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Author Topic: The Clearview Subject  (Read 109763 times)

ethanhopkin14

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The Clearview Subject
« on: July 11, 2013, 02:01:42 PM »

I am sure this has been covered in other threads, but since both Clearview and Highway Gothic are approved fonts for MUTCD specifications, not all states are switching. Is that a true statement, or have those states just not got around to resigning their BGS?  The two big offenders I can think of are CalTrans and MassDOT. Are there other states that haven't made the switch or are there ones that aren't planning to ever switch?
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Re: The Clearview Subject
« Reply #1 on: July 11, 2013, 02:07:43 PM »

Hopefully NJDOT doesn't switch. That's all I can say.

And just because it was approved by the FHWA, doesn't mean states want to switch. Why fix what's not broken? Highway Gothic does it's job well, and I don't see it ever needing a total replacement in the near future.
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Re: The Clearview Subject
« Reply #2 on: July 11, 2013, 02:13:02 PM »

I am sure this has been covered in other threads, but since both Clearview and Highway Gothic are approved fonts for MUTCD specifications, not all states are switching. Is that a true statement . . .

Yes, it is a true statement.

Quote
. . . or have those states just not got around to resigning their BGS?

No.  There has been heavy sign replacement activity in states that have not changed over to Clearview.  OR, ID, MA, KS, SD, MO, GA, FL, IN, and MN come to mind.  Similarly, it is not generally true that changeover to Clearview is correlated with massive sign replacements.  In some states (AZ, MI, VA) that has been the case, but in others (SC, AR, OK) changing to Clearview has actually coincided with a drop in the amount of sign replacement activity.
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ethanhopkin14

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Re: The Clearview Subject
« Reply #3 on: July 11, 2013, 02:17:23 PM »

I am with you. I am a Highway Gothic fan. I am not a Clearview hater per se, but I do find it slightly annoying. And I hate the numbers. The only reason I was afraid of all states changing is because I have a feeling this is FHWA's way of slowly phasing out Highway Gothic (you know, let's make them both approved now until enough time has passed, then ban it). I personally find Highway Gothic comforting and makes me think of my favorite road trips. Clearview makes me think "oh, there is a font that wants to be on a highway sign, how cute."
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Re: The Clearview Subject
« Reply #4 on: July 11, 2013, 02:25:27 PM »

I am with you. I am a Highway Gothic fan. I am not a Clearview hater per se, but I do find it slightly annoying. And I hate the numbers. The only reason I was afraid of all states changing is because I have a feeling this is FHWA's way of slowly phasing out Highway Gothic (you know, let's make them both approved now until enough time has passed, then ban it). I personally find Highway Gothic comforting and makes me think of my favorite road trips. Clearview makes me think "oh, there is a font that wants to be on a highway sign, how cute."

Clearview numbers are quite possibly the ugliest thing to look at. The letters aren't that bad, but the numbers? I'd take Arialveticagrotesk numbers ANY day over Clearview's.
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ethanhopkin14

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Re: The Clearview Subject
« Reply #5 on: July 11, 2013, 02:29:25 PM »

I am with you. I am a Highway Gothic fan. I am not a Clearview hater per se, but I do find it slightly annoying. And I hate the numbers. The only reason I was afraid of all states changing is because I have a feeling this is FHWA's way of slowly phasing out Highway Gothic (you know, let's make them both approved now until enough time has passed, then ban it). I personally find Highway Gothic comforting and makes me think of my favorite road trips. Clearview makes me think "oh, there is a font that wants to be on a highway sign, how cute."

Clearview numbers are quite possibly the ugliest thing to look at. The letters aren't that bad, but the numbers? I'd take Arialveticagrotesk numbers ANY day over Clearview's.

Drives me nuts. Here in Texas they love to use Clearview on exit numbers and Interstate mile markers. Makes me shutter every time I see it.
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Re: The Clearview Subject
« Reply #6 on: July 11, 2013, 03:23:43 PM »

Wisconsin experimented with Clearview on the south Madison Beltline.  Conclusion was it was not an improvement and will not be erecting any more Clearview signs.
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PHLBOS

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Re: The Clearview Subject
« Reply #7 on: July 11, 2013, 03:34:18 PM »

There has been heavy sign replacement activity in states that have not changed over to Clearview.  OR, ID, MA, KS, SD, MO, GA, FL, IN, and MN come to mind.
Add CT to that list.  All the recent BGS replacements along I-84 are not in Clearview.  The two 'one-off' westbound Clearview BGS' in Waterbury were recently replaced.

since both Clearview and Highway Gothic are approved fonts for MUTCD specifications, not all states are switching.
If memory serves, the FHWA's acceptance of Clearview is presently a temporary one (i.e. trail basis).

