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Personalized Street Signs: Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What are the regulations around street name signs?


At the federal level, street name signs are regulated by MUTCD Chapter 2D, specifically Section 2D.43. The section covers standards and guidance around the design of street name signs for uppercase and lowercase letter use and letter height, sign colors, borders, and retro-reflectivity, and the placement of street name signs. Recommended minimum letter heights on street name signs with respect to street or highway type, mounting, and speed limits are also provided in the chapter.

Other than this, there may be state, county, or city-specific rules or guidelines that must be followed to create compliant street name signs. You may see MUTCD-compliant street name sign samples (D3-1 and D3-1a) here.

Q. How are streets named?


Naming a street involves multiple parties starting with real estate and subdivision developers who submit the city’s name for review. The views of local engineering and public work departments are then taken into consideration. They often have the power to veto the name to avoid any possible conflicts or confusion.

Many cities have well-laid out street naming conventions and guidelines that must be followed. Proposed street names that deviate from such policies stand a high chance of being rejected. For instance, where trees are used in street names in certain parts of Philadelphia, Washington D.C., street names aim at representing all 50 states.

Q. Are personalized street name signs required to be reflective?


For personalized street name signs to be MUTCD-compliant, they must either be retroreflective or illuminated. This is important to ensure that the signs appear the same both during the day and at night by showing the same shape and similar color.

MUTCD section 2D.43 paragraph 14 also requires the use of contrasting colors on street name signs for enhanced visibility.

Q. Can custom street name signs and STOP signs be installed on the same post?


While the MUTCD requires signs to be individually installed on separate posts, it does provide certain exceptions to this rule as stated in Chapter 2A. One of these exceptions allows street name signs to be installed on the same post as a STOP or YIELD sign.

Q. Can street name signs be created in all uppercase letters?


No. The MUTCD requires the lettering for names of streets and highways on street name signs to have mixed-case lettering with the first letter in uppercase followed by lowercase letters. This is because mixed-case lettering can be easily identified and read from longer distances than all uppercase lettering when searching for a known word.

Q. Is it possible to get a highway renamed in the memory of a US veteran?


Decisions like naming a highway in memory of someone are legislative decisions made by the State or local government in cooperation with the State highway agency. Many jurisdictions have detailed criteria that must be met before a highway or street can be named after an individual. This criteria often considers factors such as the individual’s contribution to the country/state/community, service status, community consensus, road length to be renamed, costs/sponsors of signs and plaques, and more.

Please contact your local body for more accurate guidance in this regard.

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