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Author Topic: States Ranked by Signage Quality  (Read 5610 times)

Roadsguy

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Re: States Ranked by Signage Quality
« Reply #100 on: May 15, 2019, 09:54:37 PM »

From what little I've seen in Street View and signage plans, NC's freeway signage has improved a lot within the past 10 years or so. Most of the signage that I see in the plans for major projects is excellent. I haven't seen enough surface road signage to really have an opinion on that, considering how few times I've actually been to NC.

PennDOT's freeway signage varies by district, with some being excellent and others inconsistent at best. District 8's newer signage is some of the most consistently excellent that I've seen much of, Clearview aside (the few new District 8 Highway Gothic signs are excellent), but a lot of the western districts still occasionally use the ugly and wrong oversized first letter style with their Clearview signs. District 9 just used it on the new US 219 expressway. Districts 5 and 6 are usually okay.
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ce929wax

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Re: States Ranked by Signage Quality
« Reply #101 on: May 16, 2019, 12:03:36 AM »

I would say my personal top 5 are:
Michigan
Indiana
Tennessee
Texas
Illinois

I would say my personal bottom 5 are:
Ohio
Kentucky
Georgia
South Carolina
Alabama

Honorable mention for being unique (imo):
New Mexico
Utah
California

I generally don't like clearview, which is why Kentucky is on my list because I don't think they do it well.  I'm not a fan of the cramped street names next to the highway shield in Kentucky being in clearview.  Ohio has tiny exit tabs, which just don't look right, especially when centered.  Georgia's signage on interstates is just plain weird, plus their state route shields seem to be tiny.  The only thing I like about Georgia's signage is when they tell you when you are leaving one county for another.  In South Carolina (and New York for that matter) I HATE the exit tabs being off the edge of the sign.  I didn't include New York on my list because I haven't been there (I have only seen pictures) and the rest of their signage is average to good.  Alabama's signage just looks like they put a mishmash of panels together and called it good.  I will say that Alabama's black signage is unique.

Michigan and Texas, OTOH, do clearview well.  Michigan can get a little overzealous in its signing, such as signs that tell you what the next intersection is and what the name of the road is on the overpass.  I also don't think non state maintained county roads need "no passing zone" and "do not pass" signs along with "pass with care" (I'm looking at you Kalamazoo and Calhoun Counties; Allegan County for just "no passing zone").  Indiana is super consistent with its signing, although I am not liking some of the fat new exit tabs I am seeing.  Tennessee interstate signage is consistent on the interstate, on state and US Highways, I wish Tennessee gave the mileage to the next town more often, I also don't like that the mile markers reset at county lines (also looking at you Kentucky and Ohio).   Illinois is pretty consistent too, but I don't like that they are getting rid of their centered exit tabs in favor of right handed tabs in clearview.

New Mexico, much like Alabama is often a mishmash of panels slapped together, but their state shield is unique (for being a circle) and I like that each highway has mile markers that run continuous the length of the highway.  Utah also has a unique state route marker, but their signing is slightly better than New Mexico.   California needs no explanation.
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sprjus4

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Re: States Ranked by Signage Quality
« Reply #102 on: May 16, 2019, 07:27:22 AM »

I really didn't have any qualms with what I saw of Virginia's signage on Monday, so I am not going to flip its rank with NC - at least not until I've been to NC and/or seen more of their signage.
Referencing your post in the I-81 thread, if you were simply on the I-81 corridor when traveling through Virginia, that's a bit unfair to say. The interstates in Virginia have great signage, I fully agree with that. You need to travel down roads like US-29, US-58, US-460, US-17 and other arterial highways that have arterial interchanges or arterial bypasses with interchanges. That's when the signage gets really inconsistent, and doesn't get anywhere close to the proper, standard interstate-style signage you'd see on I-81 per se.

This is different in North Carolina, where any interchange / freeway in the state has proper, standard interstate-style signage on any interchange whether it be an arterial interchange, or a full blown interstate highway. There's no differences, everything is consistent, etc.

Plus, and this is just a personal opinion, NCDOT doesn't use Clearview font, which, again IMHO, makes the signs look nicer. Also, since NCDOT uses exit numbers on every interchange almost in the state and not just the interstates (and certain arterial freeways) like VDOT does, it helps to make the signage even more consistent.

