US Cities and Communities are Permitting Artistic Rendering of Traffic Signs

While there are federal standards to observe when painting street surfaces as devices for traffic control, some cities now allow artistic renderings on roads. Apparently, the murals and the artistic street signs are changing the way motorists and pedestrians respond to their use as traffic control devices.

That being the case, the US Federal Highway Administration’s Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) for streets and highways, has been updated with supplemental rulings as guides when painting the surfaces of active streets and roads.

In California, a city, county, public governmental agency, tribal government including non-federally recognized tribe, must first coordinate with the Caltrans District Transportation Art Coordinator, before installing any road or street art in an area. Moreover, a towing company san jose private companies use to protect their property, must also have knowledge and understanding of what the artistic symbols denote in order to avoid confusion and dispute.

Artistic Road and Traffic Signs are Considered Beneficial for Communities

Throughout the years since cars were invented, authorities had to control road traffic and speeding, Studies show that in 1974, when the government imposed a national speed limit of 55-mile-per-hour, fatality rates caused by driving mishaps dropped dramatically. However, the 55 mph National Maximum Speed Limit (NMSL) did not have the same results in some states as many drivers simply ignored the NSML.

Years later, lawmakers in other states succeeded in getting the limit raised to 65 mph, until in 1985 Congress repealed the NSML law altogether. The authority to set speed limit in jurisdictions was returned to state governments.

Still, as communities across the country undertook steps to beautify their intersections with eye-catching murals, it became noticeable that drivers slowed down when approaching intersections and neighborhood with murals,

Yet the method is not foolproof as the situation made pedestrians feel some sense of false security; thinking that the artistic signs and murals are compelling enough to protect them from all kinds of drivers.

Actually, the creative signs did not start out as traffic-control devices, but as a way to highlight the goals binding the people in neighborhoods and communities. Yet as the turns of events have it, the artistic touches motorists see on roadways somehow made them aware of their surroundings when travelling from New jersey to Mississippi.

MUTCD Color Prescriptions for Traffic and Road Signs

The effects of the artistically painted asphalts and street murals are the same even in big cities like Baltimore, New York and Portland. Although the MUTCD does not have an established set of design criteria, the colors of artistically rendered signs and markings must still conform to the color schedule prescribed by MUTCD, to ensure uniformity of understanding from state to state.

Traffic signs must be easy to comprehend as vehicles found violating traffic laws and regulations can be ordered towed and impounded. Regulatory signs that motorists must heed include signs indicating directions, speed limit, parking, stopping, restriction, priority and other miscellaneous road directives.

MUTCD Prescribed Background Color for Road Signs


1. Yellow signifies a general warning. If for pavement markings, the symbols must be in the form of centerline stripes defining the opposing flow of traffic directions.

2.. Red as an order to stop or prohibit;

3. Blue indicates service guidance.

4. Green which as a “Go” traffic color means permitting movement or as a directional guidance.
5.  Brown denotes area for public recreation and scenic direction.
6.  Orange warns of maintenace and/or construction site ahead

7, vBlack or White are regulation colors. On pavements, white is the regulation color for lane markings, edge stripes and crosswalks.