Manual of Traffic Signs

About This Website - General Information

Introduction | Purpose of Traffic Signs | Sources of Official Information | Disclaimer and Legal Stuff


This website is a listing of the most commonly used traffic signs in the United States.

The signs are listed by type (regulatory, warning, marker, guide) and sub-type (R1, R2, etc.)

On most pages, clicking on the smaller sign images will bring up a larger GIF image of that sign.
Note: as each page is revamped and moved from the old AOL site to the new site, each sign's listing will also offer links to high-resolution PDF files of the sign image and sign design & layout, and a direct link to the relevant section of the Federal MUTCD dealing with that 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:

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 official manual for signing in the United States is the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD), published by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA).

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 is a voting member of NCUTCD.

Disclaimer and Legal Stuff

This manual is intended to be used for informational and entertainment purposes only. This manual is not intended to be a comprehensive standard or guideline for use or placement of traffic control devices.

Much of the information in this manual is taken from the MUTCD, the FHWA Standard Highway Signs book, the State of Arizona Manual of Approved Signs, and other sign references. However, this manual is not intended to be as comprehensive as either of these documents, and is not to be used as a replacement for these documents.

The basic designs of US traffic signs are in the public domain (with a few exceptions, such as the Interstate shield, which is copyrighted by AASHTO). However, the images which appear within this manual and website, with the exception of certain PDF files from FHWA's Standard Highway Signs book or ADOT's Manual of Approved Signs, are original artworks created by Richard C. Moeur and are fully protected by copyright.

Use of these sign images by non-commercial entities is permitted, but is governed by my Standard Use Agreement. Use of any text, images, or other content of this website for commercial purposes, in any form, manner, or media whatsoever, is strictly prohibited except by prior written permission. Violations will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. All rights are reserved.

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Updated 13 December 2010

Scripting: Richard C. Moeur
All text and images on this page © Richard C. Moeur. All rights reserved.
Unauthorized use of text and images is strictly prohibited. Refer to Standard Use Agreement for details.