Sign Shop

Freeway Off-Ramp Directional and Distance Signs

This sign design is recommended for state wide application.

[Ramp Mileage]

When the interstate system and other freeways were constructed in the Empire State, large distance and directional signs were installed on the interchange off-ramps, advising motorists which way they had to turn to reach their intended destination. These signs were designed much like the signage for the interchange itself, utilizing 12-inch (or larger?), mixed-case lettering in Series E Modified button copy lettering.

With the release of the 1983 NYS MUTCD this seemed to change, with sign replacement projects favoring much smaller, all capital Series D lettering for the same application. These signs were the same as those you would encounter on two-lane roads.

Unfortunately, we've since had a multitude of signs added to interchange off-ramps, including logo service signs, tourist attractions and other supplemental installations. Because of this, the signs pointing the motorist to their intended destination are now lost in the ramp clutter. With a larger portion of the motoring public reaching their later years, it is important for traffic engineers to address this issue by keeping signs easily understood, uncluttered and large enough to attract the attention warranted.

I highly recommend a return to the larger destination and distance signs on interchange off-ramps. I've seen the continued use of these signs in other states and believe NYSDOT and the Thruway Authority should follow their lead.