Chapter 1: IntroductionAnchor: #i999917
Section 1: OverviewAnchor: #i999922
Scope of this Manual
This manual is a guide and reference for the handling of requests for traffic signals on the designated State Highway System, including installations financed by federal funds and installed off the numbered State Highway System.
This manual describes the steps necessary for the installation of traffic signals from project inception through construction and final disposition of records.Anchor: #i999937
Traffic Signal Policy
The State Highway and Public Transportation Commission (now known as the Texas Transportation Commission) approved TxDOT’s current policy on highway traffic signals under Commission Minute Order No. 85777 dated May 27, 1987. The current policy, as published in the Texas Administrative Code at 43 TAC, § 25.5, states that TxDOT:
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- may install, maintain, and operate traffic signals on the state highway system in unincorporated areas when requested by anyone and provided that the location or locations meet one or more of the warrants for highway traffic signals contained in the current Texas Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (TMUTCD). Anchor: #EDGHWYLO
- may install, maintain, and operate traffic signals on the state highway system in incorporated cities of less than 50,000 population (latest federal census) when requested by the city council, mayor, or city manager, and on frontage roads and at interchanges of freeways of the State Highway System within incorporated cities and provided that the location or locations meet one or more of the warrants for highway traffic signals contained in the current TMUTCD and that the city enters into an agreement setting forth the responsibilities of each party. Anchor: #JVHDMLFD
- is responsible for authorizing traffic signals to be installed at locations on the State Highway System other than freeways in incorporated cities of 50,000 or more population (latest federal census) provided that the location or locations meet one or more of the warrants for highway traffic signals contained in the current TMUTCD. (NOTE: The cost of installation, operation, and maintenance of these signals is the responsibility of the city, except that TxDOT may provide for the installation of traffic signals when the installation is financed in part with federal-aid funds and the city enters into an agreement setting forth the responsibilities of each party. (See the Negotiated Contracts Procedures Manual for details.) Anchor: #XJIJKRUV
- may install, maintain, and operate traffic signals on state highway frontage roads in all areas, provided the locations meet at least one of the TMUTCD warrants. (NOTE: The maintenance and operation of these signals may be contracted out to cities.)
The Texas Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (TMUTCD)
Section 544.001 of the Texas Transportation Code requires TxDOT to adopt a manual and specifications for a uniform system of traffic control devices for use on streets, roads, and highways within the state. The uniform system must correlate with and, so far as possible, conform to the system then current as approved by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and set forth in the National Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices for Streets and Highways (MUTCD). The Texas Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (TMUTCD) basically follows the national MUTCD, except where the national standards conflict with state law or where modifications are necessary to more closely fit Texas conditions. The Texas Transportation Commission originally adopted the 2011 TMUTCD with Minute Order No. 112903 on November 17, 2011. The Commission adopted the current version, 2011 TMUTCD, Version 2, with Minute Order No. 113938 on May 12, 2014, as referenced in 43 TAC, § 25.1. References to the TMUTCD throughout this manual refer to the 2011 TMUTCD, Revision 2.Anchor: #i999996
Using the TMUTCD
The TMUTCD is referenced throughout this manual. The TMUTCD contains the standards and basic principles governing the design and usage of traffic control devices in Texas. The provisions of the TMUTCD apply to all streets and highways in the state, including those under the jurisdiction of cities and counties. It should be the governing document on any question regarding the application of traffic control devices.
Part 4 of the TMUTCD provides detailed information and guidelines on traffic signal applications, including minimum warrants required for traffic signal installation. Readers are urged to consult the for information and topics not covered in this manual, which only provides additional information specific to TxDOT operations.
The TMUTCD can be found on TxDOT’s Traffic Safety Division web page, or linked in the previous section.Anchor: #i1000031
Traffic Signal Agreements
Agreements of various kinds are often required for traffic signal installations. For information on when traffic signal agreements are required and how they are handled, see the Negotiated Contracts Procedures Manual.Anchor: #i1000044
Traffic Signal Project Process Overview
Before proceeding to construction, a traffic signal project on the state highway system progresses through the following stages:
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- Someone, either inside or outside TxDOT, requests the signal installation. Anchor: #TXYCYLVP
- The district acknowledges the request. Anchor: #LTOYFFBQ
- The district or city conducts a traffic study to determine if the signal is warranted and justified. Anchor: #RDSMDWQN
- The district or city designs the installation.