Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices for Canada: Sixth Edition

Project Summary


In Production

Responsible Council / Committee

Safety, Design & Operations Council / Traffic Operations and Management Committee

Project Funding Partners

Transport Canada; New Brunswick Department of Transportation and Infrastructure; Manitoba Infrastructure; Alberta Transportation; Yukon Highways and Public Works; Nova Scotia Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal; Saskatchewan Highways and Infrastructure; British Columbia Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure; Prince Edward Island Transportation, Infrastructure and Energy; Newfoundland and Labrador Transportation and Works; Northwest Territories Department of Transportation; Ministry of Transportation, Ontario; City of Ottawa; Halifax Regional Municipality; Ville de Montréal; City of Calgary; City of Moncton; City of Saskatoon; City of Toronto; Ministère des Transports du Québec; City of Winnipeg; City of Burlington; City of Kelowna; City of Vancouver; Saskatchewan Highways and Infrastructure; City of Edmonton; CITE; IMSA Ontario Section and IMSA International



Expected Contract Completion

November, 2020

Staff Contact


The Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices for Canada (MUTCDC) is a flagship document for the Transportation Association of Canada and one of the most important documents for Canadian traffic engineering practitioners. It offers guidance on traffic control device types, use, and placement for a variety of road authorities and jurisdictions across the nation. The last complete rewrite of the MUTCDC was completed in 1998.  An interim fifth edition of the MUTCDC was released in 2014, addressing updates and modifications that had been recommended since 2008, but it is not considered to be a true rewrite or full update of the Manual.

As a result of not having a comprehensive update of the MUTCDC for well over 16 years, the content requires a thorough review in order to ensure it still provides authoritative guidance to Canadian traffic professionals on good practices for traffic control devices. In 2014, TAC completed a study to assess the MUTCDC and determine the work required to prepare the sixth edition of the MUTCDC so as to meet the day to day needs of the users as well as encompassing the latest research, technology and usage relating to traffic control devices.

The objective of this project is to prepare the sixth edition of the Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices for Canada.  In addition to refreshing the entire MUTCDC to ensure consistency in content, writing style and format, the project will involve specific updates for many sections of the Manual following guiding principles and fundamentals identified in the scoping study.

Introductory Material

  • Contents about standards and guidelines will be updated and enhanced
  • New sections will be added to address safety effects for road users and of traffic control devices


  • General aspects (contents will receive updates and enhancements)
  • Regulatory signs (contents will receive basic updates)
  • Warning Signs (contents will receive basic updates, development of warrants, cross-referencing to other TAC documents)
  • Guide and information signs (contents will receive updates and enhancements)
  • Freeway signs (material from this section will be re-distributed to other appropriate sections in the manual)
  • Dynamic message signs (new section will be created)
  • Pedestrian crossing control (material from this section will be re-distributed to other appropriate sections in the manual)
  • Roundabouts (material from this section will be re-distributed to other appropriate sections in the manual)

Traffic Control Signals

  • The section will require a review to determine what new devices should be included and where material could be more appropriately contained in other TAC documents.

Pavement Markings

  • This section will be updated and enhancements made, particularly with respect to typical applications and layouts as well as active transportation.

Typical Applications

  • A new section of the MUTCDC, to be created, is intended to respond to reader-demand for more examples of how devices should be applied, when they are considered as part of a system of devices.
  • Typical situations will include but not necessarily be limited to: intersections and interchanges, passing and climbing lanes, pedestrian crossings, toll and border crossings, at-grade rail crossings, horizontal curves, and school zones.

In addition to updating the MUTCDC, the accompanying Sign Pattern Manual will be updated to ensure consistency in sign design standards and advice is being offered to practitioners. While the MUTCDC contains the approved traffic control devices for Canada, and provides practitioners with guidelines for their use and placement, it is actually the Sign Pattern Manual that should be referenced when manufacturing a particular traffic sign. The Sign Pattern Manual includes a scale drawing of the sign, and specifies items such as dimensions for all elements of the sign, type of sheeting, colour specifications, font types, etc.

In keeping with its responsibility for the maintenance of the Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices for Canada (MUTCDC), the TOMSC regularly conducts projects that evaluate the design and application of signs and other traffic control devices.  An important part of the evaluation is testing the comprehension of a device, or alternative designs of a device, amongst drivers, cyclists and/or pedestrians.  The testing improves the overall value of the traffic control recommendations made by the committee.  Sign comprehension testing software will be developed as part of the project for testing of future signs.

The Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices for Canada is considered one of TAC’s flagship documents and is used to varying extents by all road agencies, designers and practitioners in Canada.  TAC members are welcome to become partners and contribute to the work that will produce the next edition of the Manual.