I'm not saying you're going to change it, but I'm just asking please consider something other than I-81, because of course you'll see good signage on there. Try US-58, US-29, US-460, US-17, or any other arterial highway for 100+ miles, and you'll see the difference big time. Especially new interchanges, those have the worst signage.
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kphoger

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Re: States Ranked by Signage Quality
« Reply #103 on: May 16, 2019, 02:15:47 PM »

Michigan and Texas, OTOH, do clearview well. 

Texas should be in charge of all Clearview signage nationwide.
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webny99

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Re: States Ranked by Signage Quality
« Reply #104 on: May 16, 2019, 02:45:03 PM »

I really didn't have any qualms with what I saw of Virginia's signage on Monday, so I am not going to flip its rank with NC - at least not until I've been to NC and/or seen more of their signage.
Referencing your post in the I-81 thread, if you were simply on the I-81 corridor when traveling through Virginia, that's a bit unfair to say. The interstates in Virginia have great signage, I fully agree with that. You need to travel down roads like US-29, US-58, US-460, US-17 and other arterial highways that have arterial interchanges or arterial bypasses with interchanges.

Interstates definitely get the most weight, due to their importance. Other freeways are important, too, but a standalone interchange with bad signage doesn't mean that much to me.

Here, for example, is a random cloverleaf in Upstate NY. I think it has terrible signage - standalone shields, seriously!? - and all caps on the distance sign!? - but the signage here doesn't affect my overall ranking for NY's signage because neither of these roads are full freeways.
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webny99

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Re: States Ranked by Signage Quality
« Reply #105 on: May 16, 2019, 02:50:09 PM »

I would say my personal top 5 are:
Michigan

I would say my personal bottom 5 are:
Ohio

I think that needs some explaining, because out of all 50 states in the US, Michigan and Ohio have among the most similar signage to each other. I can't think of one single major and/or fundamental difference, and I've done a fair bit of traveling in both states.
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sprjus4

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Re: States Ranked by Signage Quality
« Reply #106 on: May 16, 2019, 04:33:56 PM »

Other freeways are important, too, but a standalone interchange with bad signage doesn't mean that much to me.
This isn't just one example. There are numerous examples throughout the state that have poor signage.

North Carolina is consistent everywhere on the other hand.

I think interstates + arterial + other freeway interchanges being consistent over interstate consistency & arterial + other freeway interchanges being inconsistent would weight North Carolina higher in that regard.

In my experience in driving on thousands of Virginia and North Carolina interstates, arterials, other freeways, etc, I've found NC's signage to be overall better.

Just my two cents.

Here, for example, is a random cloverleaf in Upstate NY. I think it has terrible signage - standalone shields, seriously!? - and all caps on the distance sign!? - but the signage here doesn't affect my overall ranking for NY's signage because neither of these roads are full freeways.
Seen that a lot in Virginia too. On arterial freeway (5+ miles long) bypasses too. Never in North Carolina though  :hmmm:
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JoePCool14

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Re: States Ranked by Signage Quality
« Reply #107 on: May 16, 2019, 07:39:32 PM »

As someone who lives in Illinois, I'd like to ask everyone why Illinois is on the good side of the spectrum in their eyes. Because I do not see it.

Anytime I'm approaching an expressway (except a tollway, thanks ISTHA), I have no idea which way to turn if I'm unfamiliar with the interchange. There are no signs until the last minute.

IDOT signage appears cheap in my opinion. Most sides look like they have a "curve" on them (i.e., aren't flat).

Signs are installed poorly. That could include poor locations where the sign is guaranteed to be run over and not replaced or replaced in the exact same fashion as before, weak posts that can't even withstand some snow from a plow being thrown, and my all-time favorite, I've seen several instances of where IDOT crews are incapable of even getting the screws in the pre-punched holes. I've seen crooked signs, "bowing" signs (screws are too close to each other, so the sign bends outward), signs nailed to utility poles much too far from the roadway to be visible. And don't even get me started on the atrocious Clearview signs we were graced with for years. Although, thankfully they rarely used Clearview off the highways.

I could go on, and on about IDOT's awful practices. I'm very curious as to why people give them an okay.

Also, I vote Michigan as one of the best signage states. Their roads leave a lot to be desired, but at least the signs are pleasant to look at and very informative.
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ce929wax

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Re: States Ranked by Signage Quality
« Reply #108 on: May 16, 2019, 09:41:38 PM »

I think that needs some explaining, because out of all 50 states in the US, Michigan and Ohio have among the most similar signage to each other. I can't think of one single major and/or fundamental difference, and I've done a fair bit of traveling in both states.

