Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) arrows logo

Report on Highway Guide Sign Fonts

Prepared by:
U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration
Office of Transportation Operations

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United States Department of Transportation logo.

U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration
Office of Operations
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
Washington, DC 20590

[ Joint Explanatory Statement House Report 115-237 ] | [ Executive Summary ]

Table of Contents

1.0 Introduction
2.0 Background
2.1 Introduction to Traffic Sign Lettering
2.2 MUTCD Font Standard
2.3 Clearview Font
2.3.1 Interim Approval for Use of Clearview Font for Positive Contrast Legends on Guide Signs (IA-5)
2.3.2 Termination of Interim Approval IA-5
3.0 Research on Clearview
3.1 Early research to develop Clearview
3.2 Additional research to expand Clearview following issuance of the Interim Approval
3.3 Implementation of Clearview Font under Interim Approval IA-5
3.4 Research reports brought forth after IA Termination
4.0 Safety and Cost Implications of Termination of IA-5
4.1 Safety Implications
4.2 Cost Implications
5.0 Comments submitted by affected States during the related December 13, 2016, Request for Information
6.0 FHWA's Actions based on House Report 115-237
7.0 Conclusion
7.1 Additional information regarding the Clearview fonts
7.2 Communication and outreach regarding FHWA actions
7.3 Issuing and terminating Interim Approvals
7.4 Impact of allowing alternative fonts
7.5 Future research on fonts
Appendix A. Correspondence regarding status of Interim Approval
FHWA to Grays Harbor County, Washington, April 17, 2014
ATSSA to FHWA, July 26, 2015
FHWA to ATSSA, September 16, 2015
Appendix B. News media regarding status of Interim Approval
"Clearview highway font not clear enough for Grays Harbor" April 30, 2014
Appendix C. FHWA Design and Use Policy
Appendix D. FHWA Technical Brief, January 2016
Appendix E. Request for Information following termination

List of Figures

Figure 2.1. Illustration of Standard Alphabet Letter Series.
Figure 2.2. Comparison of Standard Alphabet Series E (modified) and Clearview Series 5-W.
Figure 2.3. Examples of Guide Signs with Standard Alphabets and Clearview.
Figure 2.4. Examples of Signs in Positive-Contrast Color Orientations.
Figure 2.5. Examples of Signs in Negative-Contrast Color Orientations.
Figure 4.1. Typical Freeway Guide Sign Legends Used for Cost Analysis.

List of Tables

Table 2.1. Terminology.
Table 2.2. Standard Alphabet and Corresponding Clearview Letter Series and Contrast Orientations.
Table 2.3. Timeline and Summary of Actions Related to Clearview font.
Table 2.4. Status of States Using Clearview Under Interim Approval No. 5 at Time of Termination.
Table 3.1. Research Studies Related to Clearview Font.
Table 4.1. Incremental Costs of Sign Panels Using Clearview Letter Style.