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Author Topic: MUTCD Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (2020) now available  (Read 39982 times)

Ned Weasel

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Re: MUTCD Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (2020) now available
« Reply #350 on: November 06, 2021, 06:26:13 AM »

Sometimes, I wonder why we havenít raised the speed limit to at least 75 mph on rural freeways in most (mountainous areas are an exception) states yet. If you take any rural interstate in the Midwest and place it in most European countries, Iím very sure itíll be signed as 120 km/h (75 mph), maybe even 130.

I've long wondered why the long, rural stretches of ON 401 are only 100 km/h.  Is most of Canada like this?
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vdeane

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Re: MUTCD Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (2020) now available
« Reply #351 on: November 06, 2021, 09:38:05 PM »

Sometimes, I wonder why we havenít raised the speed limit to at least 75 mph on rural freeways in most (mountainous areas are an exception) states yet. If you take any rural interstate in the Midwest and place it in most European countries, Iím very sure itíll be signed as 120 km/h (75 mph), maybe even 130.

I've long wondered why the long, rural stretches of ON 401 are only 100 km/h.  Is most of Canada like this?
Define "most".  By land area?  Thankfully not, though speed limits are still lower than in most of the US by a couple mph (110 is only 68).  By population distribution?  Overwhelmingly, at least before Ontario made three pilot 110 zones.  Sadly, rather than bringing 110 everywhere else once the pilot was done, they instead decided to extend it another couple years.
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Revive 755

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Re: MUTCD Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (2020) now available
« Reply #352 on: March 03, 2022, 10:30:58 PM »

The MUTCD website (https://mutcd.fhwa.dot.gov/)has been updated:

Quote from: MUTCD website
A Notice of Proposed Amendments (NPA) to issue a new edition of the MUTCD was published in the Dec. 14, 2020, Federal Register for public comment. More than 17,000 entries submitted to the public docket comprise over 35,000 individual comments, and these comments will inform this rulemaking action and the 11th Edition of the MUTCD.  In addition, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act directs USDOT to update the MUTCD by no later than May 15, 2023, and at least every 4 years thereafter to promote the safety, inclusion, and mobility of all road users.
(Bolding is in the original)
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Scott5114

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Re: MUTCD Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (2020) now available
« Reply #353 on: March 04, 2022, 03:57:35 AM »

A new MUTCD every 4 years? Seems kind of unnecessary. Even in the heyday of Interstate construction we only got new ones every ten years or so (1948, 1961, 1971, 1978).
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kalvado

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Re: MUTCD Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (2020) now available
« Reply #354 on: March 04, 2022, 11:54:02 AM »

A new MUTCD every 4 years? Seems kind of unnecessary. Even in the heyday of Interstate construction we only got new ones every ten years or so (1948, 1961, 1971, 1978).
But we need more people in administration, right? They need to justify their paychecks!
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Rothman

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Re: MUTCD Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (2020) now available
« Reply #355 on: March 04, 2022, 01:20:14 PM »

A new MUTCD every 4 years? Seems kind of unnecessary. Even in the heyday of Interstate construction we only got new ones every ten years or so (1948, 1961, 1971, 1978).
But we need more people in administration, right? They need to justify their paychecks!
*mulls over how FHWA changed when Interstate building slowed down...they then bought a huge supply of red tape...*
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seicer

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Re: MUTCD Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (2020) now available
« Reply #356 on: March 04, 2022, 01:25:22 PM »

The curve warning signs with the speed inside of them are being deleted. Apparently, they were meant to be used at the point of the curve itself, with a traditional sign with warning plaque placed upstream at the warning location. Who knew? Nobody ever actually did this, so they're just striking it from the book altogether.

Is there an example of how they should be used?

There was a road I was recently on in West Virginia where they had one of those curve signs with embedded speed limits not far from the start of *each* curve.

J N Winkler

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Re: MUTCD Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (2020) now available
« Reply #357 on: March 04, 2022, 01:33:59 PM »

A new MUTCD every 4 years? Seems kind of unnecessary. Even in the heyday of Interstate construction we only got new ones every ten years or so (1948, 1961, 1971, 1978).

When one of the recent editions (I think 2009, but possibly 2003) came out, there was an expectation that the revision cycle would shorten to two years to better accommodate technological innovation and avert the vetting problems that result from doorstop rulemakings.  That did not happen, and the gap between 2009 and the upcoming Eleventh Edition is on track to be the longest since 1948-1961 and possibly ever.

When this thread was bumped, I poked at the comments for this rulemaking on the docket site.  There were over 17,000, so I just pulled up a few from people I know that routinely send comments and try to go through each rulemaking item by item.  Richard Moeur's had one unpleasant surprise--I had missed that FHWA wants to prohibit the use of sign design elements (such as FHWA alphabet series and shield shapes) in trailblazers for scenic byways, historic routes, and so on.  I have a feeling that when the Eleventh Edition comes out, we'll be dealing with a few changes of this type that we didn't want but didn't see.  (Moeur noted that he was sending fewer comments than for past rulemakings because press of other business had limited his time for review.)
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jakeroot

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Re: MUTCD Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (2020) now available
« Reply #358 on: March 04, 2022, 02:19:51 PM »

Richard Moeur's had one unpleasant surprise--I had missed that FHWA wants to prohibit the use of sign design elements (such as FHWA alphabet series and shield shapes) in trailblazers for scenic byways, historic routes, and so on.

