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Which do you think is better: Highway Gothic or Clearview?

Highway Gothic
Clearview

Author Topic: The Clearview thread  (Read 464222 times)

myosh_tino

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Re: The Clearview thread
« Reply #1475 on: April 18, 2017, 03:01:44 AM »

Hmmm... sounds like another case where politicians think they know more than scientists and/or researchers.  :rolleyes:
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hbelkins

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Re: The Clearview thread
« Reply #1476 on: April 22, 2017, 03:23:04 PM »

FHWA can either hope that the states and Congress go away, get overruled in the next transportation bill, or decide discretion is the better part of valor and issue an NPM to permanently authorize Clearview or reissue the IA. My guess is they'll pick door #3 once a permanent administrator is in place who's empowered to make such decisions, since in general bureaucratic agencies don't pick fights with powerful members of Congress over low-stakes issues because in the end they normally lose.

Hmmm... sounds like another case where politicians think they know more than scientists and/or researchers.  :rolleyes:

I guess this is the thing that bugs me about much of this discussion. Who works for whom? It's the job of the executive branch to implement the directives of the legislative branch. Not the other way around. If Congress mandates the federal government to sign national parks with blue letters on hot pink signage with yellow borders, who is FHWA to say otherwise? The people (taxpayers) are supposed to run the government through the directives of their elected officials. The government isn't supposed to be a self-sustaining bureaucracy, although that's what it has become.
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Rothman

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Re: The Clearview thread
« Reply #1477 on: April 22, 2017, 11:53:40 PM »

Pfft.  Congress has granted USDOT a lot of latitude in handling transportation funding and management.  I have no problem with Congress laying out a broader legislative mandate and the funding (as it has through Title 23) while leaving the specifics to executive branch regulations.

When Congress gets involved with the specifics, you end up with I-99. 
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Scott5114

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Re: The Clearview thread
« Reply #1478 on: April 23, 2017, 03:12:17 AM »

I guess this is the thing that bugs me about much of this discussion. Who works for whom?

Neither of them work for the other. The three branches of government are equal. They all work for the people.

Quote
The people (taxpayers) are supposed to run the government through the directives of their elected officials.

Do you suppose that the people of TX-3 have been overrunning Sam Johnson's office clamoring for this bill?
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jakeroot

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Re: The Clearview thread
« Reply #1479 on: April 23, 2017, 03:33:28 AM »

The people (taxpayers) are supposed to run the government through the directives of their elected officials.

Do you suppose that the people of TX-3 have been overrunning Sam Johnson's office clamoring for this bill?

Probably not. But Mr Johnson has to make decisions that he believes will benefit his district. In his eyes, this bill benefits not only his district, but the entire US.
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Scott5114

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Re: The Clearview thread
« Reply #1480 on: April 23, 2017, 06:04:33 AM »

The people (taxpayers) are supposed to run the government through the directives of their elected officials.

Do you suppose that the people of TX-3 have been overrunning Sam Johnson's office clamoring for this bill?

Probably not. But Mr Johnson has to make decisions that he believes will benefit his district. In his eyes, this bill benefits not only his district, but the entire US.

Why does Mr Johnson feel he is more qualified to make that determination than an engineer?
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Baloo Uriza

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Re: The Clearview thread
« Reply #1481 on: April 23, 2017, 09:11:21 AM »

Pfft.  Congress has granted USDOT a lot of latitude in handling transportation funding and management.  I have no problem with Congress laying out a broader legislative mandate and the funding (as it has through Title 23) while leaving the specifics to executive branch regulations.

When Congress gets involved with the specifics, you end up with I-99. 

Or I 19 and the world's shittiest attempt at switching away from third-world units.
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hbelkins

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Re: The Clearview thread
« Reply #1482 on: April 23, 2017, 11:54:08 AM »

The people (taxpayers) are supposed to run the government through the directives of their elected officials.

Do you suppose that the people of TX-3 have been overrunning Sam Johnson's office clamoring for this bill?

Probably not. But Mr Johnson has to make decisions that he believes will benefit his district. In his eyes, this bill benefits not only his district, but the entire US.

Why does Mr Johnson feel he is more qualified to make that determination than an engineer?

Because Mr. Johnson is empowered to make such determinations via the Constitution of the United States. Elected officials, rather than engineers (or economists or just about any other profession you can imagine) are the ones who are acknowledged in our governing document as having that power.
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jakeroot

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Re: The Clearview thread
« Reply #1483 on: April 23, 2017, 02:08:24 PM »

The people (taxpayers) are supposed to run the government through the directives of their elected officials.

Do you suppose that the people of TX-3 have been overrunning Sam Johnson's office clamoring for this bill?

Probably not. But Mr Johnson has to make decisions that he believes will benefit his district. In his eyes, this bill benefits not only his district, but the entire US.

Why does Mr Johnson feel he is more qualified to make that determination than an engineer?

Because Mr. Johnson is empowered to make such determinations via the Constitution of the United States. Elected officials, rather than engineers (or economists or just about any other profession you can imagine) are the ones who are acknowledged in our governing document as having that power.

