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Traffic Control Devices on Federal-Aid and Other Streets and Highways; Standards

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), DOT.


Final rule.


The FHWA revises its regulation on traffic control devices on Federal-aid and other highways, which prescribes procedures for obtaining basic uniformity of traffic control devices on all streets and highways. This final rule makes some nomenclature changes and removes a reference to an outdated regulation.


April 23, 2003.

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Mr. Ernest Huckaby, Office of Transportation Operations, (202) 366-9064; or Mr. Raymond W. Cuprill, Office of the Chief Counsel, (202) 366-0791, U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration, 400 Seventh Street, SW., Washington, DC 20590. Office hours are from 7:45 a.m. to 4:15 p.m., e.t., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.

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On October 30, 2002, at 67 FR 66076, the FHWA published a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) proposing revisions to the regulation that prescribes procedures for obtaining basic uniformity of traffic control devices on all streets and highways. These proposals were to provide nomenclature changes and to remove the outdated reference to an outdated regulation. The Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) is approved by the Federal Highway Administration and recognized as the national standard for traffic control on all public roads. It is incorporated by reference into the Code of Federal Regulations at 23 CFR part 655. Due to the reorganization of the FHWA and the deletion of 23 CFR 1204.4 by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), it is necessary to update 23 CFR 655.603.

The FHWA issued this notice to provide an opportunity for public comment on the proposed changes to 23 CFR 655.603. Based on the comment received and its own experience, The FHWA is issuing a final rule.

Summary of Comments

The FHWA received one comment to the docket in response to the NPRM. The comment referred to a concern to improve the visual impact of certain sign designs within the MUTCD, specifically signs related to park and ride, carpooling and commuter buses. Since the comment is outside the scope of the NPRM, the FHWA decided to revise the proposals contained within the NPRM without change. The comment will be forwarded to the FHWA Office of Transportation Operations for further review and action, if necessary.

Rulemaking Analysis and Notices

Executive Order 12866 (Regulatory Planning and Review) and U.S. DOT Regulatory Policies and Procedures

The FHWA has determined that this action is not a significant regulatory action within the meaning of Executive Order 12866 or significant within the meaning of U.S. Department of Transportation regulatory policies and procedures. The economic impact of this rulemaking will be minimal. The actions in this final notice are intended to clarify 23 CFR 655.603 in light of the FHWA reorganization and to remove the reference to an outdated regulation. The FHWA expects that this action will provide clarity at little or no additional expense to public agencies or the motoring public. Therefore, a full regulatory evaluation is not required.

Regulatory Flexibility Act

In compliance with the Regulatory Flexibility Act (Pub. L. 96-354, 5 U.S.C. 601-612), the FHWA has evaluated the effects of this action on small entities. This final rule only updates the authorities of the FHWA and referenced documents regarding MUTCD compliance on existing highways. Such updates will provide transportation entities with the appropriate points of contact regarding the MUTCD. The FHWA hereby certifies that this action will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities.

Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995

This action does not impose unfunded mandates as defined by the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (Pub. L. 104-4, 109 Stat. 48, March 22, 1995). This final rule will not result in the expenditure by State, local, and tribal governments, in the aggregate, or by the private sector, of $100 million or more in any one year to comply with these changes as this action is minor and non-substantive in nature, requiring no additional or new expenditures.

Executive Order 13132 (Federalism)

This action has been analyzed in accordance with the principles and criteria contained in Executive Order 13132 dated August 4, 1999, and the FHWA has determined that this action does not have a substantial direct effect or sufficient federalism implications on States that would limit the policymaking discretion of the States and local governments. The FHWA has also determined that this action will not preempt any State law or State regulation or affect the States' ability to discharge traditional State governmental functions and does not have sufficient federalism implications to warrant the preparation of federalism assessment. The final rule is in keeping with the Secretary of Transportation's authority under 23 U.S.C. 109(d), 315, and 402(a) to promulgate uniform guidelines to promote the safe and efficient use of highways.

