NEWARK – The North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority (NJTPA) today approved a resolution allocating $2 million in federal funds to assist member counties and cities with meeting recent national guidelines for the nighttime visibility and readability of traffic signs.
In 2008, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) established higher retro-reflectivity guidelines for all regulatory, warning and guide signs in its Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD), the national standard for signs and signals on public roads. The new requirements will be phased in by 2018.
The NJTPA’s MUTCD Traffic Sign Inventory and Assessment Program is designed to assist member counties and cities in complying with these regulations. The Board voted to divide the funding up equally ($133,000 each) among each of the NJTPA’s 15 subregions: the counties of Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Hunterdon, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Passaic, Somerset, Sussex, Union and Warren; and the state’s two largest cities, Newark and Jersey City. The funding will be used to provide support in cataloguing the current sign conditions in each area and with the establishment of sign management methods to maintain them at or above the minimum compliance levels.
NJTPA Chairman Daniel P. Sullivan, a Union County Freeholder, said the Board’s action will help the region meet these new requirements. “These standards will make travel safer, particularly during darkness and for drivers with vision impairments,” Sullivan said. “However, much work will be required to bring all of northern New Jersey’s signs and signals into compliance. This measure will help us take steps toward that goal.”
Hunterdon County Freeholder Director Matt Holt, who serves as Chairman of the NJTPA’s Planning and Economic Development Committee, said the NJTPA saw a need to assist the counties and cities in meeting these mandates. “This is a good example of the NJTPA using federal transportation funding to make a positive difference on the local level,” Holt said.
For more information on the MUTCD, visit the FHWA website at www.fhwa.dot.gov.
The NJTPA is the metropolitan planning organization (MPO) for 13 northern New Jersey Counties. Under federal legislation, MPOs provide a forum where local officials, public transportation providers and state agency representatives can come together and cooperatively plan to meet the region’s current and future transportation needs. It establishes the region’s eligibility to receive federal tax dollars for transportation projects.
The NJTPA Board consists of one local elected official from each of the 13 counties in the region (Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Hunterdon, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Passaic, Somerset, Sussex, Union and Warren), and the cities of Newark and Jersey City. The Board also includes a Governor’s Representative, the Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Transportation, the Executive Directors of NJ Transit and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, and a Citizen’s Representative appointed by the Governor.