31 August 0 comment(s)
traffic signs

The History of Traffic Signs

Can you imagine a world without road signs? In today’s world, you can barely drive a few feet without seeing some sort of traffic or parking sign. From “yield” and “one way” signs to “right turn only” and “no bicycle” signs, our world is filled with regulatory traffic signs and parking signs that are posted to make our time on the road safer.

Believe it or not the earliest road sign can be tracked back to around 27 BC, these signs were milestones for travelers. The Romanians erected stone columns throughout the Roman Empire to show distance to Rome. By the Middle Ages (in the 1400s), mutli-directional signs at road intersections began popping up; this signs gave directions to different towns. By 1895, the Italian Touring Club devised one of the first-known road sign systems. Fifteen years later, the Congress of the International League of Touring Organizations in Paris came up with standardization for road signs, and by 1908 most traffic signs were set to the same pattern. Four pictorial symbols were agreed upon indicting “bump,” “intersection” and “grade-level crossing,” and “curve.”

In the early 1900s, sings began popping up in roads in New York and California. Cleveland soon became home to the first electric traffic sign in 1914, followed by Detroit having the first stop sign in 1915, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT).

Since 1945, most road signs have been made from sheet aluminum with adhesive plastic coatings; they are retro-reflective for both night time and low-light visibility.

In the 1960s, the United States developed its own road-signage system, which is also used by a few other countries. This American signage began adopting international symbols and signs into its system, as well. By the late 1960s, prohibition signs across Europe began using red boarders on since to equal danger/warning of hazards on the road. During this time, animal crossings were also added to signage.

In the 1980s, a new generation of traffic signs emerged: big, electronic displays which could change what they read. This system is based on RFID transponders. Remote Infrared Audible Signage (RIAS) also emerged in this decade which included talking signs for print-challenged people.

These days, our roads are decorated with red, white, green, and orange traffic, parking, and construction signs signaling to drivers what lays ahead. As the population and roads continue to change, the DOT says the road signs will continue to evolve to accommodate more traffic, higher speeds, and all kinds of weather.

Signs have certainly come a long way, and they won’t be going away any time soon! Whether you need a sign or cone or delineator for a work site, school, or roadway, check out Parking and Traffic Supply for all your traffic or parking needs. Click here to view their products. For more information, email sales@parkingandtrafficsupply.com or call 239-464-6121.

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