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Author Topic: The Clearview Subject  (Read 120406 times)

Scott5114

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Re: The Clearview Subject
« Reply #225 on: May 20, 2014, 08:48:55 PM »

Let's be realistic though... Google has little way of benefiting from a road sign font. Sinking the cost of designing and testing a font and getting FHWA on board just so their products match a sign? How would that end up making them money?
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Re: The Clearview Subject
« Reply #226 on: May 20, 2014, 10:17:01 PM »

Arial...why does it exist?

Because Microsoft.
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Re: The Clearview Subject
« Reply #227 on: May 20, 2014, 11:56:48 PM »

Quote from: Scott5114
Let's be realistic though... Google has little way of benefiting from a road sign font. Sinking the cost of designing and testing a font and getting FHWA on board just so their products match a sign? How would that end up making them money?

It would be all about branding. Like I said, it would take one hell of a great typeface family to get the job done. But what if a company like Google, or Adobe or somebody else could manage such a thing?

A truly great type family can be a big money maker. And not only that, it can have a huge impact on the visual look of advertising. Helvetica is really one of the greatest typefaces ever designed, but it is also widely despised for its amount of over use all over the place. Graphics people set up funny challenges to people to see if they can cross certain urban environments without encountering Helvetica. That's a testament to the greatness of that typeface.
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Re: The Clearview Subject
« Reply #228 on: May 21, 2014, 12:09:46 AM »

Quote from: Scott5114
Let's be realistic though... Google has little way of benefiting from a road sign font. Sinking the cost of designing and testing a font and getting FHWA on board just so their products match a sign? How would that end up making them money?

It would be all about branding. Like I said, it would take one hell of a great typeface family to get the job done. But what if a company like Google, or Adobe or somebody else could manage such a thing?

A truly great type family can be a big money maker. And not only that, it can have a huge impact on the visual look of advertising. Helvetica is really one of the greatest typefaces ever designed, but it is also widely despised for its amount of over use all over the place. Graphics people set up funny challenges to people to see if they can cross certain urban environments without encountering Helvetica. That's a testament to the greatness of that typeface.

Like with their self driving cars, the net benefit to Google (directly) might be very small, but the benefit to society could be immense, depending on the success of the font. And like you said, Bobby, if they decided to require licencing (unlike Roboto, like Clearview), they could make vast amounts of money.
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Scott5114

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Re: The Clearview Subject
« Reply #229 on: May 22, 2014, 12:23:11 PM »

Quote from: Scott5114
Let's be realistic though... Google has little way of benefiting from a road sign font. Sinking the cost of designing and testing a font and getting FHWA on board just so their products match a sign? How would that end up making them money?

It would be all about branding. Like I said, it would take one hell of a great typeface family to get the job done. But what if a company like Google, or Adobe or somebody else could manage such a thing?

A truly great type family can be a big money maker. And not only that, it can have a huge impact on the visual look of advertising. Helvetica is really one of the greatest typefaces ever designed, but it is also widely despised for its amount of over use all over the place. Graphics people set up funny challenges to people to see if they can cross certain urban environments without encountering Helvetica. That's a testament to the greatness of that typeface.

Maybe so, but there are ways to spend money on branding that have a far greater ROI than developing a typeface and getting it put on road signs.

Actually, most companies with a bespoke typeface don't want anyone else using it, since part of the reason for having their own typeface is that it makes them unique.
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jakeroot

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Re: The Clearview Subject
« Reply #230 on: May 22, 2014, 01:49:58 PM »

Quote from: Scott5114
Let's be realistic though... Google has little way of benefiting from a road sign font. Sinking the cost of designing and testing a font and getting FHWA on board just so their products match a sign? How would that end up making them money?

It would be all about branding. Like I said, it would take one hell of a great typeface family to get the job done. But what if a company like Google, or Adobe or somebody else could manage such a thing?

