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Only 0.7 percent of federal transportation funds are spent on improving pedestrian facilities.

New compliance schedule for updating some traffic control devices

In 2009, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) adopted a new version of the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices, which lays out guidelines for traffic signals, signs and road surface markings.

/The manual now includes a host of new safety-enhancing features for bicyclists and pedestrians. These include new standardized signs for bike routes plus a lot of proposed changes for intersections to benefit active transportation users.

Some months back, the FHWA proposed extending compliance time for states and local governments to at least 10 years to implement new signage and traffic control devices. This, of course, would delay the safety benefits these rules are intended to achieve.

So last January, Active Trans sent comments to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) asking them not to extend compliance for such a long period.

The FHWA recently released amendments to the proposed rules. Thanks to the efforts of Active Trans and other transportation advocacy organizations, the super-long compliance proposals were discarded. Overall, changes are generally minimal while providing highway jurisdictions a bit more time to comply with new rules.

The FHWA is now proposing to extend the December 31, 2012 compliance date for retroreflectivity by an additional two years for regulatory and warning signs. Active Trans is much more comfortable with this two-year period.

That includes most signs that pertain to cycling and walking safety. Other types of signs would not have a specific compliance date, like wayfinding signs, signage concerning public transit facilities and signs that identify locations. FHWA is also proposing an additional two years for compliance with the signal timing rules.

For those of you with with a strong interest in traffic engineering devices and how they are implemented, here are the amendments to the proposed rules.