[Federal Register: February 15, 2002 (Volume 67, Number 32)]
[Rules and Regulations]               
[Page 7073-7076]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:fr15fe02-15]                         

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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Highway Administration

23 CFR Part 655

[FHWA Docket No. FHWA-2001-8846]
RIN 2125-AE83

 
Revision of the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices; 
Accessible Pedestrian Signals

AGENCY: Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), DOT.

ACTION: Interim final rule; request for comments.

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SUMMARY: This document contains Revision No. 1 to the 2000 Millennium 
Edition of the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) as 
adopted by the FHWA. The 2000 Millennium Edition of the MUTCD is 
incorporated by reference in 23 CFR Part 655, subpart F, and recognized 
as the national standard for traffic control devices used on all public 
roads. The purpose of this revision is to revise the guidance and 
supporting information relating to the decisionmaking process 
concerning accessible pedestrian signals in Parts 1 and 4 of the MUTCD.

[[Page 7074]]

    The FHWA is issuing an interim final rule to provide an opportunity 
for the public to review and make comment on the necessary changes to 
the pertinent electronic files on the FHWA's MUTCD Internet site 
(http://mutcd.fhwa.dot.gov) to comply with section 508 of the 
Rehabilitation Act of 1973. After reviewing comments regarding these 
electronic files, the FHWA may modify the interim final rule and issue 
a revision and a final rule.

DATES: This interim final rule is effective March 18, 2002. Comments 
related to the necessary changes made to the pertinent electronic files 
in order to comply with section 508 must be received on or before April 
16, 2002. The incorporation by reference of the publication listed in 
this regulation is approved by the Director of the Office of the 
Federal Register as of March 18, 2002.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. Ernest Huckaby, Office of 
Transportation Operations, Room 3408, (202) 366-9064, or Mr. Raymond 
Cuprill, Office of the Chief Counsel, Room 4230, (202) 366-0791, 
Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration, 400 
Seventh Street, SW., Washington, DC 20590. Office hours are from 7:45 
a.m. to 4:15 p.m., e.t., Monday through Friday, except Federal 
holidays.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Electronic Access

    Internet users may access all comments received by the U.S. DOT 
Dockets, Room PL-401, by using the universal resource locator (URL) 
http://dms.dot.gov. It is available 24 hours each day, 365 days each 
year. Please follow the instructions online for more information and 
help.
    An electronic copy of this action may be downloaded using a modem 
and suitable communications software from the Government Printing 
Office's Electronic Bulletin Board Service at (202) 512-1661. Internet 
users may reach the Office of the Federal Register's home page at: 
http://www.nara.gov/fedreg and the Government Printing Office's 
database at: http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara.

Background

    The text of Revision No. 1 and the text of the 2000 Millennium 
Edition of the MUTCD with Revision No. 1 text incorporated are 
available for inspection and copying as prescribed in 49 CFR part 7 at 
the FHWA Office of Transportation Operations. Furthermore, Revision No. 
1 changes, as discussed here, are available on the MUTCD Internet site 
(http://mutcd.fhwa.dot.gov). The entire MUTCD text with Revision No. 1 
text incorporated is also available on this Internet site.
    Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act, 29 U.S.C. 794d (2001), 
requires that certain electronic and information technology (``EIT'') 
be accessible to individuals with disabilities. By regulation, 36 CFR 
1194.4 (2001), EIT includes information contained on world wide 
websites. Therefore, to comply with Section 508, the FHWA has added to 
its MUTCD Internet site (http://mutcd.fhwa.dot.gov), for the electronic 
files which are affected by this interim final rule, an alternative 
format (hypertext markup language--HTML), that is accessible to 
individuals with disabilities. Included within those HTML files are 
narrative descriptions of the illustrations (figures) that are 
contained within the affected non-accessible format electronic files. 
The FHWA is issuing this interim final rule to provide an opportunity 
for the public to review and make comment on the narrative descriptions 
of the illustrations. After reviewing comments regarding these 
descriptions, the FHWA may modify the interim final rule and issue a 
revision and a final rule.

