By Nick Goldstein, vice president of regulatory and legal issues, ARTBA

ARTBA is urging the U.S. Department of Transportation to resolve why the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) still prohibits patented and proprietary products from being used for roadway safety.

Last April, the department created the Non-Traditional and Emerging Transportation Technology (NETT) Council to identify and resolve “jurisdictional and regulatory gaps” associated with safety oversight, environmental review, and funding issues. The regulated community was asked to identify federal transportation laws or regulations that “inhibit innovation by creating barriers to testing, certifying, or verifying compliance, or operating non-traditional and emerging transportation technologies.”

In Jan. 10 comments, ARTBA focused on the MUTCD’s prohibition on the use of patented and proprietary products, despite the government’s September 2019 repeal of the 113-year-old rule, an historic action prompted in large measure by a petition from the association and its members. The association is urging an examination of the MUTCD’s treatment of proprietary products be place on the agenda of a Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) update expected in early March.

ARTBA explained, “The present MUTCD structure and its current implementation effectively prohibits innovation, and agencies may be forced to settle for products that perform marginally at best. Such outcomes are contrary to public expectations, as well as the safety and efficiency needs of the U.S. surface transportation network.”

ARTBA will continue to follow-up with FHWA on the issue and keep our members informed about further details of the forthcoming MUTCD update.

Above: Image from Trinity Highway.