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U.S. Department of Transportation

Federal Highway Administration

Subject: INFORMATION: MUTCD – Interim Approval for Addition of RV Friendly Symbol
to Specific Service Signs (IA-8)
Date: September 6, 2005
From: Jeffrey F. Paniati /s/Jeffrey F. Paniati, Associate Administrator for Operations Reply to
Attn. of:
To: Division Administrators
Resource Center Managers
Federal Lands Highway Division Engineers

Purpose: The purpose of this memorandum is to issue an Interim Approval for the optional use of a symbol on specific service signs to indicate that a business has facilities that are "RV-friendly;" i.e., designed with facilities to accommodate the on-site movement and parking of recreational vehicles (RVs). The RV Friendly symbol is not currently specifically described in the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD). Interim Approval allows interim use, pending official rulemaking, of a new traffic control device, a revision to the application or manner of use of an existing traffic control device, or a provision not specifically described in the MUTCD.

Background: Motorists driving RVs, motor homes, and/or towing trailers may experience difficulty in identifying and locating service facilities that have large parking spaces and other amenities that over-sized vehicles need. A study in Oregon has found that a simple RV Friendly symbol provides easy recognition and advance notice to motorists and informs them that maneuvering their vehicle at specific facilities is not a problem. The RV Friendly symbol alerts RV motorists to those roadside specific services that cater to the special needs of motor homes and RV trailer combinations.

Research on the RV Friendly Symbol: In April 2003, the FHWA approved a request from the Oregon Department of Transportation to experiment with the RV Friendly program developed by the Oregon Travel Information Council (OTIC) and the Family Motor Coach Association. The experiment was conducted from June through August 2003 on Interstate 5 between exit 233 and exit 278. Existing businesses on specific service signs along Interstate 5 were screened by the OTIC to see if they met the criteria they determined necessary for participation in the RV friendly program. The OTIC installed the RV Friendly symbol on the business logo panels and delivered to each business a set of follow-up symbols to guide RV motorists onto the site location of their services. Public awareness and media education was conducted. Based upon a successful experimentation for a limited number of locations, approval to expand the experimentation was granted on May 17, 2004.

Evaluation included design studies to determine visibility of the symbol, customer questionnaire surveys, and business interviews. The complete evaluation plan and report findings are posted on the Interim Approval page of the MUTCD website at http://mutcd.fhwa.dot.gov.

FHWA Evaluation of Results: The Office of Transportation Operations has reviewed the Oregon experimentation and considers it to be successful. Motorists traveling in RVs and pulling trailers responded strongly and favorably to the concept with only modest public information; these highway users intuitively knew what the symbol meant. We believe that this new symbol sign has a low risk of safety or operational concerns. Further, the optional use of the RV Friendly symbol on specific service signs provides operational benefits to certain road users that merit earlier implementation by agencies that wish to use it, pending official MUTCD rulemaking. The optional use of the RV Friendly symbol on specific service signs is a low cost measure, as this addition does not require the replacement of specific service signs themselves. Discussions at a recent meeting of the National Committee on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (NCUTCD) indicate a consensus in the practitioner community in support of optional use of the RV Friendly symbol under an Interim Approval. The RV Friendly Program is popular among all aspects of the industry. This Interim Approval does not create a new mandate compelling installation of the RV Friendly symbol signs.

Conditions of Interim Approval: Interim Approval for the optional use of the RV Friendly symbol will be granted to any jurisdiction that submits a written request to the Office of Transportation Operations. A State may request Interim Approval for all jurisdictions in that State. Jurisdictions using devices under an Interim Approval must agree to maintain an inventory list of all locations where the devices are placed and to comply with item F at the bottom of page 1A-6 of the 2003 MUTCD, Section 1A.10 which requires:

"An agreement to restore the site(s) of the Interim Approval to a condition that complies with the provisions in this Manual within 3 months following the issuance of a Final Rule on this traffic control device. This agreement must also provide that the agency sponsoring the Interim Approval will terminate use of the device or application installed under the Interim Approval at any time that it determines significant safety concerns are directly or indirectly attributable to the device or application. The FHWA’s Office of Transportation Operations has the right to terminate the interim approval at any time if there is an indication of safety concerns."

If State or local agencies elect to participate in the RV Friendly Program, they shall have a policy for selecting eligible businesses and facilities that includes at a minimum the following:

The following design requirements shall apply:

State or local highway agencies requesting Interim Approval may suggest other color combination designs for FHWA consideration.

Any questions concerning this Interim Approval should be directed to Ms. Linda Brown at Linda.L.Brown@fhwa.dot.gov or by telephone at 202-366-2192.

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