No offense, but I don't see how you could even say that.  Michigan signage and Ohio signage are nothing alike.  Ohio's sign panels are a darker green for one, and for two, Ohio still has a fair amount of button copy signs, which Michigan hasn't had in decades,  if ever.  Michigan's exit tabs are normal sized, and Ohio's are tiny to the point of being almost unreadable at high speeds.  Ohio's state route marker (which is horrible, Ohio is not a good state for an outline marker) is typically over sized unless it is a one or two digit shield.  The only similarity between Michigan and Ohio is the design of the gantries that interstate signs are put on.  Ohio does not label the name of the road on their overpasses like Michigan does (save for the Turnpike), Ohio 's signs are made out of metal and put on metal poles, whereas Michigan's signs are some kind of wood and typically on wooden poles.   

I would be more inclined to think Ohio and Indiana's signage are more similar than Ohio and Michigan's, especially the blue logo signs.
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Re: States Ranked by Signage Quality
« Reply #109 on: May 16, 2019, 10:56:15 PM »

If anything, MI & NC are related. Both use diamonds as their state route shields (minus the "M" in NC but from what I've seen on this forum that's been disappearing in MI, I haven't been in MI since '06) and both have the all caps "DOWNTOWN" on BGS'.
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ce929wax

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Re: States Ranked by Signage Quality
« Reply #110 on: May 16, 2019, 11:26:55 PM »

As someone who lives in Illinois, I'd like to ask everyone why Illinois is on the good side of the spectrum in their eyes. Because I do not see it.

Speaking for myself, I put Illinois in my top five because I really didn't have a good 5th option.  In the past I would have put Missouri in that spot, but since they have started putting ginormous BGS' on their highways that knocked them out.  I don't have enough experience in Wisconsin to say one way or another, but they could replace Illinois on that list based on what I have seen.  I personally haven't stepped foot in Wisconsin since 1996.  Oklahoma has good interstate signage, but their turnpike signage is not so great. 
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Scott5114

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Re: States Ranked by Signage Quality
« Reply #111 on: May 16, 2019, 11:48:14 PM »

Oklahoma has good interstate signage, but their turnpike signage is not so great. 

Haha! No, we don't.
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kphoger

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Re: States Ranked by Signage Quality
« Reply #112 on: May 17, 2019, 01:47:15 PM »

If anything, MI & NC are related. Both use diamonds as their state route shields (minus the "M" in NC but from what I've seen on this forum that's been disappearing in MI, I haven't been in MI since '06) and both have the all caps "DOWNTOWN" on BGS'.

The shape of a route marker and the capitalization of a single word...  I'm not exactly blown away by the significance of those similarities.
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Re: States Ranked by Signage Quality
« Reply #113 on: May 17, 2019, 02:45:48 PM »

If anything, MI & NC are related. Both use diamonds as their state route shields (minus the "M" in NC but from what I've seen on this forum that's been disappearing in MI, I haven't been in MI since '06) and both have the all caps "DOWNTOWN" on BGS'.


After a little bit of GSVing, looks like the slow disappearance of the 'M' on Michigan's BGSes is happening, plenty newer-looking ones lack them.
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webny99

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Re: States Ranked by Signage Quality
« Reply #114 on: May 17, 2019, 03:25:45 PM »

I think that needs some explaining, because out of all 50 states in the US, Michigan and Ohio have among the most similar signage to each other. I can't think of one single major and/or fundamental difference, and I've done a fair bit of traveling in both states.
No offense, but I don't see how you could even say that.  Michigan signage and Ohio signage are nothing alike.
I've been to 25 states. It's possible that the 25 states I haven't been to happen to all be right in between Ohio and Michigan, while the other 23 states I have been to are on the far end(s) of the spectrum, but I'm very skeptical.

Quote
Michigan's exit tabs are normal sized, and Ohio's are tiny to the point of being almost unreadable at high speeds.
Ummm... I don't think so. If anything, Michigan's are oversized, especially those weird ones that needlessly span the entire width of the sign. Here's two that I picked at random: Michigan and Ohio. Not a whole lot of difference, and the exit tabs are, for all practical purposes, identical.

Quote
I would be more inclined to think Ohio and Indiana's signage are more similar than Ohio and Michigan's, especially the blue logo signs.
That's a pretty major insult to Ohio, if you ask me.
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Re: States Ranked by Signage Quality
« Reply #115 on: May 17, 2019, 04:28:33 PM »

If anything, MI & NC are related. Both use diamonds as their state route shields (minus the "M" in NC but from what I've seen on this forum that's been disappearing in MI, I haven't been in MI since '06) and both have the all caps "DOWNTOWN" on BGS'.

