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Section 2: Background Information

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Purpose of Field Book

The main purposes of this field book are to:

  • provide field personnel with information that will help them to install traffic signs on conventional highways in a more effective and consistent manner,
  • increase uniformity in the placement of traffic signs on conventional highways for the benefit of the traveling public, and
  • address guide signing situations that are not covered in the Texas MUTCD or other TxDOT documents.

This field book is intended for application only on rural, conventional (non-access controlled) highways.

Although this field book illustrates the use and/or placement of traffic signs, it does not establish any warrants or standards for the selection and placement of traffic signs.

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Status of Field Book

The information in this field book is presented as guidance information for use by field personnel. This field book does not establish any standards, specifications, or regulations. This field book carries no legal authority. This field book does not replace or supersede the Texas Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices.

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Organization of the Sign Crew Field Book

The Sign Crew Field Book consists of the following chapters:

  • Chapter 1 contains information regarding the use of the field book and its relationship to other TxDOT documents.
  • Chapter 2 describes information about warning signs.
  • Chapter 3 describes the different types of guide signs.
  • Chapter 4 contains figures showing height and lateral placement for traffic signs.
  • Chapter 5 contains illustrations for sign placement on approaches to intersections.
  • Chapter 6 contains illustrations for sign placement on the departure from an intersection.
  • Chapter 7 addresses special signing situations.
  • Chapter 8 provides information on the delineation of bridges and other objects.
  • Chapter 9 provides information related to the installation of mailboxes.
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Relationship to Other TxDOT Documents

This field book presents guidance information that may support or supplement information contained in other TxDOT documents. The guidance contained in this field book does not supersede standards, recommended practices, or requirements established by other TxDOT documents.

  • Texas MUTCD - The Texas Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices establishes practices for the selection, design, placement, operation, and maintenance of traffic control devices. Many of the figures in this field book contain cross-references to the Texas MUTCD to assist the user in determining the recommended practices for the use of a traffic control device. When a figure contains a cross-reference to the Texas MUTCD, the user should refer to the indicated section of the Texas MUTCD to determine the appropriate use of the sign. The 2006 Texas MUTCD was used in the preparation of this edition of the field book.
  • Traffic Engineering Standard Sheets - The standard sheets developed by the Traffic Operations Division contain additional guidance for the design, placement, and mounting of traffic signs.
  • Standard Highway Sign Designs for Texas - The signs shown in the figures are provided for illustrative purposes only. Every effort has been extended to ensure that the appearances of the signs in these figures are accurate representations of the actual sign design. However, the Standard Highway Sign Designs for Texas should be used to determine the design and/or layout of signs.

In the case of differences in the guidance provided by various signing documents, the Texas MUTCD establishes the minimum criteria that shall, should, or may be followed as appropriate. The Sign Crew Field Book criteria should be followed to the extent possible. Compliance for a sign installation is based on the minimum criteria in the Texas MUTCD.

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Use of Signs in Figures

A large number of figures in the Sign Crew Field Book show signs or other devices at or near an intersection. These figures are intended to show the location of the sign, if the sign is used. The inclusion of a sign in a figure is not intended to indicate that the sign shall or should be used. The decision to install or not install a sign should be made on the basis of engineering judgment or an engineering study as described in the Texas MUTCD. Where appropriate, the field book indicates the section of the Texas MUTCD that relates to the use of a specific sign.

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Relationship of Intersection Illustrations to Actual Intersections

The Sign Crew Field Book contains numerous illustrations of intersections that use route signs with various highway numbers. The intersections illustrated in this field book are NOT intended to represent actual intersections in the field. Any similarities between the highway routes illustrated in the field book and actual highways and/or intersections in the field are coincidental.

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History of the Sign Crew Field Book

The original edition of the Sign Crew Field Book was the product of a TxDOT research project on rural guide signing (Project 0-1373, Evaluation of Conventional Guide Signing). The initial field book was developed by researchers with the Texas Transportation Institute working closely with TxDOT staff who provided significant input on the content. The researchers prepared a second edition as part of the same research project. This third edition was prepared as part of Project 0-4701, Traffic Control Device Evaluation and Development Program.

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Helpful Information for First Time Users

The following information in the field book may be of particular value to first time users:

  • Chapter 3, Section 3 describes how to arrange route signs in an assembly.
  • Figure 3-23 provides a flow chart to help sign crews determine the proper layout for an assembly.
  • The distances shown in the figures in Chapters 5 and 6 are from the near edge of the intersecting road.
  • A particular type of sign should always be the same distance from the intersection, even if other signs that would normally be closer to the intersection are not used.
  • Table 5-2 provides an index for the approach placement illustrations.
  • Signs on the approach should be spaced so that there is at least 325 ft between sign installations.
  • Signs on the departure should be spaced so that there is at least 325 ft between sign installations.
  • The “no sign zone” is defined as the first 200-300 ft from the intersection. Signs should not be placed in this zone unless the sign cannot be relocated beyond the no sign zone.
  • The figures in the field book show placement of a sign, if the sign is used. The fact that a sign is shown in a figure does not indicate that the sign is required to be used. In general, the Texas MUTCD section number is provided in the figure for signs that could be considered optional.
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