Traffic control devices for deterring wrong-way driving: Historical evolution and current practice

Each year, hundreds of fatal wrong-way driving (WWD) crashes occur across the United States. Thousands of injuries are reported in crashes caused by wrong-way drivers. Traffic control devices (TCDs), i.e., signs, pavement markings, and signals, have been introduced since 1935 to combat this problem. The aim of the paper is to provide a complete history of TCDs for deterring WWD on freeways and divided highways in previous versions of the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) (1935–2009). A fully referenced overview of definitions, text passages, and figures of the TCDs, employed to deter WWD in all MUTCD versions, will be given to characterize the changes over time. In addition, the efforts that have been made by state department of transportation (DOT) especially over the past few years to aggressively attack WWD by deploying standard TCDs are reviewed. Finally, the paper makes conclusions and recommendations with regard to the necessity of a revision in the next edition of MUTCD for WWD TCDs. The investigation of changes and the current practice leave a trail to enable traffic engineers and policy makers to consider past decisions and their effectiveness in combating WWD, as well as providing a reference to determine whether or not their jurisdiction meets the MUTCD standards.


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  • Accession Number: 01645119
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Aug 29 2017 11:58AM