[Federal Register Volume 82, Number 2 (Wednesday, January 4, 2017)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 770-780]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2016-31249]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Highway Administration

23 CFR Part 655

[FHWA Docket No. FHWA-2009-0139]
RIN 2125-AF34


National Standards for Traffic Control Devices; the Manual on 
Uniform Traffic Control Devices for Streets and Highways; Maintaining 
Pavement Marking Retroreflectivity

AGENCY: Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), U.S. Department of 
Transportation (DOT).

ACTION: Supplemental notice of proposed amendments (SNPA); request for 
comments.

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SUMMARY: The Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) is 
incorporated in FHWA regulations and recognized as the national 
standard for traffic control devices used on all streets, highways, 
bikeways, and private roads open to public travel. The FHWA proposed in 
an earlier notice of proposed amendment (NPA) to amend the MUTCD to 
include standards, guidance, options, and supporting information 
related to maintaining minimum levels of retroreflectivity for pavement 
markings. Based on the review and analysis of the numerous comments 
received in response to the NPA, FHWA has substantially revised the 
proposed amendments to the MUTCD and, as a result, is issuing this 
SNPA.

DATES: Comments must be received on or before May 4, 2017. Late-filed 
comments will be considered to the extent practicable.

ADDRESSES: Mail or hand deliver comments to the U.S. Department of 
Transportation, Dockets Management Facility, 1200 New Jersey Avenue 
SE., Washington, DC 20590, or submit electronically at http://www.regulations.gov. All comments should include the docket number that 
appears in the heading of this document. All comments received will be 
available for examination and copying at the above address from 9 a.m. 
to 5 p.m., e.t., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. Those 
desiring notification of receipt of comments must include a self-
addressed, stamped postcard or may print the acknowledgment page that 
appears after submitting comments electronically. In accordance with 
the Administrative Procedure Act, DOT solicits comments from the public 
to better inform its rulemaking process. The DOT posts these comments, 
without edit, to www.regulations.gov, as described in the system of 
records notice, DOT/ALL-14 FDMS, accessible through www.dot.gov/privacy. In order to facilitate comment tracking and response, we 
encourage commenters to provide their name, or the name of their 
organization; however, submission of names is completely optional. 
Whether or not commenters identify themselves, all timely comments will 
be fully considered. If you wish to provide comments containing 
proprietary or confidential information, please contact the agency for 
alternate submission instructions.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ms. Cathy Satterfield, Office of 
Safety, cathy.satterfield@dot.gov, (708) 283-3552; or Mr. William 
Winne, Office of the Chief Counsel, william.winne@dot.gov, (202) 366-
1397, Federal Highway Administration, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., 
Washington, DC 20590. Office hours are from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., 
e.t., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Electronic Access and Filing

    You may submit or access all comments received by the DOT online 
through http://www.regulations.gov. Electronic submission and retrieval 
help and guidelines are available on the Web site. It is available 24 
hours each day, 365 days this year. Please follow the instructions. An 
electronic copy of this document may also be downloaded from the Office 
of the Federal Register's home page at: http://www.ofr.gov and the 
Government Publishing Office's Web page at: http://www.gpo.gov and is 
available for inspection and copying, as prescribed in 49 CFR part 7, 
at the FHWA Office of Transportation Operations (HOTO-1), 1200 New 
Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590. Furthermore, the text of the 
proposed revision is available on the MUTCD Internet Web site at http://mutcd.fhwa.dot.gov. The proposed additions are shown in blue text and 
proposed deletions are shown as red strikeout text. The complete 
current 2009 edition of the MUTCD is also available on the same 
Internet Web site. A copy of the proposed revision is included at the 
conclusion of the preamble in this document and is also available as a 
separate document under the docket number noted above at http://www.regulations.gov.

[[Page 771]]

Executive Summary

I. Purpose of the Regulatory Action

    Section 406 of the Department of Transportation and Related 
Agencies Appropriations Act, 1993 (Pub. L. 102-388; October 6, 1992) 
directed the Secretary of Transportation to ``revise the Manual on 
Uniform Traffic Control Devices to include--a standard for a minimum 
level of retroreflectivity that must be maintained for pavement 
markings and signs, which shall apply to all roads open to public 
travel.'' Improving safety and mobility throughout the transportation 
network are two of the core goals of the DOT. The purpose of FHWA's 
proposal to include minimum retroreflectivity levels in the MUTCD \1\ 
is to advance safety and mobility by assisting with the nighttime 
visibility needs of drivers and improving the infrastructure's ability 
to work with Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) technologies. The 
final rule for maintaining minimum levels of retroreflectivity for 
traffic signs was issued on December 21, 2007, at 72 FR 72574. This 
proposed rule addresses driver visibility needs in terms of pavement 
markings.
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    \1\ The current edition of the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control 
Devices can be viewed at the following Internet Web site: http://mutcd.fhwa.dot.gov/kno_2009r1r2.htm.
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II. Summary of the Major Provisions of the Regulatory Action in 
Question

    This proposed rule would establish minimum retroreflectivity levels 
for pavement markings on all roads open to public travel with average 
annual daily traffic (AADT) volumes over 6,000 and speed limits of 35 
mph or higher. Agencies or officials having jurisdiction would be 
required to develop and implement a method for maintaining pavement 
marking retroreflectivity at minimum levels. It would not require 
agencies or officials having jurisdiction to upgrade markings by a 
specific date, nor would it require them to ensure every marking is 
above the minimum retroreflectivity level at all times.
    This SNPA includes revisions based on docket comments submitted as 
part of an NPA issued April 22, 2010, at 75 FR 20935. Retroreflectivity 
levels and locations were simplified from what was presented in the NPA 
to the following criteria making it easier to understand and implement:

--Requires a minimum retroreflectivity level of 50 mcd/m\2\/lx where 
statutory or posted speed limits are greater than or equal to 35 mph
--Recommends a minimum retroreflectivity level of 100 mcd/m\2\/lx where 
statutory or posted speed limits are greater than or equal to 70 mph
--Applies only to longitudinal lines (e.g., center lines, edge lines, 
and lane lines).

III. Costs and Benefits

    The FHWA has considered the costs and potential benefits of this 
rulemaking and believes the rulemaking is being implemented in a manner 
that fulfills our obligation under Section 406 of the Department of 
Transportation and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 1993 (Pub. L. 
102-388; October 6, 1992), while also providing flexibility for 
agencies. The estimated national costs are documented in the updated 
economic analysis report and the flexibility is documented in the new 
publication titled, ``Methods for Maintaining Pavement Marking 
Retroreflectivity.'' Both of these are available on the docket.
    The MUTCD already requires that pavement markings that must be 
visible at night shall be retroreflective unless ambient illumination 
assures that the markings are adequately visible, and that all markings 
on Interstate highways shall be retroreflective. The proposed changes 
in the MUTCD would provide agencies the benefit of minimum 
retroreflective performance levels which are supported by research to 
make markings visible at night. Additionally, recent research findings 
indicate that maintenance of pavement marking retroreflectivity may 
have a positive effect on safety.
    The economic analysis provides a national estimate of the costs and 
benefits to implement this rulemaking and to replace markings. Costs 
for individual agencies would vary based on factors such as the amount 
of pavement marking mileage subject to the standards and current 
pavement marking practices. The analysis estimates first year start-up 
implementation costs of $29.4 million for all affected State and local 
agencies to develop maintenance methods and purchase necessary 
equipment. In addition, annual measurement and management activities of 
$14.9 million nationwide are expected to determine which markings 
require replacement. In the second and following years, if agencies 
were to replace markings that do not meet the minimum retroreflectivity 
levels, despite the fact that there are no replacement compliance dates 
there would be an estimated increase of approximately $52.5 million per 
year nationally from current estimated pavement marking replacement 
expenditures. Therefore, this proposed rule would 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.
    The proposed changes in the MUTCD would provide additional guidance 
and clarification, while allowing flexibility in maintaining pavement 
marking retroreflectivity. The FHWA does not have enough information to 
determine the benefits of this document. The economic report summarizes 
findings from relevant research. The FHWA seeks comment on the issue.

