May 16, 2003

Reaching out to peers

FHWA establishes program for MUTCD questions

With more than 1,000 pages of standard guidance and options,
the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) can be overwhelming.
Couple this complexity with the multitude of unique settings and circumstances
found throughout the nation's transportation network, and questions are
sure to arise. The need for assistance in using the MUTCD, as well as in
answering other questions related to traffic control devices, has led the
Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) to establish a Peer-to-Peer program on Traffic
Control Devices (P2P TCD). Recognizing that jurisdictions may face budget and
personnel constraints as they address issues regarding traffic control devices,
FHWA is providing this service at no charge to state and local agencies.

FHWA's P2P TCD program is designed to provide a system
that allows transportation officials to confidently locate the answers to their
questions.  The P2P TCD program
will assemble a network of knowledgeable volunteers from across the country who
possess expertise in specific areas related to traffic control devices and who
can assist local, regional and state representatives with questions associated
with these devices. The purpose of the program is to:

* Provide free, short-term assistance to public
agencies in matters related to traffic control devices;

* Address specific technical issues pertaining to the
MUTCD and to related innovative and emerging technologies;

* Create a dialogue among professionals throughout the
transportation community; and

* Contribute to improved safety and mobility
throughout the transportation system.

The P2P TCD program is free and easy to use. State,
regional, local and county representatives with questions about traffic control
devices can request assistance by contacting the program at [email protected] or
toll-free at 888/700-PEER (7337). The program coordinator will select a peer
from the volunteer database who is able to answer the question posed, and the
volunteer will then contact the individual directly.

The P2P TCD program is expected to generate information
exchanges that will both help highway agencies more easily and cost-effectively
implement applicable standards and increase the level of understanding in the
transportation community. These information exchanges also will foster a dialogue
and an "esprit de corps" within the transportation community. By
using the most up-to-date technologies and strategies, highway agencies can
reap numerous benefits, including improved traffic flow, increased safety for
motorists and pedestrians and valuable economic savings.  Some of the issues P2P can address

* Proper signage applications for unique locations;

*  How and
when to apply signal warrants;

Application of raised pavement markings;

*  How to
apply work-zone devices and typical applications of the devices;

* Procedure for requesting experimental approval; and

*  How to
provide traffic control devices for persons with disabilities.

"The P2P program is an excellent example of the
national facilitation role that the FHWA can play. It allows us to broker
relationships at the state and local level," said Jeff Paniati,
FHWA's associate administrator for operations. 

Access to expert advice will help agencies implement MUTCD
standards more quickly, accurately and cost-effectively. The program also will
help to achieve FHWA's ultimate goal of reducing crashes and their
severity through nationwide uniformity in traffic control devices.

For information on becoming a peer, contact the P2P TCD
coordinators at 888/700-PEER or by e-mail at [email protected]. For the
opportunity to act as a peer on a less formal basis or for more information on
the MUTCD, visit the discussion area on the website

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