FHWA proposing new road design policies for greater flexibility

Earlier this month the FHWA announced a proposed change to its design standards that are currently applied to all highway projects. The changes are intended to give engineers and planners much more flexibility and autonomy by eliminating outdated standards. For roads with a speed limit below 50 mph, the proposal seeks to remove 11 of the 13 design criteria; for roads over 50 mph, three criteria would be removed. In August, FHWA released a document that addresses some misconceptions about how federal funding can be used and when a design exception must be requested. It emphasizes that federal rules and funding are significantly more flexible than has been portrayed in the past.