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NCUTCD pushes for MUTCD update from U.S. DOT during summer 2018 meeting
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NCUTCD pushes for MUTCD update from U.S. DOT during summer 2018 meeting

The National Committee on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (NCUTCD) recently met for its summer meeting in June. The organization whose purpose is to assist in the development of standards, guides and warrants for traffic control devices and practices used to regulate, warn and guide traffic on streets and highways.

Additionally, the NCUTCD makes recommendations to federal transportation agencies including the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) on revisions to make to the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD), which sets national standards on TCDs. The MUTCD was addressed at the summer meeting and was a key takeaway topic of discussion.

“The NCUTCD’s summer meeting was very productive and collaborative, with eight recommended changes being approved to the MCUTCD,” said ATSSA Senior Technical Advisor Eric Perry. “There was good discussion on Connected Automated Vehicles (CAVs) and pedestrian safety initiatives but an important effort that was discussed was a letter sent to the U.S. DOT by our organization, urging the federal agency to apply changes to the national standards set forth in the MCUTCD to increase roadway safety on our nation’s roadways.”

The letter was addressed to U.S. DOT Secretary Elaine Chao and requested both the U.S. DOT and FHWA “proceed immediately” to make revisions to the MCUTCD and to develop a timeline for updates that would be made periodically.

Members of the NCUTCD highlighted that the MCUTCD was originally developed by the Association of State Highway Officials (AASHO) before the FHWA took responsibility for managing and updating the document in 1971.

It was also noted that before former President Barak Obama’s administration, revisions to the MUTCD were designated as “insignificant” and therefore the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) was not required to grant clearance of technical updates. But under Obama’s administration, MCUTCD revisions were reclassified as “significant,” which led to the OMB being reintegrated in the revision approval process and in turn making updates to the manual more difficult.

Since the 2009 version of the MUTCD was issued, there have been many critical recommendations made for revisions from a large pool of the transportation community, including traffic and safety engineers. There also has been great consideration of CAVs in developing these revisions, which the MUTCD should adapt to address.

As stated in the letter, members of the NCUTCD “stand ready to work with and support FHWA’s MUTCD team in updating the Manual to positive effect for both human and automated drivers.”
The 2019 summer NCUTCD meeting will be held in Columbus, Ohio.

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