|FHWA Policy Memorandums|
MUTCD – Interim
Approval for Optional Use of an
Intersection Bicycle Box (IA-18)
|Date: October 12, 2016|
|From:||Robert E. Arnold
Acting Associate Administrator for Operations
|In Reply Refer To:
|To:||Federal Lands Highway Division Engineers
Purpose: The purpose of this memorandum is to issue an Interim Approval for the optional use of intersection bicycle boxes. Interim Approval allows provisional 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 Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices for Streets and Highways (MUTCD).
Background: With an increasing number of bicycle lanes marked on the curb side of streets, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has been requested to provide traffic control devices to facilitate bicyclists positioned to the right side of general-use travel lanes to enter the center of the general-use lanes at the approach to a signalized intersection. The intersection bicycle box is a designated area on the approach to a signalized intersection, between an advance stop line and the intersection stop line, intended to provide bicycles a space in which to wait in front of stopped motor vehicles during the red signal phase so that they are more visible to motorists at the start of the green signal phase. Positioning bicyclists in the center of the appropriate lane allows them to turn from a location where they are more visible to surrounding traffic, can increase the visibility of stopped bicycle traffic at an intersection, can reduce conflicts between bicycles and motor vehicles, can help mitigate intersection right-turn ("right-hook") conflicts, and can help group bicycles together to clear intersections more quickly.
The intersection bicycle box described in this Interim Approval memorandum is a new traffic control device and has been used in the United States only on an experimental basis through the MUTCD official experimentation process, which is described in Section 1A.10.
Research on Bicycle Boxes: Agencies around the country have shown significant interest in intersection bicycle boxes, with over 25 experiments approved under the 2009 Edition of the MUTCD for a variety of State, County, and local government agencies including the Minnesota Department of Transportation; the District of Columbia Department of Transportation; and the cities of Austin, TX; Columbus, OH; Madison, WI; Missoula, MT; and Portland, OR.
These experiments have used a relatively consistent design of a bicycle box that includes the following elements:
FHWA Evaluation of Results: The Office of Transportation Operations has reviewed the available data and considers the experimental bicycle box to be satisfactorily successful for the applications that were tested. Positive operational effects have been documented in the experiments after the installation of bicycle boxes, including:
The design of the intersection bicycle box is not proprietary and can be used by any jurisdiction that requests and obtains Interim Approval from the FHWA to use bicycle boxes in accordance with Paragraphs 14 through 22 of Section 1A.10 of the MUTCD. The FHWA believes that the intersection bicycle box as detailed in this memorandum has a low risk of safety or operational concerns.
This Interim Approval does not create a new mandate compelling the use of intersection bicycle boxes, but will allow agencies to install intersection bicycle boxes, pending official rulemaking revising the MUTCD, to facilitate more efficient operations at intersections. Interim Approval of a provisional device typically results in its inclusion in a future Notice of Proposed Amendments to revise the MUTCD. However, this Interim Approval does not guarantee adoption of the provisional device, either in whole or in part, in any future rulemaking that revises the MUTCD.
Conditions of Interim Approval: The FHWA will grant permission for the optional use of intersection bicycle boxes under this Interim Approval 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 seeking permission to use intersection bicycle boxes under this Interim Approval must agree to:
Any questions concerning this Interim Approval should be directed to Mr. David Kirschner at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Chief Financial Officer
Directors of Field Services
Director of Technical Services
Attachment(s) PDF Version, 441KB
United States Department of Transportation - Federal Highway Administration