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Author Topic: The Clearview Subject  (Read 109790 times)

DaBigE

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Re: The Clearview Subject
« Reply #325 on: June 26, 2014, 09:43:27 AM »

Quick & dirty Transport mock up:

(The control city legend size turned out a little too big.)

I'm not a huge fan of the Transport '2', but other than that, I like it.
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jbnv

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Re: The Clearview Subject
« Reply #326 on: June 26, 2014, 10:36:56 AM »

Quick & dirty Transport mock up:

(The control city legend size turned out a little too big.)

Looks alright--except for the shield numerals. Unfortunately, and no slant intended against your effort, but I doubt this mock-up would convince anyone at FHWA to consider Transport. On the other hand, replace the shield numerals with Highway Gothic and I think we have a winner.

I wonder how Transport compares to Clearview on legibility. I personally don't understand why the font difference is such a big deal for exit tabs, cardinal directions and the mileage; do you really need to read the word "EXIT" or "MILE(S)" on every single sign?
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J N Winkler

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Re: The Clearview Subject
« Reply #327 on: June 26, 2014, 11:29:09 AM »

Unrelated to everything you've said thus far, J N Winkler, what would you think if the FHWA granted interim approval of the Transport typeface? I see you've spent time in England.

I wouldn't expect FHWA to approve the Transport typefaces for use on US traffic signs.  TTI did a comparison of Transport, Series D, and an early version of Clearview about 15 years ago (the study was done long enough ago that only the abstract, not the full report, is available from the usual online free sources).  Transport was found, by a small margin, to have the worst legibility performance of the three.  Even if we took this result as a "floor" for the performance of Transport and found there were situations where it could outperform the FHWA series, I still don't see FHWA issuing an interim approval for it because it essentially offers "equivalent performance" to something that is already approved rather than being clearly better.  This is the hurdle that Clearview failed to cross to progress from interim approval to inclusion in the MUTCD.

Transport works well in its native (British) context largely due to ways in which British signs differ from the MUTCD as implemented in most US states.  It is not available in multiple levels of condensation and in most situations it is used in sentence case rather than all-uppercase, so in urban settings British drivers tend to be better served by signs in Transport than American drivers are served by signs which use FHWA Series B, C, or even D.  On motorways and other high-speed roads, design of direction signs assumes that drivers should be able to pick out the specific destination they need quickly, rather than (as in the US) that they should be able to read the entirety of the sign at least twice in the time that it is visible.  Transport thus only has to be able to support visual search of placenames, rather than double-reading of every legend element in full, so some deficit of performance compared to the less-condensed FHWA series (D, E, and E Modified) is tolerable.  In situations where legibility performance is especially important, British standards allow Transport to be deployed at x-heights of up to 400 mm (15.75 inches), which is slightly bigger than the 20" UC/15" LC Series E Modified we use in similar cases.
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Zeffy

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Re: The Clearview Subject
« Reply #328 on: June 26, 2014, 12:01:23 PM »

Joining in on the Transport mockup train...




Here's what I would propose for Transport, that I think would work well with the MUTCD:

  • For destination legends, increase character spacing to equal that of FHWA EM. This is what I've done in my mockups.
  • Shield numerals will remain in the respective FHWA fonts.
  • Negative contrast use of Transport shall not be used, and the respective FHWA series fonts will be used instead in these situations. *
  • Transport numerals may be used in exit tabs and among action messages in the main sign body.
  • Transport will only be used for Guide Signs, and all regulatory, warning, etc. signs shall remain in the FHWA fonts.

* Added after I saw how unattractive the "heavy" variant of Transport is on the second mockup. E/EM would look way better here.
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Scott5114

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Re: The Clearview Subject
« Reply #329 on: June 26, 2014, 04:09:54 PM »

^ How is any of that different than the Clearview circular FHWA posted detailing where you can and cannot use Clearview, though? If you have to have a circular saying "you have to use the old font in these places" you may as well stick with the old font, because state DOTs will not follow the circular.
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jakeroot

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Re: The Clearview Subject
« Reply #330 on: June 26, 2014, 08:36:33 PM »

^ How is any of that different than the Clearview circular FHWA posted detailing where you can and cannot use Clearview, though? If you have to have a circular saying "you have to use the old font in these places" you may as well stick with the old font, because state DOTs will not follow the circular.

Agreed. Multiple fonts on one sign is messy. We need to find a font that can work everywhere. Zeffy, there's no evidence that Transport is less legible in comparison to FHWA in those cases.