Background

    Pavement markings are one of the key methods of conveying 
information to the driver at night, conveying the location of the road 
center and edges, alignment information, presence of passing or no-
passing zones, and indications that the driver is occupying the correct 
lane. The U.S. nighttime fatal crash rate is approximately three times 
that of the daytime crash rate, and safety studies \2\ have shown that 
adding center line and edge line markings (or edge lines where only 
center lines were present) significantly reduces nighttime crashes. The 
MUTCD contains warrants indicating types of facilities that either 
shall or should have center line, edge line, or lane line markings. 
Therefore, FHWA has limited the proposed amendment to longitudinal 
markings to encompass center line, edge line, and lane line markings.
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    \2\ The paper titled ``The Benefits of Pavement Markings: A 
Renewed Perspective Based on Recent and Ongoing Research'' can be 
viewed at the following Internet Web site: http://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/roadway_dept/night_visib/pavement_visib/no090488/.
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    Per the MUTCD, markings that must be visible at night shall be 
retroreflective unless ambient illumination assures that the markings 
are adequately visible. All markings on Interstate highways shall be 
retroreflective. Retroreflectivity is the measure of an object's 
ability to reflect light back towards a light source along the same 
axis from which it strikes the object. In the case of retroreflective 
markings, incoming light from vehicle headlamps is reflected back 
towards the headlamps, and, more importantly, the driver's eyes, 
allowing the driver to see the pavement marking. Glass beads embedded 
in the marking material produces the retroreflective property of the 
pavement marking. The Coefficient of Retroreflected Luminance 
(RL), which is measured in millicandelas per meter squared 
per lux (mcd/m\2\/lx), is the most common measurement. 
Retroreflectometers used in the United

[[Page 772]]

States are based on CEN \3\-prescribed 30-meter geometry per ASTM Test 
Method E1710 \4\.
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    \3\ CEN is the European Committee for Standardization.
    \4\ ASTM E1710, ``Standard Test Method for Measurement of 
Retroreflective Pavement Marking Materials with CEN-Prescribed 
Geometry Using a Portable Retroreflectometer'', is available through 
subscription or purchase at the following Internet Web site: http://www.astm.org/.
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    Research has in some cases shown a correlation between increased 
retroreflectivity and reduced crashes, but has had limited success in 
quantifying that relationship. This is primarily due to the difficulty 
in what the level of retroreflectivity for the marking was at the time 
of a crash, along with the difficulty in accounting for other factors 
that may impact increases or reductions in crashes. Historically, 
agencies have not measured most of their pavement markings, and when 
they did it was typically to determine if newly installed markings met 
the standards of a contract. Once a pavement marking is installed, the 
retroreflectivity of the marking begins to degrade. The degradation 
rate is difficult to predict because some of the beads embedded in the 
marking become dislodged by traffic, obscured by dirt, or removed in 
snow plowing operations. In recent years, with mobile 
retroreflectometers available, a few agencies have more information on 
the level of retroreflectivity of their longitudinal pavement markings, 
including some information on markings that have been in place for some 
time. With this new data, agencies are better positioned to proactively 
manage their pavement markings.
    The FHWA sponsored research to establish recommended minimum 
pavement marking retroreflectivity levels that is based on the 
nighttime driving needs of drivers, including older drivers \5\. One of 
the key conditions considered in the research was that a minimum 
preview time \6\ of 2.2 seconds was needed for nighttime drivers to 
safely navigate their vehicles. The research used updated visibility 
modeling techniques and tools to determine minimum retroreflectivity 
levels for a number of scenarios. The research scope was limited to 
dark, dry, rural, straight roads and longitudinal pavement markings. In 
addition, FHWA held workshops \7\ to solicit input on potential 
standards for minimum pavement marking retroreflectivity.
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    \5\ The report titled, ``Updates to Research on Recommended 
Minimum Levels for Pavement Marking Retroreflectivity to Meet Driver 
Night Visibility Needs'' can be viewed at the following Internet Web 
site: http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/publications/research/safety/07059/.
    \6\ Preview time describes the distance a driver must be able to 
see pavement markings down the road in order to receive adequate 
information to perceive, process, and react to the information to 
safely guide the vehicle. Since this distance increases as the speed 
of the vehicle increases, preview time is used to express this 
distance for any speed.
    \7\ The summary report titled: ``Pavement Marking 
Retroreflectivity Workshops'' can be viewed at the following 
Internet Web site: http://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/roadway_dept/night_visib/pavement_visib/fhwasa08003/fhwasa08003.pdf.
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    On April 22, 2010, at 75 FR 20935, FHWA published in the Federal 
Register an NPA to amend the MUTCD to include standards, guidance, 
options, and supporting information related to maintaining minimum 
levels of retroreflectivity for pavement markings. The NPA was issued 
in response to Section 406 of the Department of Transportation and 
Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 1993 (Pub. L. 102-388; October 6, 
1992). Section 406 of the Act directed the Secretary of Transportation 
to ``revise the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices to include--a 
standard for a minimum level of retroreflectivity that must be 
maintained for pavement markings and signs, which shall apply to all 
roads open to public travel.'' Improving safety and mobility throughout 
the transportation network are two of the core goals of the DOT. This 
SNPA would propose minimum retroreflectivity levels in the MUTCD to 
advance safety and mobility by meeting the nighttime visibility needs 
of drivers on our Nation's roads and improving the infrastructure's 
ability to work with ITS technologies. The final rule for maintaining 
minimum levels of retroreflectivity for traffic signs was issued on 
December 21, 2007, at 72 FR 72574. The sign retroreflectivity final 
rule, and Revision 2 of the 2009 MUTCD \8\, requires agencies to 
implement and have continued use of an assessment or management method 
that is designed to maintain regulatory and warning sign 
retroreflectivity at or above the established minimum levels. This 
proposed rule addresses driver visibility needs in terms of pavement 
markings. The FHWA used knowledge it gained through the sign 
retroreflectivity rulemaking process to prepare the NPA, as well as 
this SNPA, for maintaining pavement marking retroreflectivity. This 
includes simplifying the minimum retroreflectivity levels, requiring 
the use of a method to maintain minimum retroreflectivity, and 
clarifying the types of longitudinal lines for which this proposed rule 
applies.
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    \8\ Revision 2 of the 2009 MUTCD, 77 FR 28460 (May 14, 2012), 
revised certain information relating to target compliance dates for 
traffic control devices. It can be viewed at the following Internet 
Web site: https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2012-05-14/pdf/2012-11710.pdf.
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    Since publishing the NPA, the need for improved pavement markings 
has become more apparent in relation to advanced driver assistance 
systems (ADAS) in vehicles. Numerous manufacturers have ADAS that 
include lane departure warning systems that use camera sensors to 
detect pavement markings to monitor the position of the vehicle. 
Automakers, suppliers, and research institutes have indicated in 
interviews that maintenance of pavement markings will be necessary to 
support vehicle automation. Michael J. Robinson of General Motors 
testified before the House Committee on Transportation and 
Infrastructure Subcommittee on Highway and Transit that, ``one of the 
key highway needs is to provide--at a minimum--clearly marked lanes and 
shoulders.'' \9\ In the same hearing, former NHTSA Administrator 
Strickland spoke of how the autonomous vehicle will advance safety and 
specifically mentioned FHWA's efforts to improve the infrastructure to 
``interact with and support automated or partially automated 
vehicles.'' \10\ More recently, the American Association of State 
Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) and SAE International 
(formerly the Society of Automotive Engineers) have formed a joint task 
force to develop a specification that includes criteria for road 
markings for vehicle cameras that detect and use lane markings for 
features such as Lane Departure Warning (LDW) and Lane Keeping Assist 
(LKA). The joint task force will use the information from National 
Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) 20-102(06), Road Markings 
for Machine Vision as a basis.\11\
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    \9\ Testimony of Michael J. Robinson, Vice President, 
Sustainability and Global Regulatory Affairs, before the House 
Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on 
Highways and Transit, Hearing on How Autonomous Vehicles will Shape 
the Future of Surface Transportation, November 19, 2013 http://transportation.house.gov/uploadedfiles/2013-11-19-robinson.pdf.
    \10\ Testimony of The Honorable David L. Strickland, 
Administrator, National Highways Traffic Safety Administration, 
before the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure 
Subcommittee on Highways and Transit, Hearing on How Autonomous 
Vehicles will Shape the Future of Surface Transportation, November 
19, 2013. http://transportation.house.gov/uploadedfiles/2013-11-19-strickland.pdf.
    \11\ More information regarding the scope and status of NCHRP 
20-102 (06), Road Markings for Machine Vision is available at the 
following Internet Web site: http://apps.trb.org/cmsfeed/TRBNetProjectDisplay.asp?ProjectID=4004.
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    The comment period for the NPA related to pavement marking

