|FHWA Policy Memorandums|
One of the provisions in the Joint Explanatory Statement was to document the safety and cost implications of the decision to terminate approval of Clearview font. These implications are difficult to quantify at this point in time, however the following sections contain qualitative information.
There are no known negative safety implications related to the termination of IA-5. Although some research suggests improved legibility of signs with Clearview font, the differences in sign sheeting, letter heights, research methods, etc., make it difficult to draw a direct correlation between the use of Clearview font and improved safety on roads open to public travel. As a result, terminating the use of Clearview font did not have a negative impact on public safety. Given the widespread misapplication of Clearview, in part, due to the complexities of having two completely differing systems and criteria, the termination was expected to have a positive impact on uniformity in sign designs and performance, and, ultimately, positively impact safety through operational efficiency.
The termination did not create a mandate for the removal or installation of any sign. Existing signs with Clearview font that comply with the Interim Approval were unaffected by the termination and were allowed to remain as long as they are in serviceable condition. The termination did not amend any provisions within the MUTCD.
The 13 States using Clearview font at the time of the termination had to make provisions for discontinuing its use. As indicated in the Technical Memorandum,20 FHWA provided flexibility for States to implement the termination. States were allotted discretion in implementing the change for projects or signs that were in the process of design or fabrication, as well as for updating design manuals, standards, and other documents. Any costs associated with these changes are incidental to routine program administration. The change was communicated within agencies through departmental memorandum or directive. Eventually, design manuals and standard documents would have to be updated to reflect this change. However, these changes typically occur on a periodic cycle that then incorporates any of the departmental memoranda or directives that have been issued since the previous update of the design manual and standard documents. Therefore, these costs are incidental to the overall cost of the periodic updates. It should be emphasized that the termination of Clearview did not involve a wholesale change from one font to another because the Standard Alphabets were still required for use in the majority of signing applications, regardless of whether a State adopted Clearview for its guide signs. As stated earlier, Clearview had very limited applicability, making the sign design process actually more complex rather than simpler. There was no inherent cost in reverting to the Standard Alphabets exclusively because the States already had the associated software and other tools to design and fabricate signs using the Standard Alphabets.
Incremental costs associated with using the Clearview font are estimated in Table 4.1. The destination names on the sample signs used in this analysis are based on the most common postal address names in the United States.21 The sample sign legends represent up to the maximum amount of information recommended in the MUTCD,22 ranging between one destination with a distance message, and two destinations, a route number, and a distance message. There are no practical cost impacts associated with the termination of the Clearview Interim Approval, which results in a net cost savings.
|Incremental Cost1, 2|
|Sign Design Software||1 - 1003||Base||Base|
|Standard Alphabets Electronic Font4||1 - 1003||$0||$0|
|1 - 1003||N/A||$800 - $15,000|
|Sign Panel5||8 - 20 S.F.||Base||$200 - $1,200
You may need the Adobe® Reader® to view the PDFs on this page.
20 Technical Memorandum can be accessed at the following Web address: https://mutcd.fhwa.dot.gov/resources/interim_approval/ia5/ia5_termination.pdf. [Return to Note 20]
21 United States Postal Service. "Ten Most Common Post Office Names in 2017" can be accessed at the following Web address: https://about.usps.com/who-we-are/postal-history/post-offices-facilities.htm. [Return to Note 21]
United States Department of Transportation - Federal Highway Administration