A truly great type family can be a big money maker. And not only that, it can have a huge impact on the visual look of advertising. Helvetica is really one of the greatest typefaces ever designed, but it is also widely despised for its amount of over use all over the place. Graphics people set up funny challenges to people to see if they can cross certain urban environments without encountering Helvetica. That's a testament to the greatness of that typeface.

Maybe so, but there are ways to spend money on branding that have a far greater ROI than developing a typeface and getting it put on road signs.

Actually, most companies with a bespoke typeface don't want anyone else using it, since part of the reason for having their own typeface is that it makes them unique.

Google's brand (the most valuable in the world) is based on their products, not their typeface choices (IMO); the only two fonts they use, Roboto and Catull, are both available for free. Based on past practices, I don't see Google designing a new font, with emphases on distant readability, and not letting anyone else use it.

I'm not saying Google just floats with the breeze and lets companies basically steal their ideas, but generally speaking, Google isn't that litigious, and as such, they wouldn't want to develop something that the open-source community would not be able to freely use.
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Bobby5280

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Re: The Clearview Subject
« Reply #231 on: May 23, 2014, 02:08:13 PM »

I think Google could see some value in creating a new highway signs typeface that it could then use internally to make its maps & navigation software look more authentic. Some navigation apps for smart phones, in-dash systems, etc. try to mimic the look of big green highway signs and other traffic sign features in the interface. But they often do a poor job of it, delivering results that are either just look wrong or even cartoony.

The Roboto type family is free, even for commercial use. It can be downloaded from Font Squirrel, which only hosts free fonts with commercial use availability. Still, Google does have certain terms in the license in how the font files can be distributed.

The Catull type family is not free/open source. There may be a couple web sites offering free downloads of Catull. Those fonts are either pirated or clones of some sort. The Berthold type foundry owns the rights to Catull. Their latest version of Catull is the Catull BQ family, released in 2006 in OpenType format. Adobe used to sell an older Postscript Type 1 version, Catull BE, when they were licensing Berthold fonts for Adobe Font Folio and their graphics applications back in the 1990s.
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Re: The Clearview Subject
« Reply #232 on: May 23, 2014, 02:20:09 PM »

The Catull type family is not free/open source. There may be a couple web sites offering free downloads of Catull. Those fonts are either pirated or clones of some sort. The Berthold type foundry owns the rights to Catull. Their latest version of Catull is the Catull BQ family, released in 2006 in OpenType format. Adobe used to sell an older Postscript Type 1 version, Catull BE, when they were licensing Berthold fonts for Adobe Font Folio and their graphics applications back in the 1990s.

And that's why I consider you the resident typeface expert. I searched "Catull" in Google (lol) and I found it for free. Must have been pirates.  :pan:
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Scott5114

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Re: The Clearview Subject
« Reply #233 on: May 24, 2014, 09:20:44 PM »

Quote from: Scott5114
Let's be realistic though... Google has little way of benefiting from a road sign font. Sinking the cost of designing and testing a font and getting FHWA on board just so their products match a sign? How would that end up making them money?

It would be all about branding. Like I said, it would take one hell of a great typeface family to get the job done. But what if a company like Google, or Adobe or somebody else could manage such a thing?

A truly great type family can be a big money maker. And not only that, it can have a huge impact on the visual look of advertising. Helvetica is really one of the greatest typefaces ever designed, but it is also widely despised for its amount of over use all over the place. Graphics people set up funny challenges to people to see if they can cross certain urban environments without encountering Helvetica. That's a testament to the greatness of that typeface.

Maybe so, but there are ways to spend money on branding that have a far greater ROI than developing a typeface and getting it put on road signs.

Actually, most companies with a bespoke typeface don't want anyone else using it, since part of the reason for having their own typeface is that it makes them unique.

Google's brand (the most valuable in the world) is based on their products, not their typeface choices (IMO); the only two fonts they use, Roboto and Catull, are both available for free. Based on past practices, I don't see Google designing a new font, with emphases on distant readability, and not letting anyone else use it.

