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Author Topic: Caltrans External Exit Tabs & 240 Inch Tall Overhead Signs  (Read 3132 times)

TheStranger

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Re: Caltrans External Exit Tabs & 240 Inch Tall Overhead Signs
« Reply #25 on: April 21, 2021, 03:28:52 PM »

One thing I've noticed in the 101 sign upgrade/replacement project in San Mateo County is that the new exit signs seem to be a foot taller than the trusses (so not entirely flush with the truss like the Route 92 sign in your example, myosh_tino).  Like the bottom is still on the truss but the top sticks out a bit.

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Re: Caltrans External Exit Tabs & 240 Inch Tall Overhead Signs
« Reply #26 on: April 21, 2021, 04:59:49 PM »

One thing I've noticed in the 101 sign upgrade/replacement project in San Mateo County is that the new exit signs seem to be a foot taller than the trusses (so not entirely flush with the truss like the Route 92 sign in your example, myosh_tino).  Like the bottom is still on the truss but the top sticks out a bit.

That sounds about right.

The current truss, which has a 106" Frame Depth, can accommodate a 100", 110" or 120" tall sign panel.  The 100" sign panel is flush with the horizontal truss members (Caltrans calls these "chords").  The 110" and 120" sign panels are flush on the bottom but do extend above the top of the truss.

Edit: Looking at my reply, I know 106 != 100 but I believe the sign panels are flush with the top of the bottom chord which just happens to be 6 inches.  That's why if you look at my previous drawings, you can see the bottom chord below the sign panel.  For example...

« Last Edit: April 21, 2021, 05:03:35 PM by myosh_tino »
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Re: Caltrans External Exit Tabs & 240 Inch Tall Overhead Signs
« Reply #27 on: May 15, 2021, 01:58:13 PM »

As noted before, I'm going through AARoads as part of my California Highways update pass. I saw the following

As a connoisseur of all-things CalTrans, I'm in the process of adding this truss to my sign-making library.  I just completed the 120" truss (capable of holding a max-height guide sign of 240") but I'm still working on the 60" and 72" versions.

As I'm not mapping the user name to the real world, where (by chance) is this sign-making library or website? Such things are incredibly useful when I'm having to make little maps for the site.

(And I'll note that my old standby, https://shields-up.net/, seems to be having some problems of late with error messages about fields not being set, but I can usually get it to work).

Daniel
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Scott5114

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Re: Caltrans External Exit Tabs & 240 Inch Tall Overhead Signs
« Reply #28 on: May 15, 2021, 03:32:06 PM »

As noted before, I'm going through AARoads as part of my California Highways update pass. I saw the following

As a connoisseur of all-things CalTrans, I'm in the process of adding this truss to my sign-making library.  I just completed the 120" truss (capable of holding a max-height guide sign of 240") but I'm still working on the 60" and 72" versions.

As I'm not mapping the user name to the real world, where (by chance) is this sign-making library or website? Such things are incredibly useful when I'm having to make little maps for the site.

(And I'll note that my old standby, https://shields-up.net/, seems to be having some problems of late with error messages about fields not being set, but I can usually get it to work).

Daniel

For shields, why not just use the shields from Wikimedia Commons? They're designed using real fonts and standards, so they look just like the real thing the vast majority of the time (any error comes from the DOT not following their own published standards).
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cahwyguy

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Re: Caltrans External Exit Tabs & 240 Inch Tall Overhead Signs
« Reply #29 on: May 15, 2021, 03:36:04 PM »

For shields, why not just use the shields from Wikimedia Commons? They're designed using real fonts and standards, so they look just like the real thing the vast majority of the time (any error comes from the DOT not following their own published standards).

Because they don't generate the shield with the number in it. I generally grab that and then do some resizing and editing when clarifying planning maps and such. But if you have a link, I'll look at it for the future. I used to use the shield generator that AAroads had; alas, that has gone away.
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Scott5114

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Re: Caltrans External Exit Tabs & 240 Inch Tall Overhead Signs
« Reply #30 on: May 15, 2021, 04:38:10 PM »

For shields, why not just use the shields from Wikimedia Commons? They're designed using real fonts and standards, so they look just like the real thing the vast majority of the time (any error comes from the DOT not following their own published standards).

