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Amendment Process

Ten editions in 82 years. Obviously, the MUTCD is a dynamic publication that has adapted to changes in travel patterns, needs, and emerging technologies and materials. Over the years those changes have resulted from research, experimentation, and practical experience, with the best and most effective devices and practices being implemented. One source of traffic control device research is the Traffic Control Devices Pooled Fund Study (TCD PFS), a consortium of FHWA, 26 State DOTs, and others. Information about this consortium and access to reports of traffic control device research it has published can be found at the TCD PFS Web site.

Because of the potential for change, FHWA officials continually review and consider completed research, requests for interpretations, experimentations, and changes to the information contained in the MUTCD. This section examines the process by which decisions are made to revise, amend, or create MUTCD standards.

Amendment Process for Revising the MUTCD

When the FHWA assumed responsibility for updating the MUTCD in 1979, the agency announced that it would process all future changes to the MUTCD through notices in the Federal Register. This means that before any suggested revision is accepted, it must go through the following 2-step Federal Register rulemaking process, which is a process designed to ensure public involvement:

  1. Notice of Proposed Amendments (NPA) FHWA publishes proposed changes to the MUTCD in the Federal Register to give the public an opportunity to provide comments. These public comments are considered in making a Final Rule.
  2. Final Rule (FR) The Final Rule describes the FHWA's final decision concerning the proposals for changes to the MUTCD. This decision can include the following: adopt a proposed change, defer the proposed change pending further research, or adopt a modification to the proposed change based on docket comments and or other additional information received.

Amendment Process Flowchart

This process is important because it ensures that all parties have the opportunity to offer opinions and concerns about proposed changes to the MUTCD. The FHWA considers all comments (whether from practitioners, private individuals, trade organizations, or the NCUTCD) before issuing a Final Rule, which is also published in the Federal Register.

Change or Update an MUTCD Provision

If you think that a change should be made to an existing provision in the MUTCD, or you believe that a new provision should be added, submit your written request for changes to the Federal Highway Administration, Director of the Office of Transportation Operations (HOTO). The request should be sent electronically as an attachment (PDF or Word Document) to an e-mail to: MUTCDofficialrequest@dot.gov. [Note: If e-mail is not possible, the letter may be sent via postal mail or delivery service to FHWA at 1200 New Jersey Avenue, S.E., HOTO-1, Washington, DC 20590. If the FHWA concludes that the change has merit, it will begin the Rulemaking Process outlined above.

For additional information, refer to the wording of MUTCD Section 1A.10 (Changes, Interpretations, and Experimentations)