[Federal Register: June 19, 1998 (Volume 63, Number 118)]
[Rules and Regulations]               
[Page 33546-33550]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Federal Highway Administration

23 CFR Part 655

[FHWA Docket 96-9; FHWA-97-2281]
RIN 2125-AD89

National Standards for Traffic Control Devices; Revision of the 
Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices; Pedestrian, Bicycle, and 
School Warning Signs

AGENCY: Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), DOT.

ACTION: Final amendment to the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control 
Devices (MUTCD).


SUMMARY: This document contains an amendment to the MUTCD which has 
been adopted by the FHWA for inclusion therein. The amendment revises 
sections of the MUTCD to permit the optional use of fluorescent yellow 
green (FYG) warning signs related to pedestrian, bicycle, and school 
applications. The MUTCD is incorporated by reference in FHWA's 
regulations on traffic control devices on Federal-aid and other streets 
and highways, and recognized as the national standard for traffic 
control devices on all public roads. This amendment is intended to 
expedite traffic, improve safety and provide a more uniform application 
of highway signs, signals, and markings.

DATES: The final rule is effective on June 19, 1998. Incorporation by 
reference of the publication listed in the regulations is approved by 
the Director of the Federal Register as of June 19, 1998.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. Ernest Huckaby, Office of Highway 
Safety (202) 366-9064; or Mr. Ray Cuprill, Office of Chief Counsel, 
(202) 366-1377, 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.


Electronic Access

    Internet users can access all comments received by the U.S. DOT 
Dockets, Room PL-401, by using the universal resource locator (URL): 

[[Page 33547]]

/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 document 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.
    The text for Parts I, II, VII, and IX of the MUTCD is available 
from the FHWA Office of Highway Safety (HHS-10) or from the FHWA Home 
Page at the URL: http://www.ohs.fhwa.dot.gov/devices/mutcd.html


    The 1988 MUTCD is available for inspection and copying as 
prescribed in 49 CFR Part 7. It may be purchased for $44 (Domestic) or 
$55 (Foreign) from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government 
Printing Office, P.O. Box 371954, Pittsburgh, PA 15250-7954, Stock No. 
650-001-00001-0. The purchase of the MUTCD includes the 1993 revision 
of Part VI, Standards and Guides for Traffic Controls for Street and 
Highway Construction, Maintenance, Utility and Incident Management 
Operation, dated September 1993.
    The FHWA both receives and initiates requests for amendments to the 
MUTCD. Each request is assigned an identification number which 
indicates by Roman numeral, the organizational part of the MUTCD 
affected and, by Arabic numeral, the order in which the request was 
received. This amendment contains the disposition of a proposed change 
which was published on June 7, 1996, at 61 FR 29234. Text changes 
required as a result of amendments contained herein will be distributed 
to everyone currently appearing on the FHWA, Office of Highway Safety, 
Federal Register mailing list and will be published in the next edition 
of the MUTCD. Those wishing to be added to this Federal Register 
mailing list should write to the Federal Highway Administration, Office 
of Highway Safety, HHS-10, 400 Seventh Street, SW., Washington, DC 

