ATSSA Blog

FHWA issues MUTCD ruling on ‘Uses of and Nonstandard Syntax on Changeable Message Signs’

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The Federal Highway administration issued a Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices or Streets and Highways (MUTCD) official ruling this week pertaining to syntax on changeable message sign messaging.

Official Ruling No. 2(09)-174 provides an official interpretation for the question of “whether the MUTCD provides for displays on changeable message signs (CMS) that use unconventional wording typically not found on standard signing and how public input into the development of CMS messages may be used.”

The ruling notes that the devices should not contain advertising or messages unrelated to traffic control and then reviews the five principles for an effective traffic control device: fulfill a need; command attention; convey a clear, simple meaning; command respect from road users; and give adequate time for proper response.