The shape of a route marker and the capitalization of a single word...  I'm not exactly blown away by the significance of those similarities.

Closest thing I can think of Michigan being "related" to another state as far as signage.
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Re: States Ranked by Signage Quality
« Reply #116 on: May 17, 2019, 05:28:02 PM »

As someone who lives in Illinois, I'd like to ask everyone why Illinois is on the good side of the spectrum in their eyes. Because I do not see it.

Speaking for myself, I put Illinois in my top five because I really didn't have a good 5th option.  In the past I would have put Missouri in that spot, but since they have started putting ginormous BGS' on their highways that knocked them out.  I don't have enough experience in Wisconsin to say one way or another, but they could replace Illinois on that list based on what I have seen.  I personally haven't stepped foot in Wisconsin since 1996.  Oklahoma has good interstate signage, but their turnpike signage is not so great.

Fair enough, that's understandable. I can assure you though that Wisconsin is better than Illinois.
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ce929wax

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Re: States Ranked by Signage Quality
« Reply #117 on: May 17, 2019, 06:37:54 PM »

Again, not to be rude, webny99, but you are wrong.  I'll give you the example you gave in your post, but there are still plenty of instances where there are tiny exit tabs on Ohio signage.  I live in Michigan, I see Michigan signage every day.  I have personal ties to Ohio and am there fairly often. 



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webny99

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Re: States Ranked by Signage Quality
« Reply #118 on: May 17, 2019, 07:43:42 PM »

Again, not to be rude, webny99, but you are wrong.  I'll give you the example you gave in your post, but there are still plenty of instances where there are tiny exit tabs on Ohio signage.  I live in Michigan, I see Michigan signage every day.  I have personal ties to Ohio and am there fairly often.

I too have been to Ohio many times and to Michigan around five times or so.

I think at this point it is a matter of personal experience and preference. Overall, Michigan is a bit more consistent, but Ohio's new installs are quite comparable to what you find in Michigan.

I would be interested to see some examples of these tiny exit tabs. Most of my travels have been in northern Ohio and I honestly can't even picture what you're talking about. I know I could find countless examples of regular, standard sized tabs on I-90, the Turnpike, and I-71.
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TheHighwayMan394

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Re: States Ranked by Signage Quality
« Reply #119 on: May 17, 2019, 08:13:27 PM »

I’ve never been a fan of Michigan’s giant ground mounted assemblies using 4-5 signs where 2 or 3 is sufficient. (And yes, some states do this worse)

https://goo.gl/maps/UMNsaHN2PEhucJiU8
« Last Edit: May 17, 2019, 08:21:50 PM by TheHighwayMan394 »
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Re: States Ranked by Signage Quality
« Reply #120 on: May 17, 2019, 11:20:18 PM »

I too have been to Ohio many times and to Michigan around five times or so.

I think at this point it is a matter of personal experience and preference. Overall, Michigan is a bit more consistent, but Ohio's new installs are quite comparable to what you find in Michigan.

I would be interested to see some examples of these tiny exit tabs. Most of my travels have been in northern Ohio and I honestly can't even picture what you're talking about. I know I could find countless examples of regular, standard sized tabs on I-90, the Turnpike, and I-71.

http://www.billburmaster.com/rmsandw/ohio/interstate/470oh.html  has an example of what I am talking about third picture from the bottom.  I did a cursory search on GSV where I thought there might be one, but it seems Ohio has put up a bunch of new signs since I was there last.

I apologize if it seemed like I jumped down your throat.  I'm remembering the olden days of Ohio roads, as the new signs you have pointed out do, in fact, look similar to Michigan signs.  No hard feelings?
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Re: States Ranked by Signage Quality
« Reply #121 on: May 18, 2019, 01:00:18 AM »

Here's a not very methodically ranked list based on personal opinion and preference, with a probable bias in favor of states in which I've driven more.  From best to worst:
Michigan
Arizona
Georgia
Pennsylvania
Kansas
Ohio
Nebraska
New Jersey
Maryland
West Virginia
Virginia
North Carolina
Florida
Minnesota
Texas (big points lost for sub-standard signing of important lane drops)
Tennessee (points lost for icky diagrammatic signs)
Massachusetts
Connecticut
Delaware
New York
Kentucky
Wisconsin
Indiana
North Dakota
New Hampshire (state in which I've driven the least--hard to rank)
South Carolina
Missouri (points lost due to bad maintenance)
South Dakota
Oregon
Montana
Utah
Illinois
Iowa
Idaho
Colorado
Mississippi
Louisiana
Arkansas
Alabama
Wyoming
California
Washington
New Mexico
Oklahoma