[[Page 773]]

retroreflectivity closed on August 20, 2010. The FHWA received 
approximately 100 responses that were submitted to the docket 
containing nearly 700 individual comments on the NPA. The FHWA received 
comments from the National Committee on Uniform Traffic Control Devices 
(NCUTCD), AASHTO, State departments of transportation (State DOTs), the 
National Association of County Engineers (NACE), the American Traffic 
Safety Services Association (ATSSA), Advocates for Highway and Auto 
Safety (AHAS), the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), city 
and county governmental agencies, consulting firms, private industry, 
associations, other organizations, and individual private citizens. The 
FHWA has reviewed and analyzed the comments that were received in 
preparing this SNPA.
    State and local DOTs, as well as associations that represent them, 
submitted many comments expressing concern over key elements of the 
MUTCD language as proposed in the NPA. The commenters expressed 
confusion about which pavement markings would be required to meet 
minimum retroreflectivity values and concern over compliance dates for 
replacing deficient markings, the proposed minimum retroreflectivity 
levels, cost, and liability. Organizations comprised of safety 
advocates and some industry suppliers of pavement markings submitted 
comments suggesting that the NPA did not go far enough in establishing 
retroreflectivity standards. In consideration of all the comments, FHWA 
desires to simplify the proposed MUTCD language to provide clarity 
while improving safety and minimizing the financial burden and 
potential liability concerns expressed by the commenters, particularly 
local agencies responsible for maintaining pavement markings. The FHWA 
also has a responsibility to meet the congressional intent of Section 
406 of the Department of Transportation and Related Agencies 
Appropriations Act as discussed above, with an appreciation for 
economic impact.
    The AASHTO and NACE requested delaying the final rule for pavement 
marking retroreflectivity until AASHTO's Subcommittee on Traffic 
Engineering funds and completes a proposed research project intended to 
provide a synthesis of pavement marking retroreflectivity maintenance 
practices. The organizations and many of their members felt this 
project would produce actual measurement of in-service pavement marking 
retroreflectivity levels to compare with the minimum values proposed by 
FHWA. The project was completed under NCHRP Project 20-07 Task 310. The 
findings were published January 2013 in a report titled, 
``Determination of Current Levels of Retroreflectance Attained and 
Maintained by State Departments of Transportation.'' \12\
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    \12\ The report titled, ``Determination of Current Levels of 
Retroreflectance Attained and Maintained by State Departments of 
Transportation,'' can be viewed at the following Internet Web site: 
http://onlinepubs.trb.org/onlinepubs/nchrp/docs/NCHRP20-07(310)_FR.pdf.
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    In the NPA, it was noted that the proposed revisions regarding 
maintaining pavement marking retroreflectivity would be designated as 
Revision 1 to the 2009 edition of the MUTCD. Actual designation of 
revision numbers depends on the relative timing of final rules issued 
by FHWA related to the MUTCD.
    As a result of the comments received in response to the NPA, FHWA 
concluded that significant changes to the proposed MUTCD language are 
warranted. As a result, FHWA is issuing this SNPA to provide the 
opportunity for public review and comment on the revised proposal. 
Docket comments and summaries of the FHWA's analyses and determinations 
are discussed below.

Proposed Supplemental Amendment

    In this SNPA, FHWA proposes to continue with the following key 
concepts from the NPA:
     Implementation and continued use of a method that is 
designed to maintain pavement markings at or above specific minimum 
retroreflectivity levels would be the key factor indicating compliance 
with this section of the MUTCD.
     The minimum retroreflectivity levels would apply only to 
longitudinal pavement markings under dry conditions, specifically 
center lines, edge lines and lane lines.
     The method would not be required to include markings on 
roads with statutory or posted speed limits under 35 mph.
     Markings that are adequately visible due to ambient 
illumination may be excluded from the method.
     Acknowledges that there may be some locations or certain 
periods of time where markings may be below the minimum 
retroreflectivity levels.
    The FHWA proposes the following key changes from the language 
proposed in the April, 2010, NPA:
     Remove the compliance date for replacing markings;
     Simplify conditions so there are only two 
retroreflectivity values (one being a STANDARD and one being GUIDANCE) 
that are based on posted speed limit only, and apply to both white and 
yellow longitudinal pavement markings;
     Simplify the STANDARD to one minimum retroreflectivity 
level of 50 mcd/m\2\/lx that applies to roads with statutory or posted 
speeds of 35 mph and greater;
     Change the requirement for high-speed roadways from a 
STANDARD to GUIDANCE, and condense the various minimum 
retroreflectivity levels to one minimum retroreflectivity level of 100 
mcd/m\2\/lx;
     Add an OPTION for agencies to exclude roadways with 
volumes less than 6,000 vehicles per day (vpd) from the application of 
their methods to maintain retroreflectivity; and
     Remove the exception for roadways with raised reflective 
pavement markers (RRPMs).
    An analysis of the comments and the resulting proposed changes are 
discussed in more detail in the following sections.
    The definitions of the MUTCD Section 1A.13 are used here, 
particularly in reference to the terms STANDARD, GUIDANCE, OPTION, and 
SUPPORT. A STANDARD refers to a required, mandatory or specifically 
prohibitive practice regarding a traffic control device. STANDARD 
statements are sometimes modified by an OPTION statement. GUIDANCE 
denotes a recommended, but not mandatory, practice in typical 
situations, with deviations allowed if engineering judgment or an 
engineering study indicates the deviation to be appropriate. An OPTION 
states a practice that is a permissive condition and may contain 
allowable modifications to a STANDARD or GUIDANCE statement while 
SUPPORT statements simply convey information.
    This SNPA is being issued to provide an opportunity for public 
comment on these proposed amendments to the MUTCD. The FHWA requests 
comments on the proposed amendments to the MUTCD that are presented in 
this SNPA. After reviewing the comments received in response to the NPA 
and this SNPA, FHWA may issue a final rule concerning the proposed 
changes included in this document. In order to enable FHWA to 
appropriately review and address all comments, commenters should cite 
the Section and paragraph number of the proposed MUTCD text for each 
specific comment to the docket.
Section-by-Section Analysis
    This section-by-section analysis includes a discussion of the 
proposed SNPA language and an analysis of the comments submitted to the 
NPA docket.

[[Page 774]]

Since Section 3A.03 contains the majority of the material specifically 
related to maintaining pavement marking retroreflectivity, that section 
is described first, followed by proposed changes to Section 1A.11 and 
the Introduction.
Section 3A.03 Maintaining Minimum Pavement Marking Retroreflectivity
    1. The FHWA proposes to change the current section title to 
``Maintaining Minimum Retroreflectivity'' to simplify the title and be 
consistent with the title for Sign Retroreflectivity in Section 2A.08 
of the 2009 MUTCD.
    2. The FHWA has revised the organization and content of the 
STANDARD statement from what was proposed in the NPA. Many commenters 
indicated there was confusion regarding which markings were included in 
the minimum retroreflectivity requirements and which minimum 
retroreflectivity values applied under specific roadway marking 
conditions. To reduce confusion, FHWA proposes to base the minimum 
pavement marking retroreflectivity values only on posted speed limits, 
rather than a combination of posted speed and type of roadway marking 
pattern as proposed in Table 3A-1 of the NPA. In conjunction with this 
change, FHWA proposes to refrain from incorporating a table such as the 
NPA's Table 3A-1 and instead simplify the requirement for maintaining 
pavement marking retroreflectivity by including the retroreflectivity 
values in the text. The proposed retroreflectivity values apply to both 
white and yellow pavement markings.
    3. In the STANDARD statement, paragraph 1, FHWA proposes that a 
method designed to maintain retroreflectivity at or above 50 mcd/m\2\/
lx shall be used for longitudinal markings on roadways with statutory 
or posted speed limits of 35 mph or greater. The proposed STANDARD is a 
minimum level intended to meet driver visibility needs. Many agencies 
currently have goals to achieve higher initial levels of 
retroreflectivity based on driver preferences and other factors. There 
are also a few agencies with goals to maintain higher levels. This 
rulemaking should not be misconstrued as a recommendation to lower 
these goals, but rather to encourage all agencies to replace or retrace 
markings before they reach this bare minimum level. This should result 
in markings that are typically well above these retroreflectivity 
levels throughout their useful life. As in the NPA, this STANDARD 
applies only to longitudinal markings. Information regarding markings 
that may be excluded and clarification on markings to which this 
STANDARD does not apply are described in paragraphs 5 and 6 of the 
proposed MUTCD text.
    The 50 mcd/m\2\/lx requirement proposed for the STANDARD is based 
on research on pavement marking retroreflectivity requirements 
documented in publication FHWA-HRT-07-059, ``Updates to Research on 
Recommended Minimum Levels for Pavement Marking Retroreflectivity to 
Meet Driver Night Visibility Needs.'' \13\ In this report, fully marked 
roadways (those having edge lines, center lines, and lane lines, as 
needed) were identified as requiring retroreflectivity levels of 40 
mcd/m\2\/lx for speeds of 50 mph and lower and 60 mcd/m\2\/lx for 
speeds of 55 to 65 mph. One of the key conditions considered in the 
research was that a minimum preview time of 2.2 seconds was needed for 
nighttime drivers to safely navigate their vehicles. The value of 50 
mcd/m\2\/lx is also one of the minimum retroreflectivity values 
proposed in the NPA.
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    \13\ The report titled, ``Updates to Research on Recommended 
Minimum Levels for Pavement Marking Retroreflectivity to Meet Driver 
Night Visibility Needs'' can be viewed at the following Internet Web 
site: http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/publications/research/safety/07059/.
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    The FHWA received comments from NCUTCD, AASHTO, NACE and several 
State and local agencies opposed to the higher retroreflectivity values 
presented in the NPA. Some of those commenters suggested alternate 
minimum retroreflectivity values that ranged from 50 to 150 mcd/m\2\/
lx, depending on the pavement marking configuration and posted speed 
limit. The FHWA received comments from ATSSA, AARP, and AHAS suggesting 
higher retroreflectivity values than proposed in the NPA and suggesting 
that minimum retroreflectivity values for roads with posted speed 
limits less than 35 mph should also be established. Specific comments 
referred to studies indicating that drivers prefer pavement markings 
with a range of 80 to 130 mcd/m\2\/lx. The proposed minimum level of 50 
mcd/m\2\/lx was selected based on driver needs derived from a 
requirement of 2.2 second preview time, rather than public attitude 
surveys. This minimum will improve the retroreflectivity of markings in 
jurisdictions where pavement markings are not currently being 
adequately maintained, without placing an undue burden on agencies that 
choose to maintain markings at higher levels.
    The FHWA also believes that establishing one retroreflectivity 
value as a STANDARD, rather than several values, will facilitate 
implementation of this proposed rule. In terms of roadways with posted 
speed limits of less than 35 mph, FHWA received comments from NACE and 
26 local agencies supporting FHWA's proposal that the minimum levels 
not apply to roads with posted speeds of less than 35 mph; whereas, 
AHAS and ATSSA questioned whether the FHWA was meeting the 
congressional intent by not requiring the method to apply to these 
roads. The FHWA believes there would be little benefit in requiring 
agencies to implement a method to maintain a specific minimum 
retroreflectivity level of markings on these roads because properly 
working vehicle headlamps typically provide adequate preview distance 
of the road itself for the short preview distance needed at these 
speeds. Therefore, the level of retroreflectivity of the pavement 
markings is not as critical at these lower speeds.
    4. In the GUIDANCE statement, paragraph 2, FHWA proposes that a 
method designed to maintain retroreflectivity at or above 100 mcd/m\2\/
lx should be used for longitudinal markings on roadways with statutory 
or posted speed limits of 70 mph or greater. The GUIDANCE statement is 
included to encourage higher retroreflectivity levels for roadways with 
higher speeds. This is based on a preview time of 2.2 seconds, 
indicating drivers need longer viewing distances on higher speed 
roadways, which can be achieved by maintaining a higher level of 
retroreflective pavement markings. The 100 mcd/m\2\/lx level is based 
on research of pavement marking retroreflectivity requirements 
documented in publication FHWA-HRT-07-059, ``Updates to Research on 
Recommended Minimum Levels for Pavement Marking Retroreflectivity to 
Meet Driver Night Visibility Needs.'' \14\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \14\ The report titled, ``Updates to Research on Recommended 
Minimum Levels for Pavement Marking Retroreflectivity to Meet Driver 
Night Visibility Needs'' can be viewed at the following Internet Web 
site: http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/publications/research/safety/07059/.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    In Table 3A-1 of the NPA, FHWA also proposed separate minimum 
retroreflectivity values for two-lane roads with only center line 
markings. These separate minimum values were included to address driver 
needs for higher retroreflective center lines on facilities without 
edge lines. Based on the comments from agencies and their associations, 
this was one of the areas that caused confusion. Since this SNPA 
provides agencies with the option to exclude roadways with Annual Daily 
Traffic (ADT) less than 6,000 vpd from

[[Page 775]]