I'm not saying Google just floats with the breeze and lets companies basically steal their ideas, but generally speaking, Google isn't that litigious, and as such, they wouldn't want to develop something that the open-source community would not be able to freely use.

Right, but Google developing a road sign font still makes no business sense. Roboto was developed because Google needed a font for Android and Google Maps. It filled a need the company had. Google does not have any road sign font needs currently, and they have no possible reason for expanding into that market other than "it would be neat if they had the same font on Google Maps and on signs". It would be a lot easier for Google to just license Interstate or Clearview if they wanted to do that. Developing a font and getting FHWA on board isn't a good use of money.
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Re: The Clearview Subject
« Reply #234 on: May 24, 2014, 09:32:21 PM »

I think Google could see some value in creating a new highway signs typeface that it could then use internally to make its maps & navigation software look more authentic. Some navigation apps for smart phones, in-dash systems, etc. try to mimic the look of big green highway signs and other traffic sign features in the interface. But they often do a poor job of it, delivering results that are either just look...

Curiously, these systems almost never use the official FHWA fonts and graphics. It's not that hard to reverse-engineer the GMaps app to use the roadgeek fonts in its navigation prompts.
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jakeroot

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Re: The Clearview Subject
« Reply #235 on: May 24, 2014, 09:53:56 PM »

Quote from: Scott5114
Let's be realistic though... Google has little way of benefiting from a road sign font. Sinking the cost of designing and testing a font and getting FHWA on board just so their products match a sign? How would that end up making them money?

It would be all about branding. Like I said, it would take one hell of a great typeface family to get the job done. But what if a company like Google, or Adobe or somebody else could manage such a thing?

A truly great type family can be a big money maker. And not only that, it can have a huge impact on the visual look of advertising. Helvetica is really one of the greatest typefaces ever designed, but it is also widely despised for its amount of over use all over the place. Graphics people set up funny challenges to people to see if they can cross certain urban environments without encountering Helvetica. That's a testament to the greatness of that typeface.

Maybe so, but there are ways to spend money on branding that have a far greater ROI than developing a typeface and getting it put on road signs.

Actually, most companies with a bespoke typeface don't want anyone else using it, since part of the reason for having their own typeface is that it makes them unique.

Google's brand (the most valuable in the world) is based on their products, not their typeface choices (IMO); the only two fonts they use, Roboto and Catull, are both available for free. Based on past practices, I don't see Google designing a new font, with emphases on distant readability, and not letting anyone else use it.

I'm not saying Google just floats with the breeze and lets companies basically steal their ideas, but generally speaking, Google isn't that litigious, and as such, they wouldn't want to develop something that the open-source community would not be able to freely use.

Right, but Google developing a road sign font still makes no business sense. Roboto was developed because Google needed a font for Android and Google Maps. It filled a need the company had. Google does not have any road sign font needs currently, and they have no possible reason for expanding into that market other than "it would be neat if they had the same font on Google Maps and on signs". It would be a lot easier for Google to just license Interstate or Clearview if they wanted to do that. Developing a font and getting FHWA on board isn't a good use of money.

Would you agree with me that renaming Eugene's Beltline road to "Randy Pape Beltline" made no business sense? In the same regards, Google developing a new font might not make business sense, but in the end, it's just a nice thing to do. Google is worth a boatload of money, and given so much of it, they are allowed a great deal of flexibility with how they wish to spend said money. I think, given the correct circumstances, Google would find the time and place to develop this font. I'm not sure what circumstances would need to arise for such an opportunity, but I'm sure it will happen.

I don't know if I necessarily agree that Roboto was a necessary font, either. Apple has been doing fine with Myriad/Garamond/Helvetica, and Google was likewise doing fine with Arial/Droid Sans. Google decided to develop Roboto to help tie together their product line (IMO), but they could have easily done that by just using a lesser-used sans-serif font. Maybe it was cheaper to develop in-house than licence. But if that was the case, Apple should have developed their own font long ago.

