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Author Topic: "Highway Gothic" outside the US and Canada - what other countries use it?  (Read 1397 times)

KCRoadFan

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Looking on Street View at some freeways in Spain in advance of a trip to that country in March 2023, I have noticed that several of the signs there, such as this set along the A-4 freeway in the south suburbs of Madrid, have the same FHWA "Highway Gothic" font that is commonly used in the US and Canada. Around the world, what other countries have you been to or seen that use that font on their signs? I know that Australia and New Zealand use Highway Gothic as well, and as far as European countries go, I believe the Netherlands also has signs with that font - aside from those, where else have you seen Highway Gothic? I'd be interested to know.
« Last Edit: November 28, 2022, 10:55:22 AM by KCRoadFan »
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Chris

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Re: "Highway Gothic" outside the US and Canada - what other countries use it?
« Reply #1 on: November 24, 2022, 01:22:07 PM »

Spain used Highway Gothic for its freeways and toll roads (autovía & autopista), but they are in the process of switching over to a Transport-derived front, to match what they use on secondary roads.

Taiwan, Thailand and Indonesia also use Highway Gothic.


Taiwan: National Freeway Route 3 | 國道三號 by James Lin, on Flickr




Gresik - Surabaya Toll Road, East Java - Indonesia / Jalan Toll Gresik - Surabaya by ananto hermawan, on Flickr

Henry

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Re: "Highway Gothic" outside the US and Canada - what other countries use it?
« Reply #2 on: November 25, 2022, 08:43:44 PM »

I believe that Mexico also uses FHWA on its signs as well.
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Re: "Highway Gothic" outside the US and Canada - what other countries use it?
« Reply #3 on: November 27, 2022, 11:51:11 AM »

Netherlands and Germany uses Highway Gothic in some of the videos I seen on Motorways and Autobahns.
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Scott5114

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Re: "Highway Gothic" outside the US and Canada - what other countries use it?
« Reply #4 on: November 27, 2022, 01:16:15 PM »

I believe that Mexico also uses FHWA on its signs as well.

Not quite—the letterforms are somewhat similar to FHWA Series, but it has enough differences that I would feel like I was faking it if I used FHWA Series to draw a Mexican sign.

Netherlands and Germany uses Highway Gothic in some of the videos I seen on Motorways and Autobahns.

Germany uses DIN 1451, not Highway Gothic.
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J N Winkler

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Re: "Highway Gothic" outside the US and Canada - what other countries use it?
« Reply #5 on: November 27, 2022, 06:37:10 PM »

The Wikipedia article on the FHWA series lists countries other than the US and Canada that either use them directly or use typefaces closely patterned after them.  The typeface on newer Spanish signs that looks like Series E Modified is actually Autopista and is not a 100% match (compare a, g, b, and d)--both it and Carretera Convencional (the Transport-like typeface) were introduced in 1992.  Previously, Spain used the old French L1, L2, and L3 typefaces on non-motorways and straight Series E Modified on autopistas and autovías.

China also uses the FHWA series for legend that appears in Latin characters, but frequently compresses letters horizontally.
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Re: "Highway Gothic" outside the US and Canada - what other countries use it?
« Reply #7 on: November 29, 2022, 02:21:08 PM »


I believe that Mexico also uses FHWA on its signs as well.

Not quite—the letterforms are somewhat similar to FHWA Series, but it has enough differences that I would feel like I was faking it if I used FHWA Series to draw a Mexican sign.

(Large .pdf warning)

https://www.sct.gob.mx/fileadmin/DireccionesGrales/DGST/Manuales/NUEVO-SENALAMIENTO/manualSenalamientoVialDispositivosSeguridad.pdf

See pages 633-671 of the document.