their method (for reasons explained in item 8 below), and edge lines 
are required on rural arterials with an ADT of 6,000 vpd or greater and 
recommended for rural arterials and collectors with an ADT of 3,000 or 
greater, FHWA believes it is not necessary to include a higher minimum 
retroreflectivity level on two-lane roads with center lines only.
    The NPA proposed minimum retroreflectivity value of 250 mcd/m\2\/lx 
for two-lane roads with only center line markings and speeds of 55 mph 
or higher was particularly controversial. The FHWA received comments 
from AASHTO, NCUTCD, NACE, as well as several State DOTs suggesting 
that it was not feasible with existing technologies to maintain a 
retroreflectivity level of 250 mcd/m\2\/lx. The AASHTO and nine State 
DOTs suggested reducing this value to 100 mcd/m\2\/lx; whereas, the 
NCUTCD and NACE suggested a value of 150 mcd/m\2\/lx. Typical State 
requirements for yellow pavement markings are less than 250 mcd/m\2\/lx 
due to the difficulty in achieving and sustaining this level of 
retroreflectivity with most available yellow marking materials. It is 
the intent of this GUIDANCE statement to encourage agencies to improve 
pavement marking conditions, and not to require public agencies to meet 
levels that would be impractical to maintain with existing 
technologies. In consideration of the factors discussed above, FHWA 
proposes that a value of 100 mcd/m\2\/lx or above should be maintained 
for longitudinal markings on all roadways with posted speed limits of 
70 mph or greater, regardless of the roadway pavement marking 
configuration.
    5. The FHWA proposes to delete Table 3A-1 that was included in the 
NPA because of the proposed simplified retroreflectivity values 
contained in Section 3A.03, paragraphs 1 and 2 of the MUTCD. Table 3A-
1, as proposed in the NPA, included two exceptions to maintaining 
minimum pavement marking retroreflectivity. One exception provided that 
minimum retroreflectivity levels were not applicable to pavement 
markings on roadways with properly maintained RRPMs. Although this 
provision was supported by NCUTCD, AASHTO, and NACE, other 
organizations such as ATSSA, 3M, and AARP suggested that the use of 
RRPMs should not result in an exception to the required minimum 
retroreflectivity levels because there are no performance requirements 
for RRPMs.
    After reviewing available research and considering the intended use 
and durability of RRPMs, FHWA proposes to delete the exception for 
roadways with RRPMs. The research conducted for pavement marking 
retroreflectivity indicates that even with RRPMs, a pavement marking 
retroreflectivity level of 40 to 50 mcd/m\2\/lx is still needed for 
peripheral-vision lane keeping tasks.\15\ This level of 
retroreflectivity is consistent with the proposed SNPA language that 
requires an agency to maintain retroreflectivity at 50 mcd/m\2\/lx, 
rather than the higher values proposed in the NPA. If the exclusion for 
roadways with RRPMs were to remain, additional parameters would need to 
be considered. This would include parameters such as a minimum level of 
retroreflectivity for the RRPMs (for which there is currently 
insufficient research), spacing requirements (which varies in the MUTCD 
in accordance with the application), and maintenance requirements to 
replace missing or damaged devices. Setting such parameters for RRPMs 
is outside the scope of this rulemaking. Finally, the research \16\ is 
based on dry pavement marking retroreflectivity. The RRPMs are commonly 
used to enhance wet nighttime delineation, which further indicates that 
RRPMs fall outside of the scope of this rulemaking effort. In reviewing 
this information, along with the comments submitted to the docket, it 
became clear that providing an exclusion for roadways with RRPMs 
introduced a level of unintended complexity to the proposed rule, and 
therefore FHWA does not propose an exclusion for roadways with RRPMs in 
the SNPA.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \15\ The report titled, ``Updates to Research on Recommended 
Minimum Levels for Pavement Marking Retroreflectivity to Meet Driver 
Night Visibility Needs'' can be viewed at the following Internet Web 
site: http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/publications/research/safety/07059/.
    \16\ Ibid.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Although not included as an exception in the NPA, NCUTCD, AASHTO, 
NACE, nine State DOTs and a consultant suggested adding an exception 
for roadways with post-mounted delineators for the same reason that 
roads with RRPMs were excluded in the NPA. The commenters felt that 
roadside post[hyphen]mounted delineators have greater target value when 
compared to RRPMs, and are easily replaced, in most cases, without 
obstructing the traffic lanes. The commenters suggested that 
delineators are also used in snow and winter conditions and provide 
added visibility of the roadway geometry. While FHWA believes that 
roadside delineators are a valuable traffic control device, they are 
placed on the side of the road at varying distances from the outside 
edge of the travel lane and do not provide the same level of lane 
delineation as pavement markings. As a result, FHWA does not propose an 
exclusion for roadways with delineators. As discussed above in regard 
to RRPMs, such an exclusion would introduce an unnecessary level of 
complexity and is outside the scope of this rulemaking.
    The FHWA retains the proposed exclusion for roadways where ambient 
illumination assures that the pavement markings are visible. The FHWA 
believes that it is appropriate to maintain this exclusion in order to 
provide consistency with existing paragraph 3 of Section 3A.02 of the 
2009 MUTCD which states, ``Markings that must be visible at night shall 
be retroreflective unless ambient illumination assures that the 
markings are adequately visible.'' \17\ Additional information 
regarding this exclusion, including a discussion of the comments, is 
included in item 8 of this document.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \17\ The 2009 MUTCD can be viewed at the following Internet Web 
site: http://mutcd.fhwa.dot.gov.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    6. The FHWA proposes in paragraph 3, GUIDANCE, to recommend that 
the method used to maintain retroreflectivity should be one or more of 
those described in a separate document titled, ``Methods for 
Maintaining Pavement Marking Retroreflectivity'' or developed from an 
engineering study based on the minimum retroreflectivity values in 
Paragraphs 1 and 2. A draft version of this document is available in 
the docket. In the NPA, FHWA proposed to include short descriptions of 
the recommended methods. However, FHWA believes more details are needed 
to fully describe the intent of the methods and to avoid 
misinterpretation. In an effort to simplify the MUTCD, FHWA believes it 
is more appropriate to refer MUTCD users to this supplemental document 
rather than trying to briefly summarize it in the MUTCD. An added 
benefit to this approach is that this document, which will be available 
on FHWA's Web site, will include detailed guidance on how to use the 
methods and inform agencies that other methods can be developed if they 
are tied to the minimum retroreflectivity levels through an engineering 
study. In addition to containing information describing the acceptable 
methods, this document also includes information about methods that are 
not acceptable for maintaining minimum pavement marking 
retroreflectivity because they cannot be tied to the minimum 
retroreflectivity levels, along with recommendations of items to 
consider

[[Page 776]]

and include in an agency's documentation of its method. The FHWA 
believes that by providing all of the pertinent information related to 
the methods to maintain pavement marking retroreflectivity in one 
place, users are more likely to obtain complete information and 
therefore make more informed decisions about the method(s) they use for 
maintaining minimum pavement marking retroreflectivity.
    7. In paragraph 4, SUPPORT, the FHWA proposes to indicate that 
retroreflectivity levels for pavement marking are measured at an 
entrance angle of 88.76 degrees and an observation angle of 1.05 
degrees, also referred to as 30-meter geometry, and that the units are 
reported in mcd/m\2\/lx. The FHWA proposes to add this statement to 
capture these specifics regarding measurement and associated units of 
pavement marking retroreflectivity that were included as a note in 
Table 3A-1 of the NPA. For the reasons discussed in item 5 of this 
document, the FHWA proposes to delete Table 3A-1 in the SNPA, but this 
pertinent information is still needed, so the FHWA proposes this 
SUPPORT statement to retain the information.
    8. In paragraph 5, OPTION, FHWA proposes to list several types of 
pavement markings that agencies may exclude from their method to 
maintain minimum pavement marking retroreflectivity. The pavement 
markings excluded from an agency's method under this OPTION are still 
required to be retroreflective unless otherwise excluded under MUTCD 
Section 3A.02. Items C through F of this OPTION statement refer to 
specific types of markings and remain unchanged from the NPA. Those 
types of markings are as follows: dotted extension lines (extending a 
longitudinal line through an intersection, major driveway or 
interchange area), curb markings, parking space markings, and shared-
use path markings. These markings are effectively optional, and 
additional research would be needed to support establishment of minimum 
retroreflectivity levels for these markings.
    In item A of this OPTION, FHWA proposes an exclusion for markings 
where ambient illumination assures that the markings are adequately 
visible. The FHWA proposes to relocate and reword this text from what 
appeared in the NPA to clarify its meaning. In Table 3A-1 of the NPA, 
FHWA included an exception for markings on roadways where continuous 
roadway lighting assures that the markings are visible. Since FHWA 
deleted Table 3A-1 from the SNPA, it is more appropriate to list this 
exclusion in proposed paragraph 5. The FHWA also proposes to use text 
in the OPTION statement that more closely matches the existing text in 
Section 3A.02, paragraph 3. Existing paragraph 3 of Section 3A.02 of 
the 2009 MUTCD also includes the statement, ``All markings on 
Interstate highways shall be retroreflective.'' Therefore, Interstate 
markings that are adequately visible due to lighting do not need to 
meet the minimum levels nor be included in an agency's method, but they 
do need to be retroreflective. Although NCUTCD, AASHTO, and NACE 
supported an exception for lighting in the NPA, AARP and a supplier 
suggested that the exception for roadways with roadway lighting would 
undermine the safety benefits of the proposed amendments. The FHWA 
proposes to retain the exclusion for lighting to provide agencies with 
the flexibility to illuminate roadways without the added burden of 
implementing a method for maintaining pavement marking 
retroreflectivity.
    In item B of this OPTION, FHWA proposes to allow agencies the 
option to exclude markings on roadways with ADTs less than 6,000 vpd 
from their method. This change is in response to comments on the 
approach used in the NPA, which was based on the MUTCD warrants for 
longitudinal pavement markings. The warrants are based on roadway 
characteristics such as traffic volume, functional class, and pavement 
width. Pavement markings not included by these warrants were excluded 
from the method in the NPA, although the comments indicated this was 
not clear. The exclusion provided in item B, based solely on traffic 
volume, substitutes for the more complex exclusion based on warrants 
proposed in the NPA. This responds specifically to comments FHWA 
received from 2 local agencies and one road commission representing 
over 80 local agencies suggesting that low volume roads be excluded 
from meeting minimum pavement marking retroreflectivity values. The 
commenters' definition of ``low volume'' ranged from 3,000 to 6,000 
vpd. The exclusion also responds to many comments that optional 
markings (those neither required nor recommended by the warrants) 
should be excluded from the method. The AHAS and two suppliers 
commented that these optional marking should not be excluded.
    Another complicating factor in the NPA approach is that the MUTCD 
warrants require certain pavement markings under specific roadway 
conditions and recommend certain pavement markings under other roadway 
conditions. The FHWA received comments from NCUTCD, AASHTO, NACE, and 
over 40 State and local agencies pertaining to whether the standard 
should include only those pavement markings required in the MUTCD, or a 
combination of required and recommended pavement markings, as was 
proposed in the NPA. Some State and local DOTs suggested that if there 
were a requirement to maintain retroreflectivity on pavement markings 
that were only recommended (by means of a GUIDANCE statement) and not 
required, then their agency might elect not to install such recommended 
markings.
    The FHWA conducted a thorough review of the MUTCD language related 
to required, recommended, and optional markings and determined that 
using a specific volume of traffic for the exclusion would be 
considerably easier for agencies to understand and implement than use 
of the warrants. By removing functional class and pavement width from 
the determination of whether a pavement marking is included in the 
method, the only consideration is the appropriate volume threshold to 
select. Because a volume of 6,000 vpd is the threshold above which a 
center line is required on an urban arterial and collector road (see 
Section 3B.02, paragraph 9) and the threshold above which rural 
arterials are required to have edge lines (see Section 3B.07, paragraph 
1), FHWA believes that it is appropriate to establish 6,000 vpd as the 
volume above which a method for maintaining pavement marking 
retroreflectivity applies. The FHWA believes this is consistent with 
its goal of simplifying the language while meeting congressional intent 
and appreciating agency's resource concern. Because this is proposed as 
an OPTION statement, agencies could choose to include roadways with 
less than 6,000 vpd in their methods for maintaining minimum pavement 
marking retroreflectivity, as resources allow.
    The NPA excluded additional markings that are generally not 
classified as longitudinal markings. Due to the reformatting of the 
MUTCD text in this SNPA, those markings are now addressed in a separate 
proposed SUPPORT statement, paragraph 6. A discussion of those markings 
and related comments appears in item 9 below.
    9. The FHWA proposes a SUPPORT statement, paragraph 6, to clarify 
that the provisions of proposed Section 3A.03 do not apply to non-
longitudinal pavement markings, and to specifically list several non-
longitudinal types of

