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Road crews and public safety officials use many kinds of traffic panels in today’s world. Some of the major types include:

  1. Hazard markers: These are used for marking road hazards like low-water crossings, roadway obstructions, low or crumbling shoulders, bridge and guard rail approaches, and anything that might compromise motorists’ safety.
  2. Object markers: These are used to notify drivers they are approaching raised curbs, islands, or other types of permanent obstructions.
  3. K-markers: These serve much the same purpose as object markers.  They alert motorists to the presence of pedestrian refuge islands, crosswalks, raised curbs, or anything that calls for the presence of a type two marker.
  4. Sergeant stripes: These are used to direct drivers around either side of a roadway obstruction.  They’re especially useful for marking impact attenuators or the perimeters of islands.
  5. Vertical panels: These are used to channelize traffic away from road workers or other obstructions, divide opposing lanes, mark lane closures or replace barricades in areas with limited space.  They’re especially useful for alerting motorists to the presence of road alignment or lane shift changes.
  6. Chevron panels: These traffic panels alert drivers to the presence of sharp curves and other changes in road conditions.
  7. Opposing traffic lane dividers: These are used to mark sections of road with temporary opposing lanes.  For example, a four-lane highway may be transformed into two-way lanes for a limited time to give crews the chance to complete road repairs.
  8. Temporary stop signs: These are used during emergency situations like widespread power outages, toxic chemical spills, natural disasters, and other crisis conditions.  They can also be used during road construction, or at intersections that are being tested for a potential traffic light. These traffic panels are easy to install and transport, making them especially useful during rapidly changing conditions.
  9. Portable work sign stands: These special-purpose traffic panels are used to protect road crews from careless, impaired, or inattentive motorists.


Traffic panels serve a vital role in today’s rapidly changing infrastructure environment. Their importance will only increase in years to come.

State and federal building codes give stringent directions for installing handicap parking sign spaces and posts. Fortunately, these are straightforward and easy to follow. The following is a breakdown of the major rules.

NOTE: this is a high-level introduction to the topic. For specific rules in your locality, contact your state or city highway or building department.

Space Size: A handicap parking space should be a minimum of 96 inches wide, with an adjacent aisle of 60 to 96 inches.

Space Slope: A handicap parking space should have a slope no steeper than 1:48.

Signage Logo: A sign displaying the international symbol of accessibility should mark each spot. Crews should install the signs at a height of between 60 and 84 inches.

Exceptions to the Rules

In most locations, spaces used exclusively for delivery vehicles, buses, commercial trucks, vehicle-in-tow lots, or law enforcement are exempt from handicap parking sign post regulations.

Number of Handicap Parking Spots

The following is the minimum number of handicap spaces required for parking lots.  This guide is based on the number of spaces within a given lot:

  • Lots with 1 to 25 spaces: at least one space for handicapped drivers.
  • Lots with 26 to 50 spaces: at least two spaces.
  • Lots with 51 to 75 spaces: at least three spaces.
  • Lots with 75 to 100 spaces: at least four spaces.
  • Lots with 101 to 250 spaces: at least five spaces.
  • Lots with from 151 to 200 spaces: at least six spaces.
  • Lots with 201 to 300 spaces: at least seven spaces.
  • Lots with 301 to 400 spaces: at least eight spaces.
  • Lots with 401 to 500 spaces: at least nine spaces.
  • Lots with 501 to 1000 spaces should set aside at least 2% of the total number of spaces for handicapped drivers.
  • Lots with more than 1000 spaces should have a minimum of 20 set aside for handicapped drivers, with an additional space for every 100 above 1000; for example, a lot with 1100 spaces should have at least 21 reserved for the handicapped.

In all cases, at least one in every eight handicap parking spaces must be van accessible.

Space Location

Installers should place handicap parking spaces so that they offer the shortest possible route from the spot to a building entrance. In cases where a single lot serves multiple facilities, installers may place handicap parking spaces in multiple locations, as long as each space follows the shortest possible route to an accessible building entrance.

Access Aisles

Installers should place striped access aisles next to each handicap spot. They should make these aisles a minimum of 60 inches in width. The only exception to this rule is when a handicap spot is set aside for van parking. In such cases they should make the access aisle at least 96 inches in width. When possible, the crew should mark the aisle with a no parking sign.

Installing Handicap Parking Sign Posts

Holes for signposts should be between 3 and 8 inches below grade, with a minimum width of 9 inches to allow for an ample amount of anchoring concrete. Handicap parking signs are typically mounted on standard steel pipes filled with concrete. However, Impact Recovery System’s, Inc.® Sta-Rite Sign posts and Impactable Handicap Parking Sign Posts are ADA-compliant, and are designed to withstand bumper hits without damage to the post or the vehicle.


Various state and local laws provide stiff penalties for unauthorized use of spaces with a handicap parking sign. Punishments range from fines to loss of driving privileges for a limited period of time.

Chevron panels are a type of traffic marking system, one that has been used for over a century to warn drivers about impending hazards.  The MUTCD specifies a wide array of signage designs for use across the United States.  While they vary in their exact details, they are united by common features that enable them to fulfill their purpose. 

These include:

Visibility.  Chevron panels and other traffic markers should be conspicuous to drivers of all age groups and at a sufficient distance to allow them to react to the message conveyed.  In general, contrasting color choices and bright tones serve this purpose best, which is why chevron panels typically have a black-and-yellow layout.

Singular functionality.  To fulfill their purpose, each type of traffic sign must be distinct from all other types.  Otherwise, the driver may be unsure about the information being communicated.  To accomplish this, designers make signage in different shapes and with varying logos, text colors, sizes, etc.

Frequency.  A sign that drivers almost never see is unlikely to be remembered, which is why the MUTCD allows only a limited number of designs.  The idea is for chevron panels and other traffic markers to remain familiar to the driver’s mind without being so commonplace that they lose their impact.

Standardization.  Traffic markers must be simple enough in design for manufacturers to replicate them with ease.  This is one reason why logos are preferable to text when it comes to traffic signs.  A graphic image contains no letters that can be misread by approaching drivers.  In a few cases, limited use of text is allowed, as in the ever-familiar stop sign.

Chevron panels are effective because they conform to the above guidelines.  Understanding the principles that guide sign design and selection can help public safety officials, highway engineers, and others to appreciate the care and time that goes into creating all types of traffic markers.