Signing:

Signs can provide important information that can improve road safety. By letting people know what to expect, there is a greater chance that they will react and behave appropriately. For example, giving motorists advance warning of an upcoming pedestrian crossing or that they are entering a traffic-calmed area will alert them to modify their speed. Sign use and movement should be done judiciously, as overuse breeds noncompliance and disrespect. Too many signs may also create visual clutter and signs can get lost.

Regulatory signs, such as STOP, YIELD, or turn restrictions require certain driver actions and can be enforced. Warning signs can provide helpful information, especially to motorists and pedestrians unfamiliar with an area. Some examples of signs that affect pedestrians include pedestrian warning signs, motorist warning signs, NO TURN ON RED signs, and guide signs.

Advance pedestrian warning signs should be used where pedestrian crossings may not be expected by motorists, especially if there are many motorists who are unfamiliar with the area. A new fluorescent yellow/green color is approved for pedestrian, bicycle, and school warning signs (Section 2A.11 of the MUTCD).1 This bright color attracts the attention of drivers because it is unique.

All signs should be periodically checked to make sure that they are in good condition, free from graffiti, reflective at night, and continue to serve a purpose. In unusual cases, signs may be used to prohibit pedestrian crossings at an undesirable location and re-route them to a safer crossing location, or warn pedestrians of unexpected driver maneuvers. It is preferable to create safe crossings where there are clear pedestrian destinations. If unexpected driving maneuvers occur at what is an otherwise legal pedestrian crossing, an evaluation should be done to find ways to remedy or prevent the unsafe motorist maneuvers.



  Purpose
• Provide regulation, warning, or information to road users as to what to expect and how to behave.
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  Considerations
• Overuse of signs breeds noncompliance and disrespect. Too many signs can lead to visual clutter with the result that a driver is not likely to read or pay attention to any of the signs.
• Traffic signs used on public property must comply with the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD).
• Signs should be checked to assure adequate nighttime reflectivity.
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  Estimated Cost
$50 to $150 per sign plus installation costs.
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  Case Studies
Berkeley, CA 
Allegheny County, PA 
Clemson, SC 
Albany, NY 
Beverly Hills, CA 
Cupertino, CA 
Multiple Cities, NY 
Bellevue, WA 
Baltimore/Washington International Airport, Maryland 
Portland, OR 
Rochester, NY 
Arlington County, VA 
New York City, NY 
Orlando, FL 
Halifax, Nova Scotia 
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Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD)


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U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration