used by the public any sign, signal, marking, or other device intended to regulate, warn, or guide traffic unless it conforms with the State manual and specifications adopted under Section 15-104."
10 The Standard, Guidance, Option, and Support material described in this edition of the MUTCD provide the transportation professional with the information needed to make appropriate decisions regarding the use of traffic control devices on streets, highways, bikeways, and private roads open to public travel (see definition in Section 1A.13).
11 Throughout this Manual the headings Standard, Guidance, Option, and Support are used to classify the nature of the text that follows. Figures and tables, including the notes contained therein, supplement the text and might constitute a Standard, Guidance, Option, or Support. The user needs to refer to the appropriate text to classify the nature of the figure, table, or note contained therein.
12 When used in this Manual, the text headings of Standard, Guidance, Option, and Support shall be as defined in Paragraph 1 of Section 1A.13.
13 Throughout this Manual all dimensions and distances are provided in English units. Appendix A2 contains tables for converting each of the English unit numerical values that are used in this Manual to the equivalent Metric (International System of Units) values.
14 If Metric units are to be used in laying out distances or determining sizes of devices, such units should be specified on plan drawings and made known to those responsible for designing, installing, or maintaining traffic control devices.
15 Except when a specific numeral is required or recommended by the text of a Section of this Manual, numerals displayed on the images of devices in the figures that specify quantities such as times, distances, speed limits, and weights should be regarded as examples only. When installing any of these devices, the numerals should be appropriately altered to fit the specific situation.
16 The following information will be useful when reference is being made to a specific portion of text in this Manual.
17 There are nine Parts in this Manual and each Part is comprised of one or more Chapters. Each Chapter is comprised of one or more Sections. Parts are given a numerical identification, such as Part 2 – Signs. Chapters are identified by the Part number and a letter, such as Chapter 2B – Regulatory Signs, Barricades, and Gates. Sections are identified by the Chapter number and letter followed by a decimal point and a number, such as Section 2B.03 – Size of Regulatory Signs.
18 Each Section is comprised of one or more paragraphs. The paragraphs are indented and are identified by a number. Paragraphs are counted from the beginning of each Section without regard to the intervening text headings (Standard, Guidance, Option, or Support). Some paragraphs have lettered or numbered items. As an example of how to cite this Manual, the phrase "Not less than 40 feet beyond the stop line" that appears in Section 4D.14 of this Manual would be referenced in writing as "Section 4D.14, P1, A.1," and would be verbally referenced as "Item A.1 of Paragraph 1 of Section 4D.14."
19 In accordance with 23 CFR 655.603(b)(3), States or other Federal agencies that have their own MUTCDs or Supplements shall revise these MUTCDs or Supplements to be in substantial conformance with changes to the National MUTCD within 2 years of the effective date of the Final Rule for the changes. Substantial conformance of such State or other Federal agency MUTCDs or Supplements shall be as defined in 23 CFR 655.603(b)(1).
20 After the effective date of a new edition of the MUTCD or a revision thereto, or after the adoption thereof by the State, whichever occurs later, new or reconstructed devices installed shall be in compliance with the new edition or revision.
21 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) and (d)(3)].
22 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). The FHWA has the authority to establish other target compliance dates for implementation of particular changes to the MUTCD [23 CFR 655.603(d)(1)]. These target compliance dates established by the FHWA shall be as shown in Table I-2.