Additionally, the FHWA did recently issue some guidelines that (if followed 100%) restricts the use of Clearview fonts for only mix-cased lettering on a dark background.  All-caps, numerals and dark letters on light background in Clearview is considered; at the least, to be not recommended, and at the most, to be flat-out discouraged.

Granted, not all DOTs are yet adhering to the above-guidelines.
« Last Edit: July 11, 2013, 03:38:04 PM by PHLBOS »
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roadman

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Re: The Clearview Subject
« Reply #8 on: July 11, 2013, 03:34:30 PM »

I am sure this has been covered in other threads, but since both Clearview and Highway Gothic are approved fonts for MUTCD specifications, not all states are switching. Is that a true statement, or have those states just not got around to resigning their BGS?  The two big offenders I can think of are CalTrans and MassDOT. Are there other states that haven't made the switch or are there ones that aren't planning to ever switch?

MassDOT does not use Clearview (the Clearview guide sign for MA 9 on US 20 in Shrewsbury was a fluke and will be replaced), nor do they plan to adopt the font at anytime in the future.

Their rationale for sticking with Highway Gothic is principally because of the lack of research being conducted regarding the longetivity of Clearview signs in actual field conditions (as opposed to controlled environments or extrapolations of lab results).  Because the taller and narrower letters of Clearview result in a different contrast ratio than with Highway Gothic, there are concerns that changes over time due to weathering, etc.,  may require signs to be replaced for legibility reasons long before the sheeting wears out.  So, a sign panel that may have lasted 20 to 25 years with Highway Gothic lettering might need to be replaced at 12 to 15 years with Clearview lettering.
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Re: The Clearview Subject
« Reply #9 on: July 11, 2013, 03:36:48 PM »

My understanding is that Clearview is still under interim approval (memorandum IA-5) and agencies have to submit an application to the FHWA to get to use it. Plus, the only commercial implementation of Clearview (ClearviewHwy) seems to be pretty expensive.

This is what the FHWA has to say about the correct use of the typeface: http://mutcd.fhwa.dot.gov/res-ia_clearview_font.htm

As far as I know, the only place where the use of Clearview is required for BGSes is Québec. (I couldn't find a conclusive answer for Manitoba and British Columbia.) Ontario has made tests with it as well but they weren't conclusive. Note that Canada is obviously not under FHWA jurisdiction.

Personally, I like Clearview, but I suppose it's a matter of preference.
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roadman

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Re: The Clearview Subject
« Reply #10 on: July 11, 2013, 03:43:42 PM »

PHLBOS and Dr. Frankenstein are both correct.  Use of Clearview font still requires FHWA to grant a state Interim Approval for use.  One condition of interim approval is that, should FHWA find the font to be unacceptable in the future, the approval is recinded and all now non-conforming devices are to be replaced with standard ones.

Interim approval is usually granted for things (like VDOT's 12 panel LOGO signs) that are anticipated to be included in the next edition of the MUTCD.  It's interesting that, although the 2009 MUTCD has been issued, FHWA is still requiring interim approval for Clearview.

As for the use of Clearview on "negative contrast" signs (i.e. black on white or black on yellow), Texas Transportation Institute did a study that demonstrated that visibility of Clearview signs is actually worse than with Highway Gothic.  This is the reason for the FHWA recommendations.
« Last Edit: July 11, 2013, 04:57:17 PM by roadman »
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The High Plains Traveler

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Re: The Clearview Subject
« Reply #11 on: July 11, 2013, 04:08:37 PM »

Nor anywhere on the state highway system in Colorado. CDOT has been adding APLD signs along I-25 between Pueblo and Colorado Springs, all in standard font. The only places I've seen Clearview in Colorado - though I'm sure there are many more - are on signal mast arm street name signs in Pueblo and Denver, and pole-mount ("blade") street signs in Colorado Springs.
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Avalanchez71

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Re: The Clearview Subject
« Reply #12 on: July 11, 2013, 04:31:26 PM »

I am sure this has been covered in other threads, but since both Clearview and Highway Gothic are approved fonts for MUTCD specifications, not all states are switching. Is that a true statement . . .

Yes, it is a true statement.

Quote
. . . or have those states just not got around to resigning their BGS?