Because they don't generate the shield with the number in it. I generally grab that and then do some resizing and editing when clarifying planning maps and such. But if you have a link, I'll look at it for the future. I used to use the shield generator that AAroads had; alas, that has gone away.

Sure they do, they're just pre-generated by a bot (or a human editor) and saved to their server. They have a shield for pretty much every extant highway and many decommissioned ones. You just have to download them, and you can have the server resize them to whatever size you want before you download.

How to get shields from Wikimedia Commons:
1) Go to the Wikipedia page for the target route (e.g. "California State Route 1") and click the shield in the infobox at the top right of the page. For California in particular, you can go to the state-detail page (e.g. "Interstate 5 in California" or "U.S. Route 101 in California") to get Caltrans-spec signs.
2) You will be taken to a page with a name like "File:California 1.svg". (Once you've done this for one highway of a type, you can bookmark this page and change the number in the URL to save some time; all highways in the same system generally have a consistent file name scheme.)
3) This page will have links to PNGs in multiple resolutions below the large displayed image, and you can choose whichever you like; right-click the link and save to disk.
4) If you don't see the exact resolution you want, click on one of the options (which one doesn't matter). In the URL bar, change the pixel width (e.g. "230px" to whatever width you like. Height will be calculated automatically. Download to disk and enjoy.

If, for some reason, Wikipedia doesn't have a shield that you need pre-generated (which is rare, especially in the more populous states and states with smaller highway systems), you can make your own. You can download an SVG template from Commons, which has an editable placeholder text object, already set in the Roadgeek fonts. Download the source SVG by right-clicking and saving the "original file" link on the file page, open it in Inkscape, change the text, and export to PNG. If this is a real highway that is missing (i.e. it's not a fantasy number), you can also request a shield be made.

Some toll road shields are not available due to copyright reasons, but those probably wouldn't be in something like Shields Up either.
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cahwyguy

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Re: Caltrans External Exit Tabs & 240 Inch Tall Overhead Signs
« Reply #31 on: May 15, 2021, 04:54:55 PM »

I'll save it for the future, although truthfully, using shields-up is much less involved. Plus (rant on) I tend not to like Wikipedia for highway pages -- I think in many ways they have pulled the hobby away from the roadgeeks, and resulted in a drop of the number of high quality highway sites as things migrate into wikipedia (rant off). But that's just my perspective as one of the OG highway sites (www.cahighways.org, since around 1992).

But it doesn't answer the original question:

As a connoisseur of all-things CalTrans, I'm in the process of adding this truss to my sign-making library.  I just completed the 120" truss (capable of holding a max-height guide sign of 240") but I'm still working on the 60" and 72" versions.

As I'm not mapping the user name to the real world, where (by chance) is this sign-making library or website?
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Scott5114

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Re: Caltrans External Exit Tabs & 240 Inch Tall Overhead Signs
« Reply #32 on: May 15, 2021, 07:16:59 PM »

I'll save it for the future, although truthfully, using shields-up is much less involved. Plus (rant on) I tend not to like Wikipedia for highway pages -- I think in many ways they have pulled the hobby away from the roadgeeks, and resulted in a drop of the number of high quality highway sites as things migrate into wikipedia (rant off). But that's just my perspective as one of the OG highway sites (www.cahighways.org, since around 1992).

What makes you think that the people that write highway pages for Wikipedia aren't roadgeeks themselves? There's actually been a bit of a culture war on Wikipedia in the past because the greater Wikipedia community didn't want to let roadgeeks in and wanted to delete all of their content. The roadgeeks basically had to fight for the right to exist there and ended up winning. The Wikipedia road editors are a nice bunch of people and a few of them are even on this forum. (Case in point, I'm one of them; if you've ever read an article about a highway in Oklahoma, you've read my work.)

