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Change List for the 2009 Edition of the MUTCD

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All of the text-related items on the "list of known errors" in the 2003 edition were incorporated. They are considered editorial unless otherwise noted.

Cross references to chapters, sections, figures, and tables have been updated as necessary to maintain accuracy. Paragraph numbering has been added and paragraph cross references have been added.

The number or letter designations for items in listings within paragraphs have been updated as necessary to maintain an accurate sequence.

The word "centerline" in the 2003 MUTCD was replaced by the phrase "center line" in order to be consistent with "edge line."

The words "left" and "right" in the 2003 MUTCD text were replaced by "left-hand" and "right-hand" to add clarity because of the double meaning of these words (i.e., is the "right lane" the "correct lane" or the "lane closest to the right-hand side of the roadway"?).

The title of the "Standard Highway Signs and Markings" book was revised to reflect the updated name of the book.

Metric dimensions have been deleted from the text. Metric conversion tables are provided in Appendix A2.

Guidance paragraphs have been italicized.

The Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) is approved by the Federal Highway Administrator as the National Standard in accordance with Title 23 U.S. Code, Sections 109(d), 114(a), 217, 315, and 402(a), 23 CFR 655, and 49 CFR 1.48(b)(8), 1.48(b)(33), and 1.48(c)(2).

Chapter 1A. General
Chapter 2A. General
Chapter 2B. Regulatory Signs, Barricades, and Gates
Chapter 2C. Warning Signs and Object Markers
Chapter 2D. Guide Signs—Conventional Roads
Chapter 2E. Guide Signs—Freeways and Expressways
Chapter 2F. Toll Road Signs
Chapter 2G. Preferential and Managed Lane Signs
Chapter 2H. General Information Signs
Chapter 2I. General Service Signs
Chapter 2J. Specific Service Signs
Chapter 2K. Tourist-Oriented Directional Signs
Chapter 2L. Changeable Message Signs
Chapter 2M. Recreational and Cultural Interest Area Signs
Chapter 2N. Emergency Management Signing
Chapter 3A. General
Chapter 3B. Pavement and Curb Markings
Chapter 3C. Object Markers Roundabout Markings
Chapter 3D. Markings for Preferential Lanes
Chapter 3E. Markings for Toll Plazas
Chapter 3F. Delineators
Chapter 3G. Colored Pavements
Chapter 3H. Barricades and Channelizing Devices Used for Emphasis of Pavement Marking Patterns
Chapter 3I. Islands
Chapter 3J. Rumble Strip Markings
Chapter 4A. General
Chapter 4B. Traffic Control Signals—General
Chapter 4C. Traffic Control Signal Needs Studies
Chapter 4D. Traffic Control Signal Features
Chapter 4E. Pedestrian Control Features
Chapter 4F. Pedestrian Hybrid Beacons
Chapter 4G. Traffic Control Signals and Hybrid Beacons for Emergency-Vehicle Access
Chapter 4H. Traffic Control Signals for One-Lane, Two-Way Facilities
Chapter 4I. Traffic Control Signals for Freeway Entrance Ramps
Chapter 4J. Traffic Control for Movable Bridges
Chapter 4K. Highway Traffic Signals at Toll Plazas
Chapter 4L. Flashing Beacons
Chapter 4M. Lane-Use Control Signals
Chapter 4N. In-Roadway Lights
Chapter 5A. General
Chapter 5B. Regulatory Signs
Chapter 5C. Warning Signs
Chapter 5D. Guide Signs
Chapter 5E. Markings
Chapter 5F. Traffic Controls for Highway-Rail Grade Crossings
Chapter 5G. Temporary Traffic Control Zones
Chapter 5H. Traffic Controls for School Areas
Chapter 6A. General
Chapter 6B. Fundamental Principles
Chapter 6C. Temporary Traffic Control Elements
Chapter 6D. Pedestrian and Worker Safety
Chapter 6E. Flagger Control
Chapter 6F. Temporary Traffic Control Zone Devices
Chapter 6G. Type of Temporary Traffic Control Zone Activities
Chapter 6H. Typical Applications
Chapter 6I. Control of Traffic Through Traffic Incident Management Areas
Chapter 7A. General
Chapter 7B. Signs
Chapter 7C. Markings
Chapter 7D. Signals
Chapter 7D. Crossing Supervision
Chapter 7F. Grade-Separated Crossings
Chapter 8A. General
Chapter 8B. Signs and Markings
Chapter 8C. Illumination
Chapter 8C. Flashing-Light Signals, Gates, and Traffic Control Signals
Chapter 8D. Pathway Grade Crossings
Chapter 9A. General
Chapter 9B. Signs
Chapter 9C. Markings
Chapter 9D. Signals
Chapter 10A. General
Chapter 10B. Highway-Light Rail Transit Grade Crossing Control Systems
Chapter 10C. Signs, Illumination, and Markings
Chapter 10D. Highway-Light Rail Transit Active Traffic Control Grade Crossing Systems

Addresses for Publications Referenced in the MUTCD

American Automobile Association (AAA)
1000 AAA Drive
Heathrow, FL 32746

American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO)
444 North Capitol Street, NW, Suite 249
Washington, DC 20001

American National Standards Institute (ANSI)
1819 L Street, NW, 6th floor
Washington, DC 20036

American Railway Engineering and Maintenance-of-Way Association (AREMA)
8201 Corporate Drive 10003 Derekwood Lane, Suite 1125 210
Landover Lanham, MD 20785-2230 20706