[[Page 777]]

pavement markings that are excluded from this proposed rule. The 
following markings, which are the same as those presented in the NPA, 
would be listed in paragraph 6: transverse markings, words, symbol, and 
arrow markings, crosswalk markings, and chevron, diagonal, and 
crosshatch markings. The MUTCD does not require the use of these 
markings, so there is a concern that same agencies may choose to 
discontinue their use if minimum levels of retroreflectivity are 
established. The ATSSA, AARP, a State DOT, and a supplier disagreed 
with allowing agencies to exclude pavement markings such as, words, 
symbols, and arrows, crosswalks, railroad crossing markings, etc., 
because the commenters felt that these markings are important. Other 
than longitudinal markings, there are few markings required by the 
MUTCD. There is a concern that establishing minimum retroreflectivity 
levels for markings that are not required may result in some agencies 
choosing to discontinue their use. In addition, these markings are 
excluded because the existing body of research does not cover the 
retroreflectivity needs of drivers for non-longitudinal markings.
    10. The FHWA proposes a SUPPORT statement, paragraph 7, that 
acknowledges that special circumstances will periodically cause 
pavement marking retroreflectivity to be below the minimum 
retroreflectivity levels. The FHWA proposed similar information in 
paragraphs 2 and 3 of the NPA. The FHWA received comments from NCUTCD, 
AASHTO, NACE, ATSSA, and more than 40 State and local agencies 
suggesting that the language be changed from a SUPPORT statement to a 
STANDARD statement to further assist them in potential liability 
defense, especially in light of the 2009 MUTCD language regarding the 
terms ``standard'' and ``engineering judgment.'' \18\ Due to the 
issuance of Revision 1 of the 2009 MUTCD, FHWA believes that it is 
appropriate to retain this language as a SUPPORT statement. Within this 
SUPPORT statement, paragraph 7, FHWA proposes text that describes some 
of the occurrences that may cause pavement markings to periodically be 
below the minimum retroreflectivity levels. The items included in this 
statement are similar to those contained in paragraph 3 of the NPA, but 
are expanded to clarify additional circumstances in response to 
comments.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \18\ Revision 1 of the 2009 MUTCD was issued in May 2012 to 
address many of these concerns, well after the pavement marking 
retroreflectivity NPA was published in April 2010. The Revision 1 
final rule is available at: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2012-05-14/html/2012-11712.htm.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The FHWA proposes to add item A, isolated locations of abnormal 
degradation, to the list to address comments from NCUTCD and AASHTO 
suggesting that this item be added. The FHWA agrees that there may be 
isolated locations where pavement markings experience abnormal wear or 
degradation due to adjacent land uses or types of vehicles using the 
roadway, and that it is impractical to expect retroreflectivity levels 
to be continuously maintained at or above minimum levels at such 
locations.
    The FHWA proposes to rephrase the text regarding pavement 
resurfacing, item B, to better explain that this rule is not intended 
to apply during periods preceding imminent resurfacing or 
reconstruction. The FHWA does not believe that it is a cost effective 
use of labor and materials to re-apply pavement markings immediately 
prior to resurfacing, rehabilitating or reconstructing a roadway.
    In item C, FHWA proposes to include unanticipated events such as 
equipment breakdowns, material shortages, contracting problems, and 
other similar conditions to this listing. Although not included in the 
NPA, FHWA proposes to add these items based on comments from State and 
local agencies suggesting that these unanticipated events can and do 
occur. For example, in 2010 there was a global shortage of certain 
types of pavement marking materials. In addition, it is possible that a 
pavement marking contract could fall behind schedule if equipment 
malfunctions unexpectedly or if there is a problem with a contract. The 
FHWA believes that including such a provision is appropriate, because 
it is possible that unanticipated events beyond an agency's control may 
contribute to markings falling below the minimum levels.
    Finally, FHWA proposes to add item D to address the loss of 
retroreflectivity due to snow maintenance operations. Snow maintenance 
operations include plowing as well as applying materials to roadway 
surfaces that may negatively impact pavement marking retroreflectivity. 
The AASHTO and 20 State and local DOTs, particularly those in northern 
tier States, expressed concern with maintaining prescribed 
retroreflectivity levels during the winter months. The commenters 
indicated that roadway maintenance activities such as snow plowing and 
placement of traction sand degrades the pavement markings at such time 
when replacement of the markings is impossible. Although the revised 
minimum levels of this SNPA should mitigate this concern, the results 
of NCHRP Project 20-07 indicate maintaining pavement marking 
retroreflectivity during winter months will continue to be a problem 
for at least some agencies in many snow belt States. The FHWA agrees 
with the stated concern and proposes to add this item to address the 
difficulty associated with maintaining pavement marking 
retroreflectivity during winter maintenance operations. While this is a 
more recurring type of retroreflectivity maintenance issue than those 
listed in items A through C, the schedule to restore markings is based 
largely on the weather in a particular year and can vary significantly 
by region.
    Following the list of items, FHWA proposes to indicate that when 
these circumstances occur, compliance with Paragraphs 1 and 2 is 
achieved if a reasonable course of action is taken to restore such 
markings in a timely manner. The FHWA proposes this revised statement 
following the list of examples to clarify that compliance with the 
minimum pavement marking retroreflectivity levels may take such factors 
into consideration. The FHWA realizes that when such circumstances 
occur, agencies will need to schedule their resources and priorities in 
order to restore the pavement markings. The FHWA's intent is for 
agencies take an appropriate course of action in a timely manner.
Section 1A.11 Relation to Other Publications
    11. The FHWA proposes to add a new publication titled, ``Methods 
for Maintaining Pavement Marking Retroreflectivity'' to the list of 
other publications that are useful sources. A draft version of this 
document is available in the docket. This draft publication is a 
supplemental document for informational purposes. The final version of 
this document will reflect any changes made to this proposed rule and 
will be published and distributed by FHWA. In the NPA, FHWA proposed to 
reference a summary of this report instead. The FHWA has reconsidered 
the intent and resulting content of this supplemental document, and 
proposes to reference this document which contains more information 
about the methods to be used for maintaining pavement marking 
retroreflectivity than can be adequately described in the MUTCD text or 
a summary document. Several State and local DOTs submitted specific 
questions and comments to the docket related to the methods as 
described in the proposed MUTCD text. Because FHWA proposes to simplify 
the MUTCD language in the SNPA, FHWA