In fact, I love Clearview, but only if it's used everywhere. I'm find with sacking Clearview unless we use it everywhere.
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jbnv

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Re: The Clearview Subject
« Reply #331 on: June 27, 2014, 11:59:02 AM »

Agreed. Multiple fonts on one sign is messy. We need to find a font that can work everywhere. Zeffy, there's no evidence that Transport is less legible in comparison to FHWA in those cases.
Ditto. With today's large character sets, it should be fairly simple to have multiple glyph sets within the same font, each set for a particular context (legend, positive contrast, small caps, etc.) Then sign design software could easily use the correct set based on context. And such a font would surely be an aesthetic improvement over FHWA.
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Billy F 1988

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Re: The Clearview Subject
« Reply #332 on: June 27, 2014, 01:13:14 PM »

To me, I wouldn't mind using Clearview for news print or Internet graphics, but if you're applying Clearview for roadway signage, the FHWA needs to be more clearer on what's accepted and what is not. I believe that what they have put in place doesn't really answer a lot of questions. It's very confusing as of late. Just saying "You can't use Clearview on negative contrast sign panels" doesn't cut it for me. Even if it is explained in manuals, that still does not answer a lot of questions.

So, seems that we have DOT employees on this forum, what do you believe is acceptable usage of Clearview and is it more effective or is it a costly expense?
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Scott5114

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Re: The Clearview Subject
« Reply #333 on: June 27, 2014, 01:52:20 PM »

To me, I wouldn't mind using Clearview for news print or Internet graphics, but if you're applying Clearview for roadway signage, the FHWA needs to be more clearer on what's accepted and what is not. I believe that what they have put in place doesn't really answer a lot of questions. It's very confusing as of late. Just saying "You can't use Clearview on negative contrast sign panels" doesn't cut it for me. Even if it is explained in manuals, that still does not answer a lot of questions.

I don't really know what's confusing about that. Clearview is shown to be less effective in negative-contrast applications, so you can't use it there.

Of course, pretty soon there will be no confusion at all, since the rule will be "You can't use Clearview anywhere..."
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Billy F 1988

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Re: The Clearview Subject
« Reply #334 on: June 27, 2014, 01:54:53 PM »

Why some states decided to use it is beyond me.
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jakeroot

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Re: The Clearview Subject
« Reply #335 on: June 27, 2014, 03:14:42 PM »

Why some states decided to use it is beyond me.

Don't forget that older studies suggested that Clearview was more legible in all cases. Slowly, that proved to be questionable, however, you can't blame states back in 2004-2008 or whatever for choosing Clearview. They were simply doing what they thought was a good deed.
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J N Winkler

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Re: The Clearview Subject
« Reply #336 on: June 27, 2014, 04:11:27 PM »

It also took a while for the problems with using Clearview in a production environment to surface.  These include:

*  Clearview not rendering correctly in CAD

*  Clearview used in route shields

*  Uppercase/lowercase size mismatches

*  Clearview used in negative contrast, notwithstanding lack of approval for this use, and the research finding that legibility was inferior

It has been argued upthread that these problems were really a result of unqualified technicians designing and fabricating signs, and that they could have been prevented through some appropriate combination of training, quality assurance, and quality control.  I don't disagree with this position, but it takes time and money to put these things in place, and to the extent that these quality problems coincided with Clearview rollout in certain states, jettisoning Clearview is often the cheaper solution for those states.

And, as Scott points out, when you are dealing with people who are (or seem to be) as dumb as a box of hammers, "Don't use Clearview at all" is a hell of a lot simpler than a pile of guidelines each representing some variation of "Don't use Clearview here, or in that way."
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Scott5114

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Re: The Clearview Subject
« Reply #337 on: June 28, 2014, 02:59:50 AM »

Plus, it's questionable whether the Clearview license and the costs of ensuring compatibility, training, QA, etc is worth the money, where the possible improvement is limited to a marginal improvement under some circumstances on one line of a sign message.

If Clearview were a radical improvement over FHWA Series, then it would be worth the growing pains. But it's not, so it probably isn't.
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Bobby5280

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Re: The Clearview Subject
« Reply #338 on: June 30, 2014, 02:07:59 AM »

Quote from: J N Winkler
It has been argued upthread that these problems were really a result of unqualified technicians designing and fabricating signs, and that they could have been prevented through some appropriate combination of training, quality assurance, and quality control.  I don't disagree with this position, but it takes time and money to put these things in place, and to the extent that these quality problems coincided with Clearview rollout in certain states, jettisoning Clearview is often the cheaper solution for those states.

The Clearview issue is yet another thing revealing many state agencies have unqualified and/or uncaring people designing traffic control signs. If someone can't tell the difference between Clearview and Series Gothic or follow the rules regarding the use of either typeface he shouldn't be designing the signs. It's a pretty basic, rookie level detail that shouldn't be getting messed up the way it has been.