States in which I haven't driven:
Alaska
Hawaii
Maine
Nevada
Rhode Island
Vermont
« Last Edit: May 18, 2019, 01:03:57 AM by stridentweasel »
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Re: States Ranked by Signage Quality
« Reply #122 on: May 18, 2019, 02:23:47 AM »

I would say my personal top 5 are:
Michigan
Indiana
Tennessee
Texas
Illinois
Sorry, I have to knock Indiana out of the Top 5, for the poor signing on I-69 between Bloomington and Evansville...Is it that hard to add in Destination/Distance signs? And there is no reason to not use Indy as a Northbound Control now, instead of Controlless

Also the fact that InDOT (in addition to KYTC) having to yet “unify” the I-265 designation...have they even applied to AASHTO to designate the East End Crossing as I-265? Better Controls on I-265/IN 265/KY 841 should also be added, to signify the route is a functioning Bypass now

As someone who lives in Illinois, I'd like to ask everyone why Illinois is on the good side of the spectrum in their eyes. Because I do not see it.
My criticisms of IDOT (and ISTHA when needed) signage involve:
1) Use of Control States in D1 instead of Cities
2) Using both East St Louis and St Louis as Local and Major Controls, especially on Destination/Mileage signage, on the 3 Interstates approaching St Louis. Since they are literally the width of the river away from each other, St Louis is fine
3) I-24 only “kinda” having a West Control of St Louis. It should be Fully Signed and on Destination/Mileage signs, just like it is across the Ohio in KY
4) The whole “Suburbs” (since removed) or “*directional* Suburbs” as acceptable Controls - IDOT and ISTHA are both Guilty here. Also I-355 @ I-55 not having Controls - just greenout from where “Suburbs” used to be

D8 & D9 tend to not use Directional Banners on more rural reassurance shields...not every reassurance shield really needs the Directional Banner

I think IDOT does a pretty darn good job with signage, otherwise. I’m trying to visualize which Expressway Interchange you feel is poorly signed...I-57 @ I-80 is about the worst I’ve noticed, and its not horrid

ISTHA added standard Exit Numbers and Mile Markers (which involved “flipping” the Jane Addams Tollway MMs).
IDOT and ISTHA sign Freeway Exits well, IMHO, including the Tab placement shifted Left or Right, depending on the Exit side.
IDOT surface intersections are typically well shielded, in addition to having “IL Route ##” or “US Route ##” on the Street Blade
Speed Limit, Stop Signs, Passing Zone, Destination/Mileage, the IDOT County-based MMs, Advisory signage, Reassurance Shields (including Multiplexes) - all fine and dandy

Illinois does pretty well on its signage, but it could be slightly better
« Last Edit: May 18, 2019, 03:02:56 AM by ilpt4u »
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Re: States Ranked by Signage Quality
« Reply #123 on: May 18, 2019, 03:49:54 PM »

I know this is an old thread, but I wanted to post a full list of my own and see what others thought. I included all of the lower 48 and it ended up a lot more top heavy than I thought it would, so I reread the thread and made some changes. Obviously, I am going mainly by others comments for states I haven't been to, while my placement for states I have been to is a bit more nuanced. However, I am very much open for suggestions!  :)

Tier 1 - The Best
Idaho, Michigan, Ohio, North Dakota, Vermont

Tier 2 - Good
Alabama, Florida, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Texas, Washington, Wisconsin

Tier 3 - Average
Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, Wyoming

Tier 4 - Poor
Arkansas, California, Pennsylvania, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oregon

Tier 5 - The Worst
New Mexico, Oklahoma, Rhode Island
I wouldn't put Massachusetts in Poor, it would probably be Good based on recent sign replacement / installations
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webny99

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Re: States Ranked by Signage Quality
« Reply #124 on: May 18, 2019, 04:10:11 PM »

I apologize if it seemed like I jumped down your throat.  I'm remembering the olden days of Ohio roads, as the new signs you have pointed out do, in fact, look similar to Michigan signs.  No hard feelings?

Yeah, I think I would need to see more of Ohio's old signage to make a judgment of it, as much of what I have seen (mainly in the Cleveland area) is indeed pretty new.
And all good - not at all  :)
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