The site is an online version of Dr. H. Gene Hawkins’ extensive collection of MUTCD resources. Gene joined the Kittelson LLC team earlier this year after serving as a professor in the Zachry Department of Civil Engineering at Texas A&M University and holding a joint appointment as a research engineer with the Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI). He is a nationally recognized expert in traffic control devices and the MUTCD.
“One day in the late 1980s, I was rummaging through my parents’ garage and came across a 1948 MUTCD that my father used when he was a student at the Yale Bureau of Highway Traffic in the mid-1950s. While perusing that document, I found that stop signs were yellow, highway centerlines could be white, and green guide signs did not exist. It was an eye-opening experience that led me to begin collecting old traffic engineering books.”– GENE HAWKINS, SENIOR PRINCIPAL ENGINEER
Gene went on to acquire a copy of each past edition of the national MUTCD, assemble resources on its history, and write a series of papers for the ITE Journal. Soon, his collection of MUTCD papers and presentations was so extensive that he created a page on the Texas A&M website to house them along with scans of past MUTCD editions. The site became a go-to industry resource for accessing MUTCD historical information.
When Gene made the transition to Kittelson LLC in early 2022, one of the first projects he was eager to undertake was the transfer of this knowledge to a new website platform that could be built into an industry resource over time. His vision was a site that would continue to provide valuable information about the MUTCD’s history, along with resources for the manual’s application in legal settings. Failure to follow the MUTCD by a road authority (or contractor working for a road authority) may expose the road authority or contractor to liability if a crash occurs.
Partnering with Kelly Laustsen, an associate engineer at Kittelson & Associates, Inc., Gene has expanded on the MUTCD material featured on his Texas A&M website, adding new content on how to use the MUTCD and the future of the MUTCD. The site provides information to help practitioners effectively use the MUTCD in the design, selection, placement, and operation of traffic control devices and to help attorneys understand the role of the MUTCD in tort liability cases.
Beyond his passion for traffic control and curating the website, Gene has served as the Chair of the National Uniform Traffic Control Device Committee since 2018 and is recognized throughout the nation as a leading expert and researcher in traffic control markings and signing as well as construction work zones. Gene brings his wealth of experience to the team at Kittelson LLC, where he provides expert witness services and risk management and MUTCD training, as well as at Kittelson & Associates, Inc., where he will support traffic engineering design, research, and state and federal manual development.
Gene and Kelly will continue to add to this resource over time, expanding the historical documents available and list of FAQs. The site can be viewed at mutcd.kittelson.com. If you have questions about the site, a question you’d like to have answered, or if you’d like more information about the MUTCD and potential relevance to a case, feel free to contact Gene directly at firstname.lastname@example.org!