Skip to Content
LINXS ADA Coordinator

laxapm.accessibledesign.pro

LAX APM ADA Coordinator Files (LINXS)

California Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices Excerpt

Part 1 General

Selected Excerpts from Revision 6 (Rev 6) to the 2014 California Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (CA MUTCD) regarding Part 1 general requirements for temporary traffic control (TTC) facilities, including definitions.

Part 1 General


Chapter 1A. General

Section 1A.01 Purpose of Traffic Control Devices

Support:

01 The purpose of traffic control devices, as well as the principles for their use, is to promote highway safety and efficiency by providing for the orderly movement of all road users on streets, highways, bikeways, and private roads open to public travel (see definition in Section 1A.13) throughout the Nation.

02 Traffic control devices notify road users of regulations and provide warning and guidance needed for the uniform and efficient operation of all elements of the traffic stream in a manner intended to minimize the occurrences of crashes.

Standard:

03 Traffic control devices or their supports shall not bear any advertising message or any other message that is not related to traffic control.

Support:

04 Tourist-oriented directional signs and Specific Service signs are not considered advertising; rather, they are classified as motorist service signs.

Section 1A.02 Principles of Traffic Control Devices

Support:

01 This Manual contains the basic principles that govern the design and use of traffic control devices for all streets, highways, bikeways, and private roads open to public travel (see definition in Section 1A.13) regardless of type or class or the public agency, official, or owner having jurisdiction. This Manual’s text specifies the restriction on the use of a device if it is intended for limited application or for a specific system. It is important that these principles be given primary consideration in the selection and application of each device.

Guidance:

02 To be effective, a traffic control device should meet five basic requirements:

  1. Fulfill a need;
  2. Command attention;
  3. Convey a clear, simple meaning;
  4. Command respect from road users; and
  5. Give adequate time for proper response.

03 Design, placement, operation, maintenance, and uniformity are aspects that should be carefully considered by the engineer in order to maximize the ability of a traffic control device to meet the five requirements listed in the previous paragraph. Vehicle speed, geometrics and other relevant factors should be carefully considered as an elements that governs the design, operation, placement, and location of various traffic control devices.

[some text omitted]

Section 1A.07 Responsibility for Traffic Control Devices

Standard:

01 The responsibility for the design, placement, operation, maintenance, and uniformity of traffic control devices shall rest with the public agency or the official having jurisdiction, or, in the case of private roads open to public travel (see definition in Section 1A.13), with the private owner or private official having jurisdiction. 23 CFR 655.603 adopts the MUTCD as the national standard for all traffic control devices installed on any street, highway, bikeway, or private road open to public travel (see definition in Section 1A.13). When a State or other Federal agency manual or supplement is required, that manual or supplement shall be in substantial conformance with the National MUTCD.

01a On State highways, the California MUTCD shall not supersede Caltrans’ Standard Plans, Standard Specifications or the Special Provisions publications but all Standard statements of the California MUTCD shall be met. On State highways, whenever there is a discrepancy between the specifications and requirements contained in the California MUTCD, and those contained in Caltrans’ Standard Plans, Standard Specifications or the Special Provisions publications, Caltrans’ Standard Plans, Standard Specifications or the Special Provisions publications shall govern.

01b Nothing contained in the California MUTCD shall prevent Caltrans from modifying, changing or adopting new specifications as necessary. Any revisions to Caltrans’ Standard Plans, Standard Specifications or the Special Provisions shall conform to the Standard statements of the California MUTCD.

02 23 CFR 655.603 also states that traffic control devices on all streets, highways, bikeways, and private roads open to public travel (see definition in Section 1A.13) in each State shall be in substantial conformance with standards issued or endorsed by the Federal Highway Administrator.

Support:

03 The Introduction of this Manual contains information regarding the meaning of substantial conformance and the applicability of the MUTCD to private roads open to public travel (see definition in Section 1A.13).

04 The “Uniform Vehicle Code” (see Section 1A.11) has the following provision in Section 15-104 for the adoption of a uniform manual:

(a) The [State Highway Agency] shall adopt a manual and specification for a uniform system of traffic control devices consistent with the provisions of this code for use upon highways within this State. Such uniform system shall correlate with and so far as possible conform to the system set forth in the most recent edition of the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices for Streets and Highways, and other standards issued or endorsed by the Federal Highway Administrator.
(b) The Manual adopted pursuant to subsection (a) shall have the force and effect of law.

05 All States have officially adopted the National MUTCD either in its entirety, with supplemental provisions, or as a separate published document.

Guidance:

06 These individual State manuals or supplements should be reviewed for specific provisions relating to that State.

Support:

07 The National MUTCD has also been adopted by the National Park Service, the U.S. Forest Service, the U.S. Military Command, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the Bureau of Land Management, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Guidance:

08 States should adopt Section 15-116 of the “Uniform Vehicle Code,” which states that, ”No person shall install or maintain in any area of private property used by the public any sign, signal, marking, or other device intended to regulate, warn, or guide traffic unless it conforms with the State manual and specifications adopted under Section 15-104.”

