Vital Signs: For planners and local officials who draft, debate and enforce sign ordinances
Posted on September 22, 2017

America's First 'Smart City'

The future of urban planning is apparently in Columbus, Ohio, which is planning to become America’s first “smart city.”

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Planners and developers in the Buckeye State capital are kicking off this $40-million U.S. government-funded endeavor with research on traffic safety and urban mobility – especially how they relate to public safety.

Although it appears that their initial focus will be on things like traffic congestion, reducing accidents and available parking, a key part of driving safety is also the ability of motorists to quickly and easily read signs so they can get to their destination safely.

It’s not just municipal signs that play a role, although their MUTCD-focus on proper size, optimum location, adequate contrast and brightness proves that the government knows what makes signage effective and safe. If commercial signs are allowed to abide by similar principles of signage visibility, then they can contribute to safe driving conditions as well.

Many municipalities use digital signs to provide drivers with the latest road conditions and directions, while digital signs used by businesses can also help motorists quickly identify locations and process information, especially at night. ISA’s brightness level model language can help communities solve the hot-button issue of digital sign brightness, while Texas A&M’s research on digital signs and traffic safety confirms that on-premise digital signs can be used without taking away from safe driving conditions.

In addition, an increasing number of parking garages and lots, and wayfinding systems, are turning to digital to appear more dynamic and provide more information. A good wayfinding program can help guide people through a city safely. The Urban Wayfinding Manual offers support to planners and city officials interested in developing such programs.  

The fact is that for a driver unfamiliar with an area, readable and conspicuous commercial signage clearly identifying a business is very helpful in safe wayfinding. Reasonably sized and placed business signs are part of the primary wayfinding system of every community, serving as landmarks and visual clues to help people successfully navigate through a city.

A city that is intelligent enough to use its sign ordinance to promote visible and effective business signs will be a safe and vibrant community, which should be a top priority for any “smart city.”

For assistance with the future of your community's sign ordinances, contact ISA's sign code experts for guidance at signhelp@signs.org <mailto:signhelp@signs.org>.

 

Topics: EMC, Technology, Safety

  • Night-time Brightness Level Recommendations for On-Premise Electronic Message Centers
  • Statistical Analysis of the Relationship Between On-Premise Digital Signage and Traffic Safety
  • Executive Summary: Digital Signage and Traffic Safety
  • Finding Common Ground: Answers to Common Questions about Electronic Message Centers (EMCs)
  • Differences between On-Premise and Off-Premise Signs
  • Video Examples of EMC Hold Times
  • Model Sign Code: A Framework for On-Premise Sign Regulations
  • An Evidence Based Model Sign Code
  • Signs and Federal Laws of Protection
  • Building Stronger Communities: Working Together to Create Reasonable Sign Codes
  • Urban Wayfinding Planning and Implementation Manual
  • Best Practices in Regulating Temporary Signs
  • The State of Sign Codes after Reed v. Town of Gilbert
  • The Economic Value of On-Premise Signage (1997, San Diego)
  • The Economic Value of On-Premise Signage (2012, Cincinnati)
  • Signs and the Downtown Experience
  • Executive Summary: The Economic Value of On-Premise Signage
  • Executive Summary: Signs and the Downtown Experience
ISA Planning for Sign Code SuccessTM
David Hickey, VP Advocacy

David Hickey
VP, Advocacy
david.hickey@signs.org

James Carpentier, AICP

James Carpentier, AICP
Director, State & Local Goverment
james.carpentier@signs.org

Kenny Peskin

Kenny Peskin
Director, Industry Programs
kenny.peskin@signs.org | @signcodeguy

 

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Is your community considering revising its sign code? Or are you looking for education and training for an upcoming APA meeting?

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  • Research on sign-related issues
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The International Sign Association (ISA) has helped hundreds of cities across the country develop modern, effective and enforceable sign codes.

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