EDIT: It's worth mentioning that the Droid typeface was developed for Android back in 2007. Not sure how that plays into this conversation, but interesting nonetheless.
« Last Edit: May 24, 2014, 10:01:35 PM by jake »
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Scott5114

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Re: The Clearview Subject
« Reply #236 on: May 26, 2014, 06:58:10 PM »

Renaming a street isn't done by a private business with a stated goal to make a profit, though.

Look, I get the point you're making, that Google has essentially infinite money and can and has done "nice" things with no immediate benefit for the company. But there are two things that make this different: 1) There is always a non-obvious benefit to the company somehow (free email with lots of storage, but it displays targeted ads based on the content of your email) 2) the benefit Google would get off of this is tiny compared to the enormous cost it would take to get TTI or similar institutes interested enough to test it, then get state DOTs on board, then FHWA, etc.

Clearview took literal years to get to the point where the Interim Approval was issued, and then it turned out to be not all that hot, so FHWA would probably draw on its experiences and require even more testing before the next big font got to that point in the process. Meanwhile, Google would be burning money on this project throughout that entire time (someone has to be promoting this font to the right people, and that dude probably wants a salary). It makes sense for a type foundry to do that since selling fonts licenses is their core business, and they would see a return on their investment from font sales (this is what motivated Terminal Design). But for a tech company which does not sell fonts as its core business to do it, and for free, just for branding reasons? That is career-suicide level insane. We're talking blowing tens of thousands of dollars on the off chance that Google will somehow make it up in profits because someone thinks it's nifty that the Android sat-nav app has the same font as signs. If they actually thought that would net them extra profit, they could do a FHWA Series implementation like Sammi's doing, or license Interstate, for cheaper.

I think we will definitely see another attempt at what Clearview was going after, but the chance that it will come from Google is vanishingly small. It's more likely that Terminal Design or a similar company interested in actually selling their font will attempt it.
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Re: The Clearview Subject
« Reply #237 on: May 30, 2014, 12:22:53 PM »

Spotted on H.B.'s facebook feed:

http://kxro.wordpress.com/2014/04/30/clearview-highway-font-not-clear-enough-for-grays-harbor/

From KXRO radio in Aberdeen, Washington: Gray's Harbor County was apparently denied a request to use Clearview, and the local FHwA Public Affairs officer quoted:

Quote
We plan on rescinding the interim approval altogether and are not approving further use of the font anywhere going forward.
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Re: The Clearview Subject
« Reply #238 on: May 30, 2014, 12:29:33 PM »

Spotted on H.B.'s facebook feed:

http://kxro.wordpress.com/2014/04/30/clearview-highway-font-not-clear-enough-for-grays-harbor/

From KXRO radio in Aberdeen, Washington: Gray's Harbor County was apparently denied a request to use Clearview, and the local FHwA Public Affairs officer quoted:

Quote
We plan on rescinding the interim approval altogether and are not approving further use of the font anywhere going forward.

I'd say this may be the end of Clearview.  If interim approval is rescinded, then all new signage installs in states with Clearview may well indeed be in FHWA font going forward.  Clearview may exist for several years afterward (as does button copy currently) as the signs age, but when they are replaced, they will most likely be replaced with FHWA signage.
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Re: The Clearview Subject
« Reply #239 on: May 30, 2014, 12:41:27 PM »

Spotted on H.B.'s facebook feed:

http://kxro.wordpress.com/2014/04/30/clearview-highway-font-not-clear-enough-for-grays-harbor/

From KXRO radio in Aberdeen, Washington: Gray's Harbor County was apparently denied a request to use Clearview, and the local FHwA Public Affairs officer quoted:

Quote
We plan on rescinding the interim approval altogether and are not approving further use of the font anywhere going forward.

I'd say this may be the end of Clearview.  If interim approval is rescinded, then all new signage installs in states with Clearview may well indeed be in FHWA font going forward.  Clearview may exist for several years afterward (as does button copy currently) as the signs age, but when they are replaced, they will most likely be replaced with FHWA signage.

