Saturday, August 02, 2008

New Speed Zone Warning Signs

Last April while driving to Houston from Colorado, I noticed a new type of warning sign. These were placed along US 287 just before coming into various towns along the highway. Rather than the rectangular white signs proclaiming Speed Zone Ahead, or Reduced Speed Ahead, Texas has placed diamond-shaped yellow warning signs with a standard speed limit sign and an arrow in their place. I found these to be much more helpful than the older signs that gave no idea how much you had to slow down.

I have since learned that these signs are part of a new standard outlined in the MUTCD, or Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices published by the Federal Highway Administration of the Department of Transportation. The states have until 2018 to fully deploy the new signs.

Uniform road signage is important to safety, as drivers can readily recognize and act upon information relayed by the signs. Imagine if you were driving from state to state, and every jurisdiction has their own sign conventions and designs. It would be pretty confusing, wouldn't it? This is why the MUTCD is important.

So anyway, back to the new speed zone warning signs. I noticed them popping up on Interstate 25 in Denver. There is also this one that I took a picture of today on Park Avenue in Downtown Denver. Behind the sign is Coors Field, home park of the Colorado Rockies baseball club.

Below is an image from the MUTCD that gives specifications for these new signs. This is one innovation that actually improves upon the status quo.