Texas A&M Study Shows No Correlation Between EMCs and Traffic Accidents

In 2012, Texas A&M University’s Texas Transportation Institute conducted a study to see if electronic message centers (EMCs) cause traffic accidents. Research included data from the Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA) own Highway Safety Information System (HSIS), a comprehensive database of traffic-accident records from several states. Researchers identified 135 cites in which EMCs had recently been […]

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What Does “Conspicuity” Mean for Signage?

Conspicuity for signage is determined by the contrast between the sign and its background. A sign must be conspicuous first, because, without it, the sign’s legibility and readability are moot points. While the appropriate size for signs is addressed on this website under the heading “How big should a sign’s letters be?”, conspicuity includes factors […]

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How Big Should a Sign’s Letters Be?

Signs need to be legible and readable, for both pedestrians and motorists. But the safety consideration becomes paramount for the latter. Consequently, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) sets minimum standards for the letters that appear on the interstate signs that say “Cincinnati” and “Second St.” and “Next Exit.” These standards are outlined in the FHWA-produced […]

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Do Electronic Message Centers Cause Traffic Accidents?

Subjective statements often suggest that electronic message centers (EMCs) cause traffic accidents because they are distracting. Yet, does any empirical evidence document this theory? No. In 1980, the Federal Highway Administration published its “Safety and Environmental Design Considerations in the Use of Commercial Electronic Variable-Message Signs” study, which was hugely inconclusive. It conducted the study […]

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Street Graphics Continuing Tragedy

The revision’s major purpose is skirting First Amendment rights. The following article originally appeared in the January 24, 2005 issue of Signs of the Times magazine. By now, you may be sick of reading about the American Planning Assn.’s (APA) third version of Street Graphics. This will be the third consecutive month with coverage (the […]

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Penn State/USSC Legibility Study Helps Signshop Earn Variance

Practical application of USSC’s Penn State study helped Mercer Signs obtain variances The following article originally appeared in the July 1999 issue of Signs of the Times magazine. By Wade Swormstedt Nearly four years ago, the United States Sign Council (USSC) embarked on an ambitious study with the Penn State Transportation Institute. Signs of different […]

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When Your On-Premise Sign is Only Visible from One Direction

The following article originally appeared in the April 1992 issue of Signs of the Times magazine. By Bill Collins A landmark argument, carefully crafted to show signage’s benefit to a community, has successfully been made in its first attempt. Not only will Germantown, TN, allow Pier 1 Imports to erect a second sign that’s visible […]

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Sign Codes and the Need for Advocacy

The following article originally appeared in the September 1983 issue of Signs of the Times magazine. By R. James Claus (Part one of a speech given at the Eight-Sheet Outdoor convention in San Francisco.) Introduction The future of the eight-sheet industry has been, and will continue to be, shaped by the development of sign codes. […]

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Some Policy Considerations For Sign Legislation

Signs and Their Functions By Dr. R. James Claus This article originally appeared in the August 1973 issue of Signs of the Times magazine. It’s appropriate to offer some elementary information about signs and to define some of the more common terms to be found in the literature on signage. Because controversies over banning billboards, for […]

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