Support:

09 Pursuant to the provisions in CVC Section 21400, Caltrans adopts uniform standards and specifications for all traffic control devices after consultation with local agencies and public hearings. Caltrans consults with local agencies and the public through the California Traffic Control Devices Committee (CTCDC). Caltrans publicizes these uniform standards and specifications for traffic control devices through the California MUTCD.

Standard:

10 In accordance with CVC Section 21401, only traffic control devices conforming to Caltrans standards and specifications shall be placed on streets and highways.

11 Subject to the requirements in CVC Sections 21100, 21100.1, 21107, 21107.5, 21107.6, and 21107.7, no person shall install or maintain in any area of private property used by the public any sign, signal, or marking or other device intended to regulate, warn, or guide traffic unless it conforms to Caltrans standards and specifications.

Support:

12 The delegation of maintenance activities to local authorities is usually exercised under the authority of Streets and Highways Code Section 130.

13 Caltrans standards and specifications for traffic control devices are not applicable to privately owned and maintained roads or commercial establishments, unless the particular city or county enacts an ordinance or resolution to this effect. Refer to CVC Sections 21100, 21100.1, 21107, 21107.5, 21107.6, and 21107.7. However, the use of Caltrans standards and specifications for traffic control devices are encouraged on all privately owned and maintained roads or commercial establishments, in general, as a good practice.

[some text omitted]

Section 1A.13 Definitions of Headings, Words, and Phrases in this Manual

Standard:

01 When used in this Manual, the text headings of Standard, Guidance, Option, and Support shall be defined as follows:

  1. Standard—a statement of required, mandatory, or specifically prohibitive practice regarding a traffic control device. All Standard statements are labeled, and the text appears in bold type. The verb “shall” is typically used. The verbs “should” and “may” are not used in Standard statements. Standard statements are sometimes modified by Options.
  2. Guidance—a statement of recommended, but not mandatory, practice in typical situations, with deviations allowed if engineering judgment or engineering study indicates the deviation to be appropriate. All Guidance statements are labeled, and the text appears in unbold type. The verb “should” is typically used. The verbs “shall” and “may” are not used in Guidance statements. Guidance statements are sometimes modified by Options.
  3. Option—a statement of practice that is a permissive condition and carries no requirement or recommendation. Option statements sometime contain allowable modifications to a Standard or Guidance statement. All Option statements are labeled, and the text appears in unbold type. The verb “may” is typically used. The verbs “shall” and “should” are not used in Option statements.
  4. Support—an informational statement that does not convey any degree of mandate, recommendation, authorization, prohibition, or enforceable condition. Support statements are labeled, and the text appears in unbold type. The verbs “shall,” “should,” and “may” are not used in Support statements.

02 Unless otherwise defined in this Section, or in other Parts of this Manual, words or phrases shall have the meaning(s) as defined in the most recent editions of the “Uniform Vehicle Code,” “AASHTO Transportation Glossary (Highway Definitions),” “California Vehicle Code” and other publications mentioned in Section 1A.11.

03 The following words and phrases, when used in this Manual, shall have the following meanings:

  1. Accessible Pedestrian Signal—a device that communicates information about pedestrian signal timing in non-visual format such as audible tones, speech messages, and/or vibrating surfaces.
  2. Accessible Pedestrian Signal Detector—a device designated to assist the pedestrian who has visual or physical disabilities in activating the pedestrian phase.
  3. [some text omitted]

  4. Crosswalk—(a) that part of a roadway at an intersection included within the connections of the lateral lines of the sidewalks on opposite sides of the highway measured from the curbs or in the absence of curbs, from the edges of the traversable roadway, and in the absence of a sidewalk on one side of the roadway, the part of a roadway included within the extension of the lateral lines of the sidewalk at right angles to the center line; (b) any portion of a roadway at an intersection or elsewhere distinctly indicated as a pedestrian crossing by pavement marking lines on the surface, which might be supplemented by contrasting pavement texture, style, or color. As per CVC 275, “Crosswalk” is either: (a) That portion of a roadway included within the prolongation or connection of the boundary lines of sidewalks at intersections where the intersecting roadways meet at approximately right angles, except the prolongation of such lines from an alley across a street. (b) Any portion of a roadway distinctly indicated for pedestrian crossing by lines or other markings on the surface. Notwithstanding the foregoing provisions of this section, there shall not be a crosswalk where local authorities have placed signs indicating no crossing.
  5. Crosswalk Lines—white or yellow (in school areas per CVC 21368) pavement marking lines that identify a crosswalk.
  6. [some text omitted]

  7. Detectable—having a continuous edge within 6 inches of the surface so that pedestrians who have visual disabilities can sense its presence and receive usable guidance information.
  8. [some text omitted]

