Sign Retroreflectivity

Adequately maintained retroreflective signs improve highway safety and prevent roadway departure crashes by bouncing light from vehicle headlights back toward the vehicle and the driver's eyes, making the signs appear brighter and easier to see and read. Because the retroreflective properties of traffic control devices deteriorate over time, highway agencies need to actively manage the maintenance of signs in order to ensure that they are clearly visible at night.

Funding Assistance

  • Eligibility of HSIP Funds for Sign Replacement:
    This FHWA memorandum addresses the eligibility of Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP) funds for sign replacement. It was issued in February 2008. See note below.

  • Sign Retroreflectivity Update and Funding Assistance:
    Prepared by the National Association of Towns and Townships, this document provides a list of Federal aid programs that can be used to help defray some of the State and local costs related to sign retroreflectivity. See note below.

NOTE: Revisions to reflect the May 2012 final rule that changed the MUTCD compliance date requirements and funding changes that may occur due to new highway legislation (MAP-21) are not reflected in this document and should be kept in mind while viewing the document.

Return to top

Program Contact

Cathy Satterfield

What's New

Design Criteria for Adaptive Roadway Lighting, PUBLICATION NO. FHWA-HRT-14-051 JULY 2014 new

Median Barriers on Divided Highways Regardless of Access Type new

ET-Plus W-Beam Guardrail Terminal Memorandum new

FHWA Resource Charts, July 2013

FHWA Roadway Lighting Handbook, August 2012

RwD Strategic Plan, April 2013

Updated Guidance on Sign Retroreflectivity, April 2013

Clarifying Guidance on Daytime Luminance, January 2013

Guidance for the Selection , Use and Maintenance of Cable Barrier Systems, November 2012