[[Page 778]]

believes it is appropriate to reference a supplemental document that 
would be easily accessible on FHWA's Web site and would provide 
detailed guidance on how to implement the methods, rather than to 
provide partial information in the MUTCD text. See item 6 of this 
document for more information about the proposed publication ``Methods 
for Maintaining Pavement Marking Retroreflectivity.''
Introduction
    In the Introduction, FHWA proposes to add to Table I-2 Target 
Compliance Dates Established by FHWA, a compliance date for new Section 
3A.03 Maintaining Minimum Retroreflectivity. The FHWA proposes a 
compliance period of 4 years from the effective date of the Final Rule 
for this revision of the MUTCD for implementation and continued use of 
a method that is designed to maintain retroreflectivity of longitudinal 
pavement markings, and refers the reader to Paragraph 1. This proposed 
4-year compliance period is similar to that proposed in the NPA. In the 
NPA, FHWA also proposed to include a compliance period for replacing 
markings that were found to be deficient by the agency's method for 
maintaining minimum pavement marking retroreflectivity. While ATSSA 
agreed with the compliance periods, the NCUTCD, AASHTO, NACE, members 
of those organizations, and two local agencies agreed with establishing 
a 4-year compliance period for establishing and using a method to 
maintain pavement marking retroreflectivity, but did not support a 
compliance date for replacing deficient markings. The FHWA believes 
that a 4-year compliance period for establishing and implementing such 
a method is appropriate; however, FHWA is no longer seeking to 
establish compliance dates for replacement of deficient markings as 
this should be established by agencies pursuant to their methods. This 
is consistent with Revision 2 of the 2009 MUTCD in regard to Minimum 
Retroreflectivity compliance dates for Traffic Signs. Without specific 
compliance dates in the MUTCD for replacing deficient markings, 
agencies would still need to replace or remark pavement markings they 
identify as not meeting the established minimum retroreflectivity 
values, but each agency would be allowed to establish a schedule for 
replacement based on resources and relative priorities. Agencies would 
need to establish their replacement schedules using the same level of 
consideration as they would any other engineering decision regarding 
maintenance of traffic control devices.
    In consideration of the foregoing, FHWA proposes to revise the 2009 
MUTCD text as follows:
    Add a row to Table I-2 Target Compliance Dates Established by FHWA:

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
   2009 MUTCD section Nos.     2009 MUTCD section title        Specific provision            Compliance date
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
3A.03........................  Maintaining Minimum       Implementation and continued   4 years from the
                                Retroreflectivity.        use of a method that is        effective date of this
                                                          designed to maintain           revision of the MUTCD
                                                          retroreflectivity of
                                                          longitudinal pavement
                                                          markings (see Paragraph 1).
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Add new reference document to Section 1A.11 Relation to Other 
Publications: Section 1A.11
    ``Methods for Maintaining Pavement Marking Retroreflectivity,'' 
Report No. FHWA-SA-14-017 (FHWA)
    Revise Section 3A.03 as follows:
    Section 3A.03 Maintaining Minimum Retroreflectivity
Standard
    01 Except as provided in Paragraph 5, a method designed to maintain 
retroreflectivity at or above 50 mcd/m\2\/lx shall be used for 
longitudinal markings on roadways with statutory or posted speed limits 
of 35 mph or greater.
Guidance
    02 Except as provided in Paragraph 5, a method designed to maintain 
retroreflectivity at or above 100 mcd/m\2\/lx should be used for 
longitudinal markings on roadways with statutory or posted speed limits 
of 70 mph or greater.
    03 The method used to maintain retroreflectivity should be one or 
more of those described in ``Methods for Maintaining Pavement Marking 
Retroreflectivity'' (see Section 1A.11) or developed from an 
engineering study based on the values in Paragraphs 1 and 2.
Support
    04 Retroreflectivity levels for pavement markings are measured with 
an entrance angle of 88.76 degrees and an observation angle of 1.05 
degrees. This geometry is also referred to as 30-meter geometry. The 
units of pavement marking retroreflectivity are reported in mcd/m\2\/
lx, which means millicandelas per square meter per lux.
Option
    05 The following markings may be excluded from the provisions 
established in Paragraphs 1 and 2:
    A. Markings where ambient illumination assures that the markings 
are adequately visible;
    B. Markings on roadways that have an ADT of less than 6,000 
vehicles per day;
    C. Dotted extension lines that extend a longitudinal line through 
an intersection, major driveway, or interchange area (see Section 
3B.08);
    D. Curb markings;
    E. Parking space markings; and
    F. Shared-use path markings.
Support
    06 The provisions of this Section do not apply to non-longitudinal 
pavement markings including, but not limited to, the following:
    A. Transverse markings;
    B. Word, symbol, and arrow markings;
    C. Crosswalk markings; and
    D. Chevron, diagonal, and crosshatch markings.
    07 Special circumstances will periodically cause pavement marking 
retroreflectivity to be below the minimum levels. These circumstances 
include, but are not limited to, the following:
    A. Isolated locations of abnormal degradation;
    B. Periods preceding imminent resurfacing or reconstruction;
    C. Unanticipated events such as equipment breakdowns, material 
shortages, contracting problems, and other similar conditions; and
    D. Loss of retroreflectivity resulting from snow maintenance 
operations.
    When such circumstances occur, compliance with Paragraphs 1 and 2 
is still considered to be achieved if a reasonable course of action is 
taken to restore such markings in a timely manner.
Rulemaking Analyses and Notices
    All comments received before the close of business on the comment 
closing date indicated above will be considered and will be available 
for examination using the docket number appearing at the top of this 
document in the docket room at the above address. The FHWA will file 
comments received

[[Page 779]]