Summary of Comments

    The FHWA published a notice of proposed amendment (NPA) on May 17, 
2001, at 66 FR 27480, with a 30-day comment period, in response to 
several letters received by the U.S. Department of Transportation 
objecting to language in the text of the MUTCD summarized in the final 
rule published on December 18, 2000, at 65 FR 78923. The comment period 
ended on June 18, 2001. The FHWA has reviewed the comments received to 
the docket in response to the NPA. The FHWA is acting on the items 
published in the notice of proposed amendments, as described in the 
discussion below. Each action and its basis is summarized below:

Discussion of Adopted Amendments to Part 1--General

    The FHWA received five comments to the docket concerning the 
proposed revision to Part 1. One comment was from an individual and 
four comments represented public/private interest groups.
    1. In Section 1A.11 Relation to Other Documents, the FHWA is adding 
a new document, `` `Accessible Pedestrian Signals,' A-37, U.S. 
Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board (The U.S. 
Access Board),'' to the publications listed in the SUPPORT statement. 
All four of the commenters supported this change.

Discussion of Adopted Amendments to Part 4--Signals

    The FHWA received five comments to the docket concerning the 
proposed revisions to Part 4. One comment was from an individual and 
four comments represented public/private interest groups.
    1. In Section 4E.06 Accessible Pedestrian Signals, the FHWA is 
revising the first SUPPORT statement to read, ``SUPPORT: The primary 
technique that pedestrians who have visual disabilities use to cross 
streets at signalized intersections is to initiate their crossing when 
they hear the traffic in front of them stop and the traffic alongside 
them begin to move, corresponding to the onset of the green interval. 
This technique is effective at many signalized intersections. The 
existing environment is often sufficient to provide the information 
that pedestrians who have visual disabilities need to operate safely at 
a signalized intersection. Therefore, many signalized intersections 
will not require any accessible pedestrian signals.''
    Four of the commenters supported this language. The other commenter 
believes that although the term ``many'' is technically accurate 
regarding the number of intersections where the primary technique (used 
by pedestrians with visual disabilities to cross streets at signalized 
intersections) is effective, it understates current reality. The 
commenter further indicates that although no data has been published to 
prove the precise percentage of intersections where the primary non-
visual technique to cross an intersection is effective, experience and 
accumulated knowledge indicate that the vast majority of intersections 
do not require an accessible pedestrian signal for the execution of a 
safe crossing. The word, ``majority,'' is preferred when discussing 
where the primary non-visual technique to cross an intersection is 
effective. The FHWA believes no change is necessary to this language 
because as indicated by the commenter, no one has any data to indicate 
how many intersections may or may not require accessible pedestrian 
signals. Furthermore, the commenter indicated that the term ``many'' is 
technically correct. Therefore, since there is no data to support that 
the use of the word ``many'' is not proper, the FHWA will use the 
language published in the NPA.
    2. In Section 4E.06 Accessible Pedestrian Signals, the FHWA is 
revising the first GUIDANCE statement to read, ``GUIDANCE: If a 
particular

[[Page 7075]]

