US Federal Sign Minimum Retroreflectivity Requirements

Semi Trailer with Conspicuity Tape

The US Federal Highway Administration recently introduced new minimum reflectivity standards as well as a timetable for agencies to comply with these new regulations. The regulations call for traffic signage to meet minimum retroreflectivity levels in order to be in compliance.

The FHWA has also outlined several sign management methods so that agencies have a variety of ways to make sure their sign assets are in compliance.

In May of 2012, the timetable for compliance was revised as follows:

Assessment / Management Method June 13, 2014

  • Select and begin employing to maintain warning and regulatory sign retroreflectivity at or above established minimums.
  • The standards for minimum retroreflectivity still apply to guide signs. The compliance date for guide signs (including street name signs) have been eliminated. However, agencies are expected to add these signs to their method as resources allow.

Even though the May 2012 revision eliminates most specific compliance dates, signs identified as below the minimum established retroreflectivity levels have exhausted their useful service life and need to be replaced because they do not meet the needed function of being adequately visible at night. Schedules for replacing the signs should be based on resources and relative priorities. Prioritized replacement is expected to be based on engineering considerations, similar to other traffic control devices.