Traffic Control Device Studies

The Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) defines traffic control devices (TCDs) as “all signs, signals, markings, and devices placed on, over, or adjacent to a street or highway by authority of a public body or official having jurisdiction to regulate, warn or guide traffic” (FHWA, 1988). The general purpose of traffic control devices is to provide visual information to the road user. TCDs are used to help ensure the safe, orderly, and efficient movement of all types of traffic. Devices are classified into groups that regulate, guide, or warn traffic. Regulatory devices inform the road user of regulation that are in force, instruct the road user to take some action, prohibit or permit the road user from making certain maneuvers, and assign the right of way. Warning devices provide notice of unexpected conditions. The devices draw attention to the presence of geometric features with potential hazards, major changes in roadway character, obstructions or other physical hazards in or near the roadway, areas where hazards may exist under certain conditions. The devices inform the motorist of regulatory controls ahead and advise drivers of appropriate actions. Guide devices typically are used to identify routes, provide traveler directions, delineate the roadway, and provide information on facilities, services, points of interest, and political boundaries. This chapter describes how TCDs are studied for a wide range of reasons. Typical studies are conducted to: (1) support warrants for the installation or removal of TCDs; (2) determine the effectiveness of existing TCDs; (3) assess the condition of TCDs; and (4) assess ongoing maintenance and improvement programs.

  • Availability:
  • Supplemental Notes:
    • This book was reprinted in 2000 by the Institute of Transportation Engineers.
  • Corporate Authors:

    Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE)

    Washington, DC  United States 
  • Authors:
    • Nelson, Donna C
  • Publication Date: 1994


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Print
  • Features: Figures; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: pp 254-282

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01002927
  • Record Type: Publication
  • ISBN: 0130975699
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Aug 11 2005 1:13PM