|2009 MUTCD Section Number(s)||2009 MUTCD Section Title||Specific Provision||Compliance Date|
|2A.08||Minimum Retroreflectivity Levels||Implementation and continued use of an assessment or management method that is designed to maintain traffic sign retroreflectivity at or above the established minimum levels||January 22, 2012 (c)|
|2A.08||Minimum Retroreflectivity Levels||Replacement of regulatory, warning, and post-mounted guide (except street name) signs that are identified using the assessment or management method as failing to meet the established minimum levels||January 22, 2015 (c)|
|2A.08||Minimum Retroreflectivity Levels||Replacement of street name signs and overhead guide signs that are identified using the assessment or management method as failing to meet the established minimum levels.||January 22, 2018 (c)|
|2A.19||Lateral Offset||Crashworthiness of sign supports on roads with posted speed limit of 50 mph or higher||January 17, 2013 (a)|
|2B.03||Size of Regulatory Signs||Increased sign sizes and other 2003 MUTCD revisions to Table 2B-1 (*)||December 22, 2013 (b)|
|2B.09||YIELD Sign Applications||Changes in YIELD sign application criteria from the 1988 MUTCD to the 2003 MUTCD (*)||January 17, 2011 (a)|
|2B.10||STOP Sign or YIELD Sign Placement||Signs mounted on the back of STOP or YIELD signs should not obscure shape of STOP sign, with exception for DO NOT ENTER signs (2003 MUTCD Sections 2B.06 and 2B.10) (*)||December 22, 2013 (b)|
|2B.11||Yield Here To Pedestrians Signs and Stop Here For Pedestrians Signs (R1-5 Series)||New Section 2B.11 in the 2003 MUTCD (*)||December 22, 2013 (b)|
|2B.13||Speed Limit Sign (R2-1)||Color of changeable message legend of YOUR SPEED legend||December 22, 2013 (b)|
|2B.26||Reversible Lane Control Signs (R3-9e through R3-9i)||Removal of the R3-9c and R3-9e signs that had been included in the 2000 MUTCD (2003 MUTCD Section 2B.25)||December 22, 2013 (b)|
|2B.40||ONE WAY Signs (R6-1, R6-2)||New requirement in the 2009 MUTCD for the number and locations of ONE WAY signs||December 31, 2019|
|2B.55||Photo Enforced Signs and Plaques (R10-18, R10-19P, R10-19aP)||New signs (2003 MUTCD Section 2B.46) (*)||December 22, 2013 (b)|
|2C.04||Size of Warning Signs||New sizes in the 2003 MUTCD for the W1 Series arrow signs, the W12-2a low clearance signs, the W7 Series runaway truck signs, and the W10-1 advance grade crossing sign (*)||December 22, 2013 (b)|
|2C.06 thru 2C.14||Horizontal Alignment Warning Signs||Revised requirements in the 2009 MUTCD regarding the use of various horizontal alignment signs||December 31, 2019|
|2C.13||Truck Rollover Warning Sign (W1-13)||New W1-13 sign (2003 MUTCD Section 2C.11)||December 22, 2013 (b)|
|2C.20||NARROW BRIDGE Sign (W5-2)||Elimination of symbol sign (2003 MUTCD Section 2C.16)||December 22, 2013 (b)|
|2C.30||PAVEMENT ENDS Sign (W8-3)||Removal of symbol sign (2000 MUTCD Section 2C.23)||January 17, 2011 (a)|
|2C.38||Reduced Speed Limit Ahead Signs (W3-5, W3-5a)||Removal of R2-5 Series Reduced Speed Ahead signs and use of W3-5 or W3-5a warning signs instead (2003 MUTCD Section 2C.30)||December 22, 2018 (b)|
|2C.40||Merge Signs (W4-1, W4-5)||New Entering Roadway Merge sign (W4-5) (2003 MUTCD Section 2C.31)||December 22, 2013 (b)|
|2C.41||Added Lane Signs (W4-3, W4-6)||New Entering Roadway Added Lane sign (W4-6) (2003 MUTCD Section 2C.32)||December 22, 2013 (b)|
|2C.42||Lane Ends Signs (W4-2, W9-1, W9-2)||New design of W4-2 sign (2003 MUTCD Section 2C.33)||December 22, 2013 (b)|
|2C.46||Intersection Warning Signs (W2-1 through W2-8)||New design of Circular Intersection (W2-6) sign (2003 MUTCD Section 2C.37)||December 22, 2013 (b)|