  9. Highway—a general term for denoting a public way for purposes of vehicular travel, including the entire area within the right-of-way. As per CVC 360, “Highway” is a way or place of whatever nature, publicly maintained and open to the use of the public for purposes of vehicular travel. Highway includes street. Also, refer to CVC 590 definition of “Street”.
  10. [some text omitted]

  11. Pathway—a general term denoting a public way for purposes of travel by authorized users outside the traveled way and physically separated from the roadway by an open space or barrier and either within the highway right-of-way or within an independent alignment. Pathways include shared-use paths, but do not include sidewalks.
  12. [some text omitted]

  13. Pedestrian—a person on foot, in a wheelchair, on skates, or on a skateboard. As per CVC 467, (a) A “pedestrian” is a person who is afoot or who is using any of the following: (1) A means of conveyance propelled by human power other than a bicycle. (2) An electric personal assistive mobility device. (b) “Pedestrian” includes a person who is operating a self-propelled wheelchair, motorized tricycle, or motorized quadricycle and, by reason of physical disability, is otherwise unable to move about as a pedestrian, as specified in subdivision(a).
  14. [some text omitted]

  15. Pedestrian Facilities—a general term denoting improvements and provisions made to accommodate or encourage walking.
  16. [some text omitted]

  17. Plaque—a traffic control device intended to communicate specific information to road users through a word, symbol, or arrow legend that is placed immediately adjacent to a sign to supplement the message on the sign. The difference between a plaque and a sign is that a plaque cannot be used alone. The designation for a plaque includes a “P” suffix.
  18. [some text omitted]

  19. Private Road Open to Public Travel—private toll roads and roads (including any adjacent sidewalks that generally run parallel to the road) within shopping centers, airports, sports arenas, and other similar business and/or recreation facilities that are privately owned, but where the public is allowed to travel without access restrictions. Roads within private gated properties (except for gated toll roads) where access is restricted at all times, parking areas, driving aisles within parking areas, and private grade crossings shall not be included in this definition. The MUTCD national standard and Caltrans standards and specifications for traffic control devices shall not be applicable to privately owned and maintained roads or commercial establishments, unless the particular city or county enacts an ordinance or resolution to this effect. Refer to CVC Sections 21100, 21100.1, 21107, 21107.5, 21107.6, and 21107.7.
  20. [some text omitted]

  21. Public Road—any road, street, or similar facility under the jurisdiction of and maintained by a public agency and open to public travel (see definition of private road open to public travel).
  22. [some text omitted]

  23. Road—see Roadway.
  24. Road User—a vehicle operator, bicyclist, or pedestrian, including persons with disabilities, within the highway or on a private road open to public travel (see definition of private road open to public travel).
  25. Roadway—that portion of a highway improved, designed, or ordinarily used for vehicular travel and parking lanes, but exclusive of the sidewalk, berm, or shoulder even though such sidewalk, berm, or shoulder is used by persons riding bicycles or other human-powered vehicles. In the event a highway includes two or more separate roadways, the term roadway as used in this Manual shall refer to any such roadway separately, but not to all such roadways collectively. Refer to CVC 527.
  26. [some text omitted]

  27. Sidewalk—that portion of a street between the curb line, or the lateral line of a roadway, and the adjacent property line or on easements of private property that is paved or improved and intended for use by pedestrians. As per CVC 555, “Sidewalk” is that portion of a highway, other than the roadway, set apart by curbs, barriers, markings or other delineation for pedestrian travel.
  28. Sign—any traffic control device that is intended to communicate specific information to road users through a word, symbol, and/or arrow legend. Signs do not include highway traffic signals, pavement markings, delineators, or channelization devices.
  29. [some text omitted]

  30. Street—see Highway. As per CVC 590, “Street” is a way or place of whatever nature, publicly maintained and open to the use of the public for purposes of vehicular travel.
  31. [some text omitted]

  32. Temporary Traffic Control Zone—an area of a highway where road user conditions are changed because of a work zone or incident by the use of temporary traffic control devices, flaggers, uniformed law enforcement officers, or other authorized personnel.
  33. [some text omitted]

  34. Traffic—pedestrians, bicyclists, ridden or herded animals, vehicles, streetcars, and other conveyances either singularly or together while using for purposes of travel any highway or private road open to public travel (see definition of private road open to public travel). As per CVC 620, the term “traffic” includes pedestrians, ridden animals, vehicles, street cars, and other conveyances, either singly or together, while using any highway for purposes of travel.
  35. Traffic Control Device—a sign, signal, marking, or other device used to regulate, warn, or guide traffic, placed on, over, or adjacent to a street, highway, private road open to public travel (see definition of private road open to public travel), pedestrian facility, or shared-use path by authority of a public agency or official having jurisdiction, or, in the case of a private road open to public travel (see definition of private road open to public travel), by authority of the private owner or private official having jurisdiction.
  36. [some text omitted]

  37. Traveled Way—the portion of the roadway for the movement of vehicles, exclusive of the shoulders, berms, sidewalks, and parking lanes.
  38. [some text omitted]