[Federal Register Volume 67, Number 29 (Tuesday, February 12, 2002)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 6393-6395]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 02-3217]



Federal Highway Administration

23 CFR Part 625

[FHWA Docket No. FHWA-2001-10077]
RIN 2125-AE89

Design Standards for Highways

AGENCY: Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), DOT.

ACTION: Final rule.


SUMMARY: The FHWA revises its policy on the design standards that apply 
to highway construction and reconstruction projects on the National 
Highway System (NHS). The previous standards were the 1994 version of 
the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials' 
(AASHTO) publication, ``A Policy on Geometric Design of Highways and 
Streets.'' A 2001 revision of this publication has replaced the 1994 
version and FHWA adopts this new version as its policy on design 
standards for highway construction and reconstruction projects on the 

DATES: This final rule is effective March 14, 2002. The incorporation 
by reference of the publication listed in this regulation is approved 
by the Director of the Office of the Federal Register as of March 14, 

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For technical information: Mr. Seppo 
Sillan, Office of Program Administration (HIPA), (202) 366-1327. For 
legal information: Mr. Harold Aikens, Office of the Chief Counsel (HCC-
40), (202) 366-1373, Federal Highway Administration, 400 Seventh 
Street, SW., Washington, DC 20590-0001. Office hours are from 8 a.m. to 
4:30 p.m., e.t., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: This final rule is based on the FHWA's 
notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM), FHWA Docket No. FHWA-2001-10077, 
Design Standards for Highways, at 66 FR 48103 (September 18, 2001). All 
comments received in response to the NPRM have been considered in 
adopting this final rule. For discussion of comments, see the section 
entitled ``Discussion of Comments'' later in this final rule.

Electronic Access and Filing

    This document, the NPRM, and all comments received may be viewed 
online through the Document Management System (DMS) at: http://dms.dot.gov. The DMS is available 24 hours each day, 365 days each 
year. Electronic submission and retrieval help and guidelines are 
available under the help section of the web site.
    An electronic copy of this document may also be downloaded by using 
a computer, modem and suitable communications software from the 
Government Printing Office's Electronic Bulletin Board Service at (202) 
512-1661. Internet users may also reach the Office of the Federal 
Register's home page at: http://www.nara.gov/fedreg and the Government 
Printing Office's Web page at: http://www.access.gpo.gov.
    The current design standards are on file at the Office of the 
Federal Register in Washington, DC, and are available for inspection 
and copying at the FHWA Washington, DC, Headquarters and field offices 
as prescribed in 49 CFR part 7. Copies of the current AASHTO 
publications are also available for purchase from AASHTO by telephone 
(800) 231-3475, facsimile (800) 525-5562, mail AASHTO, P.O. Box 96716, 
Washington, DC 20090-6716 or at its Web site at www.transportation.org.


    The standards, policies, and standard specifications that have been 
approved by the FHWA for application on all construction and 
reconstruction projects on the NHS are incorporated by reference in 23 
CFR part 625. The current document specified in Sec. 625.4(a)(1) is the 
1994 edition of ``A Policy on Geometric Design of Highways and 
Streets'' (Policy).\1\ The AASHTO recently revised the Policy and 
issued the 2001 edition which the FHWA is adopting as its policy for 
design standards for all construction and reconstruction projects on 
the NHS. The primary reason for development of the new document was to 
update the previous Policy to incorporate the latest design criteria. 
See ``Summary of Changes'' below for a description of the changes made 
in the 2001 edition.

    \1\ A Policy on Geometic Design of Highways and Streets, 1994, 
is available from AASHTO by telephone (800) 321-3475, facsimile 
(800) 525-5562, mail AASHTO, P.O. Box 96716, Washington, DC 20090-
6716 or at their Web site at www.transportation.org.