If you want full detailed glyphs for all series in uppercase, then see the 1986 version (also a large .pdf), beginning on page 425 of the document (page number 427).
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Re: "Highway Gothic" outside the US and Canada - what other countries use it?
« Reply #8 on: December 01, 2022, 12:05:48 PM »

Looking on GSV, I see that New Zealand and the Philippines both use the Highway Gothic font on their freeway signs, and the signage looks nearly identical to US freeway signage.  And of course, Canada uses highway Gothic as well.
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Re: "Highway Gothic" outside the US and Canada - what other countries use it?
« Reply #9 on: December 05, 2022, 06:27:17 PM »



I believe that Mexico also uses FHWA on its signs as well.

Not quite—the letterforms are somewhat similar to FHWA Series, but it has enough differences that I would feel like I was faking it if I used FHWA Series to draw a Mexican sign.

(Large .pdf warning)

https://www.sct.gob.mx/fileadmin/DireccionesGrales/DGST/Manuales/NUEVO-SENALAMIENTO/manualSenalamientoVialDispositivosSeguridad.pdf

See pages 633-671 of the document.

If you want full detailed glyphs for all series in uppercase, then see the 1986 version (also a large .pdf), beginning on page 425 of the document (page number 427).

Things I notice (I'm no font expert):

When it comes to letter width, Mexican Serie 3 is somewhere between FHWA Series C and Series D.

C — FHWA has the open ends cut off on the horizontal, SCT has the open ends cut off on the diagonal.
G — As with C, horizontal versus diagonal cutoff on the open end.
M — FHWA has the middle point reach the baseline, SCT does not.
R — FHWA has the loop take up slightly less than half the letter height, SCT does not.
S — As with S, horizontal versus diagonal cutoff for top-right end (both cut off the bottom-left end on the horizontal).
W — FHWA has three equally sized in-between triangles, SCT has a larger middle-bottom one.

2 — FHWA rounds off the top and cuts off the end on the horizontal, SCT does neither.
3 — FHWA cuts off the bottom-left end on the horizontal, SCT cuts off both ends on the diagonal.

$ — FHWA does not carry the vertical line through the S portion, SCT does.
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J N Winkler

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Re: "Highway Gothic" outside the US and Canada - what other countries use it?
« Reply #10 on: December 05, 2022, 07:19:12 PM »

Also, none of the SCT alphabets has a spade-shaped 5, unlike FHWA Series D.
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Re: "Highway Gothic" outside the US and Canada - what other countries use it?
« Reply #11 on: December 05, 2022, 08:42:38 PM »

I'm surprised y'all missed the single-story lowercase a. (Does mixed-case text ever actually appear on Mexican signage, other than the word "Cuota"?)
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J N Winkler

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Re: "Highway Gothic" outside the US and Canada - what other countries use it?
« Reply #12 on: December 05, 2022, 09:03:59 PM »

I'm surprised y'all missed the single-story lowercase a. (Does mixed-case text ever actually appear on Mexican signage, other than the word "Cuota"?)

Judging from StreetView, the Mexicans may be going through their own (messy) transition to mixed-case on guide signs.
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Scott5114

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Re: "Highway Gothic" outside the US and Canada - what other countries use it?
« Reply #13 on: December 05, 2022, 09:11:29 PM »

I'm surprised y'all missed the single-story lowercase a. (Does mixed-case text ever actually appear on Mexican signage, other than the word "Cuota"?)

Judging from StreetView, the Mexicans may be going through their own (messy) transition to mixed-case on guide signs.

Messy is right! Here's one from that same intersection where the SCT lowercase a and what looks like FHWA are both mixed on the same panel.
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Re: "Highway Gothic" outside the US and Canada - what other countries use it?
« Reply #14 on: December 06, 2022, 09:50:47 AM »

I'm surprised y'all missed the single-story lowercase a. (Does mixed-case text ever actually appear on Mexican signage, other than the word "Cuota"?)

I was only looking at uppercase yesterday.

(Does mixed-case text ever actually appear on Mexican signage, other than the word "Cuota"?)

