mutcd hand book


Today's world increasingly is described using acronyms, and one of the most common in the world of Capital StreetScapes is affectionately known as MUTCD, which is short for Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices. The MUTCD, which is a standards document that is issued, overseen and maintained by the Federal Highway Administration, was first issued in 1935 in response to a need for regulation and uniformity in national roadway signage and pavement markings.

Taken from their web site, the “MUTCD, by setting minimum standards and providing guidance, ensures uniformity of traffic control devices across the nation. The use of uniform TCDs (messages, location, size, shapes and colors) helps reduce crashes and congestion, and improves the efficiency of the surface transportation system. Uniformity also helps reduce the cost of TCDs through standardization.” (See

MUTCD develops and maintains “the national standards governing all traffic control devices. All public agencies and owners of private roads open to public travel across the nation rely on the MUTCD to bring uniformity to the roadway. The MUTCD plays a critical role in improving safety and mobility of all road users.”

While MUTCD is the national standard for use of traffic control devices, states vary in how they incorporate and comply with those standards. Some simply adopt MUTCD and use them as the sole basis for their standards. Others adopt these national standards along with a State supplement, but are required to be in “substantial conformance” with MUTCD.

Its audience includes State and local highway agencies, public officials, owners of private roads open to public travel, private industry, and planning, construction and engineering organizations. At Capital StreetScapes, we routinely direct our customers to their own applicable standards, and strongly encourage them to consult with local authorities, such as their public works manager, as they’re considering the design and display of their particular traffic and street signage project. Compliance is all-important, and ignorance in this area is typically not an accepted excuse.

As a manufacturer of ornamental signs and attractive aluminum bases and finials, we will help you put together your decorative ornamental signage project, big or small, by offering quality cast aluminum products that are classically attractive, affordable and durable. And we will offer knowledgeable assistance to make sure that your decorative signage serves its intended purpose and is compliant with all standards relevant to your particular situation. Check out our Getting Started page on our web site to help you, uh, get started. And while you're there, take a look at all the fine vintage traffic and street sign components we have to offer.