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Status of the 11th Edition of the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD)

Authored by Ania Chandler, P.E., William Finch III, P.E. | May 30, 2024

With transportation modes continuing to evolve and expand, electric vehicles becoming more prevalent, and an increased emphasis on the safety of all users in our communities, engineering design guidance documents have recently been undergoing updates.

In late 2023, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) announced the 11th Edition of the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices for Streets and Highways (MUTCD). The MUTCD is the standard document that ensures nationwide consistency in aspects of our surface transportation network, including signage, striping, traffic signals, and more.

The new edition includes a number of changes, including:

  • Incorporation proven-effective traffic control devices that previously had only interim approval, such as rectangular rapid flashing beacons, green-colored pavement for bike lanes, and red-colored pavement for transit lanes
  • Additional guidance regarding setting speed limits and de-emphasizing the use of the existing 85th percentile speed, a response to safety advocates
  • More design guidance and traffic control devices for bicyclists and EV charging infrastructure
  • New signs and new guidance on the placement of advance warning signs

By Federal regulation, the 11th Edition of the MUTCD became effective on January 18, 2024, however, the Code allows each State two years from the effective date to adopt the MUTCD at the state level. There are generally three ways that States choose to adopt the MUTCD:

  • Adoption of the National MUTCD, as-is
  • Adoption of the National MUTCD along with a State-supplement document that is in substantial conformance with the national manual
  • Adoption of a State MUTCD that is in substantial conformance with the national manual

For the prior edition of the MUTCD, Connecticut and Maine adopted the MUTCD as-is, and we have determined that those states have also adopted the 11th Edition as-is and it is currently the standard.

In New York, state law provides for automatic adoption of the current National MUTCD. However, New York had a State-supplement to the 2009 MUTCD that has not yet been updated. The New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) has announced that the process has begun to update the State-supplement. Until a new supplement has been formally adopted, the State is directing designers and municipalities to follow the 11th Edition to the extent practical, alongside the 2009 State supplement. To address changes in the new edition or conflicts between the two, the State has compiled a “List of Significant Changes” and guidance regarding those, available on this webpage.

In Pennsylvania, PennDOT published a notice that the 2009 MUTCD remains the standard until the agency can complete a full review and revise their State-supplement.

Barton & Loguidice’s Transportation professionals are proficient in the application of the MUTCD and the design of safe and accessible transportation improvements. We will continue to monitor the adoption of the MUTCD and state supplements and the impact on projects in our communities.

Interested in learning more? Reach out to B&L’s Transportation experts William Finch III, P.E., and Ania Chandler, P.E.