I'd submit that without Wikipedia you'd still see the same number of high quality sites declining because that's true in all hobbyist circles, even those that Wikipedia doesn't cover, like fandom groups. The technical ability of the average Internet user has gone down over the years. Now instead of setting up a site and using that to publish information interesting to you, people just post it to Facebook or Twitter. Of course, it's a lot harder to find anything good or permanent on Facebook and Twitter.

The Wikipedia shields have actually had an impact in a way that isn't quite so obvious—causing accurate shields to appear in places where they wouldn't before. Now when you search for any random highway on Google Image Search, you can get an accurate shield from Wikipedia, so that's what people do when they're making a custom map or advertisement and need a highway shield graphic. The number of gross-looking shields drawn up by non-roadgeek graphic designers has declined over the years as a result.

But it doesn't answer the original question:

As a connoisseur of all-things CalTrans, I'm in the process of adding this truss to my sign-making library.  I just completed the 120" truss (capable of holding a max-height guide sign of 240") but I'm still working on the 60" and 72" versions.

As I'm not mapping the user name to the real world, where (by chance) is this sign-making library or website?


I'm pretty sure it's in a PowerPoint file on his hard drive.
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vdeane

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Re: Caltrans External Exit Tabs & 240 Inch Tall Overhead Signs
« Reply #33 on: May 16, 2021, 12:09:23 AM »

I'd submit that without Wikipedia you'd still see the same number of high quality sites declining because that's true in all hobbyist circles, even those that Wikipedia doesn't cover, like fandom groups. The technical ability of the average Internet user has gone down over the years. Now instead of setting up a site and using that to publish information interesting to you, people just post it to Facebook or Twitter. Of course, it's a lot harder to find anything good or permanent on Facebook and Twitter.
Yeah, I remember when there used to be a forum for just about everything.  These days, if you want to find discussions on anything fandom related and it's not something actively trending on Facebook and Twitter, you're pretty much stuck with Reddit.  Especially now that Google has changed their algorithm to very heavily favor news articles and official sources, finding any hobby website, road-related or otherwise, isn't easy, even when they still exist.
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ran4sh

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Re: Caltrans External Exit Tabs & 240 Inch Tall Overhead Signs
« Reply #34 on: May 16, 2021, 12:18:53 AM »

I'd submit that without Wikipedia you'd still see the same number of high quality sites declining because that's true in all hobbyist circles, even those that Wikipedia doesn't cover, like fandom groups. The technical ability of the average Internet user has gone down over the years. Now instead of setting up a site and using that to publish information interesting to you, people just post it to Facebook or Twitter. Of course, it's a lot harder to find anything good or permanent on Facebook and Twitter.
Yeah, I remember when there used to be a forum for just about everything.  These days, if you want to find discussions on anything fandom related and it's not something actively trending on Facebook and Twitter, you're pretty much stuck with Reddit.  Especially now that Google has changed their algorithm to very heavily favor news articles and official sources, finding any hobby website, road-related or otherwise, isn't easy, even when they still exist.

And Reddit is not ideal either because the voting mechanism causes most of their forums to become echo chambers where you're penalized for having an opinion contradictory to the popular opinions on there.
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Re: Caltrans External Exit Tabs & 240 Inch Tall Overhead Signs
« Reply #35 on: May 16, 2021, 04:11:00 AM »

I'll save it for the future, although truthfully, using shields-up is much less involved. Plus (rant on) I tend not to like Wikipedia for highway pages -- I think in many ways they have pulled the hobby away from the roadgeeks, and resulted in a drop of the number of high quality highway sites as things migrate into wikipedia (rant off). But that's just my perspective as one of the OG highway sites (www.cahighways.org, since around 1992).

What makes you think that the people that write highway pages for Wikipedia aren't roadgeeks themselves? There's actually been a bit of a culture war on Wikipedia in the past because the greater Wikipedia community didn't want to let roadgeeks in and wanted to delete all of their content. The roadgeeks basically had to fight for the right to exist there and ended up winning. The Wikipedia road editors are a nice bunch of people and a few of them are even on this forum. (Case in point, I'm one of them; if you've ever read an article about a highway in Oklahoma, you've read my work.)