And expect new installs to continue in the interim for signs that have already been manufactured and for signing already under contract.

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Re: The Clearview Subject
« Reply #240 on: May 30, 2014, 12:52:45 PM »

I am actually not convinced all state FHWA offices will enforce usage of the FHWA series in new signing plans after the Clearview interim approval is rescinded.  I think some of them have developed Stockholm syndrome in relation to the DOTs they are supposed to regulate.
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Re: The Clearview Subject
« Reply #241 on: May 30, 2014, 01:03:33 PM »

I am actually not convinced all state FHWA offices will enforce usage of the FHWA series in new signing plans after the Clearview interim approval is rescinded.  I think some of them have developed Stockholm syndrome in relation to the DOTs they are supposed to regulate.

Like the um, *cough*, ones in *cough* California *cough*?
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Re: The Clearview Subject
« Reply #242 on: May 30, 2014, 03:59:07 PM »

I am actually not convinced all state FHWA offices will enforce usage of the FHWA series in new signing plans after the Clearview interim approval is rescinded.

Not to wax political, but I see a general and accelerating trend of states disregarding federal mandates, in some cases explicitly through legislation. Some states that switched to Clearview might switch back. However, others may keep using it for one of the following reasons: 1) We bought this thing, we're going to keep use it. 2) Our new signs look better than the old ones. 3) For Pete's sake, the feds dictate what fon we have to use on our signs?
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Re: The Clearview Subject
« Reply #243 on: May 30, 2014, 04:17:59 PM »

I am actually not convinced all state FHWA offices will enforce usage of the FHWA series in new signing plans after the Clearview interim approval is rescinded.

Not to wax political, but I see a general and accelerating trend of states disregarding federal mandates, in some cases explicitly through legislation. Some states that switched to Clearview might switch back. However, others may keep using it for one of the following reasons:...2) Our new signs look better than the old ones. 3) For Pete's sake, the feds dictate what fon we have to use on our signs?

I agree completely, but I'm wondering if it costs extra to move back to FHWA? Like Pennsylvania, right? They have and continue to use Clearview, and a majority of signs are in it now. Would it cost them extra to move back to FHWA? And that's a serious question, too...I don't have any idea.

1) We bought this thing, we're going to keep use it.

I remember when I asked WSDOT if they planned to move to Clearview, and besides them waiting for the FHWA to rescind interim approval, they told me the cost of the licences was extraordinary. I can't even imagine what Pennsylvania has spent on Clearview so far; going back to FHWA would be (monetarily) ridiculous at this point. I'd imagine Pennsylvania will continue to use it for a long time.
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Re: The Clearview Subject
« Reply #244 on: May 30, 2014, 04:18:33 PM »

I am actually not convinced all state FHWA offices will enforce usage of the FHWA series in new signing plans after the Clearview interim approval is rescinded.

Not to wax political, but I see a general and accelerating trend of states disregarding federal mandates, in some cases explicitly through legislation. Some states that switched to Clearview might switch back. However, others may keep using it for one of the following reasons: 1) We bought this thing, we're going to keep use it. 2) Our new signs look better than the old ones. 3) For Pete's sake, the feds dictate what fon we have to use on our signs?

You can compare it to the federal mandate of Upper Lower fonts for street blades. Most places have already complied with this. Time will tell if states fall in line with regards to Clearview, or just blow off the mandate.

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Re: The Clearview Subject
« Reply #245 on: May 30, 2014, 06:40:35 PM »

I am actually not convinced all state FHWA offices will enforce usage of the FHWA series in new signing plans after the Clearview interim approval is rescinded.

Not to wax political, but I see a general and accelerating trend of states disregarding federal mandates, in some cases explicitly through legislation. Some states that switched to Clearview might switch back. However, others may keep using it for one of the following reasons:...2) Our new signs look better than the old ones. 3) For Pete's sake, the feds dictate what fon we have to use on our signs?

