Basic principles for evaluating traffic control devices are prescribed by the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices for Streets and Highways, commonly referred to as the MUTCD. The MUTCD, published by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), standardizes traffic control devices throughout the country to ensure that they mean the same to, and require the same actions by, all motorists anywhere in the country.
Compliance with the MUTCD standards helps promote the safe, orderly, and efficient movement of traffic. As these standards are intended to obtain basic uniformity of traffic control devices, they should be followed consistently. Signs that do not conform to the MUTCD should not be installed.
The MUTCD is incorporated by reference in 23 CFR, Part 655, Subpart F and shall be recognized as the national standard for all traffic control devices installed on any street, highway, bikeway, or private road open to public travel. However, the requirement that the MUTCD be used on military installations is given in CFR Title 32 'National Defense', Part 634, Subpart D.
To further enforce this requirement for all military installations, Joint Regulation (Army Regulation 55-80/ Operational Naval Instruction 11210.2/ Air Force Manual 32-1017/ MCO 11210.2D/ Defense Logistics Regulation 4500.19), DOD Transportation Engineering Program, sets forth the following requirements:
* "Installation commanders will develop and maintain their roadways to nationally accepted standards that provide a safe driving environment for all drivers and passengers."
* "All installation traffic signals, signs, and pavement markings will be in substantial conformance to FHWA's Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices for Streets and Highways (MUTCD). Variances in the design and application of installation traffic control devices from the standards contained in the MUTCD must be approved by SDDC and FHWA."
Some states have adopted the national MUTCD verbatim, while others have either created a similar state-specific MUTCD or simply written a state document to supplement the national MUTCD. It is important that installations refer to the MUTCD webpage to determine applicability by state as the state-specific guidelines must be followed by each installation.
In addition to the state-supplement, installations should also refer to the DOD-supplement which is anticipated to be released in late 2013. The Surface Deployment and Distribution Command, Transportation Engineering Agency, (SDDCTEA), has provided this guidance for DOD-specific needs. Additionally, SDDCTEA has published Pamphlet 55-14, Traffic Engineering for Better Signs and Markings. This pamphlet is intended to assist installations in conforming to the MUTCD by clarifying existing standards and providing guidelines tailored to military installations.