No.  There has been heavy sign replacement activity in states that have not changed over to Clearview.  OR, ID, MA, KS, SD, MO, GA, FL, IN, and MN come to mind.  Similarly, it is not generally true that changeover to Clearview is correlated with massive sign replacements.  In some states (AZ, MI, VA) that has been the case, but in others (SC, AR, OK) changing to Clearview has actually coincided with a drop in the amount of sign replacement activity.

I-65 in Williamson County TN just had a rebuild and no Clearview in sight.
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ethanhopkin14

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Re: The Clearview Subject
« Reply #13 on: July 11, 2013, 05:08:03 PM »

PHLBOS and Dr. Frankenstein are both correct.  Use of Clearview font still requires FHWA to grant a state Interim Approval for use.  One condition of interim approval is that, should FHWA find the font to be unacceptable in the future, the approval is recinded and all now non-conforming devices are to be replaced with standard ones.

Interim approval is usually granted for things (like VDOT's 12 panel LOGO signs) that are anticipated to be included in the next edition of the MUTCD.  It's interesting that, although the 2009 MUTCD has been issued, FHWA is still requiring interim approval for Clearview.

As for the use of Clearview on "negative contrast" signs (i.e. black on white or black on yellow), Texas Transportation Institute did a study that demonstrated that visibility of Clearview signs is actually worse than with Highway Gothic.  This is the reason for the FHWA recommendations.

   I guess I have a slightly skewed view of the Clearview topic being a resident of Texas. TxDOT is madly in love with Clearview and have made it the state's standard font for non FHWA regulated highways (ie: U.S., State, and Farm to Market Highways). If what you are saying is true and the FHWA chooses some day to pull the plug on Clearview, Texas will have a boat load of signs that will be deemed "non conforming" and will cost them a ton of money. Way to spend our money wisely Texas!!  Again, it was stupid to go nuts on Clearview when Highway Gothic does the job perfectly fine.
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Re: The Clearview Subject
« Reply #14 on: July 11, 2013, 07:59:23 PM »

Ditto for PA.
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J N Winkler

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Re: The Clearview Subject
« Reply #15 on: July 11, 2013, 08:45:01 PM »

I guess I have a slightly skewed view of the Clearview topic being a resident of Texas. TxDOT is madly in love with Clearview and have made it the state's standard font for non FHWA regulated highways (ie: U.S., State, and Farm to Market Highways). If what you are saying is true and the FHWA chooses some day to pull the plug on Clearview, Texas will have a boat load of signs that will be deemed "non conforming" and will cost them a ton of money. Way to spend our money wisely Texas!!  Again, it was stupid to go nuts on Clearview when Highway Gothic does the job perfectly fine.

Actually, I doubt TxDOT would lose out if FHWA decided to rescind the Clearview interim approval tomorrow.  The more realistic scenario, given the considerable amount of Clearview signage that has been installed nationwide, is that FHWA would instead enforce a phaseout deadline set far enough in the future that most if not all Clearview signs would be life-expired before they had to be removed.
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Re: The Clearview Subject
« Reply #16 on: July 12, 2013, 12:21:36 AM »

If FHWA would just go to Series E instead of Series E(M), Clearview would have no leg to stand on re: stroke width, hole size, and halation.

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Re: The Clearview Subject
« Reply #17 on: July 12, 2013, 10:24:10 AM »

MassDOT does not use Clearview (the Clearview guide sign for MA 9 on US 20 in Shrewsbury was a fluke and will be replaced), nor do they plan to adopt the font at anytime in the future.

...as specifically stated in the MA supplement to the MUTCD:

"Alternative fonts such as “Clearview” shall not be permitted for use on legends on directional or street name signs for streets and highways within Massachusetts."

(Page 61 at http://www.mhd.state.ma.us/downloads/trafficMgmt/MASSMUTCD20120409.pdf)
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J N Winkler

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Re: The Clearview Subject
« Reply #18 on: July 12, 2013, 11:01:51 AM »

If FHWA would just go to Series E instead of Series E(M), Clearview would have no leg to stand on re: stroke width, hole size, and halation.

I don't think that is actually true.  I am not aware that Series E has ever proved to have a unit legibility greater than that of Series E Modified.  In comparison to Clearview (at either the 5-W or 5-W-R spacings), its lowercase loop height is a smaller percentage of capital letter height.

