European countries in general do not buy into the concept of a "manual of instructions" which conflates mandatory standards with optional guidance, so there is typically a set of traffic signs regulations (generally as a discrete piece of subordinate legislation) and multiple volumes of accompanying documentation which give standards for application and signface design. The regulations are always published by the government and their online availability depends on whether the government makes other regulations available online--this is highly variable, especially in Eastern Europe. The accompanying documentation is often published by separate entities and is often not free (in much the same way the AASHTO Green Book is not free).
Some typical examples: Great Britain has both the TSRGD (law) and Traffic Signs Manual (guidance) online:http://www.opsi.gov.uk/SI/si2002/20023113.htmhttp://www.dft.gov.uk/pgr/roads/tss/tsmanual/
Germany has the Strassenverkehrsordnung
(This is one of many third-party compilations--another common feature in Europe; there is, I am sure, an "official" version available in PDF from a German government website, but I want to get this posted relatively soon and it would take too long to dig up an official version.)
On the other hand, the guidance on design and use of direction signs is not
free. For example, the guidance document for direction signing on Autobahnen
is called Richtlinien für die wegweisende Beschilderung auf Autobahnen
and I think my copy (which I ordered by mail several years ago) cost something like €15.
In the case of Italy, traffic signs are part of the Nuovo codice della strada
, for which it is hard to find even an official PDF from an Italian central government website. Moreover, the details for traffic signs themselves are buried in a linked regulation (regolamento di attuazione
or "actuating regulation") which is even harder to find. There is separate guidance on direction signing design, which has to be special-ordered also. Third-party compilers put both the Codice
and its regolamento di attuazione
on CDs, but good luck finding a CD you can preview before you fork over €20 or so for it.
The position in Switzerland is somewhat similar to Germany, except the traffic signing ordinance is dead easy to download from the federal government website (you get your choice of French, German, and Italian--the link is for the French version):http://www.admin.ch/ch/f/rs/c741_21.html
Design details and guidance for application are contained in standards (normes
) published by the Schweizerischer Verband der Strassen- und Verkehrsfachleute (VSS):http://www.vss.ch
(Yes, I know the German acronym doesn't match up with the name in German--I think this is because they used to be called "Verein für schweizerischer Strassenfachleute" but kept the old acronym when they changed their name. The main difference between the old name and the current one is that Verkehr
, which is generally used for "traffic" in German but also has the more general meaning of "transport," has more prominence and emphasis. It is similar to adding a "T" for "Transportation" to change AASHO to AASHTO.)
The Nordic countries (DK, S, N, FIN) are typically very good about putting both kinds of traffic signing documentation online. I have not seen anything for Hungary or Croatia. I think I may
have seen traffic signing regulations for Slovenia, and forgot about them because they looked like garbage (but, on the other hand, I couldn't swear the regulations I saw weren't actually for Slovakia). The Czech regulations and sign drawings book are online, but I have forgotten where they are.
France follows the German model, except it is even harder to find documentation on direction sign design. There is a set of regulations from 1983 for direction signs, but this is obsolete in comparison with current signing, which I think is controlled by guidance issued by SETRA and CERTU.