ITE Journal - July 2021 - 6

| director's message
Setting a New Course for the MUTCD
The Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD)
may be the singular most influential transportation publication in
the United States. This Federal Highway Administration (FHWA)issued
publication applies to all roads open to public travel in
the United States. From the moment you leave your house-by
car, by bike, scooter, or on foot-your travel is influenced by the
MUTCD. A number of organizations have been making this point
when responding to the current Notice of Proposed Amendments
(NPA) to update the Manual for the first time in 11 years, which resulted in more than
25,000 comments to the docket. Compared to the approximately 2,000 responses received
the last time the MUTCD was updated, you can sense the elevated level of attention the
NPA is getting this time around.
ITE's response is available on our website at
Our Board of Direction, volunteers, and staff have done a masterful job in representing
ITE member interests. Our of representatives from the National Committee on Uniform
Traffic Control Devices (NCUTCD), key ITE Technical Councils and Committees, ITE
staff, and individual members completed a thorough review of the 800 pages of proposed
changes, identifying the changes we support and making suggestions for improvement.
Our team highlighted the most important issues at hand, identifying three main
themes and more than 20 specific areas of comment. First, we encouraged FHWA to
consider the needs of all users. While progress was made in the NPA, we identified a
number of opportunities to better meet the needs of pedestrians and bicyclists. Vulnerable
road safety must be prioritized over vehicle movement in the selection of traffic control
devices. Second, we asked FHWA to provide users of the MUTCD with greater flexibility
and opportunities to innovate. The MUTCD should provide sound guidance on minimum
requirements for consistently selecting and using traffic control devices, but should avoid
being a design guide. In our view, FHWA took a more restrictive approach and missed
the opportunity to make the experimentation process easier for jurisdictions to navigate.
Finally, we encouraged FHWA to take a forward-looking posture with the Manual. The
MUTCD must be a more nimble document, able to adapt to changing conditions, updated
practices, and new research results. We also encouraged reexamination of the fundamental
underpinnings of the Manual, some of which are decades old.
I have no doubt that this heightened attention to the MUTCD will result in significant
changes to the Manual. While we support rethinking what the MUTCD should look
like in the longer term, an updated version of the Manual is desperately needed to save
lives today. This current spotlight on the Manual will result in wider engagement in the
process of defining the future of the MUTCD. It is important that ITE be at the center of
this engagement, as we have been throughout this document's 86-year history.
While we will work hard to represent your interests, it is also important that members
participate in the NCUTCD process. Starting on page 37, an article provides an overview
of the MUTCD update process and how you can be involved in reviewing proposals for
potential changes to the Manual. Please consider sharing your time and expertise. As
always you can reach me on the ITE e-Community or on Twitter: @JPaniatiITE.
Jeffrey F. Paniati, P.E. (F)
Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer
July 2021 ite journal
Holly Gilbert Stowell
Senior Editor and Writer
Pam Goodell
Marketing Senior Director
Content Worx
Design and Production
Jeffrey F. Paniati, P.E. (F)
Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer
Kathi P. Driggs, IOM
Deputy Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer
Jeffrey A. Lindley, P.E. (F)
Deputy Executive Director and Chief Technical Officer
Colleen A. Agan
Associate Executive Director and Senior Director of
Membership Strategies and Operations
Sonya Torres
Accounting Specialist
Ann O'Neill
Certification Programs Manager
Tatiana Richey
Contracts Manager
Zach Pleasant, PMP
Information Technology Services Senior Director
Douglas E. Noble, P.E., PTOE (F)
Management and Operations Senior Director
Linda S. Pierre, CMP, CEM, DES
Senior Director of Meetings
Eunice Chege Thoya
Membership Associate
Jennifer Childs
Membership Database Associate-Data Services
Sallie C. Dollins
Membership Services Associate
Kellyanne Broom
Professional Development Director
Kevin G. Hooper, P.E. (F)
Strategic Projects (Consultant)
Nicola Tavares, PMP
Technical Products Manager
Niloo Parvinashtiani
Technical Programs Manager
Deborah L. Rouse
Technical Publications Manager
Lisa M. Fontana Tierney, P.E. (F)
Traffic Engineering Senior Director
Sarah Abel (M)
Transportation Planning Director
Siva R. K Narla (M)
Transportation Technology Senior Director
Volume 91 | Issue 7
ITE Journal (ISSN 0162-8178) is written by and for transportation engineers,
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movement of people and goods on our surface transportation system. Published
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ITE Journal - July 2021

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