Executive Order 13175 (Tribal Consultation)

The FHWA has analyzed this action under Executive Order 13175, dated November 6, 2000, and believes that it would not have substantial direct effects on one or more Indian tribes; would not Start Printed Page 14139impose substantial direct compliance costs on Indian tribal governments; and would not preempt tribal law. Therefore, a tribal summary impact statement is not required.

Executive Order 13211 (Energy Effects)

The FHWA has analyzed this final rule under Executive Order 13211, Actions Concerning Regulations That Significantly Affect Energy Supply, Distribution, or Use. This is not a significant energy action under Executive Order 13211 because it is not a significant regulatory action under Executive Order 12866 and is not likely to have a significant adverse effect on the supply, distribution, or use of energy. Therefore, a Statement of Energy Effects under Executive Order 13211 is not required.

Executive Order 12372 (Intergovernmental Review)

Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Program Number 20.205, Highway Planning and Construction. The regulations implementing Executive Order 12372 regarding intergovernmental consultation on Federal programs and activities apply to this program.

Paperwork Reduction Act

Under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA) (44 U.S.C. 3501, et seq.), Federal agencies must obtain approval from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for each collection of information they conduct, sponsor, or require through regulations. The FHWA has determined that this action does not contain collection information requirements for purposes of the PRA.

Executive Order 12988 (Civil Justice Reform)

This action meets applicable standards in sections 3(a) and 3(b)(2) of Executive Order 12988, Civil Justice Reform, to minimize litigation, eliminate ambiguity, and reduce burden.

Executive Order 13045 (Protection of Children)

The FHWA has analyzed this action under Executive Order 13045, Protection of Children From Environmental Health Risks and Safety Risks. This is not an economically significant action and does not concern an environmental risk to health or safety that may disproportionately affect children.

Executive Order 12630 (Taking of Private Property)

This action will not affect a taking of private property or otherwise have taking implications under Executive Order 12630, Governmental Actions and Interference with Constitutionally Protected Property Rights.

National Environmental Policy Act

The agency has analyzed this action for the purpose of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.) and has determined that it will not have any effect on the quality of the environment.

Regulation Identification Number

A regulation identification number (RIN) is assigned to each regulatory action listed in the Unified Agenda of Federal Regulations. The Regulatory Information Service Center publishes the Unified Agenda in April and October of each year. The RIN contained in the heading of this document can be used to cross reference this action with the Unified Agenda.

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List of Subjects in 23 CFR Part 655

  • Design standards
  • Grant programs—transportation
  • Highways and roads
  • Incorporation by reference
  • Signs
  • Traffic regulations
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Issued on: March 6, 2003.

Mary E. Peters,

Federal Highway Administrator.

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In consideration of the foregoing, the FHWA amends title 23, Code of Federal Regulations, part 655, subpart F as follows:

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1. The authority citation for part 655 continues to read as follows:

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Authority: 23 U.S.C. 101(a), 104, 109(d), 114(a), 217, 315, and 402(a); 23 CFR 1.32; and 49 CFR 1.48(b).

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Subpart F—[Amended]

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2. Amend § 655.603 by revising paragraphs (b)(1), (b)(2) and (d)(1) to read as follows:

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(b) State of Federal MUTCD.

(1) Where State or other Federal agency MUTCDs or supplements are required, they shall be in substantial conformance with the national MUTCD. Changes to the national MUTCD issued by the FHWA shall be adopted by the States or other Federal agencies within 2 years of issuance. The FHWA Division Administrators shall approve the State MUTCDs and supplements that are in substantial conformance with the national MUTCD.

(2) The FHWA Associate Administrator of the Federal Lands Highway Program shall approve other Federal land management agencies' MUTCDs that are in substantial conformance with the national MUTCD. States and other Federal agencies are encouraged to adopt the national MUTCD as their official Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices.

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(d) Compliance—(1) Existing highways. Each State, in cooperation with its political subdivisions, and Federal agency shall have a program as required by 23 U.S.C. 402(a), which shall include provisions for the systematic upgrading of substandard traffic control devices and for the installation of needed devices to achieve conformity with the MUTCD.

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[FR Doc. 03-6920 Filed 3-21-03; 8:45 am]