Federal Highway Administration Report Center
Facsimile number: 301.577.1421 814-239-2156

Illuminating Engineering Society (IES)
120 Wall Street, Floor 17
New York, NY 10005

Institute of Makers of Explosives
1120 19th Street, NW, Suite 310
Washington, DC 20036-3605

Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE)
1099 14th Street, NW, Suite 300 West
Washington, DC 20005-3438

International Organization for Standards Standardization
c/o Mr. Gerard Kuso 1, ch. de la Voie-Creuse
Austrian Standards Institute Case Postale 56
Heinestrabe 38 CH-1211
Postfach 130 Geneva 20, Switzerland
Wien, Austria

ISEA - The International Safety Equipment Association (ISEA)
1901 North Moore Street, Suite 808
Arlington, VA 22209

National Committee on Uniform Traffic Laws and Ordinances (NCUTLO)
107 South West Street, Suite 110
Alexandria, VA 22314

National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA)
1300 North 17th Street, Suite 1752
Rosslyn, VA 22209

Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)
U.S. Department of Labor
200 Constitution Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20210

Transportation Research Board (TRB)
The National Academies
2101 Constitution Avenue 500 Fifth Street, NW
Washington, DC 20418 20001

U.S. Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board (The U.S. Access Board)
1331 F Street, NW, Suite 1000
Washington, DC 20004-1111


The Federal Highway Administration gratefully acknowledges the valuable assistance that it received from the National Committee on Uniform Traffic Control Devices and its over 200 more than 250 voluntary members in the development of this Manual.



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, or 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.

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, or bicycle trail 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.

In accordance with 23 CFR 655.603(a), for the purposes of applicability of the MUTCD:

  1. Toll roads under the jurisdiction of public agencies or authorities or public-private partnerships shall be considered to be public highways
  2. Private roads open to public travel shall be as defined in Section 1A.13; and
  3. 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.

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 other items owned by FHWA.


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.

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 eight 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.


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.


23 CFR 655.603 adopts the MUTCD as the national standard for any street, highway, or bicycle trail open to public travel in accordance with 23 U.S.C. 109(d) and 402(a). 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.


The States are encouraged to 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."


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, and highways, bikeways, and private roads open to public travel (see definition in Section 1A.13). The material in this edition is organized to better differentiate between Standards that must be satisfied for the particular circumstances of a situation, Guidances that should be followed for the particular circumstances of a situation, and Options that may be applicable for the particular circumstances of a situation.

Throughout this Manual the headings Standard, Guidance, Option, and Support are used to classify the nature of the text that follows. Figures, and tables, and illustrations 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 illustration note contained therein.


When used in this Manual, the text headings of Standard, Guidance, Option, and Support shall be as defined as follows: in Paragraph 1 of Section 1A.13.

  1. Standard—a statement of required, mandatory, or specifically prohibitive practice regarding a traffic control device. All Standards are labeled, and the text appears in bold type. The verb shall is typically used. Standards are sometimes modified by Options.
  2. Guidance—a statement of recommended, but not mandatory, practice in typical situations, with deviations allowed if engineering judgment or engineering study indicates the deviation to be appropriate. All Guidance statements are labeled, and the text appears in unbold type. The verb should is typically used. Guidance statements are sometimes modified by Options.
  3. Option—a statement of practice that is a permissive condition and carries no requirement or recommendation. Options may contain allowable modifications to a Standard or Guidance. All Option statements are labeled, and the text appears in unbold type. The verb may is typically used.
  4. Support—an informational statement that does not convey any degree of mandate, recommendation, authorization, prohibition, or enforceable condition. Support statements are labeled, and the text appears in unbold type. The verbs shall, should, and may are not used in Support statements.


Throughout this Manual all dimensions and distances are provided in the International System of Units, a modernized version of the Metric system, and their English equivalent units are shown in parentheses 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.


Before If Metric units are to be used in laying out distances or determining sign sizes of devices, the public agency should decide whether to use the International System of Units (Metric) or the English equivalent units. The chosen such units should be specified on plan drawings. and The chosen unit of measurement should be made known to those responsible for designing, installing, or maintaining traffic control devices.

Except when a specific numeral is required or recommended by the text of a Section of this Manual, numerals shown displayed on the sign 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 signs devices, the numerals should be appropriately altered to fit the specific signing situation.


The following information will be useful when reference is being made to a specific portion of text in this Manual.

There are ten 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.

Each Section is comprised of one or more paragraphs. The paragraphs are indented but and are not identified by a number or letter. 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."


In accordance with 23 CFR 655.603(b)(1)(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 issuance 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).

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.

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)].

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)(4)(1)]. These target compliance dates established by the FHWA shall be as follows: shown in Table I-2. The target compliance dates that were listed in the 2003 MUTCD have been incorporated into a new Table I-2 to make the information easier to access.

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.


In order for maintenance personnel to understand what to do when replacing A damaged, missing, or otherwise non-serviceable device that is non-compliant traffic control device, agencies may be establish a policy regarding whether to replaced the device in kind or to replace it with a compliant device.


Often it is desirable to upgrade to a compliant device at the time of this maintenance of a damaged device. However, it might be appropriate to replace the damaged non-compliant device in kind at the time of this maintenance activity if engineering judgment indicates that:

  1. One compliant device in the midst of a series of adjacent non-compliant devices could potentially would be confusing to road users; and/or
  2. The anticipated schedule for replacement of the whole series of non-compliant devices will result in achieving timely compliance with the MUTCD.

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