|2C.49||Vehicular Traffic Warning Signs||New symbol signs W11-1, W11-5, W11-5a, W11-6, W11-11, and W11-14 (2003 MUTCD Section 2C.40)||December 22, 2013 (b)|
|2C.50||Non-Vehicular Warning Signs||Elimination of crosswalk lines from crossing signs and use of diagonal downward pointing arrow (W16-7P) supplemental plaque if at the crossing (2003 MUTCD Section 2C.41)||January 17, 2011 (a)(b)|
|2C.61||PHOTO ENFORCED Plaque (W16-10P)||New plaque (2003 MUTCD Section 2C.53) (*)||December 22, 2013 (b)|
|2C.63||Object Marker Design and Placement Height||Width of stripes on Type 3 striped marker (2003 MUTCD Section 3C.01)||December 22, 2013 (b)|
|2D.43||Street Name Signs (D3-1 or D3-1a)||6-inch letter height for lettering on post-mounted Street Name signs (except on multi-lane streets with speed limits greater than 40 mph) (2000 MUTCD Section 2D.38)||January 9, 2012 (a)|
|2D.43||Street Name Signs (D3-1 or D3-1a)||8-inch letter height on post-mounted signs on multi-lane streets with speed limits greater than 40 mph and 12-inch letter height on overhead signs (2003 MUTCD Section 2D.38)||December 22, 2018 (b)|
|2D.44||Advance Street Name Signs (D3-2)||Requirements of new Section 2D.39 in the 2003 MUTCD||December 22, 2018 (b)|
|2D.45||Signing on Conventional Roads on Approaches to Interchanges||New requirement in the 2009 MUTCD for multi-lane approaches to interchanges to have guide signs to identify which direction of turn is to be made for access to each direction of the freeway or expressway||December 31, 2019|
|2E.31, 2E.33, and 2E.36||Plaques for Left-Hand Exits||New requirement in the 2009 MUTCD to use E1-5aP and E1-5bP plaques for left-hand exits||December 31, 2014|
|2G.01 through 2G.07||Regulatory Signs for Preferential Lanes||Requirements for regulatory signs for preferential lanes (2003 MUTCD Sections 2B.26 through 2B.28) (*)||December 22, 2013 (b)|
|2G.11 through 2G.15||Preferential Lane Guide Signs||New Section 2E.59 in the 2003 MUTCD (*)||December 22, 2013 (b)|
|2H.02, 2H.03||Reference Location Signs, Intermediate Reference Location Signs, and Enhanced Reference Location Signs||Location and spacing of Reference Location signs and design of Intermediate Reference Location signs (2003 MUTCD Sections 2D.46 and 2E.54)||December 22, 2013 (b)|
|2I.07||Radio Information Signing||New Channel 9 Monitored (D12-3) sign (2003 MUTCD Section 2D.45)||December 22, 2013 (b)|
|2I.08||TRAVEL INFO CALL 511 Signs (D12-5 and D12-5a)||New TRAVEL INFO CALL 511 Sign (D12-5) (2003 MUTCD Section 2D.45)||December 22, 2013 (b)|
|2J.05||Size of Lettering||Minimum height of letters and numerals on Specific Service signs (2000 MUTCD Section 2F.05)||January 17, 2011 (a)|
|2N.03||Evacuation Route Signs (EM-1 and EM-1a)||New design and size of EM-1 sign (2003 MUTCD Section 2I.03)||December 22, 2018 (b)|
|3B.04, 3B.05||White Longitudinal Pavement Markings||New requirement in the 2009 MUTCD for dotted lane lines for dropped lanes and for acceleration, deceleration, and auxiliary lanes||December 31, 2016 or resurfacing, whichever occurs first|
|3B.18||Crosswalk Markings||Gap between transverse lines of a crosswalk (2003 MUTCD Section 3B.17)||December 22, 2013 (b)|
|4D.01||General||Location of signalized midblock crosswalks||December 22, 2013 (b)|
|4D.26||Yellow Change and Red Clearance Intervals||New requirement in the 2009 MUTCD that durations of yellow change and red clearance intervals shall be determined using engineering practices||December 31, 2014, or when timing adjustments are made to the individual intersection and/or corridor, whichever occurs first|
Transition Out of Flashing Mode
|Duration of steady red clearance interval in change from red-red flashing mode to steady (stop-and-go) mode (2003 MUTCD Section 4D.12)||December 22, 2013 (b)|
