The Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) was last revised in 2012. However, many of the revisions had compliance dates of December 31, 2019. This long compliance period is an acknowledgment that road projects often take years to complete due to limited state and local resources.
However, all of the amendments in the 2012 revisions to the MUTCD must now be implemented. Here are three standards in the MUTCD with recent compliance dates:
One Way Signs
Under Section 2B.40 of the MUTCD, one way traffic signage must be placed by traffic signage companies:
- To identify streets or roads where traffic moves in only one direction.
- Parallel to the one way street at any road that crosses it.
- On divided highways where the median is at least 30 feet so that drivers know they are approaching lanes that allow travel in only one direction.
On divided highways with a median less than 30 feet, traffic signage companies have the choice to place either “Keep Right” signs or “One Way” signs.
When used at intersections without traffic signals, road signage companies must place one way signs on the near right and far left corners of the intersection. If the intersection includes a traffic signal, the one way road signage can be placed on the poles holding the traffic signals or the mast arm holding the signal lights.
Horizontal Alignment Signs
Horizontal alignment signs must be preceded by “curve” signs that show the curve creating the horizontal alignment. Table 2C-05 of the MUTCD also describes when horizontal alignment signs are needed.
- “Turn” or “curve” signs are recommended when the difference between the advisory speed and the speed limit is five miles per hour or less. However, these signs are required when the difference is ten miles per hour or more.
- “Advisory speed” signs are also recommended when the advisory speed is five miles per hour less than the speed limit and required when the difference is ten miles per hour or more.
- Chevron signs along guardrail installations are recommended when the recommended speed is 10 miles per hour less than the speed limit. Chevron signs are required when the difference between the advisory speed and speed limit is 15 miles per hour or more.
- Exit or ramp speed signs are required when you recommend drivers slow more than 20 miles per hour from the speed limit. Exit or ramp speed signs are recommended if the difference between the advisory speed and speed limit is 15 miles per hour or less.
Advance Street Name Signs
With heavy traffic and wide multi-lane roads in many cities, traffic signage companies have installed many advance street name signs to inform drivers of upcoming intersections. Under section 2D.44 of the MUTCD, these advance street signs are intended to supplement, rather than replace, street signs. The MUTCD allows advance street signs to be placed before the street identified, or several intersections away from the street identified.
This standard dovetails with other standards about traffic signs. The MUTCD does not regulate commercial billboards but does apply to information signs. In either case, informational signs and billboards must be positioned so they do not obscure traffic signs.
This makes sense since drivers have certain expectations when it comes to traffic signs. About 70% of drivers look at messages on roadside traditional and digital billboards. This means that these can be highly distracting from traffic signs if they are installed too close to them.
The MUTCD sets the standards for traffic signage companies and local departments of transportation. Being mindful of the standards can help keep your citizens safe and keep your city, county, or state government in compliance.