    The AASHTO is an organization which represents 52 State highway and 
transportation agencies (including the District of Columbia and Puerto 
Rico). Its members consist of the duly constituted heads and other 
chief officials of those agencies. The Secretary of Transportation is 
an ex officio member, and U.S. DOT officials participate in various 
AASHTO activities as nonvoting representatives. Among other functions, 
the AASHTO develops and issues standards, specifications, policies, 
guides and

[[Page 6394]]

related materials for use by the States for highway projects. Many of 
the standards, policies, and standard specifications approved by the 
FHWA and incorporated into 23 CFR part 625 were developed and issued by 
the AASHTO. Revisions to such documents of the AASHTO are independently 
reviewed and adopted by the FHWA before they are applied to NHS 
    The National Highway System (NHS) was established by the National 
Highway System Designation Act of 1995, Public Law 104-59, Nov. 28, 
1995, 109 Stat. 568. The NHS includes the Interstate System and other 
principal arterials serving major travel destinations and 
transportation needs, connectors to major transportation terminals, the 
Strategic Highway Network and connectors, and high priority corridors 
identified by law.
    Generally, the criteria in the functional chapters of the Policy on 
local roads and streets and collectors (Chapters 5 and 6) are not 
applicable to projects on the NHS. However, if highway segments 
functionally classified as less than principal arterials are 
incorporated in the NHS by virtue of being Strategic Highway Network 
Connectors or Intermodal Connectors, the standards used may be those 
appropriate for the functional classification of the segment, taking 
into account the type of traffic using the segment.
    Although the standards contained in the Policy apply to the 
Interstate System, additional guidance applicable to the design of 
highways on the Interstate System is included in another AASHTO 
publication, ``A Policy on Design Standards--Interstate System.'' \2\ 
The latest edition of this publication is dated July 1991; no revisions 
to this document are proposed at this time.

    \2\ A Policy on Design Standards--Interstate System, 1991, is 
available from AASHTO (see footnote 1).

Summary of Changes

    The changes in the 2001 Policy were developed as the result of 
formal research projects and information contributed by the AASHTO and 
the FHWA staff experts. The changes included such items as the criteria 
for stopping sight distance, height of eye and height of object for 
measuring sight distance, transition design controls, and intersection 
sight distance. The NPRM cited earlier in this section should be 
consulted for a more complete description of the changes.

Discussion of Comments

    Interested persons were invited to participate in the development 
of this final rule by submitting written or electronic comments on the 
NPRM to FHWA Docket No. FHWA-2001-10077 on or before November 19, 2001. 
The FHWA received two comments to the docket. Both comments were from 
State DOT's. One commenter feels that ``A Policy on Design Standards--
Interstate System'' (Interstate Policy) should be eliminated so that 
the engineer/designer only has to refer to one document. As mentioned 
under the caption SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION although the standards 
contained in the Policy apply to the Interstate System, additional 
standards applicable to the design of highways on the Interstate System 
are included separately in the Interstate Policy. The FHWA believes 
these additional standards are necessary and that the Interstate Policy 
cannot be eliminated. However, in the future, the two publications 
could be merged by including the standards in the Interstate Policy 
under a separate heading or chapter in the Policy. Both the FHWA and 
this commenter will be a party to future revisions of the Policy so 
inclusion of the Interstate Policy can be addressed at that time. The 
other commenter agreed with the changes and recommended that the FHWA 
adopt the new Policy.

Rulemaking Analyses and Notices

    In response to the FHWA solicitation of public comment on this 
action, we received two comments. These comments have been considered 
in evaluating whether any change to this action is needed. The FHWA 
determines that no change is required.

Executive Order 12866 (Regulatory Planning and Review) and DOT 
Regulatory Policies and Procedures

    The FHWA has determined that this action is not a significant 
regulatory action within the meaning of Executive Order 12866 or 
significant within the meaning of the U.S. Department of Transportation 
regulatory policies and procedures. The economic impact of this 
rulemaking will be minimal. Although the new Policy has been revised to 
incorporate the latest research, the basic criteria remain essentially 
the same. These changes will not adversely affect, in a material way, 
any sector of the economy. In addition, these changes will not 
interfere with any action taken or planned by another agency and will 
not materially alter the budgetary impact of any entitlements, grants, 
user fees, or loan programs. Consequently, a full regulatory evaluation 
is not required.

Regulatory Flexibility Act

    In compliance with the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601-
612), the FHWA has evaluated the effects of this action on small 
entities and has determined that this action will not have a 
significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. 
As stated above, although the new Policy has been revised to 
incorporate the latest research, the basic criteria remain essentially 
the same. For these reasons, the FHWA certifies that this action will 
not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small 

Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995

    This rule will not impose unfunded mandates as defined by the 
Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (Public Law 104-4, March 22, 1995, 
109 Stat. 48). This rule will not result in the expenditure by State, 
local, and tribal governments, in the aggregate, or by the private 
sector, of $100 million or more in any one year (2 U.S.C. 1531 et seq).