Summary of Comments

    The FHWA has reviewed the comments received in response to the 
proposed amendment and other information related to the MUTCD. The FHWA 
is acting on the following request for change to the 1988 edition of 
the MUTCD.
    This amendment to the MUTCD allows the use of fluorescent yellow 
green (FYG) as an optional color for Advance Pedestrian Crossing Sign 
(W11-2), Pedestrian Crossing Sign (W11A-2), Bicycle Crossing Sign (W11-
1), School Advance Sign (S1-1), School Crossing Sign (S2-1), and School 
Bus Stop Ahead Sign (S3-1).
    The FHWA received 141 comments in response to the proposed 
amendment, of which 110 agreed with the FHWA's position; 21 opposed; 
and 10 were either undecided or suggested recommendations not addressed 
in the NPRM. The FHWA received 12 comments suggesting this color be 
adopted for use in incident management. The FHWA is currently 
conducting research with the States of New Jersey, Maryland and 
Virginia on the appropriate color for incident management. Included in 
this research is FYG. Upon conclusion of the research rulemaking action 
will be considered.
    The notice of proposed amendment published on June 7, 1996, 
included a vague and incomplete reference to the Pedestrian Crossing 
Sign and the Advance Pedestrian Crossing Sign. Both signs were intended 
to be embraced by the amendment permitting optional FYG use. 
Inadvertently, however, the former was referenced by name only; the 
latter was referenced by sign number only, although dual (name and sign 
number) references were included for each of the other signs involved 
in the amendment.
    The FHWA believes, however, that it is appropriate to include both 
the Pedestrian and Advance Pedestrian Crossing Signs in the amendment 
adopted here. Although comment was not specifically invited concerning 
the Advance Pedestrian Crossing Sign by name, we note that the sign is 
equivalent in context to the School Advance Sign which received no 
opposing comments. Moreover, because the amendment provides for 
optional installation of FYG signs, inclusion of both the Pedestrian 
and Advance Pedestrian Crossing Signs should not impose any hardship or 
result in any detriment. Conversely, failure to include both signs 
within the scope of the amendment adopted at this time could unduly 
burden those municipalities that choose to install FYG signs, but would 
then have to do so under different installation schedules for the 
Pedestrian Crossing and Advance Pedestrian Crossing Signs. Sequential 
installation of the signs would contradict the FHWA's recommendation 
that a systematic approach be used to install the signs, potentially 
resulting in negative safety implications. Indeed, several commenters 
questioned the advisability of not including both the Pedestrian 
Crossing and Advance Pedestrian Crossing Signs. Further, several 
commenters indicated that a mixing of FYG and standard yellow signs, 
resulting from failure to include both in this notice, could lead to 
motorists' confusion and should not be permitted.
    Pedestrian-motor vehicle crashes are a serious problem in the 
United States. A total of 5,412 pedestrians were reported killed and 
another 82,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes in 1996. An 
estimated 59,000 bicyclists were injured and 761 were killed in motor 
vehicle collisions in 1996. Of the 41,907 people who lost their lives 
in motor vehicle crashes in 1996, 13 percent were pedestrians and 2 
percent were bicyclists (Traffic Safety Facts 1996 (NHTSA)). Although a 
drop in pedestrian fatalities has occurred in recent years, a serious 
problem continues to exist in the United States relative to pedestrian 
and bicyclist deaths and injuries.
    The DOT Secretarial Initiative for Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety is 
a new effort to promote walking and bicycling as a safe, healthy, and 
efficient way to travel. By the year 2000, the Secretarial Initiative 
will have attempted to decrease by 10 percent the number of injuries 
and fatalities occurring to bicyclists and pedestrians, and to double 
the national percentage of transportation trips made by walking or 
    As reported in the NPRM, the FHWA conducted a nationwide study 
during 1993-1995. North Carolina State University, Civil Engineering 
Department, took part in this study and performed an in-depth research 
study in the use of FYG warning signs. The study involved eight sites 
in multiple pedestrian environments in multiple cities. The overall 
results of the study indicate that FYG warning signs produced only 
marginal improvement in perceived safety at the crossing sites. At 
three of the crossing sites studied, the evaluation indicated a 
significant reduction in the number of pedestrian/vehicle conflicts, as 
well as a significant increase in the percentage of vehicles slowing or 
stopping. Public opinion surveys reflected a strong indication that the 
FYG warnings do ``stand out'' and were associated with the need for 
caution. (Source: ``Field Evaluation of Fluorescent Strong Yellow Green 
Pedestrian Warning Signs,'' M.S. Thesis, K.L. Clark, North Carolina 
State University, 1994.)

[[Page 33548]]