Indeed. They are often called "representatives" for a reason: they represent the opinions of their constituents. I'm not totally sure who asked Sam Johnson to write a bill that reinstates Clearview, but he's obliged to follow through with that request if he feels that it's in his district's best interest.
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hbelkins

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Re: The Clearview thread
« Reply #1484 on: April 23, 2017, 02:51:22 PM »

Indeed. They are often called "representatives" for a reason: they represent the opinions of their constituents. I'm not totally sure who asked Sam Johnson to write a bill that reinstates Clearview, but he's obliged to follow through with that request if he feels that it's in his district's best interest.

Probably Meeker or his firm, or perhaps Texas DOT since they are so heavily invested in Clearview. At any rate, this is probably the epitome of special interest legislation. I honestly don't think anyone besides roadgeeks are going to care what font is used on a highway sign. My guess is the majority of drivers didn't even notice when Clearview started showing up. They don't have this odd sentimental attachment to the old font that so many roadgeeks do. We noticed because that's who we are.

This really isn't like the newspaper business, where customers get used to a certain appearance of the product and readily notice changes. During my years as a newspaper editor, I was involved in a handful of redesigns. People did notice if we had a new headline font, new byline style, etc., but they still sought the same information.
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vdeane

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Re: The Clearview thread
« Reply #1485 on: April 23, 2017, 06:15:21 PM »

I don't like Clearview because the signs are ugly.  There are some jurisdictions like Vermont and Québec that make it look good, but the vast majority do not.

As for elected officials, I have never seen a case of micromanagement that turned out well.  At best, we get I-99; on the other hand, we could also get a NYC subway system closed for snow that never fell.  IMO elected officials should limit themselves to the overall direction (if they can even do that well; given the recent track record, count me skeptical) and leave the details to the people who actually know what they're doing.
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MNHighwayMan

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Re: The Clearview thread
« Reply #1486 on: April 23, 2017, 07:31:11 PM »

IMO elected officials should limit themselves to the overall direction (if they can even do that well; given the recent track record, count me skeptical) and leave the details to the people who actually know what they're doing.

That's not just an opinion, that's how the government is supposed to function. Legislatures set a general goal with their legislation, and specific departments and other governmental bureaus determine and do all the micro-level implementation of the legislation.
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jakeroot

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Re: The Clearview thread
« Reply #1487 on: April 23, 2017, 08:10:08 PM »

IMO elected officials should limit themselves to the overall direction (if they can even do that well; given the recent track record, count me skeptical) and leave the details to the people who actually know what they're doing.

That's not just an opinion, that's how the government is supposed to function. Legislatures set a general goal with their legislation, and specific departments and other governmental bureaus determine and do all the micro-level implementation of the legislation.

Parties define a goal, but it's up to legislators to pass specific legislation to reach that goal.

As far as legislation itself, most of it is pretty specific. It's more likely to pass when the legislature knows what it is that they're voting on.
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MNHighwayMan

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Re: The Clearview thread
« Reply #1488 on: April 23, 2017, 08:25:35 PM »

Perhaps "general" was the wrong word to use. What I mean is, legislatures craft legislation to get things done. For example, a legislature passes a bill to build a road, and the governor/president signs it into law. That bill will say generally where it is to be built, and for what general purpose and/or capacity, but it's not going to specify lane widths or places for drainage culverts or specify the signage required. That's what specialized departments (in this case, the DOT) are for. The departments are what make those decisions; they ensure proper implementation of the legislation.

This is why a bill explicitly requiring/allowing a certain typeface to be used on signs is silly. That's something that should be left to the departments, who are full of engineers and specialists whose expertise is better suited to making such decisions.
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J N Winkler

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Re: The Clearview thread
« Reply #1489 on: April 23, 2017, 09:28:45 PM »

It is not really tenable to argue that Congress can't pass a law requiring FHWA to approve a certain typeface family for use on highway signs.  However, it is perfectly reasonable to argue that in so doing, Congress breaches an institutional norm in favor of leaving technical decisions to engineers in the permanent administration, trusting that they will make their choices in the public interest and on the basis of careful study of the various options, using decision-making tools such as cost-benefit analysis.

This is admittedly an idealized view of how things are to work.  Back in 1958, green was chosen as the background for guide signs not on the basis of controlled legibility testing, but rather through a glorified popularity contest.  And in this particular case we are focusing on Clearview versus the FHWA series, a controversy which is dwarfed by the fact that FHWA's mixed-case requirement amounts to a loophole allowing agencies to use mixed-case Series B on freeway guide signs, without regard to its unit legibility.
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MNHighwayMan

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Re: The Clearview thread
« Reply #1490 on: April 23, 2017, 09:51:12 PM »

I'm not arguing whether or not Congress has the ability—it totally does. They pretty much have total free reign. What I'm arguing is whether or not it's a good idea (I don't think it is), and whether or not it's appropriate for Congress to descend into such nitty-gritty details like highway sign typefaces (I think that's a total waste of Congressional time and effort.)
« Last Edit: April 23, 2017, 09:54:39 PM by MNHighwayMan »
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Pink Jazz

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Re: The Clearview thread
« Reply #1491 on: April 23, 2017, 10:21:11 PM »



 Back in 1958, green was chosen as the background for guide signs not on the basis of controlled legibility testing, but rather through a glorified popularity contest.