Yes, but it's nowhere near universal.  They're definitely still installing all-caps signage.  I've mainly seen mixed case on urban signage, not rural—and not necessarily in the SCT font, either.  This last point is clearly evidenced by the fact that most cases of "Cuota" I've seen with my own eyes (IRL) have either been all-caps or use a two-story a.  In fact, I just thumbed through GSV imagery for a dozen cuota/libre splits I've personally driven through, checked multiple sign panels at each of them, and I only found two instances of a single-story lowercase a.
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Re: "Highway Gothic" outside the US and Canada - what other countries use it?
« Reply #15 on: December 08, 2022, 11:59:01 PM »

I saw a few very old signs that were in Highway Gothic when I was in South Africa earlier this year, but didn’t get any photos. They were well off the main roads.
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Re: "Highway Gothic" outside the US and Canada - what other countries use it?
« Reply #16 on: January 03, 2023, 09:17:30 AM »

Being responsible for the directyional signage on Dutch freeways, I can confirm that the Dutch font is derived from the American Highway Gothic. That already happened during the 1960s.
The RWS-font still in use is a metric modification of the BPR Highway Gothic/FHWA Interstate font.

RWS-Ee ~~ FHWA Series E(M)
RWS-Dd ~~ FHWA Series D(M)
RWS-Cc ~~ FHWA Series C

Aside those the fonts RWS-Eex, Ddx and Ccx exist, for use as dark characters on a light (white/yellow) background.



 
All 3 above in RWS-Ee


In RWS-Ee, except for "Amsterdam-Zuidoost", which is in RWS-Dd


"Noord" in RWS-Ddx, rest is in Eex


RWS-Cc

Since 2011 the arrows on new signs are pointing upwards, just like in Germany.
Before that, the arrows were pointing downwards, which had an even more "American look":
« Last Edit: January 03, 2023, 09:47:46 AM by aswnl »
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Scott5114

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Re: "Highway Gothic" outside the US and Canada - what other countries use it?
« Reply #17 on: January 03, 2023, 11:55:40 PM »

I think I like the Dutch font better than the American, to be quite honest.
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Re: "Highway Gothic" outside the US and Canada - what other countries use it?
« Reply #18 on: January 09, 2023, 08:49:43 AM »

By the way, we had something like Clearview developed in NL as well. We called it "Redesign".
However Redesign didn't meet expectations, hence we are completely back to Highway Gothic in NL.

Use of Highway Gothic today:
Ee [=Series E(M)] on freeways (sometimes Dd when the name of the destination is too long),
Dd [=Series D(M)] on other roads, and
Cc [=Series C] on brow, touristic signs.

Capital hight = 360mm (~14") on rural freeways with design speed 120 km/h (75 mph), 305mm (~12") on urban freeways and expresroads with design speed 90-100 km/h (55-62 mph), and 170-240mm (~6,5-9,5") on other roads, depending on the road category.
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Re: "Highway Gothic" outside the US and Canada - what other countries use it?
« Reply #19 on: January 24, 2023, 09:48:42 PM »

Since 2011 the arrows on new signs are pointing upwards, just like in Germany.

Before that, the arrows were pointing downwards, which had an even more "American look":


Did this change in arrow orientation come with wholesale adoption of the Umklappregel, including listing further away destinations first?
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Re: "Highway Gothic" outside the US and Canada - what other countries use it?
« Reply #20 on: January 25, 2023, 02:17:00 AM »

Looking on GSV, I see that New Zealand and the Philippines both use the Highway Gothic font on their freeway signs, and the signage looks nearly identical to US freeway signage.  And of course, Canada uses highway Gothic as well.
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The Philippines' highway signage is a mix of (somewhat rare) Highway Gothic:
DSC_5194 by Chris Sampang, on Flickr

and some stuff that is either proprietary or similar to Clearview:
_DSC0629 by Chris Sampang, on Flickr
_DSC4645 by Chris Sampang, on Flickr
_DSC4806 by Chris Sampang, on Flickr
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Re: "Highway Gothic" outside the US and Canada - what other countries use it?
« Reply #21 on: January 25, 2023, 07:27:15 AM »

and some stuff that is either proprietary or similar to Clearview:


↑ Clearview




↑ Arial
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