I agree completely, but I'm wondering if it costs extra to move back to FHWA? Like Pennsylvania, right? They have and continue to use Clearview, and a majority of signs are in it now. Would it cost them extra to move back to FHWA? And that's a serious question, too...I don't have any idea.

1) We bought this thing, we're going to keep use it.

I remember when I asked WSDOT if they planned to move to Clearview, and besides them waiting for the FHWA to rescind interim approval, they told me the cost of the licences was extraordinary. I can't even imagine what Pennsylvania has spent on Clearview so far; going back to FHWA would be (monetarily) ridiculous at this point. I'd imagine Pennsylvania will continue to use it for a long time.

I would imagine there is little expense associated with returning to FHWA fonts. Most sign-making programs were designed before Clearview existed, and Clearview support was added by an upgrade/extension to the program. To go back to the FHWA fonts, all that one has to do is turn the program's Clearview switch off.

As for licensing costs, all 50 states already have a copy of the FHWA fontsóthey would have to for applications like regulatory signs, route shields, etc. which Clearview has never been extensively deployed to.

There may be some costs for states using demountable-copy Clearview signs (if such a state exists), if they maintain an inventory of characters rather than generating them as needed.

It is sad that DOTs spent so much money on ultimately-useless Clearview licenses, but those are sunk costs and spending any more on Clearview at this point is merely throwing good money after bad. On the plus side, font licenses are typically sold on a per-user basis, so the volume of Clearview signage doesn't correlate with how much was spent. (Actually, from an accounting point of view, Pennsylvania/Texas/Michigan/et al. probably came away with lower Clearview costs compared to other states since the cost of the licenses was amortized across so many different signage projects.)
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jakeroot

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Re: The Clearview Subject
« Reply #246 on: May 30, 2014, 06:47:18 PM »

It is sad that DOTs spent so much money on ultimately-useless Clearview licenses, but those are sunk costs and spending any more on Clearview at this point is merely throwing good money after bad. On the plus side, font licenses are typically sold on a per-user basis, so the volume of Clearview signage doesn't correlate with how much was spent. (Actually, from an accounting point of view, Pennsylvania/Texas/Michigan/et al. probably came away with lower Clearview costs compared to other states since the cost of the licenses was amortized across so many different signage projects.)

I was thinking with the introduction of Clearview, that Pennsylvania sped up sign replacement, and in order to do that, hired more people to make signs, and in turn purchased more licences of Clearview than a typical state. Of course, that's a hunch and probably not the case. I am not at all familiar with Pennsylvania and their sign-replacement strategy and chances are good that I'm completely off.
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CrystalWalrein

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Re: The Clearview Subject
« Reply #247 on: May 30, 2014, 07:38:50 PM »

I would expect that the federal government would give states the money to make up for what Clearview cost them once Clearview is officially snuffed.
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Scott5114

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Re: The Clearview Subject
« Reply #248 on: May 30, 2014, 09:01:41 PM »

Why would they? Clearview was only given interim approval for testing. It was never an official part of the MUTCD. State DOTs knew exactly what they were getting when they bought into Clearview.
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Re: The Clearview Subject
« Reply #249 on: May 30, 2014, 09:09:31 PM »

I was thinking with the introduction of Clearview, that Pennsylvania sped up sign replacement, and in order to do that, hired more people to make signs, and in turn purchased more licences of Clearview than a typical state. Of course, that's a hunch and probably not the case. I am not at all familiar with Pennsylvania and their sign-replacement strategy and chances are good that I'm completely off.

I lived in Pennsylvania during the period in question, and in my experience, most new Clearview signs that appeared either were part of new construction projects or replaced aged text-only button copy signs. I don't recall gratuitous replacements of relatively young signsójust to get more Clearview on the roads. The relatively high percentage of Clearview signage across the state likely has more to do with the fact that PA was the first state using itówell before interim approval.
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