I'd submit that without Wikipedia you'd still see the same number of high quality sites declining because that's true in all hobbyist circles, even those that Wikipedia doesn't cover, like fandom groups. The technical ability of the average Internet user has gone down over the years. Now instead of setting up a site and using that to publish information interesting to you, people just post it to Facebook or Twitter. Of course, it's a lot harder to find anything good or permanent on Facebook and Twitter.

The Wikipedia shields have actually had an impact in a way that isn't quite so obvious—causing accurate shields to appear in places where they wouldn't before. Now when you search for any random highway on Google Image Search, you can get an accurate shield from Wikipedia, so that's what people do when they're making a custom map or advertisement and need a highway shield graphic. The number of gross-looking shields drawn up by non-roadgeek graphic designers has declined over the years as a result.

But it doesn't answer the original question:

As a connoisseur of all-things CalTrans, I'm in the process of adding this truss to my sign-making library.  I just completed the 120" truss (capable of holding a max-height guide sign of 240") but I'm still working on the 60" and 72" versions.

As I'm not mapping the user name to the real world, where (by chance) is this sign-making library or website?


I'm pretty sure it's in a PowerPoint file on his hard drive.

Not quite.

My sign-making library is a collection of Photoshop files.  I do not have an automated method of building my signs.  Everything is done by hand.

I made a video on how I make my signs and put it up on YouTube...
« Last Edit: May 16, 2021, 04:25:18 PM by myosh_tino »
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cahwyguy

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Re: Caltrans External Exit Tabs & 240 Inch Tall Overhead Signs
« Reply #36 on: May 16, 2021, 08:29:45 AM »

Yeah, I remember when there used to be a forum for just about everything.  These days, if you want to find discussions on anything fandom related and it's not something actively trending on Facebook and Twitter, you're pretty much stuck with Reddit.  Especially now that Google has changed their algorithm to very heavily favor news articles and official sources, finding any hobby website, road-related or otherwise, isn't easy, even when they still exist.

Then I'm lucky that my site ( https://www.cahighways.org) seems to come up very high in the search rankings, as I'm sure does Gribblenation and AAroads. I know that I still have pages of link directories to other road related sites ( https://www.cahighways.org/othlinks.html ). If you still have a road site out there, please make sure I know about it. If you're in the links list, make sure the reference is correct; if you are not in the list, send me the requisite information. If the few well ranked sites legitimately link to other road sites, it raises them up. We're a community; let's work together (and now I sound like Adam in his Junction #2 podcast ... which is a good thing).

Daniel
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Rothman

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Re: Caltrans External Exit Tabs & 240 Inch Tall Overhead Signs
« Reply #37 on: May 16, 2021, 08:42:33 AM »

Need to separate the bemoaning of the loss of the glory days of the Internet out of this thread.
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Re: Caltrans External Exit Tabs & 240 Inch Tall Overhead Signs
« Reply #38 on: May 16, 2021, 03:43:29 PM »

There's a new DDI on CA-120 in Manteca.  I'm not sure if it's finished yet, but I wonder if they replaced the BGS on the freeway with this new spec.
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myosh_tino

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Re: Caltrans External Exit Tabs & 240 Inch Tall Overhead Signs
« Reply #39 on: May 16, 2021, 04:20:03 PM »

There's a new DDI on CA-120 in Manteca.  I'm not sure if it's finished yet, but I wonder if they replaced the BGS on the freeway with this new spec.

I highly doubt it.

I've been keeping my eye on newly advertised projects on the Caltrans website over the past couple of weeks and haven't run across any that are using the new truss.  Also, keep in mind that the current truss is still approved by Caltrans.
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Re: Caltrans External Exit Tabs & 240 Inch Tall Overhead Signs
« Reply #40 on: May 20, 2021, 04:10:51 PM »

I'll save it for the future, although truthfully, using shields-up is much less involved. Plus (rant on) I tend not to like Wikipedia for highway pages -- I think in many ways they have pulled the hobby away from the roadgeeks, and resulted in a drop of the number of high quality highway sites as things migrate into wikipedia (rant off). But that's just my perspective as one of the OG highway sites (www.cahighways.org, since around 1992).