Another thing that drives me nuts is local agencies goofing up street name signs, based on the rules from the latest MUTCD. All caps legends on street name signs are no longer permitted. New signs have to use mixed case legends, using an approved typeface with lowercase letters at least 75% the height of the uppercase letters. Here in Lawton they misunderstood that rule. They thought the lowercase letters had to be reduced to 75% of their normal size. So now we have a bunch of new street name signs in various places around town (set in Series Gothic btw) with normal uppercase letters and tiny lowercase letters. These signs look so stupid. I've seen that rule misinterpreted on signs in other parts of the country. Pennsylvania had a bunch of big green signs featuring that design mishap.

The other thing that amazes me about the Clearview sign goofs: there are literally hundreds (if not thousands) of other rules in how traffic signs have to be designed and installed in the field. Many of those rules are harder to catch than the very simple task of choosing the correct typeface for a sign.
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Scott5114

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Re: The Clearview Subject
« Reply #339 on: June 30, 2014, 03:19:44 AM »

It's entirely possible in some of these cases that division management simply didn't share the Clearview circular with the rank-and-file sign designers, and the designers probably aren't passionate about their jobs that they would be actively looking up new things about it. Or, the other way around—the designer might protest, but be overruled by a dumbass manager that says the higher ups say we're going to use Clearview, so everything has to be Clearview, whatever that thing you found on the Internet says be damned!

It's amazing what can happen when the boss is an idiot.
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hbelkins

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Re: The Clearview Subject
« Reply #340 on: June 30, 2014, 11:29:54 AM »

Another thing that drives me nuts is local agencies goofing up street name signs, based on the rules from the latest MUTCD. All caps legends on street name signs are no longer permitted. New signs have to use mixed case legends, using an approved typeface with lowercase letters at least 75% the height of the uppercase letters.

The fact that we have the feds dictating font and capitalization rules to local governments on how they sign their streets and roads is what drives me nuts.
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roadfro

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Re: The Clearview Subject
« Reply #341 on: July 01, 2014, 03:41:03 AM »

^ I'd prefer this type of standard over letting the local governments pick any font and not being able to read the signs. Less ambiguity while driving is a good thing.

I think (but can't say for sure) that this is probably part of the reason why the MUTCD allows city seals/logos on street name signs, so they can customize to an extent yet still have readable signage.
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Scott5114

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Re: The Clearview Subject
« Reply #342 on: July 01, 2014, 05:13:47 AM »

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jakeroot

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Re: The Clearview Subject
« Reply #343 on: July 01, 2014, 01:53:18 PM »

How about this? You can choose any font but it can't be deemed silly. Ideally, you would send the typeface to some sort of approval center. That way, you could use basically any sans-serif font but it would filter out the silly "I can't tell if it's serif or sans-serif" type of fonts (such as posted above).

The approval center can't be a city council, either. They'll choose comic sans because they thinks it cute or something.
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Scott5114

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Re: The Clearview Subject
« Reply #344 on: July 01, 2014, 03:39:23 PM »

We have that already. It's called the NCUTCD, and they put out this guide called the "Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices" so you know what meets their approval.
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jakeroot

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Re: The Clearview Subject
« Reply #345 on: July 01, 2014, 05:09:12 PM »

We have that already. It's called the NCUTCD, and they put out this guide called the "Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices" so you know what meets their approval.

Oh. What a coincidence.
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Re: The Clearview Subject
« Reply #346 on: July 01, 2014, 10:35:34 PM »

Many places have illegible street name signs.  Potsdam, for examples, uses wooden poles stuck in the ground that are almost impossible to see during the day, much less at night. (right on below photo)


Anyways, I found a new FHWA sign on the Thruway.  Not sure if this means they're dumping clearview or not.  It wouldn't be the first time a NYSDOT-spec sign has found itself on the Thruway, but the tab looks more like something NYSTA would do than anything I've seen from NYSDOT.
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Please note: All comments here represent my own personal opinion and do not reflect the official position of NYSDOT or its affiliates.

jakeroot

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Re: The Clearview Subject
« Reply #347 on: July 02, 2014, 12:06:45 AM »



From my perspective, the sign corners seem almost completely squared off. I can tell they're rounded (just barely), but remarkably less-so than most BGSs.
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PurdueBill

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Re: The Clearview Subject
« Reply #348 on: July 02, 2014, 12:15:07 AM »

From my perspective, the sign corners seem almost completely squared off. I can tell they're rounded (just barely), but remarkably less-so than most BGSs.

Especially remarkably so for New York, where the BGSs seem to be more rounded than many places.
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jakeroot

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Re: The Clearview Subject
« Reply #349 on: July 02, 2014, 12:21:44 AM »

From my perspective, the sign corners seem almost completely squared off. I can tell they're rounded (just barely), but remarkably less-so than most BGSs.

Especially remarkably so for New York, where the BGSs seem to be more rounded than many places.

That might be because of NYSDOT's rounded corners (that is, they cut off the extra green bits in the corner like Maryland).
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