In December of 2007 the FHWA set up a rule that imposes a minimum level of retroreflectivity for certain traffic signs. According to this rule public agencies will have until January 2012 (only a year from now!?) to implement and maintain traffic sign retroreflectivity at or above minimum levels.
So translated into English this means that cities and counties will need to do sign inventories and start updating their signs. The good news is that STP funds are eligible to fund this, and my firm Kimley-Horn has been been helping communities do just this. Sign projects are fairly simple and straightforward, and can be completed in less than a year.
What will happen if your city or county doesn’t do this inventory (trust me, I know how busy and streached most of you are)? Will the earth open up an swallow the courthouse? No, but if someone gets hurt in a traffic accident, and they get a sharp lawyer who thinks that substandard singage was part of the issue…well you can guess the rest.