As the window closes for comments on the eleventh edition of the Federal Highway Administration’s Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD)—the national standard governing all traffic control devices—strong criticism of the manual is coming from industry professionals and safety advocates alike.
A recent memo from FHWA has complicated the pedestrian safety campaigns of jurisdictions across the country. According to the memo, FHWA is rescinding interim approval for use of Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacons, known as RRFBs. The cause of the rescission is a patent lawsuit against the manufacturers of the RRFBs.
At the March AASHTO meeting, U.S. DOT Secretary Ray LaHood urged the attendees to update their guidance for bicycle facilities such as cycle tracks, also known as protected or separated bike lanes. Last week FHWA issued a task order proposal request to study the safety of cycle tracks and issue recommendations on their design and implementation.
As the popularity of transportation bicycling continues to grow, traffic engineers, planners, and lawmakers are recognizing the need to incorporate bicycle-specific infrastructure into intersection designs. Bicycle-specific signals are being used in 16 U.S. cities, and the signals are being included in traffic control manuals. NACTO has excellent guidance for how and where to install these signals.