But it doesn't answer the original question:

As a connoisseur of all-things CalTrans, I'm in the process of adding this truss to my sign-making library.  I just completed the 120" truss (capable of holding a max-height guide sign of 240") but I'm still working on the 60" and 72" versions.

As I'm not mapping the user name to the real world, where (by chance) is this sign-making library or website?


A slightly easier way to get shields from wikipedia for you may be to go to the list pages:

    Interstates: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Interstate_Highways_in_California

    U.S. Routes: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_U.S._Routes_in_California

    CA State Routes: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_state_highways_in_California

From there you can just scroll down to the shield you need in the table and [right click]>"Save Image As..." to save it for later, or [right click]>"Copy Image" then paste directly into an image editor.

This is the method I've been using and it works great, and is pretty painless. The only caveat is that the images here are quite small, so you may want to use the method Scott gave if you need a larger version and not just a map marker.
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Re: Caltrans External Exit Tabs & 240 Inch Tall Overhead Signs
« Reply #41 on: May 20, 2021, 04:54:43 PM »

There's a new DDI on CA-120 in Manteca.  I'm not sure if it's finished yet, but I wonder if they replaced the BGS on the freeway with this new spec.

I highly doubt it.

I've been keeping my eye on newly advertised projects on the Caltrans website over the past couple of weeks and haven't run across any that are using the new truss.  Also, keep in mind that the current truss is still approved by Caltrans.

What about the new exit tabs? Seen any that specs them recently?
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Re: Caltrans External Exit Tabs & 240 Inch Tall Overhead Signs
« Reply #42 on: May 20, 2021, 07:09:15 PM »

There's a new DDI on CA-120 in Manteca.  I'm not sure if it's finished yet, but I wonder if they replaced the BGS on the freeway with this new spec.

I highly doubt it.

I've been keeping my eye on newly advertised projects on the Caltrans website over the past couple of weeks and haven't run across any that are using the new truss.  Also, keep in mind that the current truss is still approved by Caltrans.

What about the new exit tabs? Seen any that specs them recently?

As far as I know, this example from earlier in the thread is the only one out in the field so far, and was probably an experiment. It'll likely be the only one for a while, since the new specs only just came out, and engineering design for any project that isn't very small takes months to years, then we have to wait for construction.

Wow!!  It only took ~20 years since California started numbering exits to actually start doing it right.  The way exit tabs were jammed into signs while keeping existing legends looked awful, especially in urban areas where message loading within the sign was already pretty high.

I can't wait to see the first new design on a versatile truss out in the wild.





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Re: Caltrans External Exit Tabs & 240 Inch Tall Overhead Signs
« Reply #43 on: May 20, 2021, 09:17:08 PM »

A slightly easier way to get shields from wikipedia for you may be to go to the list pages:

    Interstates: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Interstate_Highways_in_California

    U.S. Routes: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_U.S._Routes_in_California

    CA State Routes: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_state_highways_in_California

From there you can just scroll down to the shield you need in the table and [right click]>"Save Image As..." to save it for later, or [right click]>"Copy Image" then paste directly into an image editor.

This works for standalone route markers but not for guide sign shields as those specs are different from the standalone shields.  I'll post some examples later when I get the time.


What about the new exit tabs? Seen any that specs them recently?

As far as I know, this example from earlier in the thread is the only one out in the field so far, and was probably an experiment. It'll likely be the only one for a while, since the new specs only just came out, and engineering design for any project that isn't very small takes months to years, then we have to wait for construction.



It should be noted that while the FHWA-spec exit tabs are new to California, they're not new to the rest of the country.  There is also a project that replaces the overhead signs on eastbound CA-91 before I-5 and that project also makes use of the FHWA-spec external exit tabs.  Once again, when I get time, I'll draw those signs and post them here.  It seems to me that Orange County (Caltrans District 12) is the only one that's been "experimenting" with the external tabs.
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