MUTCD Sign Retroreflectivity Requirements

In January 2008, the second revision of the MUTCD was released. It introduces language establishing minimum retroreflectivity levels that must be maintained for traffic signs. By January 2012, all agencies must implement a sign assessment and management program. The RoadVista Model 922 is an integral component of any program to maintain minimum retroreflectivity levels. For additional information please visit FHWA or ATSSA.

MUTCD Minimum Maintained Retroreflectivity Levels Chart

The minimum maintained retroreflectivity levels shown in this table are in units of cd/lx/m2 measured at an observation angle of 0.2° and an entrance angle of -4.0°
SIGN COLOR ADDITIONAL CRITERIA Sheeting Type (ASTM D4956-04)
Beaded Sheeting Prismatic Sheeting
I II III III, IV, VI, VII, VIII, IX, X
White on Green  Overhead

White *

Green > 7

White *

Green > 15

White *

Green > 25

White > 250

Green > 25

White on Green  Ground-mounted

White *

Green > 7

White > 120

Green > 15

Black on Yellow or Black on Orange

see note (1) below

Yellow *

Orange *

Yellow > 50

Orange > 50

see note (2) below

Yellow *

Orange *

Yellow > 75

Orange > 75

White on Red see note (3) below

White > 35

Red > 7

Black on White White > 50

 

* This sheeting type should not be used for this color for this application.
(1) For text and fine symbol signs measuring at least 1200 mm (48 in) and for all sizes of bold symbol signs.
(2) For text and fine symbol signs measuring less than 1200 mm (48 in).
(3) Minimum Sign Contrast Ratio greater than or equal to 3 to 1 (white retroreflectivity divided by red retroreflectivity)

Definition of Bold Symbol Signs

Fine Symbol signs are all those not listed as Bold Symbol Signs

Bold Symbol Signs
  • W1-1,-2 Turn and Curve
  • W1-3,-4 Reverse Turn and Curve
  • W1-5 Winding Road
  • W1-6,-7 Large Arrow
  • W1-8 Chevron
  • W1-10 Intersection in Curve
  • W1-11 Hairpin Curve
  • W1-15 270 Degree Loop
  • W2-1 Cross Road
  • W2-2,-3 Side Road
  • W2-4,-5 T and Y Intersection
  • W2-6 Circular Intersection
  • W3-1 Stop Ahead
  • W3-2 Yield Ahead
  • W3-3 Signal Ahead
  • W4-1 Merge
  • W4-2 Lane Ends
  • W4-3 Added Lane
  • W4-5 Entering Roadway Merge
  • W4-6 Entering Roadway Added Lane
  • W6-1,-2 Divided Highway Begins and Ends
  • W6-3 Two-Way Traffic
  • W10-1,-2,-3,-4,-11,-12 Highway-Railroad Advance Warning
  • W11-2 Pedestrian Crossing
  • W11-3 Deer Crossing
  • W11-4 Cattle Crossing
  • W11-5 Farm Equipment
  • W11-6 Snowmobile Crossing
  • W11-7 Equestrian Crossing
  • W11-8 Fire Station
  • W11-10 Truck Crossing
  • W12-1 Double Arrow
  • W16-5p,-6p,-7p Pointing Arrow Plaques
  • W20-7a Flagger
  • W21-1a Worker
Special Cases
  • W3-1 Stop Ahead: Red retroreflectivity > 7
  • W3-2 Yield Ahead: Red retroreflectivity > 7; White retroreflectivity > 35
  • W3-3 Signal Ahead: Red retroreflectivity > 7; Green retroreflectivity > 7
  • W3-5 Speed Reduction: White retroreflectivity > 50
  • For non-diamond shaped signs such as W14-3 (No Passing Zone), W4-4 (Cross Traffic Does Not Stop) or W13-1,-2,-3,-5 (Speed Advisory Plaques), use largest sign dimension to determine proper minimum retroreflectivity level.