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USSCF Board Funds New Study on Freestanding Sign Height

Will examine sign legibility and traffic safety related to a sign’s height.




The United States Sign Council Foundation (USSCF; Bristol, PA) Board of Directors announced that it has funded a new study to investigate freestanding sign height from the perspective of sign legibility and traffic safety, to be entitled “The Effect of Mounting Height on On-Premise Sign Visibility and Traffic Safety.” The Foundation has retained Philip Garvey of Penn State Univ. to complete the research, expected in the fall 2018.

Previously, the USSCF looked at minimum freestanding sign height via a Penn State study in 2003. That research demonstrated that low-mounted signs (6 ft. tall and under) are harder for motorists to see; the view of low-mounted signs is blocked a high percentage of the time, particularly on busy roadways and four-lane roads. The study found that low-mounted signs may be inappropriate, from a traffic safety standpoint.

The 2018 USSCF new study will support the establishment of USSCF On-Premise Guideline Standards for Sign Mounting Height Standards, and answer the question: if 6 ft. is too low, then what is the appropriate height for freestanding signs in terms of sign visibility and legibility? Sign height, and more specifically on-premise freestanding sign mounting height, is a sign design characteristic that is generally viewed to fall within the power of local governments to control. Concerns have been raised when municipalities appear to treat sign mounting height as an aesthetic issue, and in turn fail to pay attention to the visibility and traffic safety implications of lower-mounted signs on busy roadways. 

The new research will provide information to sign companies, sign owners and sign regulators on recommended freestanding sign height based on science. The board of directors encourages sign professionals to make a donation to the USSC Foundation to support this and similar research.

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