In the next few days, the highly anticipated sixth edition of the Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices for Canada (MUTCDC) will be available for sale through TAC’s bookstore. The new MUTCDC, as it is fondly known, shows the power of TAC member organizations working together for the benefit of all Canadians. We hope you’ve seen our messages on social media and the articles explaining why the MUTCDC matters, what’s new in this greatly expanded edition, and how it was developed.
Congratulations to a huge group of collaborators: the steering committee with almost 30 municipal, provincial, territorial and federal representatives; the diverse and deeply experienced consulting team; volunteers on TAC’s ever-supportive councils and committees; the Chief Engineers who approved the final product; and TAC staff who were there from start to finish. We’re all excited to see the MUTCDC released and benefit our communities.
So, you might be wondering, what is all the fuss about? In a nutshell, the MUTCDC guides Canadian road authorities in the consistent and harmonized use of road signs, traffic signals, pavement markings and other traffic control devices to support the safe and efficient movement of people and goods. These devices are critical to effectively informing pedestrians, cyclists and drivers about traffic regulations, roadway characteristics, potential hazards and temporary conditions. The Sixth Edition reflects up-to-the-minute research and practice, adds dozens of new traffic control devices, and includes a new section on typical applications with figures showing how signs, signals and pavement markings work together in common situations to inform and protect all road users.
Along with other TAC publications, the MUTCDC prioritizes road safety. We are pleased to note that this new edition gives greater consideration to vulnerable road users including children, seniors, cyclists, persons with disabilities, and novice and older drivers. It also provides information on key human factors principles that support the needs of all road users, drawing from international safety manuals and other TAC publications.
Finally, I will take this opportunity to highlight that TAC’s new MUTCDC should not be confused with a proposed update to the U.S. Federal Highway Administration’s MUTCD (note the lack of that final “C”), which has sparked considerable discussion south of the border. While our respective national documents have similar titles, I want to stress their different histories, regulatory contexts, development processes, and technical content. The debate over the U.S. manual simply isn’t relevant on our side of the border. The coincidental timing of the two releases complicates communications but we are doing our best on social media and elsewhere to clarify the issue. We remain firmly focused on all the good things that our MUTCDC represents.
The MUTCDC, Sixth Edition is a real and meaningful step forward. We are proud to place it in the reliable hands of Canadian transportation professionals, who can now apply it to their vital efforts in road safety, traffic management and control.
Sarah Wells, P.Eng., Ph.D.