5 Most Common General Information Road Signs
The purpose of signs is to communicate, to convey information to the reader that will enable them to make a decision based on the information they see
16:02 01 February 2020
Within that framework, the United States Department of Transportation - Federal Highway Administration (FHA) has set standards as published in the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) to ensure uniformity, visibility, and clarity in signage.
There are eight types of road signs as delineated by the MUTCD:
- School Zone
- Incident Management
General Information road signs fall under the Guide signs category, although the MUTCD manual has specific rules for them. Under the General Information subcategory, they can also include miscellaneous information signs.
Although General Information signs are much smaller and less prominent than their big brother Highway Guide signs, they are nevertheless related by color scheme and general intent, that is, to guide the traveler on to their destination.
They have their own set of requirements as well. For example, the MUTCD states that General Information signs are "not to be installed within a series of Guide signs or at other critical locations unless there are specific reasons for helping to orient the road user or identifying control points for activities that are clearly in the public interest." On all General Information signs, the designs must be "simple and dignified," contain no advertising, and they are to generally comply with other Guide signage requirements.
To be clear, Stop signs also convey information, but according to the MUTCD they belong under the "Regulatory Signs" category.
What are General Information Road Signs?
Another distinction from the overarching Guide Signs category is that General Information road signs convey information that may be of interest to the traveler but are not directly necessary for guidance.
They include such items as State lines, city limits, other political boundaries, elevations, landmarks, time zones, stream names, other items of geographical interest, and safety and transportation-related messages. Recreational and cultural interest area symbol signs are sometimes used in combination with General Information signs.
According to the MUTCD, "An information symbol sign may be used to identify a route leading to a method of transportation or a general information facility; it may also provide additional guidance to the facility. The symbol sign may be supplemented by an educational plaque where necessary; also, the name of the facility may be used if needed to distinguish between similar facilities."
General Information road signs are generally rectangular but can also be square. They are smaller than the highway guide signs but share the same coloring scheme, that is, white on a dark green background with a white border as required by MUTCD standards.
Importance of General Information Signs
People are traveling more frequently these days, requiring more guidance via signage to help them get to their destination, as well as navigate new places once they arrive. The technology in sign-making has also improved dramatically over the years, making signs much more useful as well as longer-lasting.
General Information signs are needed to help people reach their destination, wherever that may be. These types of signs instantly convey their messages primarily via pictograms. As signage is intended to help travelers who are unfamiliar with the area reach their destination, a pictogram is perfect for helping anyone, from any country or culture, and speaking any language, achieve that goal.
These signs are also extremely helpful for people within a community to locate specific services and facilities. Additionally, they help foster a sense of community by bringing people together on a local level.
5 Common General Information Signs
Airport and recycling collection center signs have more guidelines than some of the other General Information signs. Also, note that General Information signs may be displayed with an auxiliary directional arrow sign placed directly above or below it for further guidance.
Five of the most common General Information signs include:
Airport signage has additional requirements for placement, as they are often situated along major roadways.
Again from the MUTCD, "Guide signs for commercial service airports and non-carrier airports may be provided from the nearest Interstate or highway intersection directly to the airport, normally not to exceed 15 miles. The Airport symbol sign may be used in conjunction with an additional plaque to indicate the specific name of the airport. An Airport symbol sign, with or without a supplemental name plaque or the word AIRPORT, and an arrow may be used as a guide."
The location and placement of airport guide signs depend upon the available spacing on highways.
2. Train Station
Train station signs are often shown with a symbol of a train on railroad tracks to the left of a person standing on the train station platform.
Libraries are usually depicted with a stylized symbol of a person in silhouette reading a book.
4. Bus Station
Bus station signs can be depicted with a full head-on symbol of a bus.
5. Recycling Collection Center
Recycling Collection Center signs are usually in the form of a vertical rectangle, due to the addition of the verbiage, "RECYCLING COLLECTION CENTER" taking up three lines. Above these words is the triangular, three arrow universal recycling symbol. Knowing where your local recycling collection center is, and how to get there makes it easier for all of us to recycle.
We see these signs everywhere, but we may not take the time to appreciate how helpful they are. After all, they help us find our way each time we go somewhere new and unfamiliar.
Quality signage is needed, and depending on what your needs are, the requirements for producing signs that follow MUTCD protocol vary greatly. That is why you need an experienced, quality company like Worksafe Traffic Control Industries to help with your signage requirements, as well as any traffic control equipment rental needs that you may have for temporary projects. Questions? Reach out to them on their website for details.