Could I ask for some clarification? Would this prohibit signage such as "Historic Route US-99" and similar signs? Not sure I understand the rule.
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kphoger

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Re: MUTCD Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (2020) now available
« Reply #359 on: March 04, 2022, 02:28:31 PM »


Richard Moeur's had one unpleasant surprise--I had missed that FHWA wants to prohibit the use of sign design elements (such as FHWA alphabet series and shield shapes) in trailblazers for scenic byways, historic routes, and so on.

Could I ask for some clarification? Would this prohibit signage such as "Historic Route US-99" and similar signs? Not sure I understand the rule.

...not to mention, of course, Route 66...
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J N Winkler

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Re: MUTCD Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (2020) now available
« Reply #360 on: March 04, 2022, 03:08:32 PM »

Could I ask for some clarification? Would this prohibit signage such as "Historic Route US-99" and similar signs? Not sure I understand the rule.

I haven't looked up chapter and verse in the notice of proposed rulemaking, but Moeur objected to this particular change because it would (as he interprets it) prohibit the use of the actual US route shield with legend and route number digits in FHWA series as part of a historic US route sign.  (Arizona's signs for former US 66 and US 80 both use the actual shield shape and FHWA series for legend and digits, but in brown on white.)
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kphoger

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Re: MUTCD Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (2020) now available
« Reply #361 on: March 04, 2022, 03:19:14 PM »

On the other hand, it does kind of make sense to disallow a sign that re-e-e-e-eally looks a lot like an actual route shield being posted on a highway that isn't actually designated as that route number.

That is to say, I'd totally understand wanting to make sure nobody sees a US-66 shield and goes Oh crap, I'm supposed to be on Route ___!
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jamess

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Re: MUTCD Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (2020) now available
« Reply #362 on: March 04, 2022, 04:28:59 PM »

A new MUTCD every 4 years? Seems kind of unnecessary. Even in the heyday of Interstate construction we only got new ones every ten years or so (1948, 1961, 1971, 1978).

With automated cars getting closer to reality, it would make sense to need constant frequent updated.

The current MUTCD completely drops the ball on all bike-related stuff, and I dont think the proposed one even addresses e-scooters.

Additionally, the more frequent the changes, the easier they are, because less changes each time.
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Scott5114

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Re: MUTCD Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (2020) now available
« Reply #363 on: March 04, 2022, 04:54:58 PM »

Could I ask for some clarification? Would this prohibit signage such as "Historic Route US-99" and similar signs? Not sure I understand the rule.

I haven't looked up chapter and verse in the notice of proposed rulemaking, but Moeur objected to this particular change because it would (as he interprets it) prohibit the use of the actual US route shield with legend and route number digits in FHWA series as part of a historic US route sign.  (Arizona's signs for former US 66 and US 80 both use the actual shield shape and FHWA series for legend and digits, but in brown on white.)

The relevant sections are:

Quote from: MUTCD 11e
Guidance:
The design and size of historic trail and State scenic byway identification or system signs should comply with the general provisions and principles for Route signs (see Section 2D.10). Designs should be simple, dignified, and devoid of complex graphics. The size of the signs should not exceed the size of the Route signs used along a particular route.

Standard:
Scenic byway, historic trail and auto tours route signs shall not incorporate standard highway sign legend elements into their design.


It's a little ambiguous whether typefaces count as "standard highway sign legend elements", since the proposed text does not elaborate on what might or might not fall in that category. Strictly interpreted, though, even something like this might well be seen as thoroughly unacceptable:


ID-200 East - Pend Oreille Scenic Byway by Zach, on Flickr



I was quite pleased to see that Richard Moeur's comment also called out the 3/4 error and provided several examples of such in multiple states.
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jakeroot

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Re: MUTCD Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (2020) now available
« Reply #364 on: March 04, 2022, 06:40:08 PM »

Could I ask for some clarification? Would this prohibit signage such as "Historic Route US-99" and similar signs? Not sure I understand the rule.

I haven't looked up chapter and verse in the notice of proposed rulemaking, but Moeur objected to this particular change because it would (as he interprets it) prohibit the use of the actual US route shield with legend and route number digits in FHWA series as part of a historic US route sign.  (Arizona's signs for former US 66 and US 80 both use the actual shield shape and FHWA series for legend and digits, but in brown on white.)

I do not have a picture, but such signs are exactly the kind I see here in Washington State, although with black-on-white legend and digits: https://goo.gl/maps/3BoLg1UFMkUPNNqa8 (Historic US-99, modern-day WA-99).

I thought these signs were common enough countrywide that they were, at least to some degree, "official" historic route signs, so banning them now seems a bit odd. The signs also use brown backgrounds, which I've never interpreted as guidance signage. If there is some concern at FHWA that drivers may confuse them for actual guidance signs because of the content (eg US-99 shield), that seems to disregard the concept of color distinction that drivers should possess (brown for recreation, blue for service, green for guidance, et al). In the case of historic routes, these are, effectively, recreational routes, so they are doing exactly what they should. Is there concern that drivers will think they are on actual, say, US-99? What about those drivers who are following US-99?

It's a little ambiguous whether typefaces count as "standard highway sign legend elements", since the proposed text does not elaborate on what might or might not fall in that category. Strictly interpreted, though, even something like this might well be seen as thoroughly unacceptable:
[clipped]

And this seems quite odd to me, assuming we are interpreting the MUTCD change correctly. I cannot be certain as to what would constitute a reason for such a change may be. Banning shields is one thing; I don't agree with that idea for the same reasons many of you may, but banning the FHWA series alphabet is, frankly, nonsense. Are we to believe that road users actually recognize the standard road sign font?
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LilianaUwU

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Re: MUTCD Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (2020) now available
« Reply #365 on: March 04, 2022, 06:42:20 PM »

I had missed that FHWA wants to prohibit the use of sign design elements (such as FHWA alphabet series and shield shapes) in trailblazers for scenic byways, historic routes, and so on.

That's the weirdest decision to make. If a historic route was signed with a shield, then the historic route sign should have that shield.
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Scott5114

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Re: MUTCD Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (2020) now available
« Reply #366 on: March 04, 2022, 07:22:33 PM »

In the case of historic routes, these are, effectively, recreational routes, so they are doing exactly what they should. Is there concern that drivers will think they are on actual, say, US-99? What about those drivers who are following US-99?

Additionally, even if they do think they are on actual US-99, so what? It would be no different than when the highway they're on multiplexes with some route they don't care about. We trust drivers to ignore irrelevant information in that circumstance; what makes this any different?
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J N Winkler

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Re: MUTCD Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (2020) now available
« Reply #367 on: March 04, 2022, 08:14:33 PM »

I think Moeur did the right thing by protesting this change.  I don't know what FHWA's motivations for it were, or the extent to which they are supported by research.  Nevertheless, I object to it because it essentially bans well-articulated scenic byway signing schemes such as Idaho's, moves away from authenticity in historic route signing, and tends to impair font compliance in general by encouraging the creation of officially sanctioned signs that are allowed, indeed required, not to use highway sign typefaces.

I flagged this particular proposed change as an example of one we did not catch, but which someone else did.  The ones to worry about are the ones no-one caught, and the bigger a rulemaking is (this last one had almost 700 proposed changes), the higher the chances are that any given change will slip through without comment.  For this reason I think it is worth shortening the revision cycle, though I suspect this ambition will fall by the wayside, much as happened with 100% nationwide toll transponder interoperability by 2016.
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Re: MUTCD Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (2020) now available
« Reply #368 on: March 04, 2022, 09:55:11 PM »

For what it's worth, I don't think Idaho has installed a new brown byway shield since 2010 or so, and the existing ones have gradually been replaced over the past several years. Not a whole lot are left.

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Re: MUTCD Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (2020) now available
« Reply #369 on: March 04, 2022, 10:50:43 PM »


In the case of historic routes, these are, effectively, recreational routes, so they are doing exactly what they should. Is there concern that drivers will think they are on actual, say, US-99? What about those drivers who are following US-99?

Additionally, even if they do think they are on actual US-99, so what? It would be no different than when the highway they're on multiplexes with some route they don't care about. We trust drivers to ignore irrelevant information in that circumstance; what makes this any different?

Only if the multiplex is cosigned.  I find it very irritating when the route I'm actually following stops being signed at all during a multiplex.
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Scott5114

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Re: MUTCD Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (2020) now available
« Reply #370 on: March 04, 2022, 11:05:02 PM »

[...]I object to it because it essentially bans well-articulated scenic byway signing schemes such as Idaho's, moves away from authenticity in historic route signing, and tends to impair font compliance in general by encouraging the creation of officially sanctioned signs that are allowed, indeed required, not to use highway sign typefaces.

Well...the block fonts haven't appeared in the MUTCD since 1948, meaning they're no longer considered "standard highway sign legend elements" by any technical meaning of the word. But they're still clearly out there bouncing around. So maybe some renegade signage engineer with a taste for the vintage will just change all their state's scenic byways over to use the block fonts. :D


In the case of historic routes, these are, effectively, recreational routes, so they are doing exactly what they should. Is there concern that drivers will think they are on actual, say, US-99? What about those drivers who are following US-99?

Additionally, even if they do think they are on actual US-99, so what? It would be no different than when the highway they're on multiplexes with some route they don't care about. We trust drivers to ignore irrelevant information in that circumstance; what makes this any different?

Only if the multiplex is cosigned.  I find it very irritating when the route I'm actually following stops being signed at all during a multiplex.

Agreed. I'd actually say that the lack of multiplex signage is probably often another example of the same lack of trust in the driver to discard information not relevant to them. (This is Arkansas's stated rationale for lack of multiplex signage; apparently some higher-up there went to Alabama once and was overwhelmed by the number of route shields presented at some junctions, and so Arkansas policy was changed to reduce the likelihood of that sort of assembly appearing there.)
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