I am actually not sure that stroke width, hole size, and halation are all that important in determining the relative legibility of Clearview in general, although they are probably the major driver of the enhanced benefits for older drivers.  I think the enhanced lowercase loop height is probably a more important factor for the motoring population as a whole.  For Clearview this is 84% of capital letter height, versus 75% for the FHWA alphabet series, and if you divide the former by the latter and subtract 1, the size difference you get (12%) is pretty close to the 11% increase in unit legibility that is claimed for Clearview 5-W-R over Series E Modified (in the "equal footprint" scenario).

FHWA's current position with regard to Clearview (as expressed in the Clearview FAQ) is that Clearview produces a 5% legibility increase for older drivers, which is a composite of the legibility effects of using Clearview and microprismatic sheeting.  In contradistinction, FHWA claims a legibility increase of 6.3% for upgrading to microprismatic sheeting alone.  This implies some clawback of benefit for using Clearview (in other words, legibility would probably be even better if the microprismatic sheeting upgrade were accompanied by use of Series E Modified).  This flatly contradicts the earlier finding (trumpeted off the rooftops by Meeker and Associates) that Clearview produces an 11% legibility increase in the "same footprint" scenario (using Clearview 5-W-R), or 21% with 11% increase in sign panel area when Clearview 5-W is substituted for Series E Modified.  However, for FHWA it serves to justify its position that Clearview will not be added to the MUTCD because it is an "equivalent alternative" rather than a net improvement.

Bottom line:  if you are a highway agency, you are better off keeping on trucking with Series E Modified rather than messing around with Series E in an attempt to counter the claimed advantages of Clearview.
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Roadsguy

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Re: The Clearview Subject
« Reply #19 on: July 12, 2013, 11:14:53 AM »

From a recent trip to North Carolina, it seems NCDOT is avoiding it like MA and WI.
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Re: The Clearview Subject
« Reply #20 on: July 12, 2013, 12:54:12 PM »

That's affirmative in NC.  There are tons of new signs that use the FHWA fonts...thankfully.

I just spent 6 days in Michigan and can testify Clearview is overrated.
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Re: The Clearview Subject
« Reply #21 on: July 12, 2013, 01:06:39 PM »

I've never seen Clearview on a WSDOT maintained road. However I have seen it on county roads on the Olympic Peninsula, in Seattle approaching the Magnolia Bridge on Elliott Avenue, and all over the place in Everett.

In fact, in Everett, I saw an SR 529 shield in Clearview on a traffic signal street blade.
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Re: The Clearview Subject
« Reply #22 on: July 12, 2013, 04:55:50 PM »

The New Hampshire DOT has stated in a series of emails between me and them that they won't use Clearview either, because it costs way too much money to switch over for a very minimal change.

MaineDOT and RIDOT also do not have any desire to switch to using Clearview as well.
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Re: The Clearview Subject
« Reply #23 on: July 12, 2013, 07:35:33 PM »

I remember seeing a guide sign or whatever it's called  on I-55 north in Illinois yesterday that used Clearview letters and Highway Gothic numbers. I almost gagged, no kidding. I mean, I don't mind Clearview, but that combination looked ugly as hell, especially since one of the "cities" on the sign was Illinois 111.

EDIT: Er, maybe it wasn't 111, it wasn't that close to East StL, but it still looked horrid.
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Re: The Clearview Subject
« Reply #24 on: July 12, 2013, 08:11:43 PM »

I remember seeing a guide sign or whatever it's called  on I-55 north in Illinois yesterday that used Clearview letters and Highway Gothic numbers. I almost gagged, no kidding. I mean, I don't mind Clearview, but that combination looked ugly as hell, especially since one of the "cities" on the sign was Illinois 111.

EDIT: Er, maybe it wasn't 111, it wasn't that close to East StL, but it still looked horrid.

I'm pretty sure that that is how Clearview is intended to be used - at least according to the FHWA page on Clearview. (Located here: http://mutcd.fhwa.dot.gov/resources/clearviewdesignfaqs/ ) Here's what I'm talking about...

Quote
   
Q: Does this mean all letters, numerals, and characters of Clearview are significantly more legible?

A: Numerals and special characters have not been tested for legibility and concerns have been reported thereon in field applications. Therefore, numerals continue to be displayed on highway signs using the Standard Alphabets.

An image of a guide sign is shown with the legend "Nuangola 2 MILES." The destination of Nuangola is displayed in upper- and lower-case letters of the alternative alphabet. The distance legend of 2 MILES is shown in all upper-case letters of the Standard Alphabets.

Figure 4. ACCEPTABLE: Example of appropriate use of Clearview for destination legend (mixed-case) and FHWA Standard Alphabets for other legends (all upper-case and numerals).
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