    Over the last 26 months, the FHWA has approved 28 jurisdictions to 
experiment with FYG warning signs. Several of the jurisdictions that 
have taken part in the experimentation have indicated that the use of 
the FYG warning signs meets pedestrian safety needs and have requested 
permission to install additional signs. Many other jurisdictions have 
expressed an interest in their use and are awaiting the FHWA final 
    Of the 141 comments received in response to the NPRM, 23 
represented jurisdictions that either participated in the original two-
year experimentation, or that are currently experimenting with FYG, 
submitted comments. Of those jurisdictions, 22 were in agreement with 
the proposed optional use, and 1 opposed the proposal.
    The City of Chicago has recently implemented a ``Safe Route to 
School Program'' for the Chicago Board of Education. This program is a 
direct result of crashes involving motorists and children in school 
zones. The City of Chicago has requested and been granted approval to 
experiment with FYG signs at 10 school crossings that have been 
identified as ``problem locations.'' Installation of the first FYG sign 
received media attention and its use has been well received by elected 
officials, the Board of Education, and the public. In many instances, 
jurisdictions have publicized the installation of the FYG signs and 
have received positive responses from educators, parents, students, and 
    The NPRM received favorable comments and overwhelming support from 
local governments, including police departments and public school 
systems, in addition to special interest groups and the general public. 
National organizations with safety interests, such as the National 
Safety Council, Institute of Transportation Engineers, and the American 
Automobile Association (AAA-Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi), have all 
responded very positively to the use of FYG warning signs.
    Many of the public comments received in response to the NPRM voiced 
common concerns that will be addressed individually. The NPRM addressed 
the cost increase of fluorescent sheeting material as one and a half 
times as much as the high intensity sign material. The FHWA estimated 
the cost of the fluorescent sheeting material to be $7.45 per sq.ft. 
versus the high intensity sign material at $5.32 per sq.ft. These costs 
considered sign blank, sheeting material, and labor costs for a 30'' x 
30'' sign. Several docket comments stated that FYG sheeting material 
($4.90 per sq. ft.) actually costs only 30 percent more than high 
intensity sign material ($3.75 per sq.ft.) When comparing total 
installed sign costs (fabrication, hardware, installation, and labor 
costs), the actual cost difference would only be 7 percent ($17.74 per 
sq. ft. versus $18.90 per sq. ft.) for a 30'' School Crossing Sign. The 
FHWA agrees with this cost statement as these costs follow along with 
the cost evaluation method using the Bellomo-McGee calculation. 
(Source: 1987 study conducted by Bellomo-McGee for the FHWA, 
``Retroreflectivity of Roadway Signs for Adequate Visibility: A 
Guide,'' (FHWA/DF-88/001).) The FHWA is also concerned with the cost 
burden on State and local transportation agencies and believes the 
``optional'' use as opposed to an unfunded mandate will relieve the 
agencies of an undue cost burden. The overall installation cost for the 
sign is not much different because the sheeting cost is only a small 
amount of the total cost of a sign installation.
    There is concern that the NPRM gave conflicting guidance in 
proposing a ``systematic approach'' at locations selected for use of 
the FYG warning signs, and the ``gradual phase-in'' as part of 
``routine maintenance.'' Historically, when signs are installed at the 
same time, they generally deteriorate beyond usefulness at the same 
time and need to be replaced at the same time. Signs that are taken 
down to comply with the ``systematic approach'' and that are in a 
usable condition may be used again at other locations. Additionally, 
signs can be taken down and refurbished with new sheeting material and 
used again at new locations.
    Several commenters believe the use of FYG warning signs should be 
implemented as a mandatory (shall) condition in the MUTCD, rather than 
an optional condition as proposed in the NPRM. Designation of FYG signs 
as an option fits in with the present character of the MUTCD which 
allows the State and local transportation agencies to make a 
determination on use of traffic control devices that may be beneficial 
to some locations. An example is the use of channelizing devices in 
work zones with the optional use of tubular markers, cones, and drums. 
This is a positive step in allowing State and local agencies to address 
their safety needs and avoids an undue burden on their budgets.
    Concern has been expressed over the ``novelty effect'' of the FYG 
signs. While there is always the possibility of a ``novelty'' effect 
which could decrease the benefits over time, the experimentation 
procedures took into consideration the possibility of the novelty 
effect on drivers by instructing the implementing agency to allow at 
least 30 days between the time the experimental signs were installed 
and the time the study proceeded.
    The American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) publishes 
standard test methods, specifications, practices, guides, 
classifications, and terminology. These standards are developed 
voluntarily and used voluntarily. They become legally binding only when 
a government body makes them so, or when they are cited in a contract. 
Specifically, ASTM E991 describes procedures for measuring the color of 
fluorescent specimens as they would be perceived when illuminated by 
daylight, and for calculating tristimulus values and chromaticity 
coordinates for these conditions. ASTM E1247 provides 
spectrophotometric methods for identifying the presence of fluorescence 
in object-color specimens.
    There is some concern regarding the use of ASTM E991 and E1247 for 
determining compliance with specifications listed in the NPRM. It was 
mentioned that most State and local agencies would not have the 
instrumentation necessary to accurately measure fluorescence 
specifications. This is not deemed a critical concern as the testing 
for FYG would be no different than what is done in field offices now. 
Most States currently have the capability to do initial testing of 
retroreflectivity. When a State purchases sign material, the 
manufacturer certifies the specifications; however, some States reserve 
the option to do their own lab work.
    The Commission Internationale de l'Eclairage (CIE) (English: 
International Commission on Illumination) chromaticity coordinates 
(x,y), defining the corner of the Fluorescent Yellow Green daytime 
color region, are stated in the table below. Several docket comments 
received mentioned that the Y values were omitted from the NPRM; 
therefore, the Y values have been inserted in the table below:

        x                  y                  Y                Y<INF>F       
0.387............          0.610                 50                20   
0.368............          0.539      ................  ................
0.421............          0.486      ................  ................
0.460............          0.540      ................  ................

    Fluorescent materials differ from non-fluorescent materials in that 
the total luminance is the sum of the luminances due to reflection and 
fluorescence. The luminance factor Y of such materials is the sum of 
the luminance due to reflection (Y<INF>R</INF>) and the luminance due 
to fluorescence (Y<INF>F</INF>). Therefore, 
Y=Y<INF>R</INF>+Y<INF>F</INF>. If the value of Y<INF>F</INF> is greater 
than zero,

[[Page 33549]]

the material is fluorescent; if Y<INF>F</INF> equals zero, then the 
luminance factor Y is equal to Y<INF>R</INF>.
    These four pairs of chromaticity coordinates determine the 
acceptable color in terms of the CIE 1931 Standard Colorimetric System 
(2 degree standard observer) measured with CIE Standard Illuminant D65 
in accordance with ASTM E991. In addition, the color shall be 
fluorescent, as determined by ASTM E1247.

