|Introduction||Purpose of Traffic Signs||Sources of Official Information|
This website is a listing of the most commonly used traffic signs in the United States.
On each page, links are provided for the following viewable and downloadble resources:
- Large high-resolution bitmap images in .gif format, depicting variations in sign layout and color
- Scalable images in PDF format, often with multiple pages depicting variations in sign layout and color
- Sign design layouts in PDF format (provided by Federal Highway Administration from the Standard Highway Signs and Markings book).
- Links to the relevant sections of the MUTCD defining the appropriate use of each sign.
Purpose of Traffic Signs
Traffic signs are devices placed along, beside, or above a highway, roadway, pathway, or other route to guide, warn, and regulate the flow of traffic, including motor vehicles, bicycles, pedestrians, equestrians, and other travelers.
Signs, like any other traffic control devices, must meet five fundamental requirements:
- Fulfill a need
- Command attention
- Convey a clear, simple meaning
- Command respect from road users
- Give adequate time for proper response
Signs should be placed only where warranted by facts and engineering studies. Signs that are unwarranted or ineffective may distract road users from more important traffic control devices, may breed disrespect for all signs in the area, and are often a waste of valuable public agency and taxpayers' resources.
Signs should be placed as necessary for safety and proper regulation of traffic. However, the use of too many signs in a given location may reduce the effectiveness of all the signs at that location.
Sources of Official Information
The MUTCD is a national standard, intended to ensure that signing is consistent throughout the US. Each state has adopted either the Federal MUTCD "as is", the Federal MUTCD modified with a state supplement, or a state-specific traffic control device manual which governs traffic control devices for that particular state. Please contact your state Department of Transportation or local highway, public works, or traffic engineering department to find out which laws and regulations apply to signing and traffic control devices in your state or municipality.
The MUTCD is developed and modified by FHWA through the Federal Register rulemaking process. As a part of this process, the National Committee on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (NCUTCD), a private non-profit organization, submits suggestions and recommendations to FHWA for consideration for inclusion in the MUTCD. The NCUTCD and its technical committees are comprised of experts who are involved in the daily operation of highways or streets. The author of this webpage has served as a voting member of NCUTCD.