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What Do the Colors of Street and Traffic Signs Represent?

Monday March 25, 2019

Unbeknownst to most people, street and traffic signs are typically designed with specific colors depending on their purpose. In the United States, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) requires municipalities and developers to use signs in the correct color. While some property developers view this as a burden, it's essential to creating a safe, functional community. So, what do the different colors of street and road signs in the United States represent?

Red: Forbidden

Red signs indicate forbidden, such as stop, do not enter or no parking. They are typically used in conjunction with white letters, increasing their visibility for passing motorists. The white on red design enhances the sign's visibility to prevent drivers from entering the prohibited area.

Green: Information

Green signs indicate information, such as directions or distance to a nearby area. Like red signs, they are also used in conjunction with white letters.

Brown: Recreation

Brown signs indicate recreation, such as a national or state park, campgrounds, boating dock or historical cite. They too are used in conjunction with white letters.

White: Regulatory

White signs are used for regulatory purposes, such as the area's legal speed limit and designated parking areas. Since they are white, however, they don't use white letters. Instead, you'll typically find regulatory signs with either black or red letters.

Yellow: Warning

Yellow signs indicate warning, such as the presence of school zones in which drivers are required to use slower speeds and upcoming curves. Yellow signs are typically used in conjunction with black letters.

Orange : Traffic Control Zones

Orange signs indicate a traffic control zone. They are used to notify drivers of road construction or detours, encouraging them to slow down while also guiding them through the area under development. Orange signs are typically used in conjunction with black letters.

Purple: Restricted Lane

There are also purpose signs, which indicate a restricted driving lane. You probably won't find purple signs in neighborhoods and local residential communities. Instead, they are found alongside highways where they notify drivers of a restricted lane, such as an EZPass lane.

Black: Lane Use

Black signs indicate lane use, meaning that drivers can use the respective lane. They typically use white letters that contrast with the black background.

As you can see, street and traffic signs use a lot of different colors. While the coloring of a sign may seem insignificant, though, it plays an important role in a sign's function by helping drivers, or pedestrians, understand its meaning.


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Forsite can provide all of your signage needs for your Master Planned Community or  Residential Development. We help our customers to create a uniform, upscale appearance and increase property values by "bundling" themed packages of decorative street signage, mailboxes, post and wall mounted lighting, and wayfinding signage

You can count on the experts at Forsite to help improve the quality of your community today. Contact us today to get started by talking to one of our experienced team members at 855-537-0200.