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Section 3: Arrangement of Components

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Introduction (Texas MUTCD, Section 2D.27)

Conventional guide sign assemblies are created by combining the various components described in the previous section. These components are used in a particular manner and arrangement to ensure uniformity for the driver. This section concentrates on illustrating how guide signs, particularly route signs, are to be arranged in different assemblies so that different classes of highways and/or directions of travel are consistent.

The following terminology is used in describing the arrangement of guide sign components:

  • Component: The individual signs that are attached to a post or sign.
  • Unit: A collection of components that present the information related to travel on a specific highway. A unit consists of a route sign and the auxiliary signs (if used) above and below the route sign. The typical unit consists of (from top to bottom): a cardinal direction sign, a route sign, and a directional arrow sign.
  • Assembly: A collection of units that present information related to travel on all highways at or near a specific intersection.
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Guide Sign Units

The first step in arranging guide sign components is to identify the individual units that must be presented at a given location. This is accomplished by identifying the route signs applicable to a given location and selecting the signs that should be used above and below the route sign. Signs with the same information (such as the same cardinal direction or arrow) should also be identified so that they might be combined within the assembly. Table 3-2 identifies the components that can be used in the upper and lower positions of a unit. Figure 3-15 provides examples of guide sign units.

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Arrangement Hierarchy

Once the units have been identified, hierarchal relationships are used to determine the position of the units within the assembly. The following steps are used to determine placement:

  • Select arrangement pattern: horizontal, vertical, or combination of both.
  • Identify units by direction.
  • Identify highway class within a given direction.
  • Identify highway number within a given class.
Table 3-2: Components of a Guide Sign Unit

Position

Possible Components

Upper

Cardinal Direction, Junction, Business, To, Alternate, End, Truck, By-Pass, Temporary

Middle

Route Sign

Lower

Directional Arrow, Advance Turn Arrow, Lane Use



Examples of a Guide Sign Unit (click in image to see full-size image)

Figure 3-15. Examples of a Guide Sign Unit

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Arrangement Pattern

Guide sign units may be arranged so that all units are side-by-side (horizontal), top-to-bottom (vertical), or a combination of both. Table 3-3 illustrates some of the combinations of arrangements that can be found when up to three units are displayed in an assembly and there is one direction of travel for each unit.

  • Horizontal Arrangement - In a horizontal arrangement, all units are side-by-side. The horizontal arrangement is the best arrangement from a driver information standpoint, as the units are arranged in a manner that relates to the directions that a driver must turn (that is, a unit requiring a left turn is on the left side). Figure 3-16 provides examples of horizontal guide sign unit arrangements.
  • Vertical Arrangement - In a vertical arrangement, all units are top-to-bottom. Vertical arrangements may be used when the available width for an assembly is restricted. When units are arranged vertically, additional space should be provided between units to help the driver distinguish between directions (see Layout Dimensions for Assemblies, page 3-23). Figure 3-17 provides examples of vertical guide sign unit arrangements.
  • Combination of Horizontal and Vertical Arrangements - When there are three or more units, the assembly may be arranged in a manner that includes both side-by-side and top-to-bottom arrangements. To the extent possible, units should be arranged horizontally by direction. Units that share a common direction should be arranged vertically. In some cases, it may be necessary to include multiple directions in a single vertical stack. Figure 3-18 illustrates different possibilities for combination arrangements involving 3 or 4 units.
Table 3-3: Arrangement of Units by Direction within an Assembly

Number of Units Displayed

Arrangement of Units

Horizontal

Vertical

Combination

1

 (click in image to see full-size image)

Not Applicable

Not Applicable

2

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Not Applicable

3

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Not Recommended

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Horizontal Arrangement (click in image to see full-size image)

Figure 3-16. Horizontal Arrangement

Vertical Arrangement (click in image to see full-size image)

Figure 3-17. Vertical Arrangement

Combination Arrangement (click in image to see full-size image)

Figure 3-18. Combination Arrangement

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Arrangement by Direction

The initial grouping of units is by direction. This requirement applies regardless of class of highway or route number. Highway routes with a common direction may be combined with a single directional arrow sign.

  • Directional Hierarchy for Horizontal Arrangement (left to right): Left, Through, Right.
  • Directional Hierarchy for Vertical Arrangement (top to bottom): Through, Left, Right.
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Arrangement by Class of Highway

Within a given direction, route signs are arranged by highway classification. The higher class highway should be at the top or left. The following list indicates the hierarchy of highway classes, from the highest to the lowest.

  • Interstate and Toll Interstate
  • U.S. Highway and Toll U.S. Highway
  • U.S. Highway Alternate
  • U.S. Highway Spur
  • OSR, NASA, State Highway, and Toll State Highway
  • State Highway Alternate
  • Loop, Beltway, or Spur
  • Business Interstate Loop or Business Interstate Spur
  • U.S. Highway Business
  • State Highway Business or Farm (or Ranch) to Market Road Business
  • Farm to Market Road or Ranch to Market Road
  • Ranch Road
  • Park Road
  • Recreational Road
  • Recreational Road Spur
  • Farm to Market Road Spur or Ranch to Market Road Spur
  • Ranch Road Spur
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Arrangement by Highway Number

Within a direction and highway class, route signs are arranged by number. Lower numbers should be at the top or left.

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Examples of Assembly Arrangements

Figures 3-19, 3-20, and 3-21 illustrate arrangements of route sign assemblies for intersections with 2, 3, and 4 route signs, respectively.

Route Sign Assembly for Intersection with Two Route Signs (click in image to see full-size image)

Figure 3-19. Route Sign Assembly for Intersection with Two Route Signs

Route Sign Assembly for Intersection with Three Route Signs (click in image to see full-size image)

Figure 3-20. Route Sign Assembly for Intersection with Three Route Signs

Route Sign Assembly for Intersection with Four Route Signs (click in image to see full-size image)

Figure 3-21. Route Sign Assembly for Intersection with Four Route Signs

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Layout Dimensions for Assemblies

The following dimensions should be used for the layout of the individual components and units in an assembly. These dimensions are illustrated in Figure 3-22.

  • The space between the individual components of a unit should be approximately 1 inch.
  • There should be approximately 4 inches between individual units arranged vertically in an assembly.

Layout Dimensions for Assemblies (click in image to see full-size image)

Figure 3-22. Layout Dimensions for Assemblies

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Route Sign Assembly Layout Flow Chart

The flow chart provided in Figure 3-23, and the components of the chart in Figures 3-24 to 3-27, combines the previously described criteria for route sign arrangement and allows for a simple determination of how the route sign assembly may be arranged. The flow chart uses the features of the intersection approach as criteria for arranging the route sign assembly. These intersection approach features include number of directions, number of highway classes, number of route signs per highway class, and number of cardinal direction signs to be shown in the assembly.

Route Sign Assembly Layout Master Flow Chart (click in image to see full-size image)

Figure 3-23. Route Sign Assembly Layout Master Flow Chart

Route Sign Assembly Layout - Highway with One Direction (click in image to see full-size image)

Figure 3-24. Route Sign Assembly Layout - Highway with One Direction

Route Sign Assembly Layout - Highway with Two Directions (click in image to see full-size image)

Figure 3-25. Route Sign Assembly Layout - Highway with Two Directions

Route Sign Assembly Layout - Highway with Three Directions,
Part 1 (click in image to see full-size image)

Figure 3-26. Route Sign Assembly Layout - Highway with Three Directions, Part 1

Route Sign Assembly Layout - Highway with Three Directions,
Part 2 (click in image to see full-size image)

Figure 3-27. Route Sign Assembly Layout - Highway with Three Directions, Part 2

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