after the comment closing date and will consider late comments to the 
extent practicable. In addition, FHWA will also continue to file in the 
docket relevant information becoming available after the comment 
closing date, and interested persons should continue to examine the 
docket for new material.
Executive Order 12866 (Regulatory Planning and Review), Executive Order 
13563 (Improving Regulations and Regulatory Review), and DOT Regulatory 
Policies and Procedures
    The FHWA has determined that this action would be a significant 
regulatory action within the meaning of Executive Order 12866 and 
within the meaning of DOT regulatory policies and procedures because of 
the significant public interest in the MUTCD. Additionally, this action 
complies with the principles of Executive Order 13563. The FHWA has 
considered the costs and potential benefits of this rulemaking and 
believes the rulemaking is being implemented in a manner that fulfills 
our obligation under Section 406 of the Department of Transportation 
and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 1993 (Pub. L. 102-388; October 
6, 1992) and provides flexibility for agencies. The estimated national 
costs are documented in the updated economic analysis report, which is 
available as a separate document under the docket number noted in the 
title of this document at http://www.regulations.gov. The flexibility 
is documented in the new publication titled, ``Methods for Maintaining 
Pavement Marking Retroreflectivity,'' to which the MUTCD refers 
readers.
    The MUTCD already requires that pavement markings that must be 
visible at night shall be retroreflective unless ambient illumination 
assures that the markings are adequately visible and that all markings 
on Interstate highways shall be retroreflective. The proposed changes 
in the MUTCD would provide additional guidance and clarification, while 
allowing flexibility in maintaining pavement marking retroreflectivity. 
The pavement markings excluded from the proposed rulemaking are not to 
be excluded from any other MUTCD standards. The FHWA believes that the 
uniform application of traffic control devices will greatly improve the 
traffic operations efficiency and roadway safety. The standards, 
guidance, and support are also used to create uniformity and to enhance 
safety and mobility at little additional expense to public agencies or 
the motoring public.
    The economic analysis provides a national estimate of the costs to 
implement this rulemaking and to replace markings. Costs for individual 
agencies would vary based on factors such as the amount of pavement 
marking mileage subject to the standards and current pavement marking 
practices. The analysis estimates first year start-up implementation 
costs of $29.4 million for all affected State and local agencies to 
develop maintenance methods and purchase necessary equipment. In 
addition, annual measurement and management activities of $14.9 million 
nationwide are expected to determine which markings require 
replacement. In the second and following years, if agencies were to 
replace markings that do not meet the minimums despite the fact that 
there are no replacement compliance dates, there is an estimated 
increase of approximately $52.5 million per year nationally from 
current estimated pavement marking replacement expenditures. Therefore, 
this proposed 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. These changes are not anticipated 
to adversely affect, in any material way, any sector of the economy. In 
addition, these changes would not create a serious inconsistency with 
any other Federal agency's action or materially alter the budgetary 
impact of any entitlements, grants, user fees, or loan programs. It is 
anticipated that the economic impact of this rulemaking would be 
minimal; therefore, a full regulatory evaluation is not required, 
though FHWA has prepared an economic analysis, which has been placed in 
the docket. Although it is not possible to calculate the benefits 
specifically attributed to this proposal, numerous safety studies 
dating back to the 1970's clearly show that adding pavement markings to 
two lane highways reduces nighttime crashes, a result of those markings 
providing enough retroreflectivity to be visible to drivers at night. 
The limited safe speed on unmarked roads at night is a clear indication 
that there are also operational benefits of visible pavement markings 
both day and night. The FHWA believes that lives will be saved and 
injuries reduced by the improved maintenance of pavement marking 
retroreflectivity. As indicated in the economic analysis, a crash 
reduction factor is not available to estimate the safety benefits of 
maintaining pavement marking retroreflectivity. Lack of crash reduction 
factors associated specifically with retroreflectivity has limited the 
analysis to developing a range of potential benefit-cost ratios between 
1 and 60.
Regulatory Flexibility Act
    In compliance with the Regulatory Flexibility Act (Pub. L. 96-354, 
5 U.S.C. 601-612), FHWA has evaluated the effects of this proposed 
action on small entities, including small governments. This proposed 
action would apply to State and local DOTs in the execution of their 
highway programs, specifically with respect to the retroreflectivity of 
pavement markings. In addition, pavement marking improvement is 
eligible for up to 100 percent Federal-aid funding. This also applies 
to local jurisdictions and tribal governments, pursuant to 23 U.S.C. 
120(c). I hereby certify that this proposed action will not have a 
significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities.
Executive Order 13132 (Federalism)
    The FHWA analyzed this proposed amendment in accordance with the 
principles and criteria contained in Executive Order 13132, dated 
August 4, 1999, and FHWA has determined that this proposed action would 
not have a substantial direct effect or sufficient federalism 
implications on States and local governments that would limit the 
policymaking discretion of the States and local governments. Nothing in 
the MUTCD directly preempts any State law or regulation.
    The MUTCD is incorporated by reference in 23 CFR part 655, subpart 
F. These proposed amendments are in keeping with the Secretary of 
Transportation's authority under 23 U.S.C. 109(d), 315, and 402(a) to 
promulgate uniform guidelines to promote the safe and efficient use of 
the highway.
Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995
    This proposed rule would not impose unfunded mandates as defined by 
the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (Pub. L. 104-4, 109 Stat. 48, 
March 22, 1995). The economic impacts analysis shows that implementing 
these standards would likely increase current pavement marking 
replacement expenditures by approximately $52.5 million per year for 
all State and local agencies nationwide. The estimates are based upon 
the assumption that the distribution of marking materials on a national 
basis is 75 percent paint, 20 percent thermoplastic, and 5 percent 
epoxy. There would also be an estimated cost of $14.9 million in annual 
measurement and management activities nationwide to ensure compliance 
with the minimum values. In addition, in the first year, before

[[Page 780]]

annual implementation or replacement costs began, the State and local 
agencies are estimated to have nationwide start-up implementation costs 
of $29.4 million to develop maintenance methods and purchase 
measurement equipment. Finally, the compliance dates to replace 
markings that do not meet the minimum retroreflectivity have been 
eliminated. Although agencies will still need to replace these 
markings, their schedules would be based on their method for 
maintaining retroreflectivity as well as their resources and relative 
priorities. Therefore, this proposed rule would not result in the 
expenditure by State, local, and tribal governments, in the aggregate, 
or by the private sector, of $151 million or more in any one year. In 
addition, pavement marking replacement is eligible for up to 100 
percent Federal-aid funding. This applies to local jurisdictions and 
tribal governments, pursuant to 23 U.S.C. 120(c). Further, the 
definition of ``Federal Mandate'' in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act 
excludes financial assistance of the type in which State, local, or 
tribal governments have authority to adjust their participation in the 
program in accordance with changes made in the program by the Federal 
Government. The Federal-aid highway program permits this type of 
flexibility.
Executive Order 13175 (Tribal Consultation)
    The FHWA has analyzed this proposed action under Executive Order 
13175, dated November 6, 2000, and believes that it would not have 
substantial direct effects on one or more Indian tribes, would not 
impose substantial direct compliance costs on Indian tribal 
governments, and would not preempt tribal law. Therefore, a tribal 
summary impact statement is not required.
Executive Order 13211 (Energy Effects)
    The FHWA has analyzed this proposed action under Executive Order 
13211, Actions Concerning Regulations That Significantly Affect Energy 
Supply, Distribution, or Use. The FHWA has determined that this is not 
a significant energy action under that order because it 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.
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 for each collection of information they conduct, 
sponsor, or require through regulations. The FHWA has determined that 
this proposed action does not contain a collection of information 
requirement for the purposes of the PRA.
Executive Order 12988 (Civil Justice Reform)
    This proposed action meets applicable standards in Sections 3(a) 
and 3(b)(2) of Executive Order 12988, Civil Justice Reform, to minimize 
litigation, to eliminate ambiguity, and to reduce burden.
Executive Order 13045 (Protection of Children)
    The FHWA has analyzed this proposed action under Executive Order 
13045, Protection of Children from Environmental Health Risks and 
Safety Risks. This is not an economically significant action and does 
not concern an environmental risk to health or safety that might 
disproportionately affect children.
Executive Order 12630 (Taking of Private Property)
    This proposed action would not affect a taking of private property 
or otherwise have taking implications under Executive Order 12630, 
Governmental Actions and Interference with Constitutionally Protected 
Property Rights.
National Environmental Policy Act
    The agency has analyzed this proposed action for the purpose of the 
National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.) and 
has determined that it will not have any significant effect on the 
quality of the environment and is categorically excluded under 23 CFR 
771.117(c)(20).
Regulation Identifier 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 655

    Design standards, Grant programs--Transportation, Highways and 
roads, Incorporation by reference, Pavement markings, Traffic 
regulations.

    Issued in Washington, DC under authority delegated in 49 CFR 
1.85.
Gregory G. Nadeau,
Administrator, Federal Highway Administration.

    For the reasons stated in the preamble, FHWA proposes to amend 
title 23, Code of Federal Regulations, part 655, subpart F as follows:

PART 655--TRAFFIC OPERATIONS

0
1. The authority for part 655 is revised to read as follows:

    Authority: 23 U.S.C. 101(a), 104, 109(d), 114(a), 217, 315 and 
402(a); 23 CFR 1.32; and 49 CFR 1.85.

Subpart F--Traffic Control Devices on Federal-Aid and Other Streets 
and Highways [Amended]

0
2. Revise Sec.  655.601(d)(2)(i), to read as follows:


Sec.  655.601  Purpose

* * * * *
    (d) * * *
    (2) * * *
    (i) Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices for Streets and 
Highways (MUTCD), 2009 edition, including Revision No. 1 and No. 2, 
dated May 2012, and No. [number to be inserted], dated [date to be 
inserted], FHWA.
* * * * *
[FR Doc. 2016-31249 Filed 1-3-17; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 4910-22-P