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Interpretation Letter 2-551(I) - CMS Display of Travel Time

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U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration

400 Seventh St., S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20590

May 17, 2004

Refer to: HOTO-1

Mr. Frank Pearson
Regional Traffic Engineer
New York State Department of Transportation
250 Veterans Memorial Highway Hauppauge, NY 11788-5518

Request for Interpretation: 2-551(I) - "CMS Display of Travel Time"

Dear Mr. Pearson:

Thank you for your April 27 letter requesting an official interpretation for the use of Changeable Message Signs to display travel time. Your request has been reviewed and found to be consistent with the guidelines detailed in Section 2A.07 of the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD):

Option: Changeable message signs, both permanent and portable, may be used by State and local highway agencies to display safety or transportation-related messages. State and local highway agencies may develop and establish a policy regarding the display of safety and transportation-related messages on permanent and changeable message signs that specifies the allowable messages and applications, consistent with the provisions of this Manual.
Guidance: When a changeable message sign is used to display a safety or transportationrelated message, the requirements of Section 6F.55 should be followed. The message should be simple, brief, legible, and clear. A changeable message sign should not be used to display a safety or transportation-related message if doing so would adversely affect the respect for the sign. "CONGESTION AHEAD" or other overly simplistic or vague messages should not be displayed alone. These messages should be supplemented with a message on the location or distance to the congestion or incident, how much delay is expected, alternative route, or other similar messages.

It is the interpretation of the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) that your proposal to use static motorist information signs to provide travel routes and travel destination times is not only consistent with the MUTCD but will also help road users make more informed decisions about their trips. We would be appreciative if you can keep us apprised of your observations as a result of installing the travel time signs on this INFORM Northern Parkway upgrade project.

If you have questions or wish additional information, please feel free to call Mr. Fred Ranck, Safety/Design Engineer at FHWA's Resource Center at Olympia Fields, Illinois. His telephone number is 708-283-3545.

Sincerely yours,

/s/ Regina McElroy

Regina S. McElroy
Director, Office of Transportation

HAUPPAUGE, N.Y: 11788-5518

April 27, 2004

Federal Highway Administration
Office of Transportation Operations (HOTO)
400 7th Street SW
Washington, DC 20590

Request for Interpretation
Travel Time Sign (TTS)
INFORM Northern Pkwy Upgrade 0400-516(503)

Dear Sir or Madam:

Enclosed please find our Request for Interpretation for the use of Travel Time Signs (TTS) as part of the above noted project. We feel that the signs are consistent with the Manual and will provide motorists with extremely useful information. This information will allow motorists to make informed decisions as to route, as well as indicate the duration of their trip along the route they have selected. Attached please find a copy of an e-mail from our Regional FHWA Office supporting our request.

Please feel free to contact Mr. Emilio Sosa of my staff at 631-952-6733 for any additional information. Thank you for your consideration of our proposal.

Very truly yours,

Regional Traffic Engineer