However, note that the human eye is most sensitive to green and yellow wavelengths.  This may have some effect on the legibility of signs compared to other background colors.
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J N Winkler

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Re: The Clearview thread
« Reply #1492 on: April 23, 2017, 10:27:54 PM »

Yup.  If the elephant wants to stick his trunk into the tent, there's not a lot we can do about it other than try to persuade him that there are better uses for his time.

Back in 1958, green was chosen as the background for guide signs not on the basis of controlled legibility testing, but rather through a glorified popularity contest.

However, note that the human eye is most sensitive to green and yellow wavelengths.  This may have some effect on the legibility of signs compared to other background colors.

The 1958 study didn't get into those human-factors issues.  It was literally an exercise in having people drive past signs with blue, green, and black backgrounds, and asking them which color they liked the best.  The popularity of green was actually a frustration to Bertram Tallamy (then BPR head) at a personal level, since he had a visual impairment that made it difficult for him to read white text on green background.  (He was previously head of the NYS Thruway, which at the time had blue signs.)
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jakeroot

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Re: The Clearview thread
« Reply #1493 on: April 23, 2017, 10:49:52 PM »

The popularity of green was actually a frustration to Bertram Tallamy (then BPR head) at a personal level, since he had a visual impairment that made it difficult for him to read white text on green background.

I guess that begs the question: is there a similar visual impairment for white-on-blue?
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Scott5114

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Re: The Clearview thread
« Reply #1494 on: April 24, 2017, 02:53:49 AM »

I'm not arguing whether or not Congress has the ability—it totally does. They pretty much have total free reign. What I'm arguing is whether or not it's a good idea (I don't think it is), and whether or not it's appropriate for Congress to descend into such nitty-gritty details like highway sign typefaces (I think that's a total waste of Congressional time and effort.)

This is more or less another way of putting of what I am arguing above.
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Pink Jazz

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Re: The Clearview thread
« Reply #1495 on: April 24, 2017, 01:33:21 PM »

The popularity of green was actually a frustration to Bertram Tallamy (then BPR head) at a personal level, since he had a visual impairment that made it difficult for him to read white text on green background.

I guess that begs the question: is there a similar visual impairment for white-on-blue?

Not sure.  However, for most people, since the human eye is much more sensitive to green than it is to blue, a sign with a green background can probably be detected at a longer distance at night than one with a blue background assuming the same grade of sheeting is used.
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hbelkins

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Re: The Clearview thread
« Reply #1496 on: April 24, 2017, 04:14:59 PM »

I'm not arguing whether or not Congress has the ability—it totally does. They pretty much have total free reign. What I'm arguing is whether or not it's a good idea (I don't think it is), and whether or not it's appropriate for Congress to descend into such nitty-gritty details like highway sign typefaces (I think that's a total waste of Congressional time and effort.)

That's why people contact their legislators to get certain things done. In this instance, a constituent had a representative's ear to file this legislation. If any of you know your congressional representative, you could ask them to file a competing bill.

(I know my congressman -- not really really well -- but I'm not going to ask him to because Clearview doesn't bother me the way it does some of you.  :bigass: )
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vdeane

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Re: The Clearview thread
« Reply #1497 on: April 24, 2017, 05:34:39 PM »

Yup.  If the elephant wants to stick his trunk into the tent, there's not a lot we can do about it other than try to persuade him that there are better uses for his time.

Back in 1958, green was chosen as the background for guide signs not on the basis of controlled legibility testing, but rather through a glorified popularity contest.

However, note that the human eye is most sensitive to green and yellow wavelengths.  This may have some effect on the legibility of signs compared to other background colors.

The 1958 study didn't get into those human-factors issues.  It was literally an exercise in having people drive past signs with blue, green, and black backgrounds, and asking them which color they liked the best.  The popularity of green was actually a frustration to Bertram Tallamy (then BPR head) at a personal level, since he had a visual impairment that made it difficult for him to read white text on green background.  (He was previously head of the NYS Thruway, which at the time had blue signs.)
The version told in The Roads that Built America says that AASHTO already selected green and the contest was just to resolve the dispute with Tallamy.
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Pink Jazz

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Re: The Clearview thread
« Reply #1498 on: July 29, 2017, 05:25:39 PM »

Looking at the updated cosponsor list for the SIGN Act, it appears that very few Democratic congressmen have signed onto the bill.  I have a feeling that most Democrats in the House are going to vote against it while most Republicans will vote for it.
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hbelkins

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Re: The Clearview thread
« Reply #1499 on: July 30, 2017, 02:27:12 PM »

Looking at the updated cosponsor list for the SIGN Act, it appears that very few Democratic congressmen have signed onto the bill.  I have a feeling that most Democrats in the House are going to vote against it while most Republicans will vote for it.

Why in the world would this be a partisan issue?
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