|4E.06||Pedestrian Intervals and Signal Phases||New requirement in the 2009 MUTCD that the pedestrian change interval shall not extend into the red clearance interval and shall be followed by a buffer interval of at least 3 seconds||December 31, 2014, or when timing adjustments are made to the individual intersection and/or corridor, whichever occurs first|
|4E.07||Countdown Pedestrian Signals||Pedestrian countdown hardware requirements||December 22, 2013 (b)|
|5C.05||NARROW BRIDGE Sign (W5-2)||Elimination of symbol sign||December 22, 2013 (b)|
|6D.03||Worker Safety Considerations||New requirement in the 2009 MUTCD that all workers within the right-of-way shall wear high-visibility apparel||December 31, 2011|
|6E.02||High-Visibility Safety Apparel||New requirement in the 2009 MUTCD that all flaggers within the right-of-way shall wear high-visibility apparel||December 31, 2011|
|7B.11||School Advance Crossing Assembly||Use of AHEAD (W16-9P) plaque or distance plaque (W16-2P or W16-2aP) (2000 MUTCD Section 7B.08)||January 17, 2011 (a)|
|7B.12||School Crossing Assembly||Elimination of crosswalk lines from crossing signs and use of diagonal downward pointing arrow (W16-7P) supplemental plaque (2000 MUTCD Sections 7B.08 and 7B.09)||January 17, 2011 (a)|
|7B.16||Reduced School Speed Limit Ahead Sign (S4-5, S4-5a)||Removal of R2-5 Series Reduced Speed Ahead signs and use of S4-5 or S4-5a warning signs instead (2003 MUTCD Section 7B.12)||December 22, 2018 (b)|
|7D.04||Uniform of Adult Crossing Guards||New requirement in the 2009 MUTCD for high-visibility apparel for adult crossing guards||December 31, 2011|
|8B.03||Grade Crossing (Crossbuck) Sign (R15-1) and Number of Tracks Plaque (R15-2P) at Active and Passive Grade Crossings||Retroreflective strip on crossbuck support (2000 MUTCD Section 8B.02) (*)||January 17, 2011 (a)|
|8B.04||Crossbuck Assemblies with YIELD or STOP Signs at Passive Grade Crossings||New requirement in the 2009 MUTCD for the use of STOP or YIELD signs with Crossbuck signs at passive grade crossings||December 31, 2019|
|8B.19 and 8C.02 through 8C.05||LRT Approaching-Activated Blank-Out Warning Sign, Flashing Light Signals, and Automatic Gates||Automatic gates, flashing-light signals, and blank-out signs at highway-LRT crossings per Part 10 of the 2000 MUTCD (*)||January 17, 2011 (a)|
|8C.09||Traffic Control Signals at or Near Highway-Rail Grade Crossings||Pre-signals (2003 MUTCD Section 8D.07)||December 22, 2013 (b)|
|8C.12||Grade Crossings Within or In Close Proximity to Circular Intersections||New requirement in the 2009 MUTCD for study of grade crossings near roundabouts||December 31, 2014|
|9B.18||Bicycle Warning and Combined Bicycle/Pedestrian Signs (W11-1 and W11-15)||Elimination of crosswalk lines from crossing signs and use of diagonal downward pointing arrow (W16-7P) supplemental plaque if at the crossing (2000 MUTCD Section 9B.15)||January 17, 2011 (a)|
Unless otherwise noted, dates are as established in the Final Rule for the 2009 MUTCD.
(a) Date established in the Final Rule for the 2000 MUTCD
(b) Date established in the Final Rule for the 2003 MUTCD
(c) Date established in the Final Rule for Revision 2 of the 2003 MUTCD
(*) Provisions may have been revised in the 2009 MUTCD
23 Except as provided in Paragraph 24, when a non-compliant traffic control device is being replaced or refurbished because it is damaged, missing, or no longer serviceable for any reason, it shall be replaced with a compliant device.
- One compliant device in the midst of a series of adjacent non-compliant devices would be confusing to road users; and/or
- The schedule for replacement of the whole series of non-compliant devices will result in achieving timely compliance with the MUTCD.