Rulemaking Analyses 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 Department of Transportation 
regulatory policies and procedures. It is anticipated that the economic 
impact of this rulemaking would be minimal. The change in this notice 
provides additional guidance, clarification, and optional application 
for traffic control devices. The FHWA expects that application 
uniformity will improve at little additional expense to public agencies 
or the motoring public. Therefore, a full regulatory evaluation is not 

Regulatory Flexibility Act

    In compliance with the Regulatory Flexibility Act (Pub. L. 96-354, 
5 U.S.C. 601-612), the FHWA has evaluated the effects of this action on 
small entities. This final amendment allows the optional use of 
alternative traffic control devices and the changes adopted here merely 
provide expanded guidance and clarification on the selection of 
appropriate traffic control devices. Based on this evaluation, the FHWA 
hereby certifies that this action would not have a significant economic 
impact on a substantial number of small entities.

Unfunded Mandates Reform Act

    This rule does not impose unfunded mandates as defined by the 
Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (Pub. L. 104-4, March 22, 1995, 
109 Stat. 48). This rulemaking relates to the Federal-aid Highway 
Program which is a financial assistance program in which State, local, 
or tribal governments have authority to adjust their program in 
accordance with changes made in the program by the Federal government, 
and thus is excluded from the definition of Federal mandate under the 
Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995.

Executive Order 12612 (Federalism Assessment)

    This action has been analyzed in accordance with the principles and 
criteria contained in Executive Order 12612, and it has been determined 
that this action would not have sufficient federalism implications to 
warrant the preparation of a federalism assessment. The MUTCD is 
incorporated by reference in 23 CFR part 655, subpart F, which requires 
that changes to the national standards issued by the FHWA shall be 
adopted by the States or other Federal agencies within two years of 
issuance. These amendments are in keeping with the Secretary of 
Transportation's authority under 23 U.S.C. 109(d), 315, and 402(a) to 
promulgate uniform guidelines to promote the safe and efficient use of 
the highway. To the extent that these amendments override any existing 
State requirements regarding traffic control devices, they do so in the 
interests of national uniformity.

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

    This action does not contain a collection of information 
requirement for purposes of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, 44 
U.S.C. 3501 et seq.

National Environmental Policy Act

    The agency has analyzed this action for the purpose of the National 
Environmental Policy Act of 1969, as amended (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.) 
and has determined that this action would 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, Reporting and recordkeeping 
requirements, Signs, Traffic regulations.

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


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

    Authority: 23 U.S.C. 101(a), 104, 105, 109(d), 114(a), 135, 217, 
307, 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. In section 655.601, paragraph (a) is revised to read as follows:

Sec. 655.601  Purpose.

* * * * *
    (a) Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices for Streets and 
Highways (MUTCD), FHWA, 1988, including Revision No.1 dated January 17, 
1990, Revision No. 2 dated March 17, 1992, Revision No. 3 dated 
September 3, 1993, ``Errata No. 1 to the 1988 MUTCD, Revision 3 dated 
November 1, 1994,'' Revision No. 4 dated November 1, 1994, Revision No. 
4a (modified) dated February 19, 1998, Revision No. 5 dated December 
24, 1996, and Revision No. 6, dated June 19, 1998. 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. The 1988 MUTCD, 
including Revision No. 3 dated September 3, 1993, may be purchased from 
the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO), 
P.O. Box 371954, Pittsburgh, PA 15250-7954, Stock No. 650-001-00001-0. 
The amendments to the MUTCD, titled ``1988 MUTCD Revision No. 1,'' 
dated January 17, 1990, ``1988 MUTCD Revision No. 2,'' dated March 17, 
1992, ``1988 MUTCD Revision No. 3,'' dated September 3, 1993, ``1988 
MUTCD Errata No. 1 to Revision No. 3,'' dated November 1, 1994, ``1988 
MUTCD Revision No. 4,'' dated November 1, 1994, ``Revision No. 
4a(modified),'' dated February 19, 1998, and ``1988 MUTCD Revision No. 
5,'' dated December 24, 1996, and Revision No. 6 dated June 19, 1998 
are available from the Federal Highway Administration, Office of 
Highway Safety, HHS-10, 400 Seventh Street, SW., Washington, DC 20590. 
These documents are available for inspection and copying as prescribed 
in 49 CFR part 7.
* * * * *

[[Page 33550]]

    Issued: June 9, 1998.
Kenneth R. Wykle,
Federal Highway Administrator.
[FR Doc. 98-15882 Filed 6-18-98; 8:45 am]