School Zone Signs and Pavement Markings
School zone signs and pavement markings provide important information to drivers to improve safety within the school zone. The Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) provides national guidelines for signs and markings, and many states and local jurisdictions provide additional guidance. Some jurisdictions recommend or require school signs that are larger than the sizes of signs recommended by the MUTCD or may allow different types of pavement markings. School zone signs and markings on public streets must comply with the MUTCD as well as consider any relevant local or state guidelines that are themselves consistent with the MUTCD. Signs should be used judiciously, as overuse may lead to driver noncompliance and excessive signs may create visual clutter.
This diagram from the MUTCD shows typical placement of school advance warning signs, school speed limit signs, school crossing signs, and “end school zone” signs.
For more information on traffic calming in school zones visit the 2004 PedSafe Guide "School Zone Traffic Calming" Portland, Oregon, case study.
Treatment: Signing and Marking the School Zone
Signs and pavement markings that provide important information to drivers to improve road safety. Examples include retroreflective yellow/green school advance warning signs and SPEED LIMIT 25 MPH WHEN FLASHING signs.
Marked crosswalks help guide children to the best routes to school.
The limited empirical evidence suggests that signs and pavement markings help educate drivers and improve driving behaviors in school zones.
Costs depend on the school zone treatment selected and the intensity of application. The cost for signs generally ranges from $50 to $150 per sign plus installation costs (PEDSAFE, 2004). Pavement marking costs vary by type of paint chosen and marking design.
Keys to Success
- Schools should develop "safe routes to school" traffic control plans which include sign and marking recommendations.
- Traffic signs and pavement markings used on public streets and property must comply with the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices. See Chapter 7 of the MUTCD for traffic control used in school areas.
Key Factors to Consider
- Signs should be used judiciously, as overuse may breed driver noncompliance and excessive signs may create visual clutter.
- Pedestrian and bicyclist conflicts in School Zone.