Executive Order 12630 (Taking of Private Property)

    This rule will not effect a taking of private property or otherwise 
have taking implications under Executive Order 12630, Governmental 
Actions and Interface with Constitutionally Protected Property Rights.

Executive Order 12988 (Civil Justice Reform)

    This action meets applicable standards in sections 3(a) and 3(b)(2) 
of Executive Order 12988, Civil Justice Reform, to minimize litigation, 
eliminate ambiguity, and reduce burden.

Executive Order 13045 (Protection of Children)

    We have analyzed this action under Executive Order 13045, 
Protection of Children from Environmental Health Risks and Safety 
Risks. This rule is not an economically significant rule and does not 
concern an environmental risk to health or safety that may 
disproportionately affect children.

Executive Order 13132 (Federalism)

    This action has been analyzed in accordance with the principles and 
criteria contained in Executive Order 13132, dated August 4, 1999, and 
the FHWA has determined that this action does not have sufficient 
federalism implications to warrant the preparation

[[Page 6395]]

of a Federalism assessment. The FHWA has also determined that this 
action will not preempt any State law or State regulation or affect the 
States' ability to discharge traditional State governmental functions.

Executive Order 12372 (Intergovernmental Review)

    Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Program Number 20.205, 
Highway Planning and Construction. The regulations implementing 
Executive Order 12372 regarding intergovernmental consultation on 
Federal programs and activities apply to this program.

Paperwork Reduction Act

    Under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA) (44 U.S.C. 3501, et 
seq.), Federal agencies must obtain approval from the Office of 
Management and Budget (OMB) for each collection of information they 
conduct, sponsor, or require through regulations. The FHWA has 
determined that this action does not contain collection of information 
requirements for the purposes of the PRA.

National Environmental Policy Act

    The FHWA has analyzed this action for the purpose of the National 
Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.) and has 
determined that this action will not have any effect on the quality of 
the environment.

Executive Order 13175 (Tribal Consultation)

    The FHWA has analyzed this action under Executive Order 13175, 
dated November 6, 2000, and believes that it will not have substantial 
direct effects on one or more Indian tribes; will not impose 
substantial direct compliance costs on Indian tribal governments; and 
will not preempt tribal law. Therefore, a tribal summary impact 
statement is not required.

Executive Order 13211 (Energy Effects)

    We have analyzed this rule under Executive Order 13211, Actions 
Concerning Regulations That Significantly Affect Energy Supply, 
Distribution, or Use. We have determined that it is not a significant 
energy action under that order because it is not a significant 
regulatory action under Executive Order 12866 and is not likely to have 
a significant adverse effect on the supply, distribution, or use of 
energy. Therefore, a Statement of Energy Effects under Executive Order 
13211 is not required.

Regulation Identification Number

    A regulation identification number (RIN) is assigned to each 
regulatory action listed in the Unified Agenda of Federal Regulations. 
The Regulatory Information Service Center publishes the Unified Agenda 
in April and October of each year. The RIN contained in the heading of 
this document can be used to cross reference this action with the 
Unified Agenda.

List of Subjects in 23 CFR Part 625

    Design standards, Grant programs--transportation, Highways and 
roads, Incorporation by reference.

    Issued on: February 4, 2002.
Mary E. Peters,
Federal Highway Administrator.

    In consideration of the foregoing, the FHWA is amending title 23, 
Code of Federal Regulations, part 625, as set forth below:


    1.The authority citation for part 625 continues to read as follows:

    Authority: 23 U.S.C. 109, 315, and 402; Sec. 1073 of Pub. L. 
102-240, 105 Stat. 1914, 2012; 49 CFR 1.48(b) and (n).

    2. In Sec. 625.4, revise paragraph (a)(1) to read as follows:

Sec. 625.4  Standards, policies, and standard specifications.

* * * * *
    (a) * * * (1) A Policy on Geometric Design of Highways and Streets, 
AASHTO 2001. [See Sec. 625.4(d)(1)]
* * * * *
[FR Doc. 02-3217 Filed 2-11-02; 8:45 am]