signalized intersection presents difficulties for pedestrians who have 
visual disabilities to cross safely and effectively, an engineering 
study should be conducted that considers the safety and effectiveness 
for pedestrians in general, as well as the information needs of 
pedestrians with visual disabilities.''
    Four of the commenters support this language. The fifth commenter 
believes the language in the current MUTCD should be retained and a new 
sentence be added regarding an engineering study. The commenter reasons 
that local traffic engineers should be given the greatest level of 
flexibility to address the needs of their local community. The FHWA 
believes the language in Section 4E.06 of the May 17, 2001, NPA and the 
information in Chapter 4B of the MUTCD concerning engineering studies 
and engineering judgment adequately addresses the needs of all 
pedestrians and pedestrians who may have visual disabilities. Whether 
to install a traffic signal, or to install or add pedestrian signals 
with or without accessible pedestrian signals is and always has been a 
State or local public agency decision. The need for an engineering 
study is clearly also articulated in Chapter 2B of the MUTCD and in the 
first and second GUIDANCE statements of Section 4E.06. The FHWA does 
not believe that the proposed text diminishes how a traffic engineer 
will address a request for accessible pedestrian signals, and that the 
engineer will examine the needs of all pedestrians and find solutions 
within the means of his/her jurisdiction to any discovered issue.
    3. In Section 4E.06 Accessible Pedestrian Signals, the FHWA is 
revising the second paragraph of the second SUPPORT statement to read, 
``Local organizations, providing support services to pedestrians who 
have visual and/or hearing disabilities, can often act as important 
advisors to the traffic engineer when consideration is being given to 
the installation of devices to assist such pedestrians. Additionally, 
orientation and mobility specialists or similar staff also might be 
able to provide a wide range of advice. The U.S. Access Board's 
Document A-37, `Accessible Pedestrian Signals,' provides various 
techniques for making pedestrian signal information available to 
persons with visual disabilities.'' All five of the commenters support 
this language.
    4. In Section 4E.06 Accessible Pedestrian Signals, the FHWA is 
deleting the second GUIDANCE statement from the MUTCD. This statement 
covered the consideration of advice from organizations that represent 
individuals with disabilities (this consideration is already covered in 
the second SUPPORT statement), and covered the process of determining 
whether accessible pedestrian signals are needed and the cost 
considerations (the process is already covered in the revised first 
GUIDANCE statement that discusses an engineering study. An engineering 
study covers the consideration of cost).
    Four of the commenters support the deletion of this language. The 
fifth commenter believes that without this text there will be a 
tendency to give deference to organizations and agencies controlled by 
professionals in the field. The commenter believes that it is 
imperative that traffic engineers also seek the advice of organizations 
representing the blind and visually impaired and from local members of 
the blind and visually impaired community. The FHWA believes that this 
deletion will not result in traffic engineers giving deference to just 
``organizations and agencies controlled by professionals in the 
field.'' The text stated that ``Advice from organizations who represent 
pedestrians * * * should be given deference.'' Deleting this text 
eliminates this language. Additionally, the FHWA believes that the 
SUPPORT information in the revised second paragraph of the second 
SUPPORT statement provides three different types of ways for traffic 
engineers to receive input, in addition to the members of the local 
blind and visually impaired community who initiated the request.
    The fifth commenter was concerned with the deletion of the second 
paragraph of the second GUIDANCE statement because ``a request from a 
single individual or a small number of individuals may initiate a study 
and examination of whether APS's [accessible pedestrian signals] should 
be installed.'' The FHWA believes the revised text adequately provides 
guidance on when engineering studies of a signalized intersection 
should be conducted and that the second paragraph of the second 
GUIDANCE statement is no longer needed. Engineering studies can examine 
numerous tools to assist pedestrians, including accessible pedestrian 
signals.

Rulemaking Analysis and Notices

Executive Order 12866 (Regulatory Planning and Review) and DOT 
Regulatory Policies and Procedures

    The FHWA has determined that this action is not a significant 
regulatory action within the meaning of Executive Order 12866 or 
significant within the meaning of U.S. Department of Transportation 
regulatory policies and procedures. The economic impact of this 
rulemaking will be minimal. The changes in this interim final rule 
provide additional guidance and support information relating to the 
decisionmaking process concerning whether or not to install accessible 
pedestrian signals. The FHWA believes that the uniform application of 
traffic control devices will greatly improve the traffic operations 
efficiency and roadway safety. The standards, guidance, and support are 
also used to create uniformity and to enhance safety and mobility at 
little additional expense to public agencies or the motoring public. 
Therefore, a full regulatory evaluation is not required.

Regulatory Flexibility Act

    In compliance with the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601-
612), the FHWA has evaluated the effects of this action on small 
entities. This interim final rule only revises guidance and support 
information related to the decisionmaking process concerning accessible 
pedestrian signals in the MUTCD. The changes are intended to improve 
traffic operations and safety, to expand guidance, and to clarify the 
application of traffic control devices as related to accessible 
pedestrian signals. The FHWA hereby certifies that these revisions will 
not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small 
entities.

Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995

    This action will not impose unfunded mandates as defined by the 
Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (Public Law 104-4, March 22, 1995, 
109 Stat. 48). This rule will not result in the expenditure by State, 
local, and tribal governments, in the aggregate, or by the private 
sector, of $100 million or more in any one year (2 U.S.C. 1531 et 
seq.).

Executive Order 13132 (Federalism)

    This action has been analyzed in accordance with the principles and 
criteria contained in Executive Order 13132, dated August 4, 1999, and 
the FHWA has determined that this action does not have a substantial 
direct effect or sufficient federalism implications on States and local 
governments that would limit the policymaking discretion of the States 
and local governments. This action merely adds guidance and supporting 
information for the decisionmaking process concerning whether or not to 
install accessible pedestrian signals. The FHWA has also determined 
that this action will not preempt any State law or regulation or

[[Page 7076]]

affect the State's ability to discharge traditional State government 
functions.

Executive Order 13175 (Tribal Consultation)

    The FHWA has analyzed this action under Executive Order 13175, 
dated November 6, 2000, and believes that it will not have substantial 
direct effects on one or more Indian tribes; will not impose 
substantial direct compliance costs on Indian tribal governments; and 
will not preempt tribal law. This action merely adds guidance and 
supporting information for the decisionmaking process concerning 
whether or not to install accessible pedestrian signals. Therefore, a 
tribal summary impact statement is not required.

Executive Order 12372 (Intergovernmental Review)

    Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Program Number 20.205, 
Highway Planning and Construction. The regulations implementing 
Executive Order 12372 regarding intergovernmental consultation on 
Federal programs and activities apply to this program.

Paperwork Reduction Act

    Under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA) (44 U.S.C. 3501, et 
seq.), Federal agencies must obtain approval from the Office of 
Management and Budget (OMB) for each collection of information they 
conduct, sponsor, or require through regulations. The FHWA has 
determined that this action does not contain a collection of 
information requirement for purposes of the PRA.

Executive Order 12988 (Civil Justice Reform)

    This action meets applicable standards in Sections 3(a) and 3(b)(2) 
of Executive Order 12988, Civil Justice Reform, to minimize litigation, 
to eliminate ambiguity, and to reduce burden.

Executive Order 13045 (Protection of Children)

    The FHWA has analyzed this action under Executive Order 13045, 
Protection of Children from Environmental Health Risks and Safety 
Risks. This is not an economically significant action and does not 
concern an environmental risk to health or safety that may 
disproportionately affect children.

Executive Order 12630 (Taking of Private Property)

    This action will not effect a taking of private property or 
otherwise have taking implications under Executive Order 12630, 
Governmental Actions and Interference with Constitutionally Protected 
Property Rights.

Executive Order 13211 (Energy Effects)

    We have analyzed this interim final rule under Executive Order 
13211, Actions Concerning Regulations That Significantly Affect Energy 
Supply, Distribution, or Use. We have determined that it is not a 
significant energy action under that order because it is not a 
significant regulatory action under Executive Order 12866 and is not 
likely to have a significant adverse effect on the supply, 
distribution, or use of energy. Therefore, a Statement of Energy 
Effects under Executive Order 13211 is not required.

National Environmental Policy Act

    The agency has analyzed this action for the purpose of the National 
Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.) and has 
determined that it will not have any effect on the quality of the 
environment.

Regulation Identification Number

    A regulation identification number (RIN) is assigned to each 
regulatory action listed in the Unified Agenda of Federal Regulations. 
The Regulatory Information Service Center publishes the Unified Agenda 
in April and October of each year. The RIN contained in the heading of 
this document can be used to cross reference this action with the 
Unified Agenda.

List of Subjects in 23 CFR Part 655

    Design standards, Grant programs--transportation, Highways and 
roads, Incorporation by reference, Signs, Traffic regulations.

    Issued on: February 8, 2002.
Mary E. Peters,
Administrator, Federal Highway Administrator.

    The FHWA hereby amends chapter I of title 23, Code of Federal 
Regulations, part 655 as set forth below:

PART 655--TRAFFIC OPERATIONS

    1. The authority citation for part 655 continues to read as 
follows:

    Authority: 23 U.S.C. 101(a), 104, 109(d), 114(a), 217, 315, and 
402(a); 23 CFR 1.32; and 49 CFR 1.48(b).

Subpart F--Traffic Control Devices on Federal-Aid and Other Streets 
and Highways

    2. Revise Sec. 655.601(a) to read as follows:


Sec. 655.601  Purpose.

* * * * *
    (a) Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD), 2000 
Millennium Edition, FHWA, dated December 2000, including Errata No. 1 
to MUTCD 2000 Millennium Edition dated June 14, 2001, and Revision No. 
1 dated December 28, 2001. This publication is incorporated by 
reference in accordance with 5 U.S.C. 552(a) and 1 CFR part 51 and is 
on file at the Office of the Federal Register, 800 North Capitol 
Street, NW., Suite 700, Washington, DC. These documents are available 
for inspection and copying at the Federal Highway Administration, 400 
Seventh Street, SW., Room 3408, Washington, DC 20590, as provided in 49 
CFR Part 7. The text is also available from the Federal Highway 
Administration's Office of Transportation Operation's website at: 
http://mutcd.fhwa.dot.gov.
* * * * *
[FR Doc